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A representative democracy means the people choose their elected officials, not the other way around.

Concerns about voter suppression efforts are mounting in Arizona. Many say the redistricting process is being targeted to diminish Native voting power.

“I’m very concerned. I'm very angry. I'm disgusted by what's happening,” Pima County Recorder Gabriella Casarez-Kelly said. She is the first Indigenous person to hold an elective office in southern Arizona’s Pima County and previously volunteered with a grassroots organization to increase Native voter participation.

AIRC congressional district map, adopted draft (Courtesy Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission)

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is tasked with drawing fair and competitive congressional and state legislative district maps and it is deep into the process right now.

The commission wrapped up draft map hearings and the public comment period on Dec. 4.

Now it's focused on redrawing the final maps and is supposed to adjust boundaries based on the public testimony heard over the past month. READ MORE. Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

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JUNEAU, Alaska —A U.S. District judge has rejected a challenge by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to a special subsistence hunt authorized for a southeast Alaska tribe by a federal board last year.

The Organized Village of Kake last year requested an emergency hunt, citing food security concerns amid the pandemic, according to court documents. A limited season of up to 60 days was granted by the Federal Subsistence Board, and the harvest was distributed to 135 households in the village, documents state.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game challenged the board’s action, raising procedural objections, CoastAlaska reported. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason, in a recent ruling, said the state’s claims regarding the hunt must be dismissed as moot, finding there was not a “reasonable likelihood” that the board would take similar actions in the future. READ MORE. The Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. — Montana is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lift threatened species protections for grizzly bears in the northern portion of the state, including areas in and around Glacier National Park, officials said this week.

The request, if granted, would open the door to public hunting of grizzlies in Montana for the first time in three decades. It comes after bear populations have expanded, spurring more run-ins including grizzly attacks on livestock and periodic maulings of people.

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Removing federal protections would give state wildlife officials more flexibility to deal with bears that get into conflicts, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said. But wildlife advocates warned of overhunting if protections are lifted.

Northwest Montana has the largest concentration of grizzlies in the Lower 48 states, with more than 1,000 bears across Glacier National Park and nearby expanses of forested wilderness, an area known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. READ MORE.The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — Most Americans know about atrocities endured by Native Americans after the arrival of European settlers: wars, disease, stolen land. But they aren’t always taught the extent of the indiscriminate killings.

Citizens of the Penobscot Nation in Maine have produced an educational film addressing how European settlers scalped — killed — Indigenous people during the British colonial era, spurred for decades by cash bounties and with the government’s blessing.

“It was genocide,” said Dawn Neptune Adams, one of the three Penobscot Nation citizens featured in the film, called “Bounty.”

She said the point of the effort isn’t to make any Americans feel defensive or blamed. The filmmakers say they simply want to ensure this history isn’t whitewashed by promoting a fuller understanding of the nation’s past. READ MORE.The Associated Press

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Coming up, he’s the latest recipient of Forbes’ 30-under-30 award. Victor Lopez-Carmen is in studio. Plus, ICT Reporter Carina Dominguez is talking Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Watch here:

PHOENIX — The Shadow Wolves unit, Homeland Security’s only Native specialized tracking team, is ready for a change after nearly 50 years of patrolling the Arizona desert.

Bills that seek to strengthen and expand the Shadow Wolves’ authority were approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security in the past month.

If the bills move forward, they will allow Homeland Security to reclassify the Shadow Wolves from tactical enforcement officers to special agents and expand the program to other tribal jurisdictions.

Since 1974, the elite unit has tracked smugglers across the 2.8 million acres of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona and the 76-mile stretch of land bordering Mexico. READ MORE.Clara Migoya, Arizona Republic

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The holiday season is here, and here’s a collection to help make the busy season that much easier while at the same time supporting Indigenous creators. GIFT GUIDE.

MINNEAPOLIS — “Put on a show.”

That was one of many messages over the course of the week to the Native athletes who played in the 2021 Indigenous Bowl. And put on a show they did.

"Purple War Chiefs" take a team photo after the conclusion of the Indigenous Bowl (Photo by Kolby KickingWoman, Indian Country Today)

Traveling from near and far, 54 Native athletes representing more than 30 tribes across Indian Country took the field Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings.

However, the event was about more than the game.

Over the course of the week, the student-athletes were exposed to leadership training and heard from speakers and coaches that touched on topics from maintaining personal finances to applying for college scholarships to how to refine their skills as football players. READ MORE.Kolby KickingWoman, Indian Country Today

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. Email dwalker@indiancountrytoday.com.

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