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

Hooligan hunting

BANKS OF THE TWENTYMILE RIVER, Alaska — The Last Frontier state is known for its fishing and hunting opportunities. At the peak of salmon fishing season, highways get crowded with RVs and trucks towing boats. People fly in from around the world for the chance to catch the prized King salmon.

Fishing is more humble when the catch is eulachon, also known as hooligan, or candlefish (the oily fish when dried can be used as a candle). Gear costs, at most, in the low hundreds, not tens of thousands of dollars. Success lies in catching lots of the silver 10-to-12 inch fish.

Numbers are important to the eulachon species too. A lot are caught by predators but a single female that survives to spawn can lay as many as 25,000 eggs.

Eulachon show up in Alaskan rivers in April or May, just the time of year when many Alaskans are getting to the bottom of their freezer and the end of the meat, fish, greens and berries they spent the summer and fall prior hunting, fishing, and gathering.

To read more of Joaqlin Estus’ story, click here.


Alaska Native wins distinguished award

Ernestine Saankaláxt’ Hayes, Tlinget, was named the Rasmuson Foundation 2021 Distinguished Artist.

Hayes is of the Eagle moiety, a member of the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Lingít (Tlingit) nation. Her writing has received critical acclaim, and explores the complexities of Indigenous identity, according to a news release.

Ernestine Saankaláxt’ Hayes, Tlinget, was named the Rasmuson Foundation 2021 Distinguished Artist. (Photo courtesy of the Rasmuson Foundation)

“Ernestine Hayes is, simply put, a gifted writer whose way of describing the world changes the reader,” Diane Kaplan, foundation president and CEO, said in a statement. “Her own story is beyond what most of us could imagine. As she will tell you, she’s experienced homelessness. She’s been broke. She lost her home to fire. Yet she remains incredibly giving with her time, talent and spirit, full of light and compassion.”

The award includes $40,000.

The first Indigenous hip hop awards

The first Indigenous hip hop awards show is taking place this weekend in Canada for those interested in Indigenous hip hop artists from the United States, First Nations Canada and Indigenous artists from such places as Jamaica, Australia and India.

The two-day celebration of Indigenous Hip Hop runs May 22nd - 23rd from our host city of Winnipeg, Manitoba on the original lands of the Dene people, Dakota, Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Treaty 1 Territory, and on the homeland of the Metis Nation.

For details, click here.

Sign up here to get ICT's newsletter

What happened to the land?

Indian Country Today needs your help. Was there an Indian boarding school or mission school in your area? Is the school building still there? Is something else operating there?

Most of the boarding schools are now closed, but many were built on lands allocated, granted or sold by the U.S. government, including some that had been tribal lands. Questions still linger about the properties.

Please use this form to provide Indian Country Today and reporter Stewart Huntington with details about any schools in your community. Help us find answers to what happened to the land.

Cherokee election night results to be online

Results from the June 5 election on the Cherokee Nation will be made available online, according to the Cherokee Phoenix, a move that will replace the practice of posting precinct outcomes on windows at the Election Commission office.

The election that includes multiple tribal council seats is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 5. Early voting is an option on May 29, June 1, 2 and 3.

As of early May, 75,543 Cherokee Nation citizens were registered to vote.

For more information, click here.

From social media:

The latest:

What we’re reading:

We want your tips, but we also want your feedback. What should we be covering that we’re not? What are we getting wrong? Please let us know. Email

ICT logo bridge