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A Crow Creek Sioux woman has become the first U.S. athlete to medal in the sport of pétanque, bringing home silver earlier this month with record-breaking points in the 2022 World Games competition.

Rebekah “Bekah” Howe, of Port Townsend, Washington, powered her way to the finals in the Precision Shooting women singles competitions at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, but fell to Cambodian athlete Ouk Sreymom, who also won gold in women’s doubles.

Howe notched the highest number of points ever recorded in competition by a U.S. pétanque athlete to claim her first medal on a worldwide stage.

“This silver was my first international medal,” Howe told ICT. “It has been a dream of mine to get to represent the USA in an international competition. It was an honor to get to play against some of the best women pétanque players in the world. I have seen them all play in competitions on YouTube, and I admire them all.”

Howe and her pétanque partner, Janice Bissonnette of Fresno, California, also competed in the doubles division but did not advance to the finals.

The game (pronounced pee-TONK) originated in France in the early 1900s and is considered a boules or ball sport like bocce, lawn bowling and raffa.

The name means “foot planted” in French, and rules require that players keep their feet planted to the ground.

Howe is a two-time national champion and a six-time regional champion. In 2018, she won both the National Women’s Singles title and the National Mixed Doubles with partner Silas Howe, who is also her husband and trainer.

In the recent World Games, she scored 38 points in the semi-final heat heading into the finals, to set a U.S. record. READ MORE. Dan Ninham, special to ICT

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The Native American Journalists Association has recognized ICT and its staff as among the best for its work highlighting Indigenous communities and issues last year by naming it the winner of nearly a dozen awards as the Indigenous-led newsroom continues to expand.

On Monday, NAJA announced ICT as winners of 11 National Native Media awards across nine categories, including recognizing it as “Best Digital Publication” among large Indigenous publications.

NAJA has also recently named ICT as a recipient of the 2022 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Journalism. ICT won that award for its work documenting the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects in Indian Country as part of a collective that also included High Country News, National Native News and Searchlight New Mexico.

“It's so great to see our team honored for the work we do everyday,” said ICT editor-at-large and former editor Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock. “ICT's journalists are amazing. And I love that others are recognizing that talent.”

ICT’s staff writer Mary Annette Pember, Red Cliff Ojibwe, and special correspondent Meghan Sullivan, Koyukon Athabascan, also won second and third place in the Excellence in Beat Reporting category, Pember was recognized for her coverage of a controversial oil pipeline project on Ojibwe treaty lands in northern Minnesota and Sullivan for her coverage of Indigenous policy questions and solutions in the Arctic.

NAJA also recognized ICT reporters, partner newsrooms and editors for environmental issues coverage, feature photography, feature writing and editorial writing.

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ICT’s newscast team wasn’t left out, either. The ICT newscast took second place in the Best Newscast category for a broadcast that included coverage of cooking traditions, Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe and the award-winning television comedy and drama, Rez Dogs. ICT’s newscast also won third place in the TV General Excellence category. READ MORE.Chris Aadland, ICT and Underscore News

ICT will broaden its coverage of Indigenous communities when it expands to nine bureaus over the next three years through a $1.3 million grant from the American Journalism Project.

AJP announced Wednesday that ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) is among three nonprofit news organizations it is supporting through $3.15 million in funding. The other two organizations are Verite, a sister newsroom of Mississippi Today ​​launching this fall in New Orleans, and New York City-based THE CITY.

“The market failure in local news has left Americans in crisis — people across our country are strapped for the information they need to participate in our democracy and live healthy, thriving lives,” said Sarabeth Berman, CEO of the American Journalism Project, in a news release. “Anyone searching for solutions to the crisis in local news should take a close look at what these organizations are doing to build trusted and sustainable news for communities.”

The grant will fund salaries for a development director, finance director, audience/membership director, and a regional director of revenue.

These new hires will help enable the business team to pursue local and national philanthropic revenue opportunities, strengthen membership revenue, and increase earned revenue opportunities. With strong revenue and operations capacity, ICT will significantly expand its journalism.— American Journalism Project news release

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ICT Newscast:

Mary Smith had a plan: She was going to serve as a member of a corporate board. She already had the resume. Smith is an attorney and she had worked as the chief executive officer for the U.S. Indian Health Service, a $6 billion-a-year-operation.

“I think for most people, you're not going to get a call out of the blue,” she said. “You have to put yourself out there so that people know that you want to be on a corporate board because there are recruiters that recruit for corporate boards. But, the vast majority of board seats are still filled through networking.”

Smith’s planning was deliberate. She “very intentionally treated it like a full-time job.” That included learning about corporate governance and board responsibilities, she developed a “board bio” which she says is different from a resume because it highlights attributes that boards are looking for (such as experience with regulatory agencies.) She also hired coaches in order to sharpen her pitch.

“I really wanted to try to get on a board and I didn't want to look back and say, ‘Oh, I wish I had done X, Y or Z. ‘ If I had done that, I would've made it so.”

Smith has made a place for herself at a table where few Indigenous people have historically been invited.

There are some 4,000 companies traded on Wall Street through the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. Each of these companies have professional board members who are responsible for corporate governance. The number of American Indians and Alaska Natives represented on those boards is far less than one-tenth of one percent. READ MORE— Mark Trahant, ICT

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  • In this week’s edition of Global Indigenous, Manitoba Indigenous leaders in Canada await the arrival of Pope Francis while a search begins at another residential school for unmarked graves, and an Aboriginal health system gets a funding boost.
  • Powwow organizers in British Columbia make changes after facing backlash for rules over gender identity and blood quantum.
  • Navajo people are pushing for tribal leaders to recognize same-sex marriage on the Navajo Nation.

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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