A resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young honors the victims of Native American boarding schools.
Alaska Airlines mandates the Covid-19 vaccine for workers. And a new global study shows a life expectancy drop from the pandemic in most of the nations studied. Find out how the U.S. fared.
There’s more in ‘Five Things to Know.’
Remembering boarding school victims
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowksi and Rep. Don Young have introduced companion legislation to honor Native American children who died while attending U.S. Indian boarding schools.
The legislation calls for a day of national remembrance on Sept. 30 for the children who died at the boarding schools and to recognize the survivors and their families.
Students were separated from their families and communities under a federal policy of forced assimilation. Many experienced abuse, lived in crowded conditions and suffered disease while at the schools.
The boarding schools banned students from following tribal customs and culture or speaking their traditional languages.
“The federal government made the attendance compulsory,” Murkowski said, with some children as young as three removed from their homes. Older children often were not educated but used as laborers, factory workers and domestic servants.
Murkowski spoke this week on the Senate floor to support a national day of remembrance to “give voice to the thousands of Native children who tragically died in Indian boarding schools across America and Canada.”
She said it was important to support the many Native children who survived but whose families are coping with intergenerational trauma from the experiences.
“We remember not only the children lost but not forgotten but the families still impacted,” she said.
“Innocent Native children were stripped of their identities and made to feel like they did not matter,” Murkowski said, encouraging support for survivors.
Young said that “the history of federal boarding school programs for Native Americans is dark, and has caused significant pain for our First Peoples, including Alaska Natives.
“These institutions were expressly designed to force Native assimilation, thereby crushing rich histories and unique cultures. We have felt this in Alaska,” he said.
Young said “the fact that these boarding schools operated in Alaska within my lifetime shows just how fresh a wound this is for Native communities.”
Lawmakers from Oklahoma, Kansas, Arizona, South Dakota, Hawaii, Ohio, New Mexico and Oklahoma, among other states, also supported the resolution.
“It is my great hope that through this resolution, we can raise awareness about these schools and secure justice for their countless victims and their descendants,” Young said.
“As ranking member of the subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States, I will continue doing all that I can to stand up for Native communities in Alaska and across the country,” he said.
Will Sen. Murkowski run in 2022?
It's almost official.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski this week filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission for a Senate run in 2022, but Murkowski has not announced whether she will seek a fourth term.
The paperwork designates campaign committees, which raise and spend funds for elections. The paperwork is the strongest indication yet that Murkowski may run for re-election in 2022.
The senator won her last election, in 2016, by 15 points. In 2010, she won re-election as a write-in candidate after a primary loss, a rare feat in politics.
Murkowski in January was among GOP senators who voted to convict Donald Trump for inciting the violence in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Trump vowed to influence the Alaska vote and defeat her.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said in March he would back Murkowski’s re-election bid. “If Sen. Murkowski runs again, I’m going to support her,” Sullivan told ABC News.
Alaska Air mandates Covid vaccine for workers
Alaska Air Group informed employees this week that the Covid-19 vaccine is a requirement, because the company works as a government contractor.
While Alaska Air has strongly encouraged its 23,000 employees to get inoculated and even offered a $200 bonus to staff who share proof of full vaccination, the company had stopped short of a mandate. Until now.
New federal rules require the vaccine for federal contractors, the airline informed workers. JetBlue has issued a similar vaccine order for its workers.
The Biden administration said in September it will require employees at federal contractors to get the vaccine. Federal contractors must be vaccinated no later than Dec. 8, the administration said.
CNBC reported that Alaska Air said in a note to staff that “since our company does significant work for the federal government, we have determined that Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and McGee employees – all part of Alaska Air Group – do fall under this federal vaccine mandate, along with other major U.S. airlines.”
United Airlines was the first U.S. airline to require all of its U.S.-based employees, which number 67,000, to be vaccinated or face termination. The company reported compliance Thursday that topped 95%.
Delta Air Lines will add a $200 monthly fee on health insurance costs for unvaccinated employees. Unvaccinated employees must undergo weekly testing for the virus.
Life expectancy drops in Covid era
The life expectancy of American men lost 2.2 years because of Covid-19, according to a study that examined the impact of the virus in 29 nations.
U.S. women also experienced an overall decline in life expectancy but to a lesser degree.
Overall, there were life expectancy declines in 27 of the 29 nations studied, researchers reported.
The life expectancy loss among U.S. men represented the biggest decrease among the nations in the study, demographers at the University of Oxford reported.
Life expectancy declines in America were also greater among certain ethnic groups, including Black and Hispanic people.
The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Prior to the pandemic, life expectancies among western nations had continuously increased. The study did not include less developed nations, which may be experiencing greater declines, the authors said.
EV sales accelerate in 2021
Electric vehicles still account for a small part of overall sales in the U.S. But the pace of growth is surprising to analysts.
Plug-in vehicles sales more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to last year, when the pandemic affected sales of all types of vehicles and other big-ticket items.
“EV sales are pretty much going gangbusters,” said Ryan Gallentine, analyst for Advanced Energy Economy, according to E&E News. “You see automakers moving to start building EV-only assembly plants and announcing these new battery manufacturing facilities; to me that says they’re betting their business on EVs.”
Ford Motor Co. announced plans to invest more than $11 billion in EV battery manufacturing in Tennessee and Kentucky. The company predicts that up to a half of new car sales by 2030 will be EVs.
Consumer Reports is attributing the growth in part to more choices in EVs, including SUVs. Ford will offer electric versions of the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator by 2023.
Large corporations, including Amazon and T-Mobile, also are moving to zero-emission EVs for their fleets.