Indian Country headlines for June 25

Indian Country Today

Native love and a red bike; artists announced as National Heritage fellows; officer's funeral is scheduled; plus other news of note

Indian Country Today

A social media smile

Native love and a red bike. That is the story of a Kewa Pueblo couple who met in 1950 then got married a year later. Trinnie, 86, and Jose Ramos Chavez, 97, celebrated their 69th anniversary of marriage on Wednesday.

The couple’s family celebrated their love on Facebook by posting photos and sharing comments of celebration.

Their first date, Trinnie remembers, consisted of riding a red bike together to her father’s corral on the Kewa Pueblo reservation. At the end of the date, Jose didn't have the strength to pedal uphill, so Trinnie took the reins and drove them both home.

“This story was the beginning of a long life of commitment to each other, family and community,” the couple’s daughter, Ann Chavez Barudin, said. “I’m so grateful to have them in my life these many years.”

Since then, the couple has lived a “full life” alongside their eight children and more than 15 grandchildren. Jose is a decorated World War II veteran and the recipient of a Purple Heart, the nation’s oldest military decoration presented to service members.

The couple celebrated their anniversary in quarantine with a two-tier cake decorated with a red bike.

Two Native artists announced as National Heritage fellows

Two Native artists are among the list of recipients of the 2020 National Heritage Fellowships given by the National Endowment of the Arts. It is the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Karen Ann Hoffman, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, is an Iroquois raised bead worker. This craft is unique to the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It is characterized by lines of beads that arch above the textile surface for a three-dimensional effect and is typically sewn onto velvet.

Wayne Valliere, Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe, is a birchbark canoe builder from Waaswaaganing. He is one of a handful of Native birchbark canoe builders in the country today. In addition, he also makes beadwork, quillwork, regalia, drums and more.

Each recipient is awarded $25,000 in recognition of their lifetime award. They will also participate in a virtual celebration recognizing their accomplishments.

Navajo officer's funeral services happening Thursday

Funeral services for Navajo Nation police officer Micheal Lee will be held on Thursday in Chinle, Arizona. Services will include a funeral service and procession route.

Officer Michael Lee of the Navajo Police Department. (Photo courtesy of the Navajo Police Department)
Officer Michael Lee of the Navajo Police Department. (Photo courtesy of the Navajo Police Department)

The Navajo Police Department is currently working on livestreaming the service. More information will be published on their Facebook page.

Lee died Friday from COVID-19, marking the police department’s first law enforcement death as a result of the virus. He served nearly 30 years in the department and is survived by his wife and children.

Yellowstone bison transferred to quarantine facility

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A group of Yellowstone National Park bison has been transferred to a Montana quarantine facility, the fourth shipment meant to help boost herd numbers across the nation.

The 11 animals were moved to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation on Wednesday, The Billings Gazette reported.

The Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes worked with the state and partnered with conservation organization Defenders of Wildlife to truck the bison from corrals at Corwin Springs.

The corrals were used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to conduct bison quarantine studies.

Fort Peck in northeast Montana has received 104 bison since April 2019 that were quarantined by Yellowstone bison managers.

Yellowstone bison are known to carry brucellosis, a disease that can cause pregnant cattle to abort and infect humans with undulant fever, which causes fever, weakness and muscle pain.

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