Indian Country Friday headlines

Representatives stand in a crescent moon shape offering land acknowledgement and blessing. Indigenous Direction photo.

Indian Country Today

Stories we’re following Arizona tribe bets on pro basketball, reconsidering a Colorado mountain’s controversial name, doula services, and more

Indian Country Today

The big question the day after Turkey Day is what to make with the leftovers. And now that family gatherings may be much smaller due to the pandemic, it’s a time to get creative.

A few from the Indian Country Today team like to make wild rice soup, turkey sandwiches, green chile turkey enchiladas and turkey pot pie (pie crust, rice, carrots, celery and gravy; just in case you’re wondering). And, of course, if we’re turkey-ed out, there’s always freezing it for later.

Take a quick pause on the recipe search to see what the conversation is in Indian Country.

 Macy’s parade includes land acknowledgment 

The 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade featured a land acknowledgement, traditional rattle song, and blessing to honor the Wampanoag and Lenape people. Opalanietet Pierce, Lenape, and J Alison Henry, Tsalagi/'Nde/Arawaka, acknowledged the Lenape territory of Manahatta where the parade occurs annually. Mashpee Wampanoag tribal members and language keepers Annawon Weeden and Brian Moskwetah Weeden did an honoring in Wôpanâôt8âôk or the Wampanoag language. The opening also include the Indigenous Ambassadors living in the Northeast region including: Tanis Parenteau, Métis,  John Scott Richardson, Haliwa-saponi/Tuscarora, Urie Ridgeway Lenape, and music by Ty Defoe, Oneida/Ojibwe.

The Wampanoag Tribe, also known as The People of the First Light, have inhabited the Eastern coast of present-day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years.

The parade inclusion was planned in collaboration with Indigenous Direction, according to a news release.  

Arizona tribe bets on pro basketball

A tribe in southern Arizona is expanding its branding into professional basketball, and the move includes an NBA first.

Gila River Hotels and Casinos, the tribal gaming enterprise of the Gila River Indian Community, has partnered with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The partnership includes a newly renovated courtside property called “Club Gila River” inside PHX Arena, the downtown Phoenix home to both teams.

In a first, according to the NBA, Gila River has introduced gaming chips and gaming table felts adorned with the logos of the Suns and Mercury at its gaming properties. The partnership also includes team branding on select hotel rooms owned by the tribe. Gila River owns three casinos on the southern edge of the Phoenix Valley.

Read more at IndianCountryToday.com.

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Reconsidering a Colorado mountain’s controversial name

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names is considering changing the name of Mt. Evans, along with other Colorado sites: Negro Creek, Chinaman Gulch, Squaw Mountain.

Mt. Evans was named for John Evans, an 1800’s Colorado territorial governor connected with the brutal Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864.

According to Ernest House Jr. of the Ute Mountain Tribe and former executive director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, although Evans didn’t directly participate in the massacre he had a level of culpability.

Evans issued a proclamation saying, “Kill and destroy all hostile Indians.”

A group of U.S. Calvary slaughtered mostly elderly people, women and children in the massacre.

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Indigenous families in British Columbia get paid doula services

Canada’s Ministry of Health collaborates with the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres to pay for doula services for Indigenous families.

According to Andrea Howard, founder and owner of Harbour City Doulas, Indigenous women report feeling bullied, ignored and unsupported in traditional health care systems.

Anti-Indigenous racism is well documented in Canada’s health care system; the B.C. government launched an independent investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in the province’s health care system.

Howard and the team of doulas at Harbour City offer “unbiased, judgement-free and evidence based support,’ according to its website.

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The first Native American astronaut describes how he reached for the stars

John Herrington, Chickasaw, describes how his ancestors’ experiences influenced his life and helped him achieve his dream of being a NASA astronaut.

Now retired, Herrington was the first Native American astronaut, flying into space with STS-113 Endeavor in 2002.

He shared his story at Naval Air Systems Command’s virtual American Indian Alaskan Native Heritage month event.

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Native regalia reflects tribal cultures and histories

For millennia, Indigenous peoples have used materials from their surroundings to create both everyday apparel and items for culturally significant events.

Ranging from Navajo coming- of- age ceremonies such as the Kinaalda’ or the Apache Sunrise dance as well as public events such as powwows, tribal regalia traces its origins to the traditional ways of Native peoples.

Yolanda Hart Stevens of Pee Posh or Maricopa and Quechan tribes discusses the power of Indigenous regalia as she fashions beads made from local clay.

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Sacred Hoops Basketball renames award to honor longtime photographer, supporter

Each winter, Sacred Hoops Basketball, a program based out of South Dakota, presents a character award to one male and one female athlete at the Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City.

The program recently announced that it was renaming the award in honor of longtime photographer and supporter Kernit Grimshaw. Grimshaw recently lost his life to the coronavirus.

The invitational usually takes place in December and hosts multiple sports teams from reservations in the area. This year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic.

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Regrowing Indigenous agriculture could nourish people, cultures and the land

In the project, “Reuniting the Three Sisters,” researchers explore reasons Native farming practices have declined and how bringing them back could benefit Native communities that lack access to healthy food.

Lead researcher Christina Gish Hill, associate professor of anthropology at Iowa State University, examines what it means to be a responsible caretaker of the land from the perspective of peoples who have been balancing agricultural production with sustainability for hundreds of years.

Historically Native people bred plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their lands. Planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together, for instance, produced mutual benefits for the plants.

Today, lack of access to farm equipment, soil testing, fertilizer and pest prevention techniques prevents Native communities from reengaging with these traditions.

Reuniting the Three Sisters research project is growing research plots in Native communities and conducting gardening workshops in an effort to rebuild relationships between Native people and growing and eating healthy foods.

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