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Charles Graham, Lumbee, has won the democratic nomination for North Carolina’s 7th congressional district. He is one step closer to possibly becoming the state’s first Indigenous person elected to Congress.

North Carolina is home to one of the largest populations of Indigenous people in the South. The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina is the largest Native nation east of the Mississippi with over 55,000 citizens, who live across Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland and Scotland counties. WIth this hurdle overcome, a Lumbee citizen could be representing Lumbee communities in Congress.

The election was too close to call for most of the night.

Graham maintained a small lead most of the night by just a few hundred votes. With 31.22 percent of the votes, Graham avoided a runoff election. In North Carolina, candidates have to win by at least 30 percent to avoid a runoff. In all, Graham received 12,947 votes, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections.

“I’m excited to celebrate this victory tonight with my family and loved ones! We did what we’ve always done - put together a diverse coalition to win. And we’re gonna do it again in November. Thank you everyone who believed in us!” Graham posted on Twitter. READ MORE Pauly Denetclaw, Indian Country Today

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PHOENIX — Priscilla Notah wanted to show off her speed.

She also wanted to represent for other girls during a recent football combine and, of course, “show out.”

Notah, 13, was among dozens of Indigenous athletes at what was described as the first ever Indigenous Football Combine in south Phoenix at Cesar Chavez High School. On May 14, Phoenix Indian Center, in partnership with the NFL Players Association, Desert Lotus, My Recruits, and the 7G Foundation, hosted the free event for American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian high school football athletes.

“It’s cool that everyone showed up today, and we all showed out,” Notah said.

Notah is from Sacaton, from the nearby Gila River Indian Community. Athletes from as far away as California and the Navajo Nation traveled to the desert for their love of football.

The combine drills included a 40-yard dash, shuttle, power ball toss, broad jump, and individual competitions. The near-triple digit temperature didn’t appear to affect the players, as all were encouraged often to drink water. READ MORE Dalton Walker, Indian Country Today

If you live in Florida or Texas, you’ve probably heard of the various bills that have angered the LGBTQ+ community.

In Florida, a law known as the “don’t say gay” bill, limits what teachers in public schools can teach students about gender identity and sexual orientation.

And in Texas, the governor and attorney general directed the state Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate and prosecute parents of transgender children for child abuse.

These laws are concerning to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, but Two-Spirit youth are also at great risk.

Two-Spirit people have been around Turtle Island long before colonization. It’s a direct translation of the Ojibwe term, Niizh manidoowag. It typically means that someone’s body simultaneously houses a masculine and feminine spirit.

“Before colonialism, American Indians identified with more than two genders,” Navajo Two-Spirit Trudie Jackson said. “Federal Indian policies have played a role in the erasure of Two-Spirit and gender non-conforming identities. The federal Indian policies reflected mainly the gender binary and a lot of tribal leaders and communities embraced Christianity where the stories and traditions of Two-Spirit were basically swept under the rug.” READ MOREConnor Van Ligten, Indian Country Today

Around the world: First Nations leaders want Pope Francis to visit former residential schools during his upcoming trip to Canada, a top UN Indigenous rights body makes its first visit to Australia, a study finds that Indigenous control helps stop deforestation, leaders praise a new chief minister in Australia’s Northern Territory Chief Minister and Indigenous comedians share laughs at a Canadian festival.

CANADA: First Nations leaders tell Pope to visit residential schools

First Nations leaders are calling on Pope Francis to visit former residential school sites when he visits Canada in July, CBC News reported on May 13.

The Pope is scheduled to make stops in Quebec City, Edmonton and Iqaluit when he visits Canada July 24-29, but Chief Ghislain Picard of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador said his itinerary for Quebec is unsatisfactory.

"We've made repeated calls that the Pope take the time to visit at least one of the sites where unmarked graves were discovered and well, so far, it doesn't seem to be in the plan," Ghislain said, according to CBC News. READ MOREDeusdedit Ruhangariyo, Indian Country Today

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On Wednesday's ICT Newscast, we learn about a Tlingit citizen who has been named a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC. More on a push for a Haudenosaunee lacrosse team at the 2028 Olympics. Plus, a politics update with John Tahsuda

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The Alaska Legislature has passed a measure to formally recognize tribes in the state.

The House on Tuesday voted 37-2 to accept a Senate version of the bill that passed last week. The bill next goes to Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Supporters of the bill say it is an overdue step that would create opportunities for the state and tribes to work together.

The measure is similar to an initiative that was slated to go before voters later this year. The ballot group, Alaskans for Better Government, said the bill and initiative are “functionally identical and were written to serve the same purpose - to have the State permanently recognize the 229 federally-recognized Tribes in Alaska."

Initiatives that qualify for the ballot can be bumped if the Legislature passes substantially similar legislation first. The campaign group in a statement said it anticipates that will be the case here. — Associated Press

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