Indian Country headlines for Wednesday

Indian Country Today

Stories we're talking about: Democratic Native Caucus holds first convention meeting, Native candidates advance to November, missing man's remains found, and more

Indian Country Today

DNC: ‘Relatives, this clearly is the most important election of our time’

The first Native American Caucus meeting of this year’s Democratic National Convention kicked off online Tuesday with a land acknowledgment and a string of high-ranking female speakers.

Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblo, Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, and Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth, were the first in a series of Native leaders who rallied viewers to get out the vote to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

“Relatives, this clearly is the most important election of our time,” said Flanagan, the first Native woman elected to executive office.

(Related: Native leaders featured in DNC roll call)

Haaland and Davids are the first two Native women to serve in Congress.

Haaland, of New Mexico, said the nation is facing a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a “moral vacuum” concerning racism.

“We in Indian Country have been among the hardest hit.”

According to Indian Country Today’s database, the number of Native candidates has been rising for several years, with a boost in Native female candidates over Native men.

Alaska, Wyoming, Florida hold primaries

All four Native women running for office in Wyoming have won their primary elections, including Democrat Lynnette Grey Bull, who is believed to be the first Native person in the state to run for Congress.

Grey Bull, Northern Arapaho and Hunkpapa Lakota, is seeking a U.S. House seat. She easily defeated two opponents Tuesday but faces a difficult race in November, when she is set to go up against Republican incumbent Liz Cheney.

"My friends, you made history today; in Wyoming statewide elections, women of color are now not only in the room where the glass ceiling is, you made it possible for us to shatter it," Grey Bull said in a statement.

(Related: 4 Native candidates advance in Wyoming, including 1st to run for Congress)

Tuesday night included at least 17 Native candidates competing for various offices in Alaska and Wyoming's primary elections Tuesday.

Florida also held its primaries Tuesday, but no Natives appeared to be running.

In heavily Republican Alaska, two Native candidates ran unsuccessfully for Congress.

Edgar Blatchford, Inupiaq and Yup’ik, competed for a U.S. Senate seat and was defeated by Al Gross, who received 78 percent of the vote

Ray Sean Tugatuk, Yup’ik, ran for Alaska’s sole U.S. House seat. That race was won by Alyse Galvin.

Several Alaska Native candidates also ran for legislative seats. For more results from Tuesday night, click here. 

Alaska "I Voted Today" sticker with image of the Big Dipper and North Star from the state flag (File photo Indian Country Today)

Man's remains found on Fort Apache Reservation

The remains of a missing Native American man in Arizona were found on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

Willie "Steamboat" Declay was reported missing on June 3, 2017, and was last seen at the Indian Health Services hospital in Whiteriver, Arizona, according to the FBI Phoenix Field Office. He had been discharged from the hospital and never returned home.

Declay's remains were found April 5, and an autopsy concluded the cause of death was undetermined, according to the FBI.

Anyone with information about Declay’s disappearance or cause of death can call the FBI at 623-466-1999.

Photo Essay: Navigating love in Native America

Follow Native photojournalist Tailyr Irvine’s photo essay into the legacy of the U.S. government regulations impacting Native people.

Irvine takes a look at Native people navigating love under the umbrella of government regulations.

The project is part of Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field. It features Irvine and Russel Albert Daniels in collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian.

“Each photographer explores an issue that has long been of personal interest and touches the lives of Native people in a specific community,” according to the museum’s website.

Irvine’s project was published in the Montana Missoulian on Aug. 15.

Three Native scientists highlighted in Idaho

The Idaho Statesmen profiles three Native scientists in August in an effort to learn about their perspective and increase their visibility.

Coyote Short, Paiute-Modac, Zach Penney, Nez Perce, and Sammy Matsaw Jr., Shoshone-Bannock, were part of the project.

“We asked them about the paths they followed to be academia and about their biggest challenges,” the article read. “They also told us what they think needs to happen to increase diversity and representation of Indigenous peoples in academic positions.”

To read more, click here.

Watch: Tribal courts in a pandemic mode

When the Indian Civil Rights Act passed in 1968 it required tribes to follow requirements that were similar to the Bill of Rights.

Tribal courts were responsible to enforce the laws. To help tribes understand this new legal role, the National American Indian Court Judges Association was formed.

Judge Meredith Drent and NAICJA Executive Director Nikki Campbell were featured guests in Tuesday’s Indian Country Today’s newscast.

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