LATEST GLOBAL INDIGENOUS NEWS

'Why has it taken 134 years?': First Nations in Manitoba, Ontario move closer to flood compensation

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - 1 hour 50 min ago
NWA33

More than a decade after they began, negotiations on flood claim settlements between several First Nations in southeastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario and federal and provincial governments appear to be drawing to a close.

Sault Ste. Marie honours Wiikwemkoong woman for efforts preserving Anishnaabemowin

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - 4 hours 50 min ago
Barbara Nolan

For five decades Barbara Nolan has put her life into preserving Anishnaabemowin, and she was recently recognized for her efforts by the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. 

Report on Alaskan fisheries' impacts on B.C. salmon alarms First Nation, conservation groups

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 15, 2022 - 5:00pm
BC Salmon Racism 20200816

B.C. environmental groups and the Tŝilhqot’in First Nation are expressing alarm and outrage in the wake of a report suggesting B.C. salmon populations may be hurt by fishing in Alaskan waters.

Vancouver Park Board chair proposes co-management of parks with First Nations

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 15, 2022 - 12:00pm
English Bay

A motion calling for the co-management of parks that fall within the traditional territories of Vancouver's First Nations communities will be debated at a park board meeting later this month. 

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes to Host Annual "Would Jesus Eat Frybread?" Conference

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - January 15, 2022 - 8:34am

In late February, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes will host over 150 Native college students in El Reno, Oklahoma for a weekend conference discussing Jesus and culture. Among the questions students will consider: Would Jesus eat frybread?

Navajo Nation President Addresses Arizona State Legislature on Issues Facing Navajo People

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - January 15, 2022 - 8:26am

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez addressed the Arizona State Legislature and tribal leaders at the Arizona State Capitol last Wednesday, as part of the 27th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day.

N.W.T. woman wins academic award for work on meaningful consultation

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 15, 2022 - 8:00am
Letitia Pokiak

Distraught by resource development happening on traditional Indigenous lands without consent, Letitia Pokiak researched examples of ‘meaningful’ consultation for her master's thesis, which earned an academic award.

'A very rich language': Iqaluit woman begins teaching Inuktitut online

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 15, 2022 - 6:00am
Miali Coley-Sudlovenick

"It's actually a very rich language — it helps you to really understand the land and understand a different perspective of how to treat each other and how to really connect," says Miali Coley-Sudlovenick.

First Nations and their allies tackle Quebec's Omicron wave

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 15, 2022 - 4:00am
Stanley Vollant

COVID-19 and its latest variant have posed unique challenges for Quebec’s Indigenous communities, many of which are in remote areas with limited health services. But it's also led to creative solutions and increased collaboration with the province.

Care providers say Ottawa takes far too long to pay for health services for First Nations kids

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 15, 2022 - 4:00am
Rachel Pessah

Some health care providers say bureaucratic red tape at the federal level is holding up vital therapies for First Nations children, causing some kids to experience further developmental delays and leaving their businesses in financial distress.

SCOTUSBlog: Supreme Court takes action in COVID-19 vaccine cases

INDIANZ.COM - January 14, 2022 - 7:23pm
U.S. Supreme Court Members of the Kansas National Guard speak with an officer from the U.S. Supreme Court during a COVID-19 related deployment to Washington, D.C., back in February 2021. Photo by Capt. Joe Legros / Michigan National Guard
Fractured court blocks vaccine-or-test requirement for large workplaces but green-lights vaccine mandate for health care workers
Friday, January 14, 2022
SCOTUSBlog

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reaching a new record high as a result of the Omicron variant, the Supreme Court on Thursday put the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers on hold, while litigation over its legality continues in the lower courts.

Over a dissent from the court’s three liberal justices, the court ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exceeded its power in issuing the mandate. Congress may have given OSHA the power to regulate workplace dangers, the court explained, but it “has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly.” At the same time, the justices – by a vote of 5-4 – granted the administration’s request to be allowed to temporarily enforce a vaccine mandate for health care workers at facilities that receive federal funding.

The orders that the justices issued on Thursday afternoon were the latest chapter in the fast-moving vaccine disputes. After the cases came to the Supreme Court in December on an emergency basis, the justices opted to expedite the cases for oral argument on whether the mandates can remain in place while the challenges proceed in the lower courts. The court heard nearly four hours of arguments on the policies on January 7 and issued a pair of unsigned opinions just six days later.

Indianz.Com Audio: U.S. Supreme Court – National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor – January 7, 2022

The OSHA case
OSHA issued the vaccine-or-test mandate at the center of National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor in November. It required all employers with 100 or more employees – roughly two-thirds of the private sector – to compel those employees to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to be tested weekly and wear masks at work. The government expected the mandate to cover 84 million workers.

Businesses, states, and nonprofits went to court to challenge the mandate, and on Thursday the Supreme Court granted their request to put it on hold. Describing the mandate as a “significant encroachment into the lives — and health — of a vast number of employees,” the court emphasized that Congress must speak clearly if it intends to give a federal agency the authority to “exercise powers of vast economic and political significance.”

In this case, the court continued, Congress did not. It gave the Department of Labor the power to establish safety standards for the workplace, rather than “broad public health measures.” Although COVID-19 “is a risk that occurs in many workplaces,” the court acknowledged, it isn’t a risk that workers encounter simply by virtue of being at work – COVID-19 spreads virtually anywhere that people gather.

U.S. Supreme Court Decision: National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor [PDF]

“Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life — simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock — would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization,” the court concluded. And indeed, the court noted, the fact that OSHA has never adopted a similar regulation is a “telling indication” that the vaccine-or-test mandate exceeds the agency’s power.

The court then turned briefly to each side’s description of the effects of the policy. The challengers, the court observed, contended that the mandate would cost the states and employers billions of dollars and would prompt hundreds of thousands of employees to quit. The Biden administration, on the other hand, argued that the mandate would “save over 6,500 lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations.” But in the end, the court posited, other government actors – who are politically accountable – must “weigh such tradeoffs,” rather than the justices.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan penned a rare joint dissent in which they complained that employees, “more than any others,” have “little control, and therefore little capacity to mitigate risk” from the spread of COVID-19. The majority’s ruling, they contended, “stymies the Federal Government’s ability to counter the unparalleled threat that COVID-19 poses to our Nation’s workers.”

The dissenters tackled the same question that was at the heart of a concurring opinion filed by Justice Neil Gorsuch (and joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito): Who should decide how to respond to the pandemic? For Gorsuch, the “answer is clear”: the states and Congress. The dissenters reached a very different conclusion: OSHA, with its expertise in workplace safety and its status as a politically accountable government agency, is better suited to make decisions about how to protect workers from COVID-19 than “a court, lacking any knowledge of how to safeguard workplaces, and insulated from responsibility for any damage it causes.”

The vaccine-or-test mandate will remain on hold while the challenges to its legality continue in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Indianz.Com Audio: U.S. Supreme Court – Biden v. Missouri – January 7, 2022

The health care vaccine case
In Biden v. Missouri, the justices agreed to allow the Biden administration to enforce nationwide a rule that requires nearly all health care workers at facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption. The Department of Health and Human Services issued the rule, which applies to more than 10 million workers, in November, but two federal district courts – in Missouri and Louisiana – put the rule on hold in roughly half the states.

In an unsigned opinion, the court emphasized that a key responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services is “to ensure that the healthcare providers who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients protect their patients’ health and safety.” To do so, HHS has long required those providers to comply with a variety of conditions if they want to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

U.S. Supreme Court Decision: Biden v. Missouri [PDF]

Because COVID-19 “is a highly contagious, dangerous, and — especially for Medicare and Medicaid patients — deadly disease,” HHS determined that a vaccine mandate was necessary to protect patients because it would decrease the chances that health care workers would both contract the virus and pass it on to their patients. Such a mandate, the court wrote, “fits neatly within” the power given to HHS by Congress.

Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissenting opinion that was joined by Alito, Gorsuch, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Thomas complained that the Biden administration “proposes to find virtually unlimited vaccination power, over millions of healthcare workers, in” what he described as a “hodgepodge” of statutes – “in definitional provisions, a saving clause, and a provision regarding long-term care facilities’ sanitation procedures.”

The Biden administration had not adequately explained, as far as Thomas was concerned, why Congress would have given HHS such power in relatively minor provisions. And indeed, Thomas noted, if Congress had wanted to give HHS the power to impose a vaccine mandate, “it would have done what it has done elsewhere — specifically authorize one.”


This article was originally published at Howe on the Court and appears on SCOTUSBlog, the Supreme Court of the United States Blog, on January 13, 2022. It is republished here under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US).

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Fractured court blocks vaccine-or-test requirement for large workplaces but green-lights vaccine mandate for health care workers, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 13, 2022, 4:41 PM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2022/01/fractured-court-blocks-vaccine-or-test-requirement-for-large-workplaces-but-green-lights-vaccine-mandate-for-health-care-workers/

Cronkite News: Tribes face challenges in securing broadband grants

INDIANZ.COM - January 14, 2022 - 6:10pm
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs: Closing the Digital Divide in Native Communities through Infrastructure Investment – January 11, 2022
Vicious circle: Tribal broadband program hindered by lack of broadband
Friday, January 14, 2022
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tribal advocates told a Senate panel this week the federal government’s effort to fund expanded broadband infrastructure in Indian Country overlooked a fundamental issue.

Many tribes did not have the broadband access needed to apply for the funding that would let them improve broadband access.

Information about the first round of grants was available only online, and tribes were encouraged to apply online in a 90-day window during the pandemic. The upshot, said Matthew Rantanen, was that only about half of all eligible tribal communities applied for the funding.

“Some of the tribes didn’t get enough of the information about it or didn’t have access already, which we know they don’t have access to broadband,” said Rantanen, the co-chair of the National Congress of American Indians Subcommittee on Technology and Telecommunications.

Indianz.Com Audio: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs – Closing the Digital Divide in Native Communities through Infrastructure Investment – January 11, 2022

His comments came during a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs roundtable discussion Wednesday on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, a multibillion-dollar program aimed at increasing digital equity in tribal communities.

Originally created as a $980 million program in the fiscal 2021 budget, the program got another $2 billion infusion as part of the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed in November.

The first phase of the program set aside up to $500,000 for each of the 574 federally recognized tribes, that they could seek to use for broadband projects. Paper applications were accepted, but the program’s online FAQ page says that “NTIA prefers that applicants use Grants.gov to submit their applications.”

Not only was it difficult for some tribes to access information on the grants, but the short timeframe during a pandemic made it hard for many tribal councils to meet and discuss their applications, said Rantanen, who is also on the board of Arizona State University’s American Indian Policy Institute.

Navajo Nation Then a second-grader, Winona Begaye uploads homework from the backseat of her family’s car on the Navajo reservation in this 2020 file photo. Lack of broadband access led many tribal schools to set up such portable Wi-Fi sites when schools were closed by the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo by Megan Marples / Cronkite News

Access is not the only issue dogging the program faces: Government agencies cannot agree on the scope of the problem.

Federal Communications Commission data from 2019 showed that fixed broadband services reached 95.6% of the nation as a whole, but just 79.1% of people on tribal lands – and only 46.5% of tribal households had adopted these services. The FCC bases its report on geospatial data collected by broadband providers showing where broadband currently exists and could potentially exist.

But a 2018 report by the Government Accountability Office said the FCC data overstates tribal broadband availability, by lumping in areas where infrastructure could be expanded with areas where broadband is available.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said the data can lead lawmakers to believe the situation is less severe than it actually is.

“We have actual bad data, which leads policymakers … to engage in magical thinking about who has broadband connectivity,” said Schatz, the chairman of the committee.

Tribal Broadband A satellite dish serves a home in Beaver, Alaska, from a 2016 GAO report on challenges in bringing internet access to tribal areas. Photo by U.S. Government Accountability Office[/fc]

Manuel Heart, chairman of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Colorado, said that rural areas were especially affected by lack of connectivity during the pandemic.

“We’ve had to put in some hotspots where parents have to bring their students to a parking lot just to access internet” when schools were shut down by COVID-19, he said.

The NTIA said it has approved just five of the 280 tribal applications for the program so far, including one for the Yavapai-Apache Nation in Arizona. But not every tribe had major issues with the grant application during the pandemic.

Walter Haase, the general manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, said the Navajo Nation’s self-funded infrastructure following an Obama-era grant has greatly improved the tribe’s broadband access. That allowed it to avoid many of the problems with the online application format that hindered other tribes, he said.

Internet challenges on sprawling Navajo lands are steep. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told a House committee in 2020 that New Jersey is one-third the size of the Navajo Nation but had more than 1,300 communication towers compared to the tribe’s 1,000 towers – most of many of which were on the borders of the reservation.

But Haase said forming public and private partnerships and creating nonprofit entities may help other tribes develop a more robust broadband system like the Navajo.

“We’ve made tremendous progress forward, and having that fiber backbone throughout the Navajo Nation … gives us an upper hand in solving the problem,” he said.

For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.


Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News. It is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

J&J, New Mexico Ink $44M Opioid Settlement

LAW360 (Native feed) - January 14, 2022 - 4:00pm
Johnson & Johnson on Friday said it will pay New Mexico $44 million to settle claims that it and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals fanned the flames of the opioid crisis in the state.

Justices' Vaccine Ruling A Bad Omen For EPA In Climate Case

LAW360 (Native feed) - January 14, 2022 - 3:21pm
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing mandate for private employers indicates that the court's conservative majority is likely to restrict the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ability to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, experts say.

8th Circ. Backs Toss Of ND Tribe Member's Election Challenge

LAW360 (Native feed) - January 14, 2022 - 3:01pm
The Eighth Circuit on Friday upheld a North Dakota federal judge's decision to dismiss an election rule challenge by a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, saying that the tribe's requirement that members return to the tribe's Fort Berthold Indian Reservation to vote in elections didn't violate federal laws.

Feds Say Coal Activists' Leasing Suit Is Moot

LAW360 (Native feed) - January 14, 2022 - 2:52pm
Biden administration officials told a federal judge that lawsuits challenging the federal coal leasing program are moot since they've already revoked a Trump-era order to reopen public land to coal leasing and mining, while challengers berated the administration for driving its climate policy "into a brick wall" by refusing to issue a full moratorium on the program.

University of Mary and UTTC Bring Cultures Together for Mid-Winter Powwow

TRIBAL COLLEGE JOURNAL - January 14, 2022 - 2:43pm

The Mid-winter Powwow was an annual event at the university in the 1980s and 90s and was revitalized in 2020, after a 30-year hiatus.

The post University of Mary and UTTC Bring Cultures Together for Mid-Winter Powwow appeared first on Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education.

Saskatoon tribal chief excited about momentum on replacement for White Buffalo Youth Lodge

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 14, 2022 - 1:57pm
Chief Mark Arcand

Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand says he's encouraged that work is continuing on creating a replacement for the White Buffalo Youth Lodge.

Several children believed dead in early-morning house fire in Sandy Lake First Nation in Ontario

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 14, 2022 - 1:46pm
Sandy Lake First Nation

A house fire in Sandy Lake, a remote First Nation northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont., is believed to have claimed the lives of three children, Nishnawbe Aski Nation says. Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald is among those giving condolences.

Indigenous Services working to streamline pandemic aid process, says minister

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - January 14, 2022 - 12:49pm
Trudeau Cabinet 20211026

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) approved more than $1.1 million in emergency funding to Bearskin Lake First Nation during the last week of December and the first week of January to help deal with its COVID-19 outbreak, Minister Patty Hajdu said in a news conference Thursday.

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