The Blackfeet Nation tribal council on Thursday voted to remove Chairman Timothy Davis from office. Blackfeet law enforcement recently arrested nine people at his home, including members of his family, on drug-related charges. Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton has more.
The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council unanimously voted to unseat Davis. In a text to Montana Public Radio, Davis said, “It was unanimous including my vote for relinquishment based on the arrests of my adult children, four who are still incarcerated.”
The FBI along with tribal law enforcement last week arrested nine people at Davis’ home on charges for the sale of fentanyl and methamphetamine. Drug possession and child endangerment charges were also filed. All who were arrested pleaded not guilty. Davis was not home at the time and does not face any charges. The council voted to select Iliff Kipp Sr. to replace Davis as chairman. Kipp said in a statement quote “The Blackfeet Nation will continue to move forward in a positive way for all Blackfeet people.”
Navajo Nation health officials have further loosened COVID-19 restrictions as new infections continue to decline. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, more people will be allowed into businesses and to gather socially.
The Navajo Department of Health issued three emergency orders Tuesday that transition the tribe from orange status to the less restrictive yellow status. Under the relaxed rules, businesses like restaurants, hotels, and the tribe’s four casinos can now operate at 75% capacity. In addition, up to 25 people are now allowed to gather for social functions, traditional ceremonies and church services, and capacity limits for school sporting events have also been increased. The orders keep in place a reservation-wide mask mandate that applies to schools and all other public spaces for both tribal members and visitors.
The Navajo Nation was hit particularly hard by the pandemic and at one point in 2020 had the highest per-capita infection rate in the U.S. as a result, tribal officials have kept several mandates in place long after surrounding states like Arizona and Utah rescinded their own. The Navajo Nation experienced all-time-high levels of COVID cases in mid-January. But in recent weeks, new infections have slowed to levels not seen since the summer.
The Yurok Tribe celebrated the grand opening of the first tribally operated visitor center within California’s state park system Thursday. The Chah-pekw O’Ket-toh Stone Lagoon Visitor Center, located in Humboldt County, is now operated by the tribe in a partnership with California State Parks. Recently renovated and renamed, the center contains displays that reflect the tribe’s longstanding cultural connection to the lagoon. Yurok interpreters will share the tribe’s history from pre-contact to contemporary times with visitors.
During a virtual celebration Thursday, the center’s manager Rosie Clayburn, Yurok Cultural Resources Department Director and Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer, talked about how the public will be able to learn about tribal history, culture and little-known facts about the park.
“We have so many exhibits. We have so many stories to tell here. This place is so deep in history and there’s such a significance here…bringing back the Jump Dance in 2012 that hadn’t been danced in over 100 years, telling the story of how this land came to be state parks. And then, telling the story how this has always been Native land that Yurok people have always had a connection to this place and it’s never gone away, it’s just a continuation through time.”
The tribe also celebrated work to reintroduce the California condor. Later this month, the tribe and Redwood National Park plan to release four condors. They’ll be the first to take flight in the region since the late 1800s. That effort has been underway by the tribe since 2008.
Get National Native News delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up for our newsletter today.