Happy Earth Day! Here’s a look at what’s happening today:

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Watch: Earth Day subcommittee hearing “The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis. Ojibwe attorney and founder of Giniw Collective Tara Houska, and climate activist Greta Thunberg testified.

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Indigenous talent included in 2021 American Academy of Arts & Sciences class

Of the 252 new American of Arts & Sciences members at least five are Indigenous.

Jereldine Redcorn, Caddo Nation; Robbie Robertson, of Mohawk and Cayuga descent; Robin Wall-Kimmerer, Potawatomi Nation; Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Māori; and Haunani-Kay Trask, Native Hawaiian, were elected members.

The members include artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

“We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far, and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” American Academy President David Oxtoby said in a statement. “The past year has been replete with evidence of how things can get worse; this is an opportunity to illuminate the importance of art, ideas, knowledge, and leadership that can make a better world.”

For the complete list, click here.

Montana extends programs to address tribes’ missing persons

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Greg Gianforte signed this week several bills meant to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people in Montana, extending programs established in 2019.

Native Americans make up only around 7 percent of Montana’s population but a quarter of reported missing person cases. And Native Americans are over four times more likely to be victims of homicide than white people in Montana, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To read more, click here.

ICT highlighted in Poynter story

Here's a sneak peek:

Indian Country Today found its first university home after the 2018 election when it aired an election night broadcast focused on Indigenous candidates. Those six hours of programming were so successful, editor Mark Trahant said, that they started looking for partners with studio space.

“And the dean at Arizona State said, ‘Why don’t you move here?’ and so we packed up and moved the newsroom.”

To read more, click here.

Crow Tribe to approve cannabis ordinance

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Native American tribe in Montana is expected to enter the cannabis industry after approving an ordinance last week to oversee its own cultivation and sale of marijuana, and benefit from the revenue.

Crow Tribe Chairman Frank White Clay is expected to approve the Crow Cannabis ordinance, which allows the tribal government to sell marijuana and cannabis-infused products with a sales tax of 7 percent, The Billings Gazette reported Wednesday.

The Crow Nation Legislative Branch approved the ordinance April 16.

To read more, click here.

Governor signs religious freedom bill allowing challenges

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s governor signed a bill that codifies the right of people to challenge government regulations that interfere with their religious beliefs.

The legislation requires the government to have a compelling reason to violate a person’s constitutional right to freedom of religion and to meet its goals in the least restrictive way possible.

Supporters have said such laws have been used to defend a Native American charged with illegally possessing eagle feathers, when they had them for religious purposes, and to uphold a student’s right to mention their faith in God during a graduation speech.

Opponents fear the law will allow businesses to challenge ordinances in cities that have local ordinances prohibiting discrimination in housing or employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

To read more, click here.

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