Happy Tuesday! Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Dropping the ‘interim’

It’s official. Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson is dubbed president of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Tuesday.

Davidson, Yup’ik and an enrolled Tribal citizen of the Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council, held the post of interim president for the Alaska Native health organization since March after the previous president and chairman resigned. She was previously president of Alaska Pacific University, a position she took a leave of absence form, according to the health organization’s announcement. She will be stepping down from the position and Dr. Hilton Hallock will continue to serve as the university’s interim president.

“Working with the ANTHC team over the last few months has reinforced my belief that people can do the most amazing things under the most challenging conditions as long as we have the right reasons,” she said in a statement.

She served in other leadership roles throughout Alaska, including being the first Alaska Native woman to be the state’s lieutenant governor.

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Healing journey unites generations

The effort to change the name of a Pacific Northwest waterway that now honors a 19th century U.S. Army general with a violent history against Black and Native peoples has gained the support of a notable ally.

One of the general’s descendants has joined the call.

It’s not the first time Paul Stover Soderman has campaigned to rename a place named for his controversial relative, Williams S. Harney, known as “Mad Bear,” who beat a Black woman to death and led a deadly attack on a Lakota encampment in Nebraska.

Soderman, a musician and retired substance abuse counselor now living in Boulder, Colorado, was actively involved in getting Black Elk Peak — a place in South Dakota’s Black Hills sacred to the Lakota people — renamed in 2016 after decades as Harney Peak.

Soderman is now supporting an effort to change the name of Harney Channel, which is located in the Salish Sea between Canada’s Vancouver Island and Washington state. A topographer named the channel for Harney in the 1860s in recognition of his service as commander of the Army’s Department of Oregon, which included the then-Washington Territory.

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Major investment in Indigenous ‘agents of change’

RAPID CITY, South Dakota — Native artists and culture bearers received a multimillion-dollar boost Tuesday as First Peoples Fund and other Indigenous groups were tapped for investments from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

“I’m just deeply, deeply, deeply grateful for this gift,” said First Peoples Fund President and Oglala Lakota citizen Lori Pourier. “It really allows us the time to breathe and continue the important work in tribal communities.”

The donation to First Peoples Fund was one 286 grants totaling $2.7 billion to a wide array of organizations announced Tuesday by Scott in a blog post.

To read more, click here.

Tlingit Community members in Klukwan, Alaska, march in 2015 in honor of Lani Hotch, a weaver and citizen of the Chilkat Indian Village in Haines, Alaska. Hotch was named a First Peoples Fund Community Spirit Award honoree. “A truth that’s unknown to most Americans is that art and culture are and always have been a central force in tribal communities and economies,” said First Peoples Fund President Lori Pourier. (Photo courtesy of First Peoples Fund)


Pipeline foes ask Nebraska to revoke project land easements

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline asked Nebraska state regulators on Monday to revoke the land easements granted to the company across private land now that the project has officially been scrapped.

Attorneys for Bold Nebraska and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska made the request in a letter to the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which approved the pipeline's proposed route in 2017.

“The commission has an obligation to protect property rights which are unjustifiably and unnecessarily threatened and encumbered as long as the route approval remains in effect,” attorneys Ken Winston of Bold Nebraska and Brad Jolly of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska wrote in the joint letter.

Winston and Jolly said the current situation with developer TC Energy limits landowners' ability to use and develop their property and has a negative impact on its economic viability.

“The easement creates a cloud on the title of the property, making it more difficult to sell or transfer the owner's interest in the property,” the attorneys wrote.

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Michigan town to keep statue of Black child, South soldier

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Leaders in a western Michigan community have voted to keep a statue of Confederate and Union Civil War soldiers with a Black child kneeling between them.

The Allendale Township board voted 5-2 Monday, despite a recommendation from a group that the statue be replaced by one with Union soldiers who are Black, Native American and white.

“It’s been made very clear to me that the majority of our residents wish for the Civil War statue to remain in the garden of honor,” said Jody Hansen, township clerk and board member.

Dozens of people attended the meeting, which was held outdoors at a park bandshell, 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Grand Rapids.

“What better lesson can we teach our children than by being able to say, ‘We had this thing. We thought it was OK. We have since learned that we were wrong,'" said area resident Cathy Seaver, who wants the statue removed.

Trustee Barb VanderVeen, who opposed keeping the statue, asked if the child, which represents a slave, could at least be removed. Trustee Candy Kraker said the artist indicated that removing it would damage the structural integrity.

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