The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, December 7, 2014

News stories of interest to Native Americans, on topics including the White House Tribal Nations Conference, Peter Pan Live, Misty Upham, and Longmire
Author:
Updated:
Original:

It's our recap of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:

A FOCUS ON THE YOUTH: During Wednesday’s Sixth Annual 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Dept. of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Attorney General Eric Holder and other Senior Administration officials addressed a number of relevant issues to Indian country. The main emphasis of the conference was a clear dedication to the health and welfare of the needs of Native youth.

DOING THE RIGHT THING: Two tribes are among 16 communities across the U.S. designated by President Barack Obama as Climate Action Champions, “a diverse group of communities that are defining the frontier of ambitious climate action, and their approaches can serve as a model for other communities to follow,” the White House said on December 3.

WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY?: Thursday night's Peter Pan Live!, which aired on NBC, featured a reworked musical number that had drawn criticism over the years as racist—originally written as "Ugg A Wug," the revamped song's title is "True Blood Brothers." But the character ofTiger Lily strikes some Natives as just too racist to redeem, which Adrienne Keene wrote about in a piece titled "Why 'Fix' Tiger Lily? Why Can't We Just Let Her Go?"

DRAMA ON THE REZ: The Sundance Institute has announced the slate of movies that will compete at the 2015 festival, and a drama set on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is among the 16 narrative feature films in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.

LONGMIRE LIVES: When A&E announced the cancellation of Longmire, a police drama set in Wyoming, fans were heartbroken. Now, with the news that the show will indeed have a fourth season, on Netflix, those fans are rejoicing. So is Native actor Graham Greene, who appeared in four episodes as Malachi Branch.

CUISINE CORRECTION: Calling the food in Indian country “Native American fare” isn't quite correct, and chefs Freddie Bitsoie, Navajo, and Nephi Craig, Apache, are two voices in a growing campaign trying to redefine the concept of Native American edibles.

CAUSE OF DEATH: The King County (Washington) Medical Examiner has determined that late actress Misty Upham, Blackfeet, died of blunt force wounds to her head and torso.

FISH TALE: The massive phenomenon commonly known as "Navajo Star Wars" is getting a sequel, of sorts: The Navajo Nation Museum has announced that it will be holding a casting call for a Navajo-dubbed Finding Nemo.

MVP: Quarterback Mason Fine, Cherokee, of Locust Grove High School, has been named Gatorade Oklahoma Football Player of the Year, an honor bestowed on the state’s best high school player.

LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS: U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell invoked not only tribal sovereignty but also environmental expertise when she spoke to MSNBC’s José Díaz-Balart about the Keystone XL pipeline, which many tribes oppose. She said the government will need to listen to Natives because "they know their lands better than we do."

MIND-SHARPENING ENTERTAINMENT: The video game Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna in Iñupiaq), created with the cooperation of the Iñupiat of Alaska, was released for XBox, PlayStation4, PC and PC Steam on November 18, and gamers have spoken: This thing is good.