Indigenous Peoples descended on Washington, a rockin’ grandma won a sled-dog race, and a California tribe won water rights in a far-reaching case. All this and International Women’s Day during The Week That Was, March 12, 2017. the best stories in Indian country.
NATIVE NATIONS RISING: Native nations and their allies flocked to the U.S. capital over the past week, marching from the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the White House on Friday March 10 to register their disapproval of the disregard of treaty and other indigenous rights exhibited so far by the administration of President Donald Trump. Tipis were pitched on the National Mall to hold cultural and educational events, as well as panels. This came even as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe suffered a court setback, when a judge denied the Cheyenne River Sioux’s attempt to stop the pipeline on religious freedom grounds.
CELEBRATING THOSE WHO BIRTH US: March 8 marked International Women’s Day, and there were no shortage of female warriors for us to celebrate. From the women who formed the foundation of the water protector camps at Standing Rock, to those who are leading tribal colleges, it was clear that every day is women’s day, at least in Indian country. This was true especially for Roxy Wright, the ageless grandmother who won the Fur Rondy Sled Dog Race at age 66.
BECAUSE, SURE, THAT COULD HAPPEN: When deciding between buying an iPhone and health insurance, it helps to have a bit set aside from those lottery winnings. Except that, under the new so-called Affordable Care Act, lotto winners need not apply, as Mark Trahant noted when highlighting three ways to prepare in the event of the plan’s passing (which, he said, it won’t).
INDIGENOUS RIGHTS FAIL: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz was not terribly impressed by the Trump administration’s record in that regard so far when she visited Washington to finish gathering information for her report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on her 10 days of meetings with tribal and U.S. government agencies on the impact of extractive industries on Indigenous Peoples.
NEVERTHELESS, THEY PERSIST: Native Republicans are still in play, and Trahant highlighted the importance of their potential role in opening up a channel of discourse about issues specific to Indian country.
PARTING ADVICE: Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs under President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, doled out some advice for the next person to be permanently named to his former position, in the form of a detailed letter.
PRECEDENT-SETTING WIN: In a ruling that has implications across Indian country and the United States, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has the right to control the groundwater underneath its 31,500-acre reservation in and around Palm Springs.
BRINGING NATIVE STYLE TO HOLLYWOOD: Actor Zahn McClarnon, Hunkpapa Lakota, is one of the hardest-working actors in Indian country. Now he will be playing Comanche leader Toshaway in the upcoming AMC series The Son. The first episode airs April 8.
GOT LANYARDS? Ho-Chunk entrepreneur Collin Price of B-Team Strategy in Tomah, Wisconsin, has made it his goal to deliver 10,000 to 15,000 Native beaded lanyards to the 2018 Super Bowl. Though he has assembled a team of traditional beaders, they could use some help. Price has put the call out across Indian country for volunteers to join the Warm Welcome Lanyard Project.