Stories in this video report for February 18, 2019

Respected Lakota elder, Birgil Louie Kills Straight, dies at 78

February 16 in Alaska honors Tlingit activist on ‘Elizabeth Peratrovich Day’

‘Horrible’ White House session raises ‘serious issues’ with tribal leaders

Michelle Obama surprises the Gila River Indian community with a visit

Nathan Phillips responds to investigative report on Covington student’s behavior

Investigation calls Covington students at Lincoln Memorial incident ‘remarkably consistent’

#NativeNerd: My Westminster Dog Show love for agility stars Winky, Rudy and Verb

#NativeNerd poll: Can the iPhone convert this long-time Android phone user?


Greetings and She:kon everyone, this is Vincent Schilling and I am the associate editor of Indian Country Today and your host for this week’s Video News Update. With this video update, Indian Country Today will bring you some of our top stories to hit the site.

The respected Lakota elder Birgil Louie Kills Straight has passed away at age 78. Birgil Louie Kills Straight was immensely respected in Indian Country for his Coalition of Indian Controlled Schools work as one of the original 15 Bigfoot Memorial Ride horseriders. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith and former Chairman Ron His Horse is Thunder spoke with me at Indian Country Today. And they also shared a letter which stated in part: Standing Rock will forever be grateful to Birgil for the messages he carried throughout the world about the history and culture of the Oceti Sakowin for example of our subjugation by the European Nations and the United States using Roman Catholic ideas, such as the Doctrine of Discovery, and how these ideas needed to be repudiated by the church so all Indigenous People could take their rightful place in this world as truly sovereign nations in control of their own destinies. He was not alone in this fight, but he took every opportunity to ensure that world citizens would be educated about our people, our beliefs, and our continued struggle to be to be free. Birgil Louie Kills Straight Born on September 20, 1940, and died on February 10, 2019, he was also a U.S. Army Veteran.

February 16 in Alaska honors Tlingit activist on Elizabeth Peratrovich Day. Nearly 20 years before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed, Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich led the charge in passing the very first anti-discrimination law in the United States. Peratrovich was described as “a fighter with velvet gloves” by fellow Tlingit leader Stella Martin for having challenged discriminatory practices against Alaska Native people. When Peratrovich introduced anti-discrimination legislation, opposing Senator Allen Shattuck asked if her proposed bill would eliminate discrimination. Here is what Peratrovich responded with. "Do your laws against larceny and even murder prevent those crimes? No law will eliminate crimes but at least you as legislators can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak your intent to help us overcome discrimination." As described in the article by Leslie Logan, when Peratrovich concluded her statement, it is said that people burst out into tears and wild cheers and applause filled the gallery and Senate floor. The Senate passed the bill 11 to 5 on February 8, 1945. Stay tuned for the Peratrovich Native American dollar coin coming out in 2020.

Horrible’ White House session raises ‘serious issues’ with tribal leaders - In a recent report by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, a “Horrible White House Session” which was part of the National Congress of American Indians winter session, and was closed to the press, which started out as an open dialogue with White House staff, the Department of the Interior, and tribal leaders, turned into a session where tribal leaders felt they were not heard and some even left the session. Tribal leaders spoke with two White House advisors, William Crozer, special assistant to the president and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, and Theodore Wold, special assistant to the president for domestic policy. Tara Sweeney, assistant secretary of Indian Affairs also sat in the meeting. Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner complained about the meeting wishing the session should have been open to the media. Read the entire story below.

Nathan Phillips responds to investigative report on Covington student’s behavior —- After a final investigative report found that Covington Catholic High School students made no racial statements, but did do the Tomahawk Chop — Nathan Phillips has responded to the findings. In an official statement, Phillips said: “I stand by my original observation that the situation seemed potentially dangerous and that I felt a spiritual call to sing between the two groups as a peacemaker. I ask everybody to remember what we all saw—students performing a culturally-appropriated ‘school chant’ and the tomahawk chop just feet away from me on that fateful day. That this racially insensitive behavior is still widely seen in America in 2019 does not make it okay—and, from my perspective, it was disrespectful, racially charged and harmful. I remain hopeful that we, as a nation, can all learn a better way to treat one another from this incident.” Read the story below regarding the investigative report and the statement by Phillips.

Michelle Obama surprises the Gila River Indian community with a visit --- How would you have liked to have been a Gile River student surprised that day? The former first lady Michelle Obama surprised the Gila River Indian Community on Tuesday. Michelle Obama met with the Gila River Governor Stephen Roe Lewis and students at the Huhugam Heritage Center and was a complete surprise to the students. Michelle Obama had decided to stop in for a visit as she was already in Phoenix visiting the area as part of her memoir book tour. The title of her book is Becoming. After Obama’s visit, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis took to Facebook and posted a video of an inside look regarding the meeting with Michelle Obama in what he called “one of the most memorable, proud and historic days in the recent past of the Gila River Indian Community.” Check out our full story and watch the video in Indian Country Today

So, thanks for watching this week’s Indian Country Today video news report. Also, make sure to check out my weekly Native Nerd column. This week was about three of the star canines at the Westminster Dog show. My favorite was Winky, who had 92 errors in the agility course, and paused to take in all of the applause. I also loved Rudy the Bulldog and Verb the Border Collie - who both completed the courses like a speed train.

So again, thanks for watching, I am Vincent Schilling, associate editor of Indian Country Today. Follow me on Twitter at @VinceSchilling. Have a great day! Ona and Nia:wen.

Also, check out my #NativeNerd column posted every Friday.

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Follow fellow Native Nerd, Vincent Schilling associate editor for Indian Country Today at @VinceSchilling - Make sure to use the Hashtag #NativeNerd

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