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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, June 8, 2014

News of interest to American Indians, on topics including Chester Nez, Keith Harper, Pharrell Williams, and the Washington Redskins.
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It's our recap of the news that mattered most in Indian country:

CONFIRMED: The Senate voted 52–42 on June 3 to confirm Cherokee Nation citizen Keith Harper as a human rights ambassador to the United Nations. Harper is the first citizen of a federally-recognized tribe to become an U.S. ambassador following J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed in 2012.

FAREWELL, HERO: Chester Nez, the last surviving member of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, walked on.

NEW NUMBERS: James Fenelon, Lakota/Dakota from Standing Rock, a sociology professor at California State University, San Bernardino, has conducted a survey that finds 67 percent of Native Americans believe that Redskins is a racist word.

ANOTHER HEADDRESS SCANDAL: Singer and producer Pharrell Williams angered many Natives by appearing on the cover of Elle UK magazine wearing a feather headdress. He later apologized

PRESERVATION PARCEL: Wells Fargo & Company is donating 143 acres of land adjacent to the Native Village of Eklutna to The Conservation Fund for permanent land and habitat preservation. The property is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Anchorage, in the heart of Dena’ina Athabascan country where Alaska Native people have lived for thousands of years.

ON TAPE: The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, is calling for a boycott of Lansing-based firm, whose Chief Financial Officer Kirk Shewchuck left a voicemail laced with racial slurs and vulgarities after apparently not hanging up his phone properly.

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TRICK PLAY: An intermediary for the Washington Redskins contacted the leader of a small Nevada tribe and invited him to Washington, D.C., for a news media event with team owner Daniel Snyder. Chairman Joseph Holley of the Battle Mountain Band of Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians declined the invitation.

SMASHING: Furthering its diversification efforts, the Mohegan Tribe is entering another franchise agreement with a burger chain, this time with Denver-based Smashburger. The tribe will open up 16 locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

CROWDFUNDING IFAM: The Indigenous Fine Art Market, an event that looks to challenge the massive Santa Fe Indian Market, is seeking donations online via Kickstarter.

BLACKSTONE COMETH: Audiences in the United States will finally be able to see the acclaimed series Blackstone when the Canadian rez drama comes to Hulu in July.

FLAG FLAP: A Commonwealth of Pennsylvania judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence to seek a misdemeanor charge in trial against Joshuaa Brubaker. Brubaker's supposed "crime": Hanging an American flag upside down on his house with "AIM" (American Indian Movement) spray-painted on it.

PROTECT THE WOLVES: California has voted to add gray wolves to the state’s list of endangered species as the animal seems poised to make its way back there for the first time in about 80 years.

WILL FARM FOR GRANTS: First Nations Development Institute announced June 3 that it is divying up $400,000 in grant awards to 12 Native organizations. The grants, made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, were awarded under First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative.