Hi there. Here's what you need to know today:

Native students allowed to don cultural items at graduation

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — When Andrew Mike prepared to graduate from Willamette High School this spring, his mother decorated his mortarboard with intricate beading and he tied an eagle feather his grandmother gave him onto his cap.

Mike is an enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and is also Shoshone Paiute and Winnebago. Donning these items means not only representing a large part of himself, but also his larger community.

(Related: Graduations shouldn't be 'another form' of erasure)

House Bill 2052, passed in May, permits American Indian and Alaska Native high school graduates to wear tribal regalia and other cultural items during their graduation ceremonies. While many schools in Oregon allowed students to wear these items before the bill, some did not.

Graduating senior Nyché Andrew is congratulated by Service High School staff members after she crossed the stage on May 12, 2021. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)

“It was definitely cool to wear my eagle feather out and my beaded cap because I know my mother wasn’t able to do that,” he said. “It’s crazy that it wasn’t allowed back then, because (the traditions) have been on this land for thousands of years, and our traditional practices are very important to us as people.”

(Related: Rethinking regalia rule that failed some)


Fires destroy 2 churches on Canadian Indigenous reserves

OLIVER, British Columbia (AP) — Two Roman Catholic churches on First Nations reserves in British Columbia have burned to the ground in overnight fires, Canada’s national police force said Monday.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said a patrol officer saw fire come from the Sacred Heart Church on the Penticton Indian Band reserve early Monday morning.

By the time the officer arrived on scene, police say the church was fully engulfed.

Less than two hours later, the RCMP in Oliver, British Columbia were called to St. Gregory’s Church, located on the Osoyoos Indian Band reserve.

The RCMP say both churches were destroyed and investigators are treating the fires as suspicious. READ more here.

Glenna Wallace, chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and Ben Barnes, chief of the Shawnee Tribe described their tribes' connection to the Serpent Mound in Peebles, Ohio. (Photo by Mary Annette Pember)

Shawnee reclaim the great Serpent Mound

The Shawnee tribe returned home to the Serpent Mound on the longest day of the year.

The Summer Solstice, June 20, the longest day of the year, marks the first time that the Shawnee tribe officially returned to the Serpent Mound located in Ohio to present their history and connection to this place that they called home so many years ago.

Although it was certainly ancestors of the Shawnee people who built the magnificent serpent shaped mound, the largest earthwork effigy in the world, Ohio failed to involve the tribe in conveying its meaning to the public until now. READ more here.

Sign up here to get ICT's newsletter

Hurry! 'Never forget' installation ends soon

COACHELLA VALLEY, California — The letters tower 45 feet above a picturesque swath of desert on the edge of mountains in southern California, defiantly sending out a message for the world.


It’s a subtle reference to the HOLLYWOOD sign just two hours away — a sign that once spelled out HOLLYWOODLAND to promote a development for whites only. But it carries a not-so-subtle message, too: Stolen lands should be returned.

An art installation by Nicholas Galanin sits at the entrance to the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation in southern California. The installation is part of 13 pieces as part of Desert X 2021 in Coachella Valley, and is set to remain in place until July 6, 2021. (Photo by Lance Gerber, courtesy of the artist and Desert X)

The installation, entitled “Never Forget,” by artist Nicholas Galanin, is one of 13 pieces from an array of artists commissioned for the Desert X 2021 exhibition, which debuted March 12 and is set to run through July 6. It is produced by The Desert Biennial, a nonprofit group that installs recurring international art exhibitions based on the principles of the Land Art movement that emerged in the 1960s. READ more here.

Senate roundtable on Native infrastructure

Wednesday’s Senate Committee on Indian Affairs roundtable will focus on infrastructure in Native communities.

The roundtable called “Concrete Solutions: Building a Successful Foundation for Native Communities’ Infrastructure Development” starts at 2:30 P.M. ET and can be streamed here.

Eight witnesses are scheduled to take part, including representatives from the Interior, White House Council on Native American Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.


Navajo president to appear on Washington Post Live

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez will talk the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on Wednesday with Washington Post Live.

Washington Post Live is the newsroom’s live journalism platform. The discussion starts at 3 p.m. ET. For details on how to watch, click here.

2021 Indigenous Film Summit kicks off

A summit based out of Manitoba, Canada features a number of Indigenous talent.

The three-day virtual summit starts Wednesday and includes a one on one with Jana Schmieding of "Rutherford Falls."

The opening presentation starts at Noon ET and will be streamed on the summit's Facebook page. To register, and for the agenda, click here.

From social media:

Other top stories:

What we’re reading:

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.

Indian Country Today - bridge logo