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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country

Looking back at the week that was, we bring you our Sunday round-up, connecting you to the big stories in Indian Country.
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Looking back at the week that was, we bring you our Sunday round-up, connecting you to the big stories in Indian Country.

—We start with our photo gallery celebrating Native veterans that we ran on Memorial Day. Our correspondent Vincent Schilling (a non-combat U.S. Army veteran 2nd Lieutenant) provided us with pictures of American Indian vets he had taken while covering stories for us.

—Also from Memorial Day was Robert Warrior’s story “Memorializing the Indian Removal Act of 1830,” which discussed the signing of the Indian Removal Act by U.S. President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830. This year, the anniversary of the Removal Act happened to fall on Memorial Day, and Warrior does a wonderful job of discussing this painful memory along with his own family’s contributions in military service for the U.S.

—Gale Courey Toensing filed this story about California tribes suing to halt the construction of the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility, “a massive industrial wind factory of 112 turbines, each standing 450 feet tall, across more than 10,150 acres of public land that is sacred to the Quechan, Kumeyaa and Cocopah Nations,” she writes.

—Michelle Tirado’s piece on Arnold Thomas, a Shoshone-Paiute man who tried to take his own life in 1988 and has, for most of the past decade, dedicated his life to “encourage more open communication of a problem that touches too many Indian youths.” Thomas’s firlm, White Buffalo Knife Consulting, travels to tribal communities across the U.S. and Canada to tell his incredible story and discuss suicide prevention and the healing process, using his own personal story to reach people who might otherwise turn a deaf ear.

—Check out our coverage of the twice-a-year event known as “Manhattanhenge” in which the suns straight down Manhattan’s east-west streets in New York City, which happened on Wednesday, May 30. If you live in New York or will be traveling there, you can catch this phenomenon again on July 11 at 8:24 p.m.

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—A story on Europe’s annual musical competition, ‘Eurovision,’ which has been going on since 1956 and involves various countries compete against one another in performances of original songs. What drew our attention was the Netherland’s performance, in which a woman named Joan took the stage dressed in a Native American costume.

—We’ve got more. How about Marc Dadigan’s story on the Winnemem Wintu’s years-long struggle with the U.S. Forest Service to implement a mandatory closure of 400 yards of the McCloud Arm of Shasta Lake, a small corner of a 370-mile long shoreline that they use for their young women’s Coming of Age Ceremonies.

—Scott Winter’s story on Native Daughters magazine, a groundbreaking endeavor that celebrates Native women and is now in multiple platforms and available for the classroom. It’s a project we should all support.

—Lise Balk King looks into the Vern Traversie story and the worst place to be an Indian. Traversie, a 69-year old blind and physically disabled elder from the Cheyenne River reservation claims to be the victim of a hate crime. Scars on his abdomen received after open-heart surgery appear to depict the letters KKK, referring to the Klu Klux Klan. King digs into the “day-to-day” strain of facing racism as an Indian.

—And finally, Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senate candidate, continues to make headlines. Rob Capriccioso writes about how Warren, whose self-reported Cherokee ancestry has been a point of controversy for the last several weeks, has dodged interview requests from the Native American press.

As always, another eventful week in Indian country.