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Area Briefs: Interior requires vaccinations for BIE-managed schools, staff


The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Sept. 2 that vaccinations against COVID-19 are required for staff and faculty at Bureau of Indian Education facilities.

Consistent with science and prevention strategies to reduce transmission of COVID-19, either a single-dose Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson or future vaccines) or both doses of a FDA-authorized vaccine (such as Pfizer or future vaccines) are required no later than Oct. 15.

This action is in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

This vaccination requirement will help ensure American Indian and Alaska Native students continue to receive the benefits of BIE operated schools, Interior said in a news release.
The Interior Department is the latest agency within the Biden-Harris administration to implement vaccine requirements for members of its workforce.
Recently, the departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Defense announced plans to require vaccinations for personnel.

Delegates meet with new BIA Navajo Region director

WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation Council’s Naabik’iyati Committee on Tuesday met with with newly appointed Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Area Region Director Gregory Mehojah, the speaker’s office reports.

Mehojah visited the Council Chamber along with Bartholemew Stevens, deputy director of field operations.

Mehojah said, “I am very much looking forward to my tenure as the regional director for the Navajo Region, serving the tribe, working with the honorable Council delegates, president, speaker, and learning from the committees individually.

“I look forward to learning about the issues and the priorities,” he said, “the challenges and the successes that we can bring together.”

Mehojah is a member of the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma and began his career as an attorney for the Department of Interior’s regional solicitor’s office.

He was also the deputy of trust and Indian services, acting regional director at the Southwest Region, acting regional director at the Eastern Region, and special assistant to the director of international affairs for the Department of Interior.

Delegates immediately raised many projects still pending across the Nation, such as transportation, broadband, economic development, infrastructure, natural resources, energy development and others.

Mehojah offered to set up one-on-one discussions with the delegates to listen and discuss ways to better serve the Nation.

The Council accepted the BIA’s report with a vote of 15 in favor and 1 not voting.

Black bear captured in tree


FLAGSTAFF – The Flagstaff Fire Department and Arizona Game and Fish officials responded to a call Monday morning of a black bear in a tree at the Arizona ADOT building in west Flagstaff.

Fire crews, along with wildlife officials, decided Flagstaff Fire’s ladder truck would be best suited to get the bear down from the tree.

The bear was tranquilized and safely put in the platform and was lowered down to safety. There were no injuries to humans or the bear.

There’s no word on what will happen to the bear, but it will likely be taken deep into the forest and let go, allowing it to continue being a bear.

San Juan College powwow postponed

FARMINGTON – The San Juan College Native American Center announced the postponement of the All Nations Community Powwow that was originally scheduled for late September at the San Juan College campus.

“Due to the rise in cases related to the Delta variant, we must prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our participants and guests,” says Byron Tsabetsaye, director of the Native American Center at San Juan College. “We are focusing our efforts on a spring powwow in April 2022.”

However, the Ms. Indigenous San Juan College pageant will still take place in late September, he said.

The pageant and coronation are scheduled for Sept. 29 and 30.

More details will be available soon on San Juan College Native American Center Facebook page.

Fire safety, education community meeting

FARMINGTON — The Native American Disability Law Center, in partnership with the Shiprock Indian Health Services and John Hopkins University Center for Injury Research and Policy, will conduct a community meeting Friday, Sept. 17, to provide fire safety and protection education for individuals with a disability at 10 a.m. Information: Benita McKerry, 505-566-5880 or 800-862-7271.


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