Happy Wednesday! We are inching closer and closer to the holiday weekend. Here’s a look at what’s happening today:

Pipeline breach spills oil on Crow Reservation

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A breached oil pipeline has spilled an undetermined volume of crude on the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana after possibly leaking for months before it was discovered, a tribal official said Wednesday.

The spill was discovered earlier this week by a rancher checking his cows several miles east of Fort Smith in a remote area near the Montana-Wyoming border, said Vernon Hill with Crow Disaster and Emergency Services.

Crude oil could be seen on top of the soil in a deep ravine covering an area about 15 yards wide and 100 yards long, Hill said.

“It looked like it was this past winter when it broke,” he said. “It was probably underneath the snow and the snow melted and they were able to see it.”

Hill did not know if the leak had been stopped but said federal officials and oil companies that operate in the area were notified.

Hill said the spill was about three-quarters of a mile from Soap Creek and did not get into any waterways.

But tribal citizen Richard White Clay said photos taken by the rancher who discovered the spill appeared to show oil in Soap Creek. White Clay said his niece is one of the owners of the affected land.

To read more, click here.


Rethinking regalia rule that failed some

Ermelina Gonzalez stood out among the mostly uniform blue caps and gowns on the football field. She said she felt privileged to graduate wearing a cap her mother beaded with a butterfly and flower design. Under her gown she wore the Athabaskan dress her mom wore at her own college graduation.

“I’m just really proud to be Athabaskan,” she said before she walked away.

Graduates in the Anchorage School District are increasingly displaying pride in their heritage by incorporating traditional regalia or other cultural references with their caps and gowns. The uptick is due in part to a 2019 regulation to allow it in a limited way. Prior to then, schools generally didn’t permit adornment of caps and gowns.

To read more, click here.

Ermelina Gonzalez said her graduation cap was beaded by her mother. “I’m really proud to be Athabaskan,” she said after her East High School graduation on May 11, 2021. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)

Oneida Indian Nation unveils new statue

The Oneida Indian Nation in New York unveiled a new bronze sculpture in May of a Oneida warrior backdropped by three bronze panels.

The sculpture commemorates the historic Oneida Carrying Place, according to WSYR.

“Recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of our ancestors is among the most important priorities for the Oneida Indian Nation,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter.

To read more and see photos, click here.

WATCH: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs' latest hearing

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing called “Examining the COVID-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Languages One Year Later”

The National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs President Leslie Harper and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin were among those to testify.

To view the full video of the hearing, click here.

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Silver Little Eagle on Dec. 20, 2020. In photo, Little Eagle is volunteering for the Northern Cheyenne Elderly Program.  (Photo courtesy of Silver Little Eagle for Lame Deer District Facebook page)

Police investigating assault on tribal councilwoman

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Billings police are searching for two women as they investigate an assault on a female citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council and a man at a downtown hotel, officers said Tuesday.

Silver Little Eagle was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the May 16 assault, police said. Her family called the assault a “brutal unprovoked attack spurred by jealousy and hate.”

Police said they are searching for two women, ages 25 and 27, for questioning. No charges have been filed and police said they would not provide information on the severity of injuries suffered by the victims.

To read more, click here.

Sign up: Virtual launch of Rep. Sharice Davids’ new book

Mark your calendars. On June 1, Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho Chunk, will be part of a conversation to celebrate the launch of her new children’s book, “Sharice’s Big Voice."

The book is an autobiography of her story growing up and her journey to Congress

The free virtual event starts at 8:30 pm ET. Registration is required.

Click here to register.

Navajo Nation reports six new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) - The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported six new confirmed COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths.

Tribal health officials said the latest figures pushed the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago to 30,793 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The known death toll now is 1,306.

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