Indian Country headlines for Monday

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Indian Country Today

News we’re following on Monday, October 5, 2020, including: Minnesota's 4th Judicial District, UNITY announcement, Sacagawea statue, and more

Standing Rock woman appointed to Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District

Terri Yellowhammer, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, will fill a vacancy left behind by a retiring judge in Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz appointed Yellowhammer to fill the seat of retiring Judge Fred Karasov. Walz announced the appointment and two others Friday. The 4th Judicial District is the largest trial court in Minnesota and includes Minneapolis.

Yellowhammer is the American Indian community relations development manager for Hennepin County. Her law experience includes being an attorney and a White Earth Nation Tribal Court judge.

“Ms. Yellowhammer has the experience and heart that will serve the bench well,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation, said in a statement. “Her work as a tribal court judge and as an advocate for Native children and families brings a much needed perspective to the fourth judicial circuit. I’m thrilled by her appointment.”

Longtime Aaniiih Nakoda College president retires

Carole Falcon-Chandler is retiring as president of the Aaniih Nakoda College on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana.

She served as dean of students for eight years and president and CEO for 20. Her last day is Sept. 30, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

Falcon-Chandler was a fierce advocate for tribal colleges and worked to provide more opportunities for students and faculty while adding Indigenous culture to the college, the report read.

UNITY announces national council members

United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) announced its national council. UNITY didn’t have council elections for its executive committee this year and allowed UNITY members to apply for reinstatement.

UNITY is a national organization that promotes personal development and leadership among Native youth.

  • Robert Scottie Miller, Swinomish, male co-president
  • Elijah Landin, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Great Plains Region representative
  • William Mosley, Naticoke Lenni-Lenape, Northeast Region representative
  • Izaiah Fisher, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Northwest Region representative
  • Kristen Butcher, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Pacific Region representative
  • Kaiden McGee, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Southeast Region representative
  • Colby Whitethunder, Alabama-Coushatta, Southern Plains Region representative
  • Kiera Toya, Jemez Pueblo, Southwestern Region representative

Charlottesville discusses removal of statue of Sacagawea

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The Virginia city of Charlottesville plans to seek proposals to remove a statue commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The Daily Progress reported Wednesday that the statue depicts explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as well as Shoshone interpreter Sacagawea.

Concerns have been raised that the statue depicts Sacagawea in a crouching, subordinate position. Others claim she is tracking.

The Charlottesville City Council discussed the statue at a work session on Wednesday. It directed staff to create a plan for the statue's removal after consulting with Native Americans and some of Sacagawea's descendants.

The discussion falls in the wake of years-long efforts to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the city.

Three years ago, hundreds of white supremacists gathered in part to protest the planned removal of the Lee statue. They clashed with counterprotesters during a day of violence in which a white supremacist rammed his car through the crowd of people, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The Lee monument still stands as efforts to remove it remain tied up in court.

Confederate statues have drawn increasing attention amid nationwide protests against racial inequality and the death of Black men in police custody. Officials in several states have decided to remove the statues from places of prominence, and in some cases, protesters have torn down the statues themselves.

2020 Indigenous Communities Fellowship winners announced

MIT Solve asked Indigenous leaders a question earlier this year: How can Native innovators in the U.S. use traditional knowledge and technology to drive social, environmental and economic impact in their communities?

Seventy-one solutions were received and Solve selected eight Fellows from 15 finalists, which include: EA (Education with Aloha) Ecoversity, Food from Fire, Guide to Indigenous DC, Indigikitchen, International Wakashan AI Consortium, Medicinal Plants Need Protection, ShockTalk and Sicangu Online Marketplace.

For more information on each Fellow, click here.

Watch: Reporters' Roundtable: How COVID is impacting college students

Logging in the Tongass National Forest has been off limits since 2001 after President Bill Clinton issued a roadless rule, which banned timber harvesting and road construction. Indian Country Today National Correspondent Joaqlin Estus explains how President Donald Trump lifted that ban and much more from his administration.

And as students return to Arizona State University, it's looking a little different this semester. Turning Points Magazine Senior Taylor Notah shares how students are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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This has been corrected to show the correct day of the week in the deck.

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