Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST
- PLACE NAMES-DEROGATORY TERMS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has formally declared the word "squaw" to be a derogatory term. She announced Friday that she's taking steps to remove the term from use by the federal government and to replace other existing derogatory place names. Haaland is ordering a federal panel tasked with naming geographic places to implement procedures to remove what she called racist terms from federal use. Haaland says federal lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and shared cultural heritage and that they shouldn't perpetuate legacies of oppression. Haaland is the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. She is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico education officials are partnering with public television providers for a stopgap that could ease students' internet problems. A pilot program starting in Taos this week connects students to their schools through TV transmissions. New Mexico PBS affiliates are using some of their broadcast bandwidth to send files uploaded by local schools. Public Education Department officials say eight Taos families now have a device allowing them to connect their TV antenna to a computer to download those files. Internet access continues to be a problem for rural students. The pilot program will be expanded to Portales and Silver City.
- MARIJUANA-TRIBAL LANDS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal raid on a small household marijuana garden on tribal land in northern New Mexico is sowing confusion and resentment about U.S. drug enforcement priorities on Native American lands, as more states roll out legal marketplaces for recreational pot. Bureau of Indian Affairs officers confiscated nine cannabis plants from a medical marijuana patient at Picuris Pueblo, where tribal officials are contemplating a cannabis business venture. The BIA patrols the pueblo and says it can't tell officers to stand down, even amid state legalization of home grown pot and retail sales. New Mexico legalized recreational, home-grown marijuana this year.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 99 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three additional coronavirus-related deaths. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's total to 38,616 cases since the pandemic started and 1,518 known deaths. Tribal President Jonathan Nez has urged residents of the vast reservation to be careful when traveling to neighboring cities and states where safety measures aren't always as strict. The tribe has maintained a mask mandate through most of the pandemic. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- AMBER ALERT-CUSTODIAL INTERFERENCE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say they are searching for a 10-year-old Albuquerque boy believed to be with his mother who no longer has custody of him. They say Nicolai Kuznetsov was last seen on Nov. 5 and is believed to be with Jacqueline Haymon. Albuquerque TV station KOAT reports that Haymon allegedly didn't want him to be vaccinated for COVID-19. According to court documents, the boy's parents had joint custody. But a District Court judge on Thursday issued an emergency order which granted the boy's biological father custody due to the grave concern of the well-being and safety of the child, leading to an Amber Alert being issued. State Police also say a bench warrant has been issued for Haymon's arrest.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials with two of New Mexico's largest hospitals say they have yet to see a reprieve from the latest wave of patients needing care. Officials with Presbyterian Healthcare Services and University of New Mexico Hospital said during a briefing Thursday that COVID-19 patients make up about one-fifth of hospitalizations while the majority of patients are in for other illnesses. Despite the recent enactment of crisis standards of care, they said they haven't denied or rationed care but are focusing on medically necessary procedures. Confirmed COVID-19 infections in New Mexico surpassed 300,000 on Thursday as high rates of spread are reported statewide.
- BORDER-MIGRANT CAMPS
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — A nighttime operation to erect chain-link fencing and impose a registry may have been the beginning of the end for a migrant camp in Tijuana, Mexico, that blocks a major pedestrian crossing to the United States. But there may be more camps to follow. First lady Jill Biden sharply criticized a similar camp in Matamoros, Mexico, on a 2019 visit, saying, "It's not who we are as Americans." The Biden administration touted its work closing that camp in March, but new ones have sprung up in Tijuana and Reynosa.