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Shoshone-Bannock elder leaves legacy of education, culture

Maxine Racehorse Edmo’s daughter Lorraine Edmo described her mother as a "real kind and gentle person who wasn't afraid to also speak up and advocate for Indian people.”

“She would the Hill and testify and advocate for Indian people nationwide,” Lorraine said.

Maxine Edmo led the fight in education and became known for it in leadership roles in local, state, regional and national committees.

Lorraine said her mother worked right up to a couple of weeks before her death last week as a teacher of the Bannock language.

Maxine Racehorse Edmo of Fort Hall, Idaho, was born May 4, 1929. She died Sept. 17 from multiple organ failure at the age of 91 surrounded by her family.

Navajo Nation moves to shut down hemp farms

Leaders on the Navajo Nation have cracked down on one of its citizens who they say has used immigrant labor to transform 400 acres of cropland into hemp farms in the reservation's northeastern corner.

The crops — illegal under Navajo law — have pitted residents and reservation officials against entrepreneur Dineh Benally, who has formed a partnership with a Las Vegas company that says it develops hemp and cannabis businesses on Native American lands, according to a report.

A Shiprock District judge granted a temporary restraining order halting the hemp farming.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the order grants tribal law enforcement officers authority to stop hemp production. Navajo Nation police have begun asking some workers on the hemp farms — people law enforcement officials claim are immigrant workers from Asia — to leave tribal land.

Less than 40 days to Election Day, how to register

Election Day is fast approaching, and Nov. 3 will be here soon enough. Don’t forget to register to vote. Some states have early deadlines to register, while others allow voter registration on Election Day.

To learn more about your state and to register, click here.

Eastern Cherokee want BIA official removed

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians government is asking that its local Bureau of Indian Affairs head be removed and a new superintendent be assigned to the Cherokee, North Carolina, agency.

The tribal council passed a resolution this month requesting that BIA Cherokee Agency Superintendent William McKee Jr., a member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, be reassigned to a different agency and different tribe. The vote passed 10-0, with two representatives absent.

Principal Chief Richard Sneed, who submitted the resolution, accused McKee of being inconsistent and unprofessional.

McKee declined to comment, calling the matter an "internal situation.”

Bureau of Indian Affairs Cherokee Agency Superintendent William McKee Jr. (Photo Courtesy of Principal Chief Richard Sneed’s office)

Sacred Zuni Ahayu:da, or War God, returned

CINCINNATI – Years after being removed from an ancient tribal shrine, a sacred, hand-carved wooden figure has been returned to the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, Cowan’s Auctions said in a statement Thursday.

The 15-inch figure represents the living embodiment of a War God, or Ahayu:da, in the Zuni religion. It was found in an Ohio estate, sent to Cowan’s, and an expert there, Danica Farnand, recognized its significance.

“The War Gods are sacred beings that deserve to be at rest,” said Farnand. With the help of Robert Gallegos of Authentic Tribal Art Dealers of Albuquerque, the War God was returned to tribal authorities in late August.

Each winter, members of the Zuni Deer and Bear clans carve the figures of Big Brother and Little Brother. The twin gods are ceremonially brought to a shrine on a mountain on tribal lands where as they return to the elements they protect the Zuni and Earth.

“Since 1978, the Zuni Tribe has taken an official position to see the return of our Ahayu:da for the protection and well-being of the entire world,” Elahkwa/Thank you,” said Lt. Governor Carleton R. Bowekaty, Zuni.

Over the years, countless Ahayu:da figures were removed and found their way to museum and private collections, both in America and Europe. Zuni, and many other tribes, continue to face difficulties in seeking the return of sacred cultural items held in private hands and collections worldwide.

Watch: Governing a band in two states

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, with nearly 6,000 enrolled citizens, is located in Michigan and Indiana, just 60 miles from Chicago. Chairman Matthew Wesaw joins Indian Country Today’s newscast to talk about some of the challenges in governing in two states. He describes how in the early days of the pandemic, the tribe's emergency manager, who had experience in responding to other disasters, suggested they put together a health task force. By early March, the tribe's medical staff, law enforcement, social services, housing facilities, and gaming commission began meeting. He describes travel bans, and other measures taken to protect tribal citizens from disease.

Plus, Minneapolis reporter Stewart Huntington has uncovered more than just the history of the Rapid City Indian boarding school, in South Dakota, which housed Native American children from 1898 to 1933. It turns out some of the 1,200 acres the school was situated on was supposed to be passed on to the Indians. Tribal leaders, the municipality and Department of Interior are close to a potentially historic resolution. 

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