Happy Monday! Here’s a look at what’s happening:
U.S. to transfer federal property for Hawaiian home lands
Honolulu (AP) — The U.S. government is transferring land where the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center once sat to Hawaii’s Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
Officials said the 80 acres in Ewa Beach will eventually provide up to 400 homes, while helping fulfill terms of a settlement authorized by Congress in 1995 to compensate Native Hawaiians for the lost use of 1,500 acres of lands set aside for homelands but were subsequently acquired and used by the federal government for other purposes.
U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s voice choked with emotion while making the announcement Monday.
“Yes, it’s a happy day, but it’s also a sad day because we remember the tragedy that befell the Native Hawaiians throughout their tumultuous history,” said Haaland, Laguna Pueblo. “Since that time, our country has learned a great deal. And now we are in an era where we recognize the importance of healing the generational traumas that caused pain and heartache.”
The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 was meant to provide economic self-sufficiency to Hawaiians by allowing them to use land to live on. Those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood quantum can apply for a 99-year lease for $1 a year.
Tourism closure extended on tribal land known for waterfalls
Phoenix (AP) — The Havasupai Tribe, a small tribal nation whose reservation lies deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon, has suspended tourism until February 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The nation has drawn tourists from around the world because of its blue-green waterfalls. The tribe recently voted to extend the closure of its reservation “in the best interests of the community and tribal members.”
The tribe has reported no cases of the coronavirus. But tribal officials said they are acting out of an abundance of caution because the virus could spread quickly through the tribal village of Supai that's reachable only by helicopter, foot or mule.
The tribe has been working to get residents vaccinated. The 450 people who live on the reservation have been instructed to stay at home, except to get essential items.
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Indigenous youth take on mental health, wellness challenge
Albuquerque, NM (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday told a virtual gathering of Indigenous youth that there are no excuses for government not do whatever it can to improve their quality of life and to bolster programs aimed at preventing youth suicide.
She made the remarks during a summit organized by the state, other partners and the Indigenous Youth Council, which is a panel of young people from Native communities around New Mexico. The summit came as a result of numerous calls by tribal leadership and youth to improve access to behavioral and mental health services, particularly amid the pandemic.
The governor also challenged council members to tap into their cultural values and their own experiences as they look for solutions.
"Make no mistake that your state needs you," she said. "We respect you and we value that you will help guide us to investments and programs and services and opportunities that can change the course of so many lives in this state."
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WIU revives student teaching at Wisconsin tribal schools
Macomb, Ill. (AP) — Western Illinois University is reviving a program that was shuttered decades ago by allowing students to complete their teaching in three tribal schools in Wisconsin.
Students accepted into the 16-week program will spend four weeks at the Indian Community School, four weeks at the Menominee Tribal School and eight weeks at the Oneida Nation School.
WIU had a similar program in the 1970s and 1980s in which students completed their student teaching in Montana.
From social media:
- WA panel approves sports betting; sends to governor: Washington state joins a running list of other states approving sports betting for tribal nations
- Navajo elder did everything ‘out of love’: Rena Ann George died from COVID-19 complications on February 14, 2021. She was 75 years old.
- Tribal leaders, experts talk American Rescue Plan’s impact: One bucket is $32 billion in money set aside for federally recognized tribes and programs for tribes
- 'People of the Water' try to survive loss of lake: “Our grandfathers thought the lake would last all their lives, and now my people are near extinction because our source of life has been lost”
What we’re reading:
- The ocean is the school: How Pacific Islanders transform higher-education.
- Indian Affairs Promised To Reform Tribal Jails. We Found Death, Neglect And Disrepair
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