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Ancient petroglyphs at a national park in Texas were vandalized over the holidays.

A panel of petroglyphs in the Indian Head of Big Bend National Park in southwestern Texas near the border to Mexico were "irreparably damaged," according to a National Park Service news release.

Vandals scratched names and the date across the prehistoric art as part of a recent increase in vandalism and graft in the area, according to the news release. Park archeologists have documented more than 50 instances of vandalism since 2015.

"Damaging natural features and rock art destroys the very beauty and history that the American people want to protect in our parks," Big Bend National Park Superintendent Bob Krumenaker said. “With each instance of vandalism, part of our Nation's heritage is lost forever."

Anyone with information about these incidents should call 432-477-1187.

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The co-founder of the American Indian Movement and longtime leader in the fight for Native civil rights has died.

Clyde Bellecourt, White Earth Nation, died from cancer at his Minneapolis home Tuesday, his wife Peggy Bellecourt confirmed with the Star Tribune. He was 85.

Bellecourt was a co-founder in 1968 of the American Indian Movement, which began as a local organization in Minneapolis that sought to grapple with issues of police brutality and discrimination against Native people. The group quickly became a national force. It would lead a string of major national protests in the 1970s. READ MORE.Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

What do you consider the job of the future? What is your dream job? Are you satisfied with your quality of life?

We're working on a project on economic issues in tribal communities and we want to know more from you.

Please use this form to provide us with details about what is happening in your community. It shouldn't take more than five minutes, and we won't share personal information without your consent. READ MORE.Indian Country Today

As the first Native American director of the National Park Service, Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III brings an Indigenous perspective to a U.S. Department of Interior agency responsible for more than 400 national parks, monuments and memorials, as well as more than 300,000 staff and volunteers.

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Chuck Sams, in his National Park Service uniform, speaks to members of the CTUIR and other visitors at the tribal longhouse on the Umatilla Indian Reservation during the tribes' annual Christmas Celebration on Dec. 24. (Photo by Dallas Dick/Underscore.news)

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved Sams to serve as director on Nov. 18. He was then sworn in Dec. 16 by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., giving the department its first Senate-confirmed director in nearly five years.

Sams, who is enrolled with the Cayuse and Walla Walla tribes and has direct blood ties to the Cocopah and Yankton peoples, is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), a confederation of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes. He has held several leadership roles with the CTUIR and for many years lived on the reservation, which is located at the foot of the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon. He and his wife, Lori, and daughter, Ruby, have relocated to the D.C. area. The family was honored at the tribes’ annual Christmas Celebration on Dec. 24 in the CTUIR Longhouse.

In a Dec. 23 one-on-one interview with Underscore.news in Pendleton, Oregon, Sams said the story of Native Americans needs to be better told at America’s 423 national parks, monuments and memorials, including the White House. READ MORE.Wil Phinney, Underscore.news

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Native leaders sat down with top officials from the Interior in December. We learn more details about the historic meeting. Plus, Albuquerque officials are working to understand more about a gravesite at a former Indian boarding school.

Watch:

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday titled, “Closing the Digital Divide in Native Communities through Infrastructure Investment.”

The hearing starts at 2:30 p.m. ET.

For a list o Native leaders testifying, click here.

To watch the hearing, click here.

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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. icteditors@indiancountrytoday.com.

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