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Apache Junction in Arizona has a new police chief.

Michael Pooley, Navajo and Hopi, was sworn in Monday night. City officials believe he is the first Native American to serve as chief of police in any non-reservation city in the state.

Prior to this, Pooley was an assistant chief of police for Tempe, Arizona. He served that department for 20 years before retiring on Jan. 12.

Pooley’s experience includes leading his last department’s Emergency Operations Center to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

He says his father never wanted him to be a police officer because of discrimination he faced from officers when he was young. Pooley and one brother and sister also became officers. — Patty Talahongva, Indian Country Today

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Helena Linnell stood outside the Coquille Indian Tribe headquarters on a chilly morning in October diligently picking out countless pieces of seaweed tangled in a net.

The previous day, Linnell and a handful of others, wearing waders and raincoats, had jumped in the frigid waters and stretched the gill net across the mouth of Ferry Creek in the Coquille River watershed near the southern Oregon coast in the hopes of catching fish. All they caught, however, was seaweed.

Helena Linnell, the Coquille Tribe’s biological operations and planning manager, secures a newly netted salmon in Ferry Creek, while her helpers turn toward the next target. (Courtesy of the Coquille Indian Tribe)

Linnell and many of the same people, mostly volunteers, were unfazed and came back the next day. This wasn’t a leisurely fishing trip but instead an important step in an effort to save the river’s Chinook salmon, which in recent years have essentially disappeared from the watershed.

The fish-catching operation was part of a partnership the tribe formed with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) last year amid an ongoing crash in the number of fall-run Chinook salmon — a species important to not just the tribe but the whole region — returning to the river’s watershed to breed. READ MORE. — Chris Aadland, Underscore.news and Indian Country Today

Officials from the Indigenous Environmental Network say charges will be dropped against 33 water protectors.

In October, the water protectors were arrested for “unlawful entry” after they occupied the lobby of the Department of Interior.

(Related: Indigenous demonstrators make statement at Interior)

The water protectors had several demands at the time, including for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to be abolished — and that the federal government give land back to tribal nations.

Outside the Interior Department in Washington where frontline Indigenous leaders and others held a sit in on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today)

Gina Peltier was arrested at the demonstration. She said she’s received reports that the U.S. Attorney General will not go through with charges. Peltier said the altercation with police also left her with a broken hand.

Sentencing for unlawful entry includes 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. — Aliyah Chavez, Indian Country Today

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On today's ICT Newscast we speak with the Native American Journalists Association president. Plus, a Native American plays in the Super Bowl, and new inductees in the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame.

Watch:

Four days before the opening of the Beijing Olympics, 18-year-old snowboarder Liam Gill of the Liidlii Kue First Nation in the Northwest Territories found out he needed to pack his bags for China.

Canada Snowboard announced Monday, Jan. 31, that Gill would be competing in the Beijing Olympics after snowboarder Derek Livingston sustained a lower-body injury following a training run and would not be able to participate.

Snowboarder Liam Gill of the Liidlii Kue First Nation in the Northwest Territories learned at the last minute he will be competing in the halfpipe for Team Canada in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Gill was added to Canada's roster just a few days before the team left for Beijing after snowboarder Derek Livingston sustained a lower-body injury in a training run and was unable to participate. (Photo courtesy of Canada Snowboard)

“I’m devastated that I won’t be able to compete for Canada at the Olympics, but I’m super excited for Liam and can’t wait to watch my fellow Canadians at the games,” said Livingston, one of Canada’s most experienced Olympic snowboarders and someone the teenage Gill has idolized.

Gill becomes the third Indigenous member of Canada’s Olympics team, joining with women hockey players Jocelyne Larocque and Jamie Lee Rattray. He will be competing in the halfpipe event. READ MORE. Miles Morrisseau, special to Indian Country Today

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