August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Tar sands coronavirus outbreak kills two Dene elders


Agnes McDonald died from coronavirus spread from a tar sands man camp.
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The coronavirus outbreak spread by tar sands workers has killed two Dene elders and is spreading widely by workers that are returning home. Canada failed to contain the spread from the man camp. Two Dene elders in a La Loche care home have died from the virus spread from the man camp near Fort McMurray.

"By the end of April, workers from Kearl had unwittingly spread COVID-19 to a remote northern Saskatchewan Dene village, starting an outbreak that killed two elders, and into a long-term care home in British Columbia. Cases have also been reported in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The outbreak now spans 106 cases in five provinces, including Alberta," reports National Observer.

The Globe and Mail reports, "An outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan’s far north is considered one of the most alarming scenarios in the country, with more than 150 cases confirmed, including in vulnerable Indigenous communities.

"As of Thursday, there were 167 positive cases of COVID-19 in the region, which extends north over a large geographic area from the town of La Ronge. The caseload has been particularly high in La Loche, a Dene village of more than 2,800 people about 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

Health officials in Saskatchewan have confirmed that some of the COVID-19 cases in La Loche are linked to travel from a Kearl Lake oil sands work camp north of Fort McMurray, Alta.​​


Navajo Nation extends state of emergency until June 7, now with 103 deaths from coronavirus


On International Nurses Day, Navajo nurses are celebrated. Photo Navajo President's Office.
The Navajo President's Office distributed food, water, donated pet food, and other essential items to 325 Navajo families in the communities of Klagetoh, Wide Ruins, Pine Springs, and Tsé si áni on Tuesday.



 Navajo Nation extends state of emergency until June 7, now with 103 deaths from coronavirus

Article by Brenda Norrell
Photos by Navajo President's Office
Censored News
May 13, 2020


Navajo Nation: 41 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death reported as Navajo Nation extends declaration of state of emergency

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. –  The Navajo Nation extended its state of emergency until June 7. On Tuesday, there were 41 new cases and another death from COVID-19. There have been 103 deaths, and there are now 3,245 cases of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the Navajo Nation’s declaration of a state of emergency and the closure of Navajo Nation government offices will continue until June 7, to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The current declaration was set to expire on May 17.

Wearing 'Smallpox Blankets' Standing Rock Lakota say 'no' to casinos re-opening, as two coronavirus cases are reported


"Our people held a protest in front of the Tribal Administration. They don't want the casino to open. They wore blankets to represent the smallpox blankets that were given to our people and decimated millions of Turtle Island inhabitants." -- Avis Little Eagle, Standing Rock. 


Wearing 'Smallpox Blankets' Standing Rock protesters say 'no' to casinos re-opening, as two coronavirus cases are reported

Article by Brenda Norrell
Photos by Dawn Wasin Zi
Censored News

STANDING ROCK, North Dakota -- Wearing 'smallpox blankets,' Standing Rock Lakota and Dakota opposed the plan to re-open casinos. This comes as two coronavirus cases were reported after group testing at Standing Rock.

Avis Little Eagle, Standing Rock Lakota, said, "Today, our people held a protest in front of the Tribal Administration. They don't want the casino to open."

"They wore blankets to represent the smallpox blankets that were given to our people and decimated millions of Turtle Island inhabitants," said Little Eagle, founder of the local newspaper Teton Times.

"We are not expendables," read the signs. "Open the casinos and the tribal council has given us the death penalty."

They also supported Oglala Lakota and Cheyenne River Lakota in South Dakota, who maintained roadblock checkpoints to prevent outsiders from bringing in coronavirus. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is threatening legal action against the tribes over the roadblocks.

Oglala Lakota on Pine Ridge are locked down now for 72 hours after two members tested positive for coronavirus. In the border town of Rapid City, South Dakota, a worker at Walmart tested positive for COVID-19.

The Standing Rock Sioux Nation conducted testing for coronavirus, resulting in two positive cases of the virus. Of the 482 essential workers and residents tested, one resident of Standing Rock and a second, a resident of Morton County, tested positive.

The COVID-19 test results come as Lakota and Dakota were protesting plans to open back up of the tribe's two casinos, Prairie Knights Casino near Cannon Ball and Grand River Casino.

Those testing positive are now in isolation. The results are as follows: Negative: 479; Positive: 2; Inconclusive: 1 (will be retested.) The U.S. Homeland Security, National Guard, North Dakota officials and Custer Health were part of the testing task force.

Little Eagle said there will be testing for Bear Soldier residents at the South Dakota Roads Garage on Thursday. There will also be testing in Rock Creek, Running Antelope, Wakpala, Kenel and Porcupine and Cannon Ball, dates to be announced.
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Federal lawsuit filed: Border wall would block last jaguar migration paths


Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s $7.2 Billion Transfer for Border Wall Construction

New Barriers Would Block Last Jaguar Migration Paths, Hinder U.S. Recovery


By Center for Biological Diversity
Censored News

WASHINGTON — Conservation groups today sued the Trump administration for taking $7.2 billion from the Department of Defense for border wall construction without congressional approval. The planned barriers will wall off all remaining jaguar corridors along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Today’s lawsuit also challenges six waivers that sweep aside dozens of environmental and public health laws to fast-track wall construction in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.