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At least 10 Indigenous high school athletes have been named Gatorade Players of the Year for their home states this year, joining more than a half-dozen other Native students who have received the honor in years past.

Hawai’i led the way with six Indigenous athletes named Players of the Year in basketball, football, softball, soccer, track and volleyball. Other states with Indigenous athletes of the year include Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi and Nevada.

Three of the Hawai’i winners came from the Kamehameha Schools’ Kapālama High School, a private school founded in the late 1800s that focuses on providing educational opportunities for Native Hawaiian students.

“We believe our haumāna [students] are descendants of greatness,” said Wendy Erskine, a school administrator. “The fact that our athletics program produces so many Gatorade Players of the Year is a testament to the expectations our haumāna have for themselves and the support system we create to help them succeed.” READ MORE. — Dan Ninham, Special to ICT

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An ancient fish has been swimming in the waters of the Pacific Northwest since before trees existed. After surviving for hundreds of millions of years, Pacific lamprey were decimated by dams and other human-caused habitat disruptions, as well as lack of government protections. Tribes are leading conservation efforts, with the goal of getting their numbers back to levels that ensure a reliable harvest.

On a hot afternoon in July, citizens of the Yakama Nation and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs celebrated their first foods with a feast. The tribes held the event near Willamette Falls, where, that morning, tribal citizens had gathered the lamprey they served. The celebration was open to the public and featured a full day of drumming, dancing and feasting.

“We organized this event to honor and celebrate our annual lamprey harvest,” said Donella Miller, Yakama Nation Fisheries biologist and program manager. “We normally have feasts to honor the foods back at our longhouses at home, but we haven’t had anything down here on our ancestral lands since the 1990s. It was important to us to come back and share these teachings with our young ones, to pass on traditions.” READ MORE.McKayla Lee, Underscore News

Blueberry bison tamales, harvest salad with mixed greens, creamy carrot and wild rice soup, roasted turkey with squash. This contemporary Native meal, crafted from the traditional foods of tribes across the United States and prepared with “Ketapanen” – a Menominee expression of love – cost caterer Jessica Pamonicutt $976 to feed a group of 50 people last November.

Today it costs her nearly double.

Pamonicutt is the executive chef of Chicago-based Native catering business Ketapanen Kitchen. She is a citizen of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin but was raised in the Windy City, home to one of the largest urban Native populations in the country, according to the American Indian Center of Chicago.

Her business aims to offer health-conscious meals featuring Indigenous ingredients to the Chicago Native community and educate people about Indigenous contributions to everyday American fare. READ MORE.Associated Press/Report for America

While on a foraging trip through a wooded area of Kansas City, Jojo Blackwood discovered a plant that would change the way she views her food.

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“In my mind, I was like, ‘This is the weirdest looking soccer ball I’ve ever seen in my life,’” Blackwood recalled.

When she pointed it out to the foraging leader from the Kansas City Indian Center, he gasped.

It was a giant white puffball mushroom, a rare find.

The experience sparked her love of foraging for edible plants, as well as growing indigenous foods at the Kansas City Indian Center’s two community gardens.

“It really helps me connect to my culture better,” said Blackwood. “It helps me connect to my people better. I like to think that my ancestors are proud of me for doing this.” READ MORE.Harvest Public Media

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On the Monday edition of the ICT Newscast, interviews with Native women making a difference on the stage, in the kitchen and in the board room.

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Asa Peters marched into a thicket of Japanese knotweed in the woods of coastal Massachusetts this month and began steadily hacking the towering, dense vegetation down to size.

The 24-year-old citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag was among a cadre of volunteers rooting out invasive species and tending to recently planted native vegetation on a wide swath of forest acquired on behalf of his federally recognized tribe and other Wampanoag communities.

“It’s hard. You got to keep pulling and pulling. Starting to really sweat, but it’s cool,” he said as he took a quick break in the sweltering August heat. “We’re in the early stages, putting in the work to create a special place where we can do all kinds of great things.”

The Wampanoag Common Lands, as the project is called, seeks to restore a 32-acre (13-hectare) former Catholic summer camp on the banks of the Muddy Pond in Kingston to something closer to what it might have looked like before European colonization transformed it. READ MORE. Associated Press

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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. dalton@ictnews.org.

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