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Editor's Note: This article was first published in the Smithsonian Magazine. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian men and women have always been defenders of their lives, lands, and way of life. The call to serve in the U.S. armed forces has resonated for Native people from the country’s founding—long before they were recognized as American citizens—to the present day. At the same time, Native communities have never taken casualties lightly. Native nations pay homage to fallen warriors as heroes with ceremonies, feasts, and prayers—formal, reverent memorials held throughout the year.

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1,397 recoveries reported as 57-hour weekend lockdown remains in effect

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Department of Health in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service reported 104 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation. The total number of deaths has reached 153 as of Saturday. Preliminary reports from eight health care facilities indicate that approximately 1,397 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with more reports still pending. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 4,633.

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — While many parts of the country are beginning to reopen to business, the Navajo Nation will be on a 57-hour curfew this Memorial Day weekend with businesses closed.With the Navajo Nation having the highest per capita COVID-19 cases, more than any of the 50 states, the leadership find it necessary to keep the hard measures in place on the country's largest Indian reservation.

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WASHINGTON — Tensions between Indian Country and the Trump administration have reached unprecedented heights this week, as leading national American Indian groups called for the ouster of the country’s top official for Indian affairs.  

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STROUD, Okla. — An Oklahoma tribe is giving money it received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act directly to its tribal citizens. Tribal citizens will begin to receive the relief checks in the mail in June.

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PHOENIX Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, said he will increase funding for the Indian Health Service if elected.

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Navajo Nation prepares for another 57-hour weekend lockdown

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center, Navajo Area Indian Health Service, and the Tribal Health Organizations, reported 181 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation on Thursday. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 4,434, and the total number of deaths is now 147.

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SHINNECOCK NATION — The data emerging from the COVID-19 deaths reveals that a disproportionate number of people of color are being impacted by the pandemic. 

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ADDISON, Texas -- From small-town Oklahoma native to internationally acclaimed actor and musician, Wes Studi forever changed a stereotype with his unforgettable performances in Dances with Wolves, The Last of the Mohicans, Heat and Avatar.