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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, January 17, 2016

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Recognition of Natives in both Hollywood and Washington D.C. this past week in Indian country contrasted starkly with violence masquerading as play.

FIRST NATION GOLDEN GLOBE: In accepting his best actor award at the 73rd annual Golden Globes on January 10, Leonardo DiCaprio, star of the blockbuster The Revenant, gave a hat tip to the indigenous community involved in the making of the film.

“Lastly, I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world,” he said. “It is time that we recognize your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”

Alejandro G. Inarritu took best director, and movie itself was named best picture. DiCaprio famously walked alongside Indigenous Peoples in the Peoples Climate March in September 2014.

RINGSIDE SEAT: Clear across the country, Alaska Native Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) student got a seat with First Lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union Speech. Lydia Doza—Inupiaq, Tsimshian and Haida—was one of 23 guests to join Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, in the First Lady’s box. Doza, 24, is pursuing a degree in software engineering technology at Oregon Tech, where she is also an event organizer for Engineering Ambassadors, which reaches out to kids as young as age 3 to encourage engineering careers.

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UMMMM….: In which Sarah Sunshine Manning informs the Village of Whitesboro, New York, that it’s time for a makeover in the spirit of those television shows that ambush a schlumpy citizen and spruce up his or her look. This for the municipality’s insistence on clinging to a town seal that depicts a white man with his hands around the throat of an Oneida Indian in a “friendly wrestling match.”

FRIENDLY FIRE (NOT): An even more outrageous affront was brought to light when a video game, Survival Island 3 Australia, which includes the option of killing Aboriginal Australian people, was removed from Google Play and iTunes after an online petition generated more than 50,000 signatures.

JUSTICE SERVED: A man who shot two Northern Arapaho patients at a detox center outside Wind River Reservation in Riverton, Wyoming, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Roy Clyde, 32, had pleaded guilty in October to killing one man and critically injuring another in July when he opened fire inside the Center of Hope detox center.

NO THANKS, WE’VE GOT THIS: Gun-toting militants continued to pour into Burns, Oregon claiming that they were going to return the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to its rightful owners—even acknowledging that it belongs to the Burns Paiute Tribe. The group went so far as to offer the FBI and local authorities a resolution proposing co-management with the tribe, which has inhabited the land for some 15,000 years.

“These people are ignorant of the history and that they don’t think about the statements they are making,” irritated Burns Paiute tribal chairperson Charlotte Roderique said. “They are misinformed.”

BOWIE: The death of pop music icon David Bowie hit Indian country hard. ICTMN’s A&E editor, Vincent Schilling, gave us a poignant tribute to a musical shaper of his teenage years.