Indian Country headlines for Tuesday

Grammy Award-winning performer Ty Defoe, Oneida and Ojibwe, created "CIRCLE," for the 100 Offerings of Peace Project to explain what peace means to him during the coronavirus pandemic and protests for racial justice.(Photo courtesy of Ty Defoe)

Indian Country Today

News we're talking about on Sept. 1, 2020 includes: Oklahoma governor asks EPA to strip tribes of environmental authority; Academic coaching program launches; No food; plenty of polar bears for Nunavut hunter

Oklahoma governor asks EPA to strip tribes of environmental authority

Oklahoma’s Republican governor Kevin Stitt has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to give the state jurisdiction over environmental regulations on tribal lands, reported The Young Turks.

The story’s author, reporter Ti-Hua Chang, wrote, “This would include regulating fossil fuels, a multibillion-dollar industry which donated $239,102 to Stitt this election cycle.”

The change could take away the opportunity for tribal leaders to reduce pollution and fossil fuel dependency in the eastern half of Oklahoma.

American Indian Graduate Center launches academic coaching program

The American Indian Graduate Center has launched a new program called “Rising Native Graduates.”

It offers academic coaching opportunities to Native undergraduate students from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Salena Beaumont Hill, Crow Tribe of Montana and Blackfeet, serves as the program manager for “Rising Native Graduates,” a new initiative launched by the American Indian Graduate Center. (Photo courtesy of AIGC)
Salena Beaumont Hill, Crow Tribe of Montana and Blackfeet, serves as the program manager for “Rising Native Graduates,” a new initiative launched by the American Indian Graduate Center. (Photo courtesy of AIGC)

The program targets students in their junior and senior years by pairing them with a mentor in hopes of encouraging them to pursue a graduate and professional degree.

“Rising Native Graduates will elevate our scholars’ entire educational experience,” the program’s manager, Salena Beaumont Hill, Crow Tribe of Montana and Blackfeet Tribe, said.

“Essentially, we are offering them [students] Native role models who can give them real advice and strategies to excel in this phase of their education. Providing this Native-centered academic support is pivotal to ensuring our students’ academic success.”

The program is supported by a $300,000 three-year grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and by Wells Fargo.

Academic coaching and scholar applications are now open.

Nunavut hunter survives days with no food, plenty of polar bears

A caribou hunter got lost in northern Canada in August and survived four days without food.

Robert Joamie left on foot with his gun and a Pepsi on a “clear weekend afternoon” near Pangnirtung in Nunavut and couldn’t find his way back when the weather turned foggy, according to a CBC report. He did run across several polar bears, however.

On day two, he fell to his knees exhausted but luckily fell on a patch of edible mountain sorrel and water nearby.

For more of Joamie’s harrowing experience, click here.

Trump administration sued over foster care data

A coalition of pro-LGBTQ and Native advocacy organizations has sued the Trump administration for rescinding requirements that child welfare agencies collect and report data about Native children and LGBTQ youth and families in the foster care system.

Advocates say eliminating data on marginalized groups makes it harder to ensure positive outcomes for youth in foster care, according to a Metro Weekly report.

Congress requires the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to collect and maintain information about the demographics and status of youth in the nation’s child welfare systems.

Legislation introduced to identify scams targeting Native Americans

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M), the U.S. House assistant speaker, and Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT) introduced legislation that would direct the Federal Trade Commission to work with tribal authorities to study scams targeting tribes and tribal members.

Oneida, Ojibwe performance artist joins peace project

A campaign “100 Offerings of Peace” will feature Grammy Award-winning performer Ty Defoe, Oneida and Ojibwe, as one of the people selected to explain what peace means to them during the coronavirus pandemic and protests for racial justice.

The work he created is a performance piece called “CIRCLE,” which is meant to demonstrate connectedness and ends with the line “The circle is peace. We are the circle.”

Defoe is a writer and interdisciplinary artist. He won a Grammy in 2011 for a song he had on a compilation CD called “Come to Me Great Mystery.” He lives in New York City and is a member of the All My Relations Collective.

Dafoe’s told reporter Sandra Hale Schulman "In my trans/Two Spirit communities, we can use theater-making tools to express, to heal, to celebrate and to tell our stories.”

The New York City-based Peace Studio launched the project last month. The campaign is supported by world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and others.

(Photo courtesy of Ty Defoe)
Grammy Award-winning performer Ty Defoe, Oneida and Ojibwe, created "CIRCLE," for the 100 Offerings of Peace Project to explain what peace means to him during the coronavirus pandemic and protests for racial justice.(Photo courtesy of Ty Defoe)

Watch a COVID-19 lesson: Never take your family or your community for granted

A family vacation isn't the best time to find out you've tested positive for COVID-19 but that's what happened to Shannon Shaw Duty.

She and her husband and their six children had just arrived in Colorado when she got the news. They made the decision to turn around and drive back to Oklahoma so she could quarantine.

Shannon is the editor of the Osage News and she decided to chronicle her journey for Indian Country Today.

Happening this week:

  • National Transportation in Indian Country Conference, Aug. 31 - Sept. 4 (AGENDA)
  • 15th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum, Sept. 1-3 (AGENDA)
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