Indigenous victories in Canada, health care pulled back from the brink, and an award for melding traditional knowledge with modern science all grabbed the attention of Indian country during the Week That Was, July 30, 2017.
LAST-MINUTE SAVE: Three Native-focused Republican senators—Lisa Murkowski (AK), Susan Collins (ME) and, at the last minute, John McCain (AZ)—joined the Democrats in voting down a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) that had threatened the health care coverage of more than 15 million people. Mark Trahant noted the down-to-the-wire switch of McCain, who had voted for the bill to go to the floor. Trahant also noted the typical Republican mind-set, why the repeal failed and how integral the ACA is to Indian health care. Meanwhile, ACA repeal or not, the budget that would affect it was also hanging in the balance.
VOICES IGNORED: As a House Committee pondered changes to Indian trust land policy, Natives were not invited.
TOUGH BORDERS: Esteemed poet, author and musician Joy Harjo got browbeaten by U.S. officials while en route to Canada, accused of running away by a border guard who herself had not followed protocol.
ANIMAL VICTORIES: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor of the Inuit and against seismic testing for offshore oil in Nunavut. Over in British Columbia, First Nations rejoiced when a massive LNG project was canceled on Lelu Island, saving the salmon of the Skeena River.
MORE APPROPRIATION QUASHED: Walmart Canada pulled a racist onesie after a surge of protests to its insensitivity. “I Still Live With My Parents,” the onesie read, with two adjacent teepees and an arrow shot through the text.
BUH-BYE CHIEF WAHOO: Topps, Major League Baseball’s sole baseball card manufacturer, will remove all Chief Wahoo logos from its card designs going forward and will instead print the team’s block C. The company will also no longer print the Atlanta Braves “screaming Indian” logo.
ABIDING SPIRIT: Northwest coastal canoe families continued to voyage the inside passage of Washington’s Puget Sound, visiting the Puyallup, Muckleshoot and Suquamish Nations, while numerous other canoes paddled from the western and northern coasts of the Salish Sea, making their way toward the We Wai Kai Nation, where an estimated 80 canoes will come together for a final five-day landing, potlatch and celebration in British Columbia’s Campbell River.
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SCHOOLS SCIENCE: The Shinnecock Nation shared accolades for ocean conservation solutions, honored as partners with the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Solutions. Their role was to help meld indigenous knowledge with modern science.
MONUMENTAL RESPONSE: No fewer than 1.4 million people left comments related to the review of national monuments ordered by President Donald Trump and undertaken by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Writing about Bears Ears, the designation that seems to have prompted the review, commentators Richard Frias and Todd Leahy noted that such monument designations help preserve Native cultures, and thus should be protected.
HALF-CENTURY OF SERVICE: For more than 50 years, activist and artist Suzan Shown Harjo has upheld and advocated for Indian country, and now she has donated her papers to the Institute of American Indian Arts. Alex Jacobs caught up with her to take stock of it all.
MONTREAL CELEBRATION: We leave you with a harbinger of this week’s upcoming Montreal First Peoples Festival, the 27th annual, which features chef George Lenser and other luminaries highlighting Native culture in Quebec.