TGIF! Here’s a look at what’s happening today:

Lumbee and Coharie woman named first Native woman to lead a Cabinet agency in North Carolina

Pamela Brewington Cashwell, Lumbee and Coharie, will be the next head of North Carolina’s Department of Administration, a key office that oversees logistics and contracts. She was selected for the post by the state’s Gov. Roy Cooper, The News & Observer reported on Wednesday.

“Pam Cashwell’s wealth of experience has prepared her to lead the agency that state government relies on for many critical support functions,” Cooper told the news organization.

Currently, Cashwell works for the state’s department of public safety where she holds various titles including senior policy advisor, among others.

She will need to be confirmed by the state’s Senate but in the meantime can begin the job prior to her confirmation hearing.

Approximately 168,000 Native Americans are currently living in North Carolina, just under 2 percent of the state’s population, according to Census data.

To read more, click here.

First Native American poet laureate appointed in Washington state

Bellingham, Wash. (AP) — Rena Priest, a member of the Lummi Nation, has become the first Native American poet to serve as Washington state’s poet laureate.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Priest to be the state’s sixth poet laureate, the Washington State Arts Commission and Humanities Washington announced Thursday. Her two-year term begins April 15.

Priest said she was “excited and honored” by the appointment.

“I’m fascinated by the way people come together around poetry,” the Lummi tribal member said in a news release. “It’s a powerful way of connecting.”

One of her main goals as poet laureate will be to celebrate poetry in tribal communities in the state.

“There are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington, composed of 140,714 tribal citizens,” Priest said in the release. “I’m sad to say that in the hundreds of poetry readings I’ve attended over the years, I’ve only met a handful of Native poets. I know that this is not because we don’t exist, but because we don’t have the same access to writing communities as people living in cities and towns.”


Harvard’s Peabody Museum to revise its policies on repatriation of Native objects

Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology says it will revise its repatriation policies of Native objects following accusations of failing to fulfill legal obligations under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, The Art Newspaper reported.

In February, the Association of American Indian Affairs — a national organization aiming to protect tribal sovereignty and preserve culture — wrote an open letter to Harvard’s president. The letter stated that 18.4 percent of objects in the museum’s collection have been returned in the 30 years of the federal statute.

“That means there are still 6,586 of our Ancestors and 13,610 of their burial belongings in boxes on shelves,” the letter stated.

The university responded last week in a letter sent by Philip Deloria, Yankton Dakota, who chairs the museum’s repatriation committee. He said the museum returned 34 percent of its Indigenous collection and has “no interest in avoiding Nagpra implementation.”

The museum’s repatriation committee was established last year. To read more, click here.


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