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For three days, the center of the world of Native literature was in Missoula, Montana.

The inaugural James Welch Native Lit Festival celebrated the legacy of the Gros Ventre writer and welcomed both established and emerging writers to talk about the craft. .

Sterling HolyWhiteMountain, Blackfeet, had thought about creating the festival for some time and near the end of 2020, he decided to go for it.

Before doing so, he reached out to Lois Welch, the widow of James Welch, to ask if he could create the event in his name.

“I'm not going to start a festival with her husband's name on it without her blessing, you know?,” HolyWhiteMountain said.

He said Native writers don’t get to talk about their work the way they want to and the festival creates that space for them.

“I want to create a space where a bunch of Native writers can be together and we can talk the way we want to talk about our work and our lives and our writing process and see what happens,” HolyWhiteMountain said. “Anybody that wants to listen to that conversation can be there.” READ MOREKolby KickingWoman, ICT

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — Pope Francis traveled to the edge of the Arctic on Friday to deliver an apology to the Inuit people for the "evil" of Canada's residential schools, wrapping up his week-long "penitential pilgrimage" to Canada with a dramatic visit to the remote territory of Nunavut to meet with school survivors.

Francis landed in Iqaluit, population 7,500, and was meeting with former school students at a primary school before delivering remarks to Inuit youth and elders.

Organizers readied scores of anti-mosquito mask hats that have net mesh face protection to guard against the mosquitoes that abound this time of year in the mild temperatures of Nunavut. Most of the territory is part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, including its largest island, Baffin Island.

The visit capped an unusual papal tour designed to specifically apologize to generations of First Nations, Metis and Inuit for the abuses and injustices they suffered, and to assure them that he was committed to helping them reconcile their relationship with the Catholic Church. READ MOREAssociated Press

BARRE, Mass. — One by one, items purportedly taken from Native Americans massacred at Wounded Knee Creek emerged from the dark, cluttered display cases where they’ve sat for more than a century in a museum in rural Massachusetts.

Moccasins, necklaces, clothing, ceremonial pipes, tools and other objects were carefully laid out on white backgrounds as a photographer dutifully snapped pictures under bright studio lights.

Leola One Feather, left, of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, observes as John Willis photographs Native American artifacts on July 19, 2022, at the Founders Museum in Barre, Massachusetts. The private museum, which is housed in the town library, is working to repatriate as many as 200 items believed to have been taken from Native Americans massacred by U.S. soldiers at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890. Willis is photographing the items for documentation, ahead of their expected return to the tribe. (AP Photo/Philip Marcelo)

It was a key step in returning scores of items displayed at the Founders Museum in Barre to tribes in South Dakota that have sought them since the 1990s.

“This is real personal,” said Leola One Feather, of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, as she observed the process as part of a two-person tribal delegation last week. “It may be sad for them to lose these items, but it’s even sadder for us because we’ve been looking for them for so long.” READ MOREAssociated Press

WASHINGTON – Oklahoma’s five largest tribes on Wednesday spilt on their willingness to comply with terms of treaties signed more than 150 years ago regarding descendants of their former slaves.

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“They’re going through a long conversation happening among the tribes that is resolved in the Cherokee Nation that is not resolved in others,” said U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R, Oklahoma City) minutes before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs was to hold a hearing on the status of Indian Freedmen–the descendants of the former slaves of the five tribes.

Little has happened in three of Oklahoma’s five largest tribes – Choctaw, Chickasaw or Muscokee Nations – since the federal government more than 150 years ago required tribes to change the way they treat descendants of slaves they held until freed at the conclusion of the Civil War.

“It is the federal government, by placing tribal membership in a political arena, that initiated this Freedmen issue, not the Choctaw Nation,” said Michael Burrage, general counsel of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and a former federal judge, using the terminology used to refer to the descendants of slaves. READ MOREGaylord News

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Director Dan Trachenberg and producer Jhane Myers of the new movie “Prey” are the creative minds behind film history. The "Predator" prequel is the first film to be released in the Comanche language. We have them both for an exclusive interview with ICT.

ICT’s column called “Global Indigenous” is a weekly round-up of Indigenous news from all over the world. Senior editor Dianna Hunt oversees the content, and she back with this week’s round up.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, announced that he would support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which used to be called Build Back Better. It includes significant climate, health care, and tax policy reforms. In a closely divided house and senate, Democrats see this is a big win. But is it? Holly Cook Macarro joins us to break this down. The Red Lake Ojibwe citizen is a Partner with Spirit Rock Consulting.

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Tribes in Maine are going to have to wait months — possibly more than a year — before sports betting begins in the state.

The law adopted by state lawmakers goes into effect on Aug. 8, but the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit said it could take until January 2024 to get rules sorted out.

Milt Champion acknowledged that the rule making will take more time than some people may have expected.

“This is not an easy process,” Champion said. “We’re not trying to put this off. We just want to do it right.”

The law legalizes sports betting in Maine, with tribes getting exclusive rights to online wagering while existing casinos can conduct in-person betting.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills gave control of mobile sports betting market to Native American tribes in Maine.

It was something of an olive branch after she threatened to veto their proposal for greater sovereignty.

Tribes in Maine have exclusive control of mobile sports betting, which is expected to account for 85 percent of revenue. — Associated Press

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