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A Look Back: ICMN’s Biggest History Stories of 2016

2016 was a big year for Native American history—ICMN took a detailed look at U.S. presidents, the Modoc War, and Cahokia. The Ancient One is finally returning home and the Bering Strait Theory was put to rest.
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Being an election year, ICMN thought it appropriate to take a look at United States presidents and their policies toward Native Americans throughout the history of this country. Each week, we featured a president beginning with George Washington and ending with Barack Obama.

Among those presidents was Andrew Jackson, who was replaced this year on the $20 bill by Harriet Tubman. Though we wondered why Sitting Bull wasn’t chosen.

Presidents weren’t the only historical figures ICMN focused on. Like every year, we took a hard look at Christopher Columbus, which cities celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead, and how Columbus even got his own holiday. This year there was even a campaign to write Columbus a letter and tell him how you really feel.

There were also a number of stories this year about The Ancient One, who will finally be returned to his ancestors for reburial after decades of study and being held in storage.

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Another important topic this year was reconnection. Natives all over Turtle Island were reconnecting to traditional ways. In California, the ancient art of basket weaving was revived; and on the Upper Columbia River, canoe culture is thriving. Another way Natives reconnected this year was through various rides. The Remember the Removal bicyclists completed 950 miles to honor those along the Trail of Tears; 167 horseback riders completed 100 miles along the Nez Perce Trail to honor their ancestors; and for the 11th year the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride sought solace and healing for those hanged on December 26, 1862.

ICMN often looks back at important moments and events in Native history. In 2016, Steve Russell researched what happened at Cahokia and Robert Aquinas McNally wrote a series about the Modoc War—from who really caught Captain Jack to photographing and reporting on the war to the aftermath of the hangings at Fort Klamath.

Native women have always been an important part of the indigenous story. ICMN featured Native women of the past and present as well as women influential in politics this year.

Finally, 2016 was the year the Bering Strait Theory was put to rest. Two studies put an end to the long-held theory that the Americas were populated by ancient peoples who walked across the Bering Strait land-bridge from Asia some 15,000 years ago.