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Google Doodles is featuring a two-spirit Zuni Pueblo fiber artist, weaver and potter We:wa in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

Artist Mallery Quetawki, Zuni Pueblo, created the interactive artwork to show We:wa’s gender breaking roles. We:wa practiced both weaving, a traditionally male role, and pottery making, a traditionally female role.

“In the doodle as you’re playing the game and weaving you’re being told a story that weaves in and out of our history,” Quetawki said.

The Zuni Pueblo is located in northwest New Mexico. Quetawki said she looked around her community, past and present, to get inspiration.

“To be part of this continuing conversation about inclusion and choosing someone as iconic as the late We:wa is contributing to this bigger picture of who we are as people,” said Curtis Quam, the museum technician and cultural curator of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Cultural Center. — Kalle Benallie, Indian Country Today

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The Flagstaff City Council is poised to begin its meetings with an acknowledgement honoring the ancestral homelands of Native tribes in the region.

Council members on Tuesday voiced support for having the acknowledgement statement read at the beginning of future meetings. A formal vote is scheduled Tuesday, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

The council’s meeting agenda said the acknowledgement was intended to “formally acknowledge and reflect on the attempted erasure of Indigenous peoples and the historic trauma caused by colonialism” in order to promote understanding and dispute resolution.

Flagstaff is near the Navajo Nation. The Hopi, Hualapai and Havasupai tribes are among others in northern Arizona.

Previously considered by the city Indigenous Commission, the acknowledgement was inspired by one used by a Flagstaff neighborhood association, Councilmember Austin Aslan said. “This is very much the least that we can do, but it is something that we can do.”

The acknowledgment considered by the council states the the council “humbly acknowledges the ancestral homelands of this area’s Indigenous nations and original stewards. These lands, still inhabited by Native descendants, border mountains sacred to Indigenous peoples. We honor them, their legacies, their traditions, and their continued contributions. We celebrate their past, present, and future generations who will forever know this place as home.” — The Associated Press

WEITCHPEC, Calif. — Elizabeth Azzuz stood in prayer on a Northern California mountainside, grasping a torch of wormwood branches, the fuel her Native American ancestors used to burn underbrush in thick forests.

“Guide our hands as we bring fire back to the land,” she intoned before igniting leaves and needles carpeting the slope above the Klamath River.

Elizabeth Azzuz stands in prayer with a handmade torch of dried wormwood branches before leading a cultural training burn on the Yurok reservation in Weitchpec, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. Azzuz, who is Yurok, along with other native tribes in the U.S. West are making progress toward restoring their ancient practice of treating lands with fire, an act that could have meant jail a century ago. But state and federal agencies that long banned "cultural burns" are coming to terms with them and even collaborating as the wildfire crisis worsens. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Over several days in October, about 80 acres on Yurok land were set aflame in a program that teaches ancient skills of treating land with fire.

It was among many “cultural burns” allowed in recent years by state and federal agencies that had long banned them — a sign of evolving attitudes toward wildfire prevention. Research increasingly confirms low-intensity burns can reduce the risk by consuming fire fuels.

Wildfires have blackened nearly 6,000 square miles in California the past two years. Dozens have died; thousands of homes have been lost.

But to the Yurok, Karuk and Hupa in the mid-Klamath region, cultural burning is about reclaiming a way of life suppressed with the arrival of white settlers. READ MORE.The Associated Press

Happy November!

But first, let's not forget about October. It was a long and eventful month in Indian Country. Listed here are the ICT stories you should catch up from a busy October.

Catch up on the stories that made headlines this last month.

Sign up here to get ICT's newsletter

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation, has tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19, she announced Saturday.

Flanagan received the positive test after caring for her 8-year-old daughter Siobhan, who tested positive on Oct. 22, she wrote on Twitter.

The Star Tribune reports lieutenant governor received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last spring.

Flanagan said she and her husband, Tom, had been staying home for the past week to care for their daughter and avoid exposing others to the virus.

Her daughter had just started feeling better when Flanagan started experiencing cold-like symptoms, she said. A rapid test came back positive on Friday, and a PCR test, considered the most accurate way to detect COVID, confirmed that she had the virus.

Flanagan’s brother Ron, who was in his 50s and battling cancer, died of COVID in 2020. — The Associated Press

Two employees of a Native American addiction and counseling center, including its executive director, have been sentenced on charges of embezzling more than $777,000 in federal funds.

Federal officials in Wisconsin say Fredericka DeCoteau, 63, of Cloquet, Minnesota, was sentenced Friday to 2 years in prison and Edith Schmuck, 77, of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison.

They were charged with theft of federal program funds. U.S. District Judge William M. Conley ordered DeCoteau and Schmuck to jointly back restitution of $777,283.

DeCoteau and Schmuck worked at Ain Dah Ing, which has operated as a non-profit halfway house in Spooner, Wisconsin since 1971. DeCoteau was the executive director from 2002 to 2017. Schmuck was the bookkeeper from 1990 to 2017.

The center offers mental health and alcohol and substance abuse services to Native Americans from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin tribes. Its funding came from a federal commercial contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The complaint said DeCoteau and Schmuck paid themselves unauthorized bonuses via payroll checks that were signed using a rubber signature stamp of the center’s treasurer. The judge said they lost most of the money at local American Indian casinos. — The Associated Press

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A full-on virtual Indigenous music festival is a first for Alaska, for sure. Organizers say it’s probably a first for the United States.

The virtual Rock Aakw Music Festival is scheduled for Nov. 5-6, 2021. It will be recorded and broadcast live from Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska.

The festival’s lineup includes Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Supaman, Pura Fe, Pamyua, Ya Tseen, the Native Jazz Trio and more. Genres include Inuit soul music, Native jazz, blues, and hip-hop. Rock Áak'w is named after the original Tlingit inhabitants of Juneau, Alaska.

Organizer Stephen Qacung Blanchett, of Pamyua, told KTOO’s Rhonda McBride that Rock Áak'w gives Indigenous artists “the opportunity not only to perform at a festival, but to headline at one.” Otherwise, he said they typically get put on an Indigenous or world music stage tucked away in a corner of festival grounds.

Admission to the Nov. 5-6 concert is free. A $10 raffle ticket buys you a chance to win two Alaska Airlines tickets to anywhere the airline flies. Go to www.rockaakwfestival.org for free tickets and more information. — Indian Country Today

What you, our Indian Country Today readers, read most.

  1. Artist Bunky Echo-Hawk injured, daughter killed in crash
  2. ‘Marvel’s Voices: Heritage #1’ coming this November
  3. Quapaw Nation land affirmed as Indian Country

For the entire list, click here.

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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