Indian Country Headlines for Wednesday

Cherokee National Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., shown here speaking at the 67th Cherokee National Holiday, is scheduled to meet with U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Sept. 30, 2020.(Photo: Cherokee Nation)

Indian Country Today

Stories we’re following: U.S. attorney general to visit Cherokee Nation, remote Alaska village hit with COVID-19, Native American veterans memorial planned in California, and more

US attorney general to visit Cherokee Nation headquarters

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr is planning a visit to Oklahoma on Wednesday with leaders of the Cherokee Nation and federal prosecutors from Tulsa and Muskogee.

Barr is expected to lead a roundtable discussion at the tribe's headquarters in Tahlequah with Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., the tribe's Attorney General Sara Hill, and U.S. attorneys from the northern and eastern districts of Oklahoma.

Among the topics Barr is expected to discuss is funding for staff increases, according to a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

COVID cases climb in Siberian Yupik village

COVID-19 has struck Gambell, Alaska, a remote island village that is closer to Russia than the U.S.

This past week, two more coronavirus cases broke out in the small village on St. Lawrence Island, in the Bering Sea, bringing the total case count to 19 in a town of only 681 residents.

The community’s close-knit nature has fostered the spread of disease, officials say, while its isolation has made it hard to provide care.

Around 96 percent of Gambell’s residents are Siberian Yupik, and nearly all of them speak Yupik as their first language. The Chukotkan Mountains of the Russian Far East, some 32 miles away, are visible from the village. The island is 125 miles west of the mainland town of Nome.

Native American veterans memorial planned in California

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs broke ground on a first-of-its-kind memorial to honor American Indian, Alaska Native and Pacific Island veterans Friday.

The Inland Empire Community News reported that the memorial at Riverside National Cemetery in southern California will consist of a plaza and walkway centered around a life-sized bronze statue of a Native veteran. It is being sponsored with major contributions from southern California tribes including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

“While this memorial honors American Indian, Alaska Native and Pacific Islander veterans from across the nation, it is a great honor that it is being installed here in Southern California at the Riverside National Cemetery,” Ken Ramirez, Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians said.

The Riverside National Cemetery is reported to be the busiest cemetery managed by the VA and was established in 1976.

Construction on the memorial is expected to be finished in the next couple of years.

Sioux Chef's mission: Decolonize the kitchen

MINNEAPOLIS — Although renowned Sioux Chef Sean Sherman was forced to delay the opening of the first totally Indigenous brick-and-mortar restaurant here due to the coronavirus, his Indigenous Food Lab, another first, is battling through the pandemic.

The lab is a fully functional professional kitchen that serves as a culinary classroom for teaching tribal communities about seed saving and Native food history. It is also providing meals for the needy.

The lab opened in August at the Midtown Global Market in south Minneapolis. The market, in the 16-story art deco Midtown Exchange building, is an indoor mercado featuring international restaurants, crafts and coffee shops.

“We’re so excited to call Midtown Global Market our home,” Sherman, Oglala Lakota, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, said in a news release. “This space will be the heart of all of our future efforts to bring access and awareness to Indigenous Education and Indigenous Foods. Wopila!”

Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef, plates dessert at an exhibition in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo courtesy of the Sioux Chef)
Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef, plates dessert at an exhibition in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo courtesy of the Sioux Chef)

Watch: Rolling Rez Arts bus helps Native artists

Go to any reservation and you're bound to find people selling handmade art. The art quite often reflects the community and culture of the people. According to the First Peoples Fund, 40 percent of Native people get income from arts and cultural based practices.

It's this group of people who operate their own businesses that the First Peoples Fund was founded to help in 1995. Today, the organization is helping Native artists all across the country. In Tuesday’s Indian Country Today newscast, First Peoples Fund President Lori Lea Pourier talks about how artists are faring during the pandemic.

Indian Country Today Stanford Rebele fellow Meghan Sullivan talks about an election story she covered about a former tribal chairman running for office in Utah. She also talks about an upcoming salmon story she's working on.

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