Skip to main content

Kalle Benallie
Indian Country Today 

I selected this story because I was honored to hear the personal stories from his friends and family. It’s especially important when the person has made significant impressions to many.

Coquille Indian Tribe chief left an ‘incredible legacy’

Chief Donald Boyd Ivy was well known in Oregon as a champion of Indigenous people and a scholar of tribal heritage. Described by his wife Lucinda DiNovo, he was a dynamic speaker, an incredible listener and a strong leader.

“He always said ‘leader’s don’t always lead from the front, they lead from behind,” she said.

Ivy died July 19 after a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 70. He is survived by his wife, son Jon Ivy, grandson Elliott Ivy, daughter-in-law Soo Lee, sister Corrine Burnum and brother-in-law Greg Burnum.

For this one, I was able to go to the event in person and was grateful to get photos of the area and Deb Haaland. It was the first time in a long time doing a story that I was able to experience in real time.

Deb Haaland visits Chaco Canyon

CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, N.M. — A clear blue sky welcomed U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, state, federal and tribal leaders just outside the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Visitor Center on Monday.

Tall rocks provided the backdrop with birds flying around and cawing every now and then. Further south, one could see large rock formations and the vast open area that was the rest of the park.

The visit comes days after President Biden’s announcement at the Tribal Nations Summit that the Department of the Interior is taking steps to protect the Chaco Canyon region.

I chose this story because it was a development that meant deeply for the tribes in the area and beyond. I also liked researching and reading about the long history of the park.

Minnesota park recognized as historic, sacred cemetery

As far back as Samantha “Sam” Odegard can remember, Indian Mounds Park was an example of how sacred sites have been desecrated, in this case for people’s recreation.

Odegard, a tribal historic preservation officer for the Upper Sioux Community, or Pezihutazizi Oyate, helped the city of St. Paul, Minnesota conduct a cultural landscape study about Indian Mounds Park. She and three others looked at the history of the 82-acre area and interviewed people for information.

“Everything from identifying what was there, what’s proper behavior, what’s improper behavior to helping with the signage that’s going up,” she said.

A recommended new sign will read: "This is a burial place, and our ancestors are still here. You are in a cemetery. It is a sacred burial ground that has been here for thousands of years.”

I chose this story for its historical significance, but also the reception it received. Many people reached out and connected with it. Also, it was the second most read article on ICT’s website for 2021.

US boarding schools to be investigated

The U.S. Department of Interior will formally investigate the impact of federal Indian boarding schools, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced before tribal leaders on Tuesday.

The new “Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative” will result in a detailed report compiled by the Interior and will include historical records of boarding school locations, burial sites and enrollment logs of children’s names and tribal affiliations. Haaland made the announcement virtually at the 2021 National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference, a four-day gathering for tribal leaders, policymakers, and partners to discuss issues currently facing Indian Country.

The unprecedented move will ultimately aim to create healing by understanding the true scope of boarding schools in the U.S., Haaland said.

“I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo the heartbreak and loss we feel. But only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace,” Haaland said who is a citizen of Laguna Pueblo.

I chose this story because I was able to talk with a Native youth who has been directly impacted by the club. Also, I was interested to learn how the pandemic affected over a thousand youth members.

Native youth clubs receive funds from $30 million gift

After struggling with adjusting to the pandemic, a division of Boys and Girls Clubs of America that focuses on Native youth was pleasantly surprised to learn in December that they can fall back on a portion of the $30 million from a South Dakota foundation.

Issues like food insecurity, mental health, academic success and technology barriers were of concern, said Carla Knapp, national vice president of the club’s Native Services division and citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation.

“The strength that those clubs have shown using their resources, providing for their communities has been inspiring because for me they faced every challenge with compassion and care,” she said.

Indian Country Today - bridge logo

Our stories are worth telling. Our stories are worth sharing. Our stories are worth your support. Contribute $5 or $10 today to help Indian Country Today carry out its critical mission. Sign up for ICT’s free newsletter.