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Sometimes there are moments in history that mark the beginning of a sea change in a society.

Hearing Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday may qualify as such a moment.

Haaland, a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo and first Native woman to lead the Interior, was overwhelmed with emotion as she described the contents of her agency’s report detailing racist assimilationist policies forwarded by federal and church operated boarding schools, policies that were designed to destroy Native languages and cultures. READ MORE Mary Annette Pember, ICT

More than two years ago, George Floyd’s murder sparked national conversations about police reform, racial injustice, and our own biases.

Our newsroom saw that our name, “Indian Country Today,” though a strong brand and recognizable name anywhere, was also outdated.

Our style guide had this entry for ICT:

“Many readers have said that the term “Indian” represents the past and have asked us why we don’t change our name? Fact is if we were starting from scratch we would likely go another route. But brands are powerful and Indian Country Today is a case in point: Readers know where to find us, something that would be lost with a name change. We should always be mindful, however, about the terms history and especially our use of symbols associated with the word. It’s unacceptable to become the very mascot we object to in professional sports or media.” READ MORE - Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, ICT

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A Florida school board sided with student leaders who asked to change the school’s Native American mascot despite emotional testimony from alumni and an online petition with more than 6,000 signatures seeking to keep the “Chiefs.”

Chamberlain High School’s student government association recommended dropping the mascot after surveying their classmates, finding that 58 percent consider the traditions offensive, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The Hillsborough County School District’s Title VI Native American Parent Advisory Council also recommended the change.

The Hillsborough County School Board voted 5-1 Tuesday to drop the “Chiefs.” Board member Melissa Snively cast the dissenting vote.

School district officials estimate it will cost about $50,000 to make the necessary changes to signage, imagery and new team uniforms. Russell, the principal, said the school plans to raise the funds, and the student body will select a new mascot this fall. — Associated Press

The National Indian Education Association and its members commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Indian Education Act, signed into law on June 23, 1972. This landmark piece of legislation ushered in a new era of educational sovereignty for Native Americans.

The Indian Education Act marked the first significant piece of legislation passed by the US government to address education rights for American Indian and Alaska Native children. It also established the Office of Indian Education at the Department of the Education and the National Advisory Council on Indian Education, along with providing federal funds for American Indian and Alaska Native education at all grade levels.

In addition, the IEA established Title VI creating a critical legal tool to ensure that the cultural needs of Native students are addressed both in Indian country and in public schools. This landmark legislation also marks the closure of the traumatic era of Indian Boarding Schools from 1819-1969. Indian Boarding Schools instigated and funded through federal policy sought to assimilate Native people by weaponizing education systems to eradicate Native culture, language, and identity. 

 This flagship piece of legislation is a celebration of survival, resiliency, and reclamation that has thrived over the last 50 years of work setting the stage for the future of education sovereignty for Native people. READ MORE National Indian Education Association, Press Release

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The film industry and mainstream popular culture are notorious for promoting stereotypical images of Native Americans. Are things getting better? Eric Buffalohead is associate professor and chair of the American Indian studies department at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He co-authored “Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching and Theory” with Elise Marubbio, who is also an Augsburg professor.

Earlier this year, a public health campaign called the Healthy Native Babies Project was not renewed by federal agencies. Its goal is to reduce rates of infant mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Health advocates are calling on President Joe Biden to take action. Abigail Echo-Hawk, who is the executive vice president of the Seattle Indian Health Board, explains.

Indian Country Today is a 40-year-old news organization. It’s been through four iterations, and now it’s evolving again. On June 24, our long-time website, www.indiancountrytoday.com will become www.ictnews.org. IndiJ Public Media's Chief Operating Officer Mike Kellogg introduces the new brand.

WATCH:

An Oregon tribe and state leaders have agreed to co-manage fish and wildlife across a large swath of southwest Oregon, in what they say is a monumental arrangement and the first of potentially more comprehensive management partnerships between the state’s wildlife agency and tribal nations.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on June 17 unanimously agreed to a framework agreement with the Coquille Indian Tribe, giving it more power in fish and wildlife management throughout a five-county area of southwest Oregon while also ensuring tribal citizens are able to fish, hunt, gather and trap on public lands for subsistence or ceremonial purposes under tribal regulations that the tribe and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) develop together. READ MORE Chris Aadland, ICT and Underscore News

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We want your tips, but we also want your feedback. What should we be covering that we’re not? What are we getting wrong? Please let us know. dalton@ictnews.org.

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