Here’s a look at what’s happening today:
The modern treaty
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, in its simplest terms, provided Alaska Natives with $962.5 million and title to 44 million acres of land in exchange for the extinguishment of aboriginal land claims.
ICT's Meghan Sullivan explains in her report.
When Alaska joined the union in 1959, many Alaska Natives still lived, worked, owned, and subsisted off their ancestral lands. This dynamic was becoming increasingly rare in North America. In the Lower 48 states, tribal law and treaty designations had evolved over two centuries — but this wasn’t the case in Alaska, where federal policy did not designate who owned what.
To read more, click here.
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Nevada bans racially offensive mascots and 'sundown sirens'
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill on Friday that directs local school boards to ban "racially discriminatory” mascots, logos and names amid a national movement to phase out the use of symbols that Native Americans have long considered offensive.
The bill could affect up to 20 schools in Clark County including Western High School, where the mascot is a Native American wearing a headdress. It will not apply to universities or schools that have agreements with local tribes like Elko High School, which got permission in 1994 from the Elko Band Council of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians to use “Indians” as its mascot.
(Newscast: Nevada Indian Commission ED Stacey Montooth)
It also requires the Nevada State Board of Geographic Names to recommend that the federal government rename any geographic features and places that have offensive names. The measure also will mandate that towns no longer blare sirens before sundown. The practice is rooted in historic “sundown ordinances” aimed at Native Americans which required non-white people leave a half-hour after a siren blared in the evening.
'We won't forget about the children'
The world was shocked to hear about the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British, Columbia Canada.
For many Indigenous people, however, the most shocking element of the story is not the discovery of the graves but the fact that it’s taken so long for non-Natives to acknowledge the grim details of this long-ignored history of Indian boarding and residential schools, a story that is part of both U.S. and Canadian history.
Moreover, the news in Canada begs the question: Are there similar burial sites at U.S. Indian boarding schools?
Researchers, advocates and allies agree with a resounding, “Yes.”
To read more of Mary Annette Pember's article, click here.
Navajo College accepts Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination goal
TSAILE, Ariz. (AP) — A college on the Navajo Nation has accepted President Joe Biden’s challenge to get students and others vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4.
Diné College Incident Command Director Velveena Davis said COVID-19 remains a threat to the Navajo Nation, “so the college would like to do its part to expand the efforts of having our employees and students vaccinated.”
The college wants to ensure the safety and wellness of its campuses as they transition to in-person operations, Davis said.
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Nathan Davis named director of Indian Affairs Commission
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday named a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa tribal leader as director of the state Indian Affairs Commission, saying his leadership experience and “bridge-building skills” will be valuable in the position.
Nathan A. Davis, 35, who also is a descendant of the Spirit Lake Nation, begins the job July 1. He succeeds Scott Davis, who had been executive director of the commission since 2009, when he was appointed by then-Gov. John Hoeven. Scott Davis plans to join Sanford Health as head of Native American outreach.
The Indian Affairs Commission’s director acts as a liaison between the governor’s office and North Dakota’s tribal governments. The director works with the state’s American Indian tribes on various projects, and assembles data about North Dakota’s five reservations.
To read more, click here.
Trial begins in 2019 fatal shooting on Yakima reservation
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A jury trial of a man accused of murdering a Toppenish woman begins Monday in U.S. District Court in Yakima.
Jordan Everett Stevens was charged with first-degree murder in the July 17, 2019, death of Alillia “Lala” Minthorn, 25, the Yakima Herald reported.
Minthorn was missing for nearly a month before her body was discovered in the hills north of Brownstown in a closed area of the Yakama reservation on May 29, 2019. She had been shot in the head.
Witnesses showed investigators where Minthorn’s body was placed. A witness said she believed Minthorn was killed for talking to FBI agents about something Stevens and another witness had done, according to a trial brief.
Witnesses said they picked Minthorn up near a Toppenish homeless encampment known as The Compound on West First Avenue. From there, they drove to the closed area of the reservation where Minthorn was shot, one of the witnesses said.
Cherokee Nation election results
The Cherokee Nation held an election on June 5
Four council incumbents were re-elected, with one newcomer elected, while four other district races are heading to run offs next month, according to unofficial results from Saturday’s election.
The June 5 election drew 38 candidates. For complete results, click here.
From social media:
- Deb Haaland sends Bears Ears recommendation to president: Bears Ears, which is named after two distinctive buttes, is the first national monument created at the request of tribes.
- South Dakota redistricting to focus on cities, tribal lands: Lawmakers must ensure that racial minority groups receive adequate representation in state government in order to stay in compliance with federal law.
- Scrutiny mounts of legacy of pioneering missionary: The developments come amid a nationwide movement to shed Confederate monuments and depictions of historical figures who mistreated Native Americans.
- Native professionals embrace virtual policy work: Policy folks miss seeing each other on Capitol Hill but ‘believe the pandemic has made members of Congress even more available.’
- Watch: Protecting future generations: Three new laws in Nevada are bringing change for tribal citizens. Stacey Montooth, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission explains.
What we’re reading:
- 'Chokecherry eyes and frybread thighs': Fatphobia in Indian Country
- The 400 Years Project looks at Native American identity through the Native lens.
- Tim Giago: Passing the Native media torch onto the next generation.
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