Indian Country Headlines for Friday

Indian Country Today

News we’re watching on July 24, 2020

Melania Trump talks Native children health

First Lady Melania Trump met with Indian Health Service officials on Thursday at the White House.

Trump received a task force briefing on “Protecting Native American Children in the Indian Health System.”

Trump also announced that she is heading to Oklahoma to visit the Cherokee Nation. She didn’t say when she’d visit.

Petition to include Iroquois Nationals in World Games started

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition in support of the Iroquois Nationals participation in the 2022 World Games.

The powerhouse lacrosse team doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria to compete in the World Games, according to the team.

“The Iroquois Nationals will not be included in the event’s eight-team field and the team’s absence is an indicator of the challenges ahead,” read a statement posted on the team’s Twitter page.

The World Games will be held in July 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, a year after originally scheduled. It will include men’s lacrosse for the first time.

It’s Washington Football Team (for now)

The Washington NFL franchise will go by the Washington Football Team for the 2020 season, giving the organization time to choose a new, full-time name.

The club announced the placeholder name days before the start of training camp.

Carla Fredericks, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, and the director of the American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School, said it's encouraging that the franchise selected a new moniker for this season. She said a letter from more than 150 tribal leaders and groups said the team colors needed to be changed in order to circumvent potential negative fan behavior.

“What we are really advocating for at this point, especially given the long harmful nature of the name is for a total rebrand including color rebranding and I'm hopeful we’ll see that for the 2021 season,” she said.

Slow, late salmon run hurting fishers

While waiting for fish nets to fill, women check out the racks used to dry salmon at their family's fish camp on the Yukon River in Alaska. (Photo by Meghan Sullivan, Indian Country Today)
While waiting for fish nets to fill, women check out the racks used to dry salmon at their family's fish camp on the Yukon River in Alaska. (Photo by Meghan Sullivan, Indian Country Today)

Low fish numbers and challenging conditions are affecting fishing in the Yukon River, an Alaska Native cultural practice that goes back thousands of years and continues to be a staple of contemporary culture. 

People fly small bush planes or drive river boats through the rugged Yukon terrain to remote primitive camps. Families work together under the endless hours of the midnight sun to catch, smoke, and can the summer salmon for winter use.

However, this summer, the Yukon had below average runs of salmon--chinook salmon were down from 185,000 to 160,000. Chum numbers were less than half the usual 1.8 million. These numbers are consistent with this year's weak and late salmon runs in Alaska and on par with the past decade’s negative trends.

Along with low numbers, near flood conditions made it hard to catch the fish. “The water was the highest I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. The elders were saying the same thing,” said Ben Fate-Velaise, Koyukon Athabascan, whose fish camp is located near Rampart Village.

Around 40 Yukon communities rely on the river for subsistence fishing, said Holly Carroll, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s seasonal salmon biologist.

A sneak peek at next Friday's newscast

Olympic gold medalist, Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota, will join the Indian Country Today newscast to talk about his Olympic experience, the postponed summer olympics, and more.

You can sign up now to join his virtual run. Click here to register. 

Tune in next Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern at IndianCountryToday.com or on your local PBS channel via FNX | First Nations Experience.

WATCH: 'Quite a bit of relief' in Kayenta

In March a small community on the Navajo Nation recorded the tribe's first positive case of the coronavirus. Chilchinbeto, in the far northern part of Arizona, just west of the four corners region, became the hot spot on the Navajo Nation as the pandemic spread across the country.

First, two cases were reported and within a week the number had grown to more than a dozen. The closest hospital is nearly 100 miles away.

Within weeks volunteers with Team Rubicon were on the ground in Kayenta, the closest town with a medical center, to help with the influx of patients.

Weekend entertainment

Here is what we’re watching, listening to and doing this weekend:

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