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Montana tribes sue over Indian Education for All compliance

HELENA, Mont. — Montana tribes and the parents of 18 students filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging state education leaders are violating a constitutional requirement to teach about the unique cultures and histories of Native Americans.

The lawsuit, filed in District Court in Great Falls, seeks an order to require the Board of Public Education to create specific educational standards for the Indian Education for All program and to require the superintendent of public instruction to ensure schools meet those standards and accurately report how they are spending money allocated for the program.

"We need state education administrators to create a system of accountability to ensure every educator teaches this subject in a way that preserves American Indians' cultural integrity and to ensure the money Montanans voted to invest in Indian Education for All, benefits every student," Shelly R. Fyant, chair of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, said in a statement. READ more.

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Vice President Kamala Harris meeting with community leaders

On Tuesday, community leaders across Indian Country will meet with Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, D.C., to discuss their experiences and protecting voting rights for Native voters. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, is also joining the discussion.

The event is part of Harris’ voting rights events in the last two weeks and the administration’s efforts on voting rights.

Community leaders attending are:

  • Oglala Lakota President Kevin Killer
  • Allie Young, Diné and founder of Protect the Sacred
  • Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes Chair Shelly Fyant
  • Julie Kitka, president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, originally from the historic village of Nuchek
  • Prairie Rose Seminole, citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara and co-founder of the North Dakota Native American Caucus

Totem pole journey set to reach DC

The House of Tears Carvers of Lummi Nation have taken their totem pole cross-country and are set to arrive in Washington D.C. this week.

On Thursday, the totem pole will be on display in front of the National Museum of the American Indian until July 31.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp are scheduled to speak Thursday, along with tribal leases and Indigenous activists.

Lummi Nation elder Lucille Spencer prays over a nearly 25-foot totem pole, to be gifted from the tribe to the administration of President Joe Biden, in view of Mount Baker, background, shortly after the pole was moved from a carving shed Monday, April 19, 2021, on the Lummi Reservation, near Bellingham, Wash. The pole, carved from a 400-year old red cedar, will make a journey from the reservation past sacred indigenous sites, before arriving in Washington, D.C., in early June. Organizers said that the totem pole is a reminder to leaders to honor the rights of Indigenous people and their sacred sites. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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Rez dogs rule the day

FORT HALL, Idaho — Nadia fit into her owner’s hands. Blue wouldn’t budge because of his new harness. Jax could fetch, sit and lay down.

But it was Paco — a 15-year-old Pomeranian rescue dog who got a rough start as a rez dog — who claimed the title of Rez Dog of the Year on the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho.

The annual Rez Dog competition is a time for proud owners to show off their rez dogs and a fun time for people in the community, said Bob Johnson, maintenance supervisor for Fort Hall Recreation who served as emcee for the event… READ more.

Top 10 Indian Country stories

Here are the top 10 stories from last week. Included in the list is our latest newscast and our top 5 archived articles… READ more.

#ICYMI

Indigenous athletes set to shine in Olympics

Athlete Jillian Weir will be representing more than the Canadian people in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She’s also representing the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte from the Tyendinaga Territory.

Weir, 28, is apparently the only Indigenous athlete on Team Canada and is one of just a few in North America set to compete in the upcoming Olympic Games.

Two Indigenous athletes are representing the United States - Heimana Reynolds, Native Hawaiian and Tahitian, is competing in park skateboarding, and Micah Christenson, also Native Hawaiian, is competing in volleyball… READ more.

Athlete Jillian Weir is representing Canada in the hammer-throwing competition in the Olympic Games set to start July 23, 2021, in Tokyo. She’s a citizen of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte from the Tyendinaga Territory and is among dozens of Indigenous athletes participating in the games. (Photo courtesy of Claus Andersen)

ANCSA@50: The next generation of Alaska Native shareholders

This is part 2 of a 3-part series on Alaska Native identity, part of Indian Country Today’s project on the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act… READ more.

(PART ONE: Alaska Natives’ complicated identities)

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Navajo Nation reports 4 more COVID-19 deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Sunday reported six new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths.

The latest numbers released brought the total number of coronavirus-related cases on the vast reservation to 31,297 since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

The number of known deaths rose to 1,372.

On Saturday, the tribe had reported four new cases and no deaths for the sixth time in seven days.

The Navajo Nation recently relaxed restrictions to allow visitors to travel on the reservation and visit popular attractions like Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley.

While cases are down, Navajo leaders are urging residents to continue wearing masks and get vaccinated.

"The Delta variant is the dominant strain in every part of the country and it continues to spread in our communities as well," tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. "Reports indicate that the Delta variant is 60-percent more transmissible and can lead to more severe symptoms and death."

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