Indian Country Friday Headlines

Bears Ears National Monument, Utah (Photo: Mike Goad, Pixabay)

Indian Country Today

Stories we’re following on Dec. 11: Museum returns items to California tribe; Pro soccer coming to Gila River; Navajo Nation advocates for Bears Ears; Indigenius gift guide, Crow Tribe swears in new leadership; and more

Museum returns objects to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The San Bernardino County Museum in California announced the repatriation of cultural items to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, according to a news release.

“The transfer of these objects, which the museum acquired in the 1980’s, is a meaningful step in the acknowledgement that the museum’s historical collecting practices have had negative impact on the tribal community’s self-reliance and control of their cultural heritage,” said Melissa Russo, museum director.

The decision was welcome news to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “These items are representative of the Serano way of life and have deep meaning for us. We are bringing home the work of the hands of prominent women in our community-works that have their prayers, songs and spirits embedded in them. It is a bittersweet homecoming, but one that will bring healing and joby for generations to come,” said Chairman Ken Ramirez.

Arizona tribe partners with professional soccer team

The Gila River Indian Community has partnered with Arizona’s highest-level professional soccer team, Phoenix Rising FC.

The team announced on Thursday that it was moving to Gila River’s Wild Horse Pass in time for the 2021 season. Phoenix Rising, a member of the United Soccer League, had played its games on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community over the last few years.

The news comes a few weeks after Gila River announced a new partnership with the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. Gila River has naming rights to Gila River Arena west of Phoenix.

Navajo Nation renews call for Bear Ears National Monument protection

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez is asking the Biden administration for restoration and expansion of the Bears Ears National Monument once Joe Biden takes off on Jan. 20.

Former President Barack Obama designated 1.35 million acres of land under the monument before he left office. President Donald Trump has since reduced the size.

Navajo Nation is one of five tribes that led a coalition to advocate for the monument protection.

Read more.

LIST: 40+ holiday gift ideas that are Indigenius

Looking to shop from Indigenous artists and small businesses this holiday season? Here is a list of Indigenous-owned businesses where you can find these products online.

More here.

Already in crisis mode, reservation health care buckles under COVID-19 burden

Initially the death and suffering driven by the COVID-19 virus seemed far away from the Plains of South Dakota.

Like the news of wars and natural disasters from distant foreign places, it seemed like a big city problem where people live chock-a-block in high rises and ride densely packed mass transit.

Now, however, the virus has arrived on South Dakota’s eight reservations, in a state that in recent weeks routinely tops the list of COVID-19 hotspots. And it has hit hard, overwhelming hospitals and requiring some patients to be flown out of state, often with limited means for returning home.

Read more.

Are the Twin Cities listening to statue protests?

MINNEAPOLIS — When protesters scrawl “Land Back” on pioneer monuments and topple statues of founding fathers or famous explorers, they often draw scorn from authorities — and stiff sentences.

That’s not the response in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, where prosecutors acknowledge historical trauma and employ restorative justice measures while city officials call for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission led by Indigenous leaders to review public art installations.

Read more.

New chairman for Crow Tribe in Montana sworn in

Frank White Clay has been sworn in as the new chairman of the Crow Tribe in southern Montana. He was sworn in at an outdoor inauguration ceremony on Monday.

Read more.

Court sides with Red Lake Nation Fisheries

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit released its opinion in Scalia v. Red Lake Nation Fisheries, Inc., rejecting the Department of Labor’s attempt to regulate the tribal fisheries through the Occupational Safety and Health Act, according to the Native American Rights Fund.

The Dec. 4 decision comes from a 2017 accident.

Read more.

In this Sept. 5, 2012, file photo, Denise Juneau, Montana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this 2012 photo, Denise Juneau, then-Montana state superintendent of public instruction, addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Denise Juneau’s ‘challenging decision’ to resign

Denise Juneau, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tribes, will resign as the superintendent of the Seattle Public Schools at the end of her contract in June.

Juneau, the first Native American to lead the school district, took the job in 2018 and was the seventh superintendent of the school district in 20 years. School board officials said Juneau lacked the votes to get her contract renewed.

Juneau is descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe and the Tlingit and Haida Tribes.

Read more.

Oneida leader's pitch: Stay safe during holidays

Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill joins Indian Country Today and explains what steps his tribe is taking to stay safe during the holiday season.

Also, freelance journalist Sandra Schulman is featured and talks about one tribe's repatriation efforts.

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