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Three historical paintings of tribal elders damaged in an arson fire on the Flathead Reservation have been restored and returned to the Three Chiefs Culture Center in Montana.

Conservator Joe Abbrescia of the Abbrescia Gallery and Fine Restoration Studio in Kalispell, Montana, returned three paintings on Jan. 20, 2022, that had been damaged in a 2020 arson fire at the Three Chiefs Culture Center on the Flathead Reservation. The center is run by the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille tribes. Work is continueing on restoring other paintings, artifacts and beadwork. (Photo courtesy of Marie Torosian)

Restoration work continues on other paintings, archives and documents that were damaged in the September 2020 fire set by a local resident with mental health problems who died in the fire.

The center, originally named The People’s Center when it opened in 1995, is owned and operated by the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille Tribes.

“Getting these back was a pretty awesome feeling,” said Marie L. Torosian, a citizen of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and program director for the tribal education department.

The damaged paintings included three historical portraits of tribal chiefs, but one could not be restored. READ MORE. Sandra Hale Schulman, special to Indian Country Today

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Becoming Miss Navajo. Powerful shawl scarves. Water monsters. Cherokee aerospace engineers.

These are just some of the stories in the books honored by the American Library Association Youth Media Awards this year with American Indian Youth Literature Awards, which showcase the best in children’s and young adult literature.

The top three winners announced Monday, Jan. 24, are “Herizon,” written by Daniel W. Vandever, Diné, and illustrated by Corey Begay, also Diné, for Best Picture Book; “Healer of the Water Monster,” written by Brian Young, Diné, with cover art by Shonto Begay, Diné, for Best Middle Grade Book; and “Apple (Skin to the Core),” by Eric Gansworth, Onondaga, with cover art by Filip Peraić.

More than a dozen other books received honors from the association. Awarded every two years, ALAYMA seeks to find the best-written stories and illustrations for young people that are by and about Indigenous peoples of North America. READ MORE. Sandra Hale Schulman, special to Indian Country Today

Cordelia Qiġñaaq Kellie, Inupiaq, was 19 when she came across a pamphlet about the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. It was the first time she had encountered an explanation of the 1971 legislation, which settled the state’s Indigenous land claims and established 12 Alaska Native corporations, including the one she was enrolled in.

She was shocked.

Kellie’s Alaska Native corporation had been a familiar presence in her life, quietly yet consistently in the background throughout the years. As a kid, she associated it with the shareholder dividends that went towards her family’s bills and the newsletters around the house. As she got older, she began to view it as a pathway for additional opportunities, such as internships and scholarships.

But she had never learned why it was created, what it signified in regards to her rights and history as an Indigenous Alaskan, or that there were other Alaska Native corporations beyond her own. READ MORE.Meghan Sullivan, Indian Country Today

New Mexico’s largest electric provider is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a decision by regulators and let the utility proceed with a plan to transfer its shares in a coal-fired power plant to a Navajo energy company.

A filing Friday by Public Service Co. of New Mexico suggested that the Public Regulation Commission acted “arbitrarily, capriciously and contrary to law” and misinterpreted a 2019 law that encourages PNM to replace coal-fired plants with renewable forms of energy, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The commission in December rejected PNM’s proposal, saying the company didn’t explain how it would replace the lost power now provided by the Four Corners Power Plant. Commissioners also voiced concerns about investments that the utility sought to recover through bonds that would be paid back by customers.

The 40-page filing Friday was part of PNM’s appeal to the state high court.

The utility has argued that the plan would protect customers, trim emissions from its portfolio and strengthen the Navajo Nation’s position in determining the future of the plant, which is located on tribal land between Shiprock and Farmington in northwestern New Mexico. — Associated Press

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A coalition in Minnesota is creating a space for Native men and boys to better understand sexual violence and its prevention.

Cristine Davidson, White Earth Anishinaabekwe, an education and cultural specialist at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, said the program brings men and boys into the solution.

“The work of the MIWSAC is grounded in the philosophy that each of us have a role, purpose, and place in eradicating sexual violence,” she told Indian Country Today. “When we see our menfolk as sacred, with gifts and spiritual responsibility in helping to restore our balance as a people, we are all stronger.” READ MORE.Dan Ninham, special to Indian Country Today

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