Skip to main content

The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country

News stories from the week ending November 18, 2012, including Louise Erdrich's National Book Award win, the death of Dennis 'Cat Man' Avner, Rock Your Mocs day, and the announcement of a new Gerber baby
  • Author:
  • Updated:

It's our roundup of all the big news coming out of Indian country:

• ERDRICH HONORED: Ojibwe author Louise Erdrich won the National Book Award for fiction for The Round House, her 14th novel. "This is a book about a huge case of injustice ongoing on reservations," she said in accepting the award. "Thank you for giving it a wider audience." She delivered part of her acceptance speech in Ojibwemowin.

• GOT MOCS?: Native American Heritage Month rolled on, with November 15 dubbed "National Rock Your Moccasins Day" -- and thousands did, taking to Facebook and Twitter to display themselves proudly wearing stylish Native footwear.

• FAREWELL CAT: The body-modification enthusiast Dennis Avner, who adopted the name "Stalking Cat" to go with his feline appearance, died at the age of 54 in what reports called an apparent suicide. Avner had Lakota and Huron heritage, and said that his transformation was his effort to embody his animal totem, a tiger. On the ICTMN Facebook page, many readers expressed sympathy. "RIP to a man who pusued his internal spirit," one wrote, "and to those who judge, may you one day understand."

Scroll to Continue

Read More

• FACE OF THE FUTURE: Eight-month-old Mary Jane Montoya, whose father is a descendant of the Yokut Mono Tribe, was named the newest Gerber baby. First stop for the famous infant was New York City and the TODAY Show, where the family met the original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook, who is now 85, and was interviewed by Natalie Morales. Cook "has that same look and that same twinkle in her eye. She’s super sweet," said Sara Montoya, Mary Jane's mother. "They were so nice and so open to talk to us and let us know what it was like for her to be the icon of the Gerber baby."

• INSENSITIVE IN UNMENTIONABLES: Victoria's Secret, in hot water over photos of Karlie Kloss wearing a feather headdress on the catwalk of its annual Fashion Show, apologized. The lingerie maker said that shots of the supermodel in the controversial garb would be edited out of the TV broadcast, which airs December 5. But damage was nonetheless done, at a particularly bad time of year -- as Sasha Houston Brown remarked, "Nothing Says Native American Heritage Month Like White Girls in Headdresses".