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White House virtual meeting on infrastructure

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. on Wednesday told President Joe Biden that broadband in Indian Country is a high priority.

Hoskin was one of the six officials invited to virtually speak with the White House on the proposed infrastructure bill.

“This bill is important for the country but I want you to know that the bill's important to me because you didn’t forget Indian Country. This bill overall has more than $11 billion in investment in Indian Country. That is historic, potentially transformational investment for tribes across this country,” he said.

Hoskin says internet access is important for many reasons, including for helping elders. He said with internet access, elders are able to access health care providers virtually and are even able to help with language revitalization by speaking to youth Cherokee speakers.

President Biden added that the proposed bill will also aid in reducing the impacts of climate change in tribal communities. READ more.

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Pipeline project continues to include Native workers, spending on tribal business

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Enbridge paid Native contractors and workers more than $29 million according to a report to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Although the number of Native workers on the pipeline construction project increased during the second quarter, Enbridge’s spending on tribal businesses decreased.

During three months ending on June 30, the company and contractors employed 466 workers who identify as Native American including 308 who live in Minnesota.

That number translates to 7.6 percent of Enbridge’s Line 3 construction workforce.

Several tribes in Minnesota, however, are critical of the project, describing it a threat to the state’s waters and as an enabler of climate change.

Children joined in the protest of Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline project with chalk drawings on Monday, June 7, 2021, in northern Minnesota. (Photo by Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today)

Two Natives named to Minnesota inclusion and equity council

Antony Stately, Ojibwe and Oneida, and Ravyn Gibbs, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, were named Minnesota Community Council on Inclusion and Equity.

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation, made the announcement on Wednesday. Fourteen total were named to the council.

The council will advise and collaborate with the One Minnesota Council in achieving its goals to design, create, and implement effective, inclusive, and equitable practices for the State to address disparities and inequities in our communities, according to a news release.

Stately is the CEO of Native American Community Clinic, and Gibbs is a professional staffer in the U.S. Senate. Both their terms on the council go through April 2023.

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Native council member advances to general election

Duluth, Minnesota Council member Renee Van Nett has advanced to the general election after Tuesday's primary.

Van Nett, Leech Lake Ojibwe, received 50 percent of the vote in a three-person race with the top two advancing. Howie Hanson received 40 percent and also advanced.

The general election is set for November.

California fire grows: Montana blaze threatens towns

GREENVILLE, Calif. (AP) — California's largest single wildfire in recorded history continued to grow after destroying nearly 550 homes while authorities in Montana ordered evacuations as a wind-driven blaze roared toward several remote communities.

Denim Irish stops in the road before heading to the fire line as the Richard Spring fire moves toward Ashland, Mont., Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. Ashland and communities in and around the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana were evacuated ahead of a massive, wind-driven wildfire that threatened the area Wednesday. (Mike Clark/The Billings Gazette via AP)

The dangerous fires are among some 100 large blazes burning Wednesday across 15 states, mostly in the West, where historic drought conditions have left lands parched and ripe for ignition.

In southeastern Montana, communities in and around the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation were ordered to evacuate as the uncontrolled Richard Spring Fire grew amid erratic winds… READ more.

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Memo to Biden administration: Less talk, more action

The climate change crisis and missing and murdered Indigenous epidemic are inextricably linked, with added negative impact from extractive industries. On top of that, the federal government has much work to do to uphold its trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations to help bring an end to these crises, according to a memo from NDN Collective.

The memo, shared with key members of the Biden administration on Wednesday, outlines how these issues are intertwined, as well as offering solutions that would help address them.

Citing a report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the memo states between 2010-2019, 8 percent of all murdered girls and women in Minnesota were American Indian despite making up only 1 percent of the state’s population… READ more.

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