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Indigenous voters across the country are considering their options of who to vote for and why. The way they vote, by mail or at the polls may also differ from state to state.

With the 2022 midterm election soon approaching on Nov. 8, the #NativeVote22 is in full swing. ICT asked Indigenous voters what issues they find most pressing, where they plan to vote and if it’s accessible to them.

Southwest region

In Arizona, Fermina Joe Desiderio, Navajo, said she votes for someone who is going to represent the interest of tribal communities through their plan of actions.

“I try to focus on, is it going to help our tribal nations and that’s how I cast my decisions or make my decisions on who I’m going to vote for,” she said. READ MOREKalle Benallie, ICT

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Most child welfare cases wrestle over issues of best interest and well-being.

But when the U.S. Supreme Court hears an upcoming legal challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act this month, three central constitutional questions will be in play. The questions challenge core aspects of Congressional power and the relationship between tribes and the U.S. government:

  • Do efforts to keep Native American children connected to their families and tribes violate the 14th amendment’s equal protection rights of non-Native adoptive parents?
  • Is the U.S. government “commandeering” states — a violation of the 10th amendment — by requiring them to enforce ICWA, a federal law?
  • Does Congress have the right to be involved in local child welfare matters, under a key clause of the Indian Commerce Act?

READ MORENancy Marie Spears, The Imprint

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Hoopa Valley Tribe alleged in a lawsuit Monday that the federal government is violating its sovereignty and failing to collect money from California farms that rely on federally supplied water to pay for damages to tribal fisheries.

The tribe, which has a reservation in northwest California, says in its lawsuit against the Biden administration that the Trinity River that it relies on for food and cultural purposes has been decimated by decades of the federal government diverting water.

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The suit alleges the U.S. Department of the Interior has failed to follow laws that require the contractors who use that water to pay money for habitat restoration projects. It says those contractors owe $340 million for environmental restoration work along the Trinity River and other places damaged by water diversions.

“The river has become a place that is no longer a healing place, but a place that is a sick place," said Jill Sherman-Warne, a member of the Hoopa tribal council. READ MOREAssociated Press

MOUNT VERNON, Ala. — Testifying before Congress, Chief Framon Weaver said his Alabama-based tribe, with roots dating back to the 1830s, held a distinction no one else wanted when it came to being recognized by the U.S. government, a stamp of approval that can mean millions in federal funding for Native American groups.

“It is clear that our tribe, the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, (is) the literal poster child for the structural failures evident in the federal recognition process,” Weaver told a committee.

That was in 2012, so long ago that Weaver is no longer chief. The MOWAs are still seeking federal recognition, and they're one of two state-recognized tribes hoping Congress will right what they see as wrongs of the past with the help of two influential U.S. senators who are retiring. It's an issue entwined not just with history but with the possibility of gambling revenues. READ MOREAssociated Press

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Racing Magpie was awarded $40,000 over two years from Wagner Foundation and VIA Art Fund. The arts space is based in Rapid City, South Dakota. Peter Strong and Mary Bordeaux talked with ICT’s Shirley Sneve about the grant.

Tribal leaders all across Indian Country are gearing up their citizens to vote next Tuesday, if they haven't already mailed in their ballots. And in urban cities, local groups are doing the same thing to galvanize the Native Vote. In downtown Seattle, Washington, the Native Action Network held a, "Be A Rock Star -Vote Early" event this past Saturday. Alaina Capoeman, is its program manager.

For years, Darryl Tonemah has worked with tribal communities and organizations with his company, Tonemah Consulting Group, to tackle both mental health and physical health. He has a Ph.D. in counseling, psychology and cultural studies. He's also an award-winning musician and he often uses music to reach his audience. And now he's developed a podcast, “The Singing Psychologist” where he definitely mixes both.

WATCH HERE

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon is facing disciplinary action for being intoxicated during a family vacation in Las Vegas.

Navajo lawmaker Otto Tso introduced legislation Friday in the Tribal Council to place Damon on administrative leave without pay indefinitely. The council can take action on the bill after the five-day public comment period ends.

Damon is in his second, two-year term as head of the tribe's legislative branch, one of three branches of the Navajo government. He presides over Tribal Council sessions and represents six Navajo communities in the Arizona portion of the reservation as a delegate on the 24-member council.

Damon was on a private vacation with his family in Nevada earlier this month when he was photographed slumped in a chair in front of a gambling machine. READ MOREAssociated 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.