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President Joe Biden included Judge Sunshine Suzanne Sykes as part of his nine federal judicial nominations.

If confirmed for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, she will be the first Navajo federal judge. She is also a descendant of the Coyote Pass-Jemez Clan.

Her qualifications include being a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Riverside County since 2013; being a deputy county counsel in the Office of County Counsel for Riverside County; a juvenile dependency trial attorney representing the California Department of Public Social Services; a contract attorney for the Juvenile Defense Panel at the Southwest Justice Center and a staff attorney for California Indian Legal Services.

Sykes received her Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School in 2001 and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 1997.

Lauren King, Muscogee Nation, was confirmed to serve as a federal judge in Washington earlier this year. The first Native was Diane Humetewa, Hopi, who was nominated to serve in Arizona in 2014 by President Barack Obama. — Indian Country Today


Residents across the Navajo Nation were without power Wednesday after a storm that packed powerful wind moved across the region.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority spokeswoman Deenise Becenti said the outage affected at least 10,000 homes.

Wind knocked over power lines in Shiprock in the New Mexico portion of the reservation. A piece of metal flew off a building and hit a powerline in Kayenta on the Arizona side, she said. Navajo communities near Winslow also were affected, she said.

“They were really strong winds that started early evening, and it just seemed to get stronger,” Becenti said.

Crews have been dispatched, but there was no estimate on when power would be restored, she said.

Arizona Public Service Co. said about 2,000 customers on the Hopi reservation and more than 1,000 south of Payson also were without service Wednesday.

Employees with the Navajo Nation’s legislative and executive branches, and students at Diné College and Navajo Technical University had a two-hour delay because of bad weather.

The power outage came as the tribal utility hosted a crew from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power that was on the reservation to do training in a rural area and help connect homes to the electric grid, Becenti said. — The Associated Press

The future of a statue of Capt. John Mason, who led a 1637 massacre of the Pequot Tribe, was left unresolved after a state commission on Tuesday failed to reach agreement on whether it should remain in place on the Connecticut Capitol facade.

Six of the 12 members of the Connecticut State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission voted to recommend to state lawmakers that the statue remain in place and that a task force be formed to develop contextual interpretations of all Capitol statues for the public.

Three members recommended the Mason statue be relocated to the Old State House, also in Hartford, while the remaining three members favored leaving it in place pending more information.

All three recommendations will be sent to leaders of the General Assembly, The Day of New London reported.

Tribes in Connecticut have called it an affront to have a marble figure of the massacre leader on such a prominent state building.

Mason is known for leading the raid on a settlement of Pequot Indians, which historians said killed more than 400 men, women and children in an hour. There have been efforts to remove his likeness elsewhere in Connecticut in recent years. — The Associated Press

Around the world this week: Indigenous communities in South Africa protest against oil and gas exploration, a trade arrangement is announced in New Zealand, a United Nations committee raises concerns over new Indigenous heritage laws, and people in southern Colombia have learned to fish and farm with the floods.

Coverage around the world on Indigenous issues for Dec. 6-12, 2021. READ MORE.Deusdedit Ruhangariyo, special to Indian Country Today

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Minnesota is the home of a new art installation using augmented reality to tell Dakota stories. Plus, we learn about the historic new leader of a commission that protects fishery resources in the Pacific Northwest.

Watch here:


WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Julie White wishes she had her old job back.

“I completely fell in love with it,” said White, Métis/Anishinaabe, “because I really believed that what we were doing was important.”

White was recruited by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to work as an Aboriginal guide in 2015, one year after the museum opened. She was 25 years old, and in the next few years she learned more about herself, her people and her country than ever before.

She also learned about the lies behind the history and behind the museum itself — that the museum refused to acknowledge the genocide against Indigenous people in Canada even while decrying it elsewhere around the world, why human rights issues were sometimes hidden behind closed doors, why staffers like her experienced the same issues the museum claimed to be standing up against. READ MORE. — Miles Morrisseau, special to Indian Country Today

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