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Deb Haaland to give keynote at UN Indigenous issues forum

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will deliver a keynote address at the 20th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on April 19.

This year’s theme is “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: The role of Indigenous peoples in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 16.”

The forum will be held April 19 to April 30 in a hybrid in-person/virtual format.

For more information, click here.

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Town decides to keep offensive mascot, ditch logo

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Leaders of a nearly all-White northwest Missouri school district have narrowly voted to keep the high school's “Savages” nickname but will phase out the use of Native American imagery.

The Savannah R-3 Board of Education's 4-3 vote on Tuesday night came after months of dueling petitions and heated debates over the mascot and amid a national movement calling for racial justice.

“We value everyone’s opinion in the community, and we also value those indigenous voices that speak up and say, ‘This is not OK,'" outgoing Board President Stancy Bond said Wednesday. “We thought that it was a middle ground move to compromise and remove the imagery."

Savannah, a town of about 5,000 residents about 65 miles north of Kansas City, was built on land that belonged to several Native tribes. The logo, versions of which date back to the 1930s, features the head of a Native American with a partially painted face and a feather in his hair.

‘A bridge between cultures’

A channel of water in an archipelago north of Puget Sound carries the name of 19th century U.S. Army Gen. William S. Harney, notorious for whipping to death a Black woman in Missouri, leading the killing of Sicangu Lakota men, women and children in Nebraska, and taking the U.S. to the brink of armed conflict with Great Britain over a jurisdictional dispute in the Pacific Northwest.

The San Juan Islands, shown here, sit in the center of the Salish Sea, with Vancouver Island to the west, the Strait of Georgia to the north, mainland Washington state to the east, and the Olympic Peninsula to the south. To the southeast is Admiralty Inlet, the entrance to Puget Sound. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

If a proposal is approved by the Washington state Board of Geographic Names, however, the channel would be renamed in honor of Henry Cayou, a fishing, maritime and political leader of Lummi and Saanich First Nation ancestry.

The channel is located east of Canada’s Vancouver Island, between Orcas and Shaw islands in San Juan County, Washington – a point of origin for several Coast Salish peoples, including the Lhaq’temish, or Lummi.

To read more, click here.

FEMA offers COVID-19 funeral assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program offers financial assistance for coronavirus-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.

The program was funded under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

For details on how to apply, click here.

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