Monday many of us will be remembering the Indigenous men and women who died in the military with prayers, patriotic music and readings, and the laying of wreaths.

The National Indian Council on Aging reminds us, "American Indians and Alaska Natives serve in the Armed Forces at five times the national average and have served with distinction in every major conflict for over 200 years. Considering the population of the U.S. is approximately 1.4 percent Native and the military is 1.7 percent Native (not including those that did not disclose their identity), Native people have the highest per-capita involvement of any population to serve in the U.S. military." 

To all who serve or served in uniform and their families, Indian Country Today salutes and honors you. You have our deepest appreciation.

Tourism in Indian Country

Like so many other industries, tourism suffered when social gatherings became hotspots for the spread of COVID-19.

Anthony Rodman, Cherokee and Osage, who is acting director of the Interior department’s Office of Indian Economic Development, testified at a U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on May 12. He said the economic impacts of the pandemic on tourism in Indian Country are still being tallied but “many reservations were closed to visitors, travel stopped, and tribal offices were shut down for extended periods of time.”

CEO Sherry Rupert, Paiute and Washoe, of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, said tribal casino closures alone cost 296,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in revenues.

“These lost jobs and decimated gaming revenues have had a dramatic and far-reaching effect, crippling Native American economies well beyond tourism … devastating programs such as health and safety, infrastructure, education and food programs across Indian Country,” Rupert said at the Senate hearing.

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

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Remains of 215 children found at former residential school

The remains of more than 200 children have been found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation said in a May 27 news release that the remains of 215 students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School were found by a ground penetrating radar specialist.

“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Casimir said. “Some were as young as three years old. We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children.”

Sports betting initiative qualifies for California ballot

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — An initiative to allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks in California has qualified for the November 2022 ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment, written by tribes, qualified on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Backers submitted 1.4 million signatures and the secretary of state reported that counties verified enough to qualify the measure, which would exclude wagering on high school and California-based college teams and require bettors to be age 21 or older.

In this Nov. 20, 2018 photo, a customer watches video screens at a sportsbook in Atlantic City, N.J. On Thursday, March 11, 2021, BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings launched a program where special sports betting products are offered to customers at one of the chain's restaurants in New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee and West Virginia. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

“This is an important step toward giving Californians the opportunity to participate in sports wagering while also establishing safeguards and protections against underage gambling,” said Mark Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.

To read more, click here.

Hearing highlights Native American safe, affordable housing problems

A Thursday hearing by the Senate Housing, Transportation and Community Development Subcommittee outlined the housing crisis affecting Native people, according to a Minnesota Reformer news report.

The bipartisan hearing, chaired by Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat from Minnesota, featured testimony from tribal leaders and experts.

“I’m hopeful that today presents an opportunity for this committee to rededicate ourselves to meeting the moral and treaty obligations of our nation when it comes to ensuring that Native Americans have access to safe, affordable and stable housing,” Smith said.

To read more, click here.

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2 named as suspects in girl's death on Crow Reservation

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Two women who were sentenced in tribal court and jailed on misdemeanor charges in the case of a Native American girl whose body was found in February on the Crow Indian Reservation have been named as suspects in the child’s death.

Authorities have not said how they believe the child, Mildred Alexis Old Crow, died. Her body was discovered near the tiny community of Garryowen, about 40 miles north of the Montana-Wyoming border.

The Big Horn County Attorney's office indicated in a statement that authorities believe Mildred was six years old at the time of her death. That would put her death within weeks of when authorities said she was last seen in the custody of the two suspects in March 2019.

Veronica Tierza Dust and Roseen Lincoln Old Crow, both 34, were arrested in December 2020 as suspects in Mildred's disappearance.

Her obituary described Mildred, or “Milly,” as a direct descendant of Chief Pretty Eagle, one of the Crow's last war chiefs.

She attended the tribe's Head Start program, loved to dance, especially at powwows, and was often seen playing with her Elsa doll from the Disney movie “Frozen," the obituary said.

To read more, click here.

#NativeNerd: ‘Hey movie companies, don’t get stingy’

ICT's Vincent Schilling gives readers a behind the scenes look at being a film review and obstacles they face in life in the pandemic.

To read more, click here.

Many of us will be honoring the men and women in uniform who died protecting this country, our homelands. Other options for the holiday weekend include:

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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 dwalker@indiancountrytoday.com.

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