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The Cherokee Nation said Wednesday that it has reached 400,000 tribal citizens and expects to become the most populous Indigenous nation in the United States again.

"In the coming months, Cherokee Nation Registration will be adding thousands more tribal citizens whose applications are already pending and awaiting verification, making the Cherokee Nation the largest tribe in the United States," Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement.

In March, the Arizona-based Navajo Nation announced that it had become the nation's most populous tribe when it reached a population of nearly 400,000 to surpass the Cherokee Nation, which then had about 392,000 citizens.

(Previous: Cherokee no longer largest tribe)

However, the Cherokee Nation's registration department has received up to 2,000 citizenship applications weekly since Hoskin announced a $2,000 COVID-19 assistance payment to all citizens and those approved as citizens by June 2022, according to the tribe.

The applications for citizenship increased 10-fold from before the payment announcement, according to the tribe.

Navajos also saw an enrollment increase as the tribe offered hardship assistance payments from last year's federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, boosting the tribe's rolls from about 306,000 to nearly 400,000 citizens. — The Associated Press

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In Arizona, the Tempe Union High School District moved to honor local Indigenous communities whose ancestral lands district schools are on.

Representatives from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Ak-Chin Indian Community and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community attended a special reception and flag presentation on Sept. 15.

Flags from the four tribes, along with the Navajo Nation, are now permanently on display in the school district’s governing board room.

A Sept. 15, 2021 ceremony unveiling five tribal flags that will be on display at the Tempe Union High School District’s governing board room. (Photo courtesy of Ismael Osu)

Two Yaqui tribal citizens pushed the governing board members and the superintendent for representation.

Marcos de Niza High School parent Ismael Osuna wrote a letter urging the board to consider the inclusion because, “having our Yaqui flag in the boardroom will help instill pride in our youth and help them see they have a place at Tempe Union.”

Governing Board President Brian Garcia backed Osuna’s efforts.

A spokesperson for TUHSD said the district is looking forward to collaborating with tribal partners in the future. — Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

A controversial pipeline project in northern Minnesota is complete and oil is scheduled to start flowing this week.

Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project will carry oil as soon as Friday despite months-long protests against it. The Canadian-based company’s president and CEO, Al Monaco, said in a statement that the pipeline “will soon deliver the low-cost and reliable energy that people depend on every day.”

The project was completed despite stiff opposition from tribes, environmentalists and others who argued that the 1,097-mile pipeline — including the 337-mile segment across Minnesota — would violate treaty rights, worsen climate change and risk spills in waters where Native Americans harvest wild rice... READ more.Indian Country Today

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The top seed in the WNBA playoffs has a Native connection.

The Connecticut Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, fell to the Chicago Sky on Tuesday in its playoff opener. As the top seed, the Sun didn't have to play until the third round. The Sky lead the best-of-five series 1-0.

The new Nike "Rebel" edition uniform for the Connecticut Sun WNBA team. The jersey has the Mohegan word for sun, Keesusk, across the front.

Game 2 is Thursday in Connecticut before the series shifts to Chicago for game 3.

For details about the team, click here.

The Cherokee Nation and three opioid distributors reached a $75 million settlement to resolve opioid-related claims against the companies, the tribe and the companies announced Tuesday.

The Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based tribe announced the settlement, the largest in Cherokee Nation history, with McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation. The settlement will be paid out over six and a half years.

The tribe sued the three companies, along with several pharmacy companies, in 2017, alleging they contributed to "an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse" within the tribe and have not done enough to prevent tribal members from acquiring illegally prescribed opioid painkillers... READ more.The Associated Press

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It’s been a long and eventful month in Indian Country. Because news is happening so fast, here are the ICT stories you should catch up from September. (Including the celebratory news that ICT is now officially an Indigenous nonprofit news organization.)

Take a look at and share the events list for the Day of Remembrance. Canada will mark its first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. So many are holding events in the US for boarding school survivors.... READ more.

Even in his final moments, Myron Dewey, the award-winning filmmaker, was doing what he enjoyed most: Helping others.

The founder of Digital Smoke Signals, known for his visual work on the No Dakota Access Pipeline movement in Standing Rock, was tragically killed in a car crash on Sunday in Yomba, Nevada. He was 49.

Dewey’s lifelong partner Deborah Parker said Dewey died in a head-on collision. As first responders were using the Jaws of Life to extract Dewey from a vehicle, Parker says she was able to share the last loving thoughts with him before he died during a call on her cell phone.

“He tried to fight, he tried to breathe, but he didn’t make it,” shared Parker… READ more. — Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today

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