Activating the 'fire' within Native voters

The opening prayer for the Native American Caucus at the Democratic National Convention was given by Gary and Luke Besaw, Menominee, followed by a welcome by Joan Delabreau, Menominee Indian Tribe.

The session was moderated by Native American Caucus chair Rion Ramirez, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Speakers talked about  the environment, health care, voter suppression, and sovereignty. Several big-name speakers highlighted a range of challenges and successes in Indian Country.

Presentations included speeches by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former second lady Jill Biden, as well as actor and activist Mark Ruffalo, and several Native elected leaders. 

Speakers included Keith Harper, Cherokee; and Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip.

(Related: Deb Haaland rings Indigeneity in primetime DNC speech)

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, Jemez and Laguna Pueblo, moderated a panel discussion on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, which featured talks by Grace Bulltail, Crow, and Cherra Giles, Muscogee Creek.

A "Get Out the Native Vote" panel featured Clara Pratt, Navajo, North Dakota state Rep. Ruth Anna Buffalo, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, and Jodi Achambault, Standing Rock, as well as actor and activist Mark Ruffalo.

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Marvel spotlights Indigenous creators and authors

A new Marvel comic coming in November features Indigenous writers and artists.

“Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices” issue No. 1 shows four Indigenous characters on the cover.

Creators and artists featured include; Jeffrey Veregge, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Weshoyot Alvitre, Tongva, Rebecca Roanhorse, Ohkay Owingeh, Darcie Little Badger, Lipan Apache, Kyle Charles, Whitefish Lake First Nation, Stephen Graham Jones, Blackfeet, and David Cutler, Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.

“This is an opportunity to share the cultural influences that we as Native artists and writers grew up with that will add more depth and dimension to the Native heroes in the Marvel Universe,” Veregge said in a post on

The new comic is part of Marvel’s Voices anthology that was released earlier this year.

Connecticut school changes controversial nickname

Glastonbury High School's athletic teams will no longer be known as the Tomahawks.

The Glastonbury Board of Education voted 7-1 this week to eliminate the nickname, citing racial insensitivity.

Killingly, Connecticut, eliminated its Redmen mascot last summer before its board of education voted 5-4 in January to bring it back.

In Glastonbury, an online petition to keep the Tomahawk name garnered 2,783 signatures, while a petition to eliminate the mascot had 1,318 signatures. Supporters of the Tomahawk name held a small rally on Main Street on Sunday. 

Glastonbury has already shifted to using a large “G” as a symbol on its uniforms. Principal Nancy Bean told The Hartford Courant that a student committee will be formed to find a new mascot.

Seventeen Connecticut schools still use mascots or images associated with Native Americans or other Indigenous peoples.

White Earth Nation approves medical marijuana referendum

The White Earth Nation joined the Red lake Nation to vote to begin a medical marijuana program.

White Earth citizens voted this week, nearly nine to 10 voters approved the referendum for the tribe to grow, regulate and distribute medical marijauna, according to the Minnesota Reformer.

Earlier this year, Red Lake voters approved a similar referendum.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe launches wind-farm crowdfunding initiative

The first public power authority owned by a single tribe is moving into the next phase of development for a 235-megawatt wind farm on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

SAGE Development Authority, the company leading the tribe’s renewable energy development, is calling the wind farm project “Anpetu Wi,” which means “morning light of the sun”​ in the Lakota language.

The tribe is hoping the project becomes a revenue stream that will allow it to reinvest in future projects and the tribe as a whole.

A crowdfunding effort seeks to raise $1.5 million, on top of $2 million that has already been raised through nine different philanthropic foundations.

The board chair of SAGE, Fawn Wasin Zi, said in a news release that the project’s website will serve as a critical way for people to understand what they hope to achieve. She also said the wind farm will provide a number of benefits for the tribe.

“Developing renewable energy resources — for export as well as local consumption — will foster badly needed economic development on the Reservation and provide employment and skills training,” Wasin Zi said.

Watch: A glimpse of the Republican National Convention

Republican Donna Bergstrom, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, joined the Indian Country Today Newscast on Thursday to talk about the Republican National Convention.

Bergstrom gives us a glimpse at what to expect next week and shares her story, which she describes as the epitome of the American Dream. Bergstrom is running for state senate in Minnesota.

Reporter Kolby Kickingwoman was also featured on the newscast to talk about the election season.

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