Mníhanitak shí’sh, relatives.

Happy Labor Day weekend! A lot of news out there. Thanks for stopping by Indian Country Today’s digital platform.

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School investigating after Indigenous student says hair cut

CLINTON, Okla. — School officials in Clinton say a fifth grader’s claim that he was forcibly held down in a school bathroom by two students who cut his hair have been shown by video evidence to be untrue.

Superintendent Tyler Bridges told The Associated Press late Friday that videos reviewed by school officials do not support the boy’s claim.

The boy initially told his family, who are citizens of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, that he was held face down by two students in a bathroom and that one of them cut off several inches of his hair.

“We were able to determine without a shadow of a doubt that the original allegation is completely false,” Bridges said.

He said he and other school officials met Friday with Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal leaders and members of the Oklahoma Legislature’s Native American caucus to discuss the incident.

Bridges said a Clinton Police Department investigation into the incident was ongoing. A telephone message left late Friday with Clinton Police Chief Paul Rinkel wasn’t immediately returned.

The family of Dominique Lonebear says the assault happened Tuesday at Washington Elementary School.

“I can’t even explain the feeling that I have,” the boy’s grandmother, Laquita Lonebear, told the television station. “Driving home, I was so upset and hurt. My heart broke.”

Laquita Lonebear said her grandson could not identify the students because he was held face down while one student cut off several inches of his hair.

“He (Dominique) said one held him down, the other one cut his hair, and they took off running out,” she said.

Long hair among Indigenous men, including Cheyenne and Arapaho people, often has cultural and religious significance, according to the Oklahoma Council for Indian Education. The council condemned the assault and called for a full investigation.

“The assault not only caused physical damage but also severe psychological distress to the young man and his family,” a council statement read. “Long hair among Indigenous men, including Cheyenne and Arapaho people, has cultural and religious purposes. It often also symbolizes pride in their heritage and culture. This assault not only violates the young man’s bodily autonomy; it is also offensive and hurtful to his family’s spiritual beliefs as well, as his grandmother clearly stated.”

The Associated Press

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Ida’s aftermath in Indian Country

Virginia Richard escaped Hurricane Ida just in time.

Richard, MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, evacuated from the Ninth Ward of New Orleans on Aug. 28 to Austin, Texas. She reached out to many people asking if they were able to get out and if they were okay. As a result, she picked up a friend of a friend in the French Quarter and evacuated with them.

“I’m just extremely blessed and privileged to have gotten out,” she said.

Richard said she is going to try to go back this weekend but definitely won’t return until she has power.

Power should be restored to almost all of New Orleans by Wednesday, 10 days after Hurricane Ida destroyed the electric grid, tearing down poles, transformers and even a massive steel transmission tower and leaving more than 1 million customers in Louisiana without power. That’s down from the peak of around 1.1 million five days ago as the storm arrived with top winds of 150 mph, tying it for the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to strike the mainland United States... READ more.

Kalle Benallie, Indian Country Today

Congress members urge Joe Biden to stop Line 3 pipeline

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and her progressive congressional allies urged President Joe Biden on Friday to stop construction on Enbridge Energy's Line 3 replacement, even as the project nears completion and the options to stop it dwindle.

Omar was joined by U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, Cori Bush, of Missouri, and Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, and Minnesota state Sen. Mary Kunesh, at a news conference in Minneapolis. The Democratic women called on Biden to revoke a federal water quality permit and stop the project, as the president did with the Keystone XL pipeline the day he took office.

Ahead of a planned weekend trip to northern Minnesota, where the pipeline is being upgraded, Omar and her allies echoed the arguments of Indigenous and environmental activists that the pipeline project would worsen climate change, violate Native American treaty rights, and risk spills in waters where Indigenous people hunt, fish and gather wild rice... READ more.

The Associated Press

Sharice Davids introduces the Native American Entrepreneurial Opportunity Act of 2021

Bill aims to give Native American small businesses a seat at the table within the Small Business Administration... READ more.

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Recovering history in the Army Corps of Engineers

Jaime Pinkham is accustomed to slow-moving change.

It has taken since the inception of the Army of the Civil Works, nearly 200 years, to employ a Native person; Pinkham, Nez Perce, is the first Indigenous person ever to head the Army Corps of Engineers.

But Pinkham is hopeful that his appointment as acting assistant secretary of the Army Corps of Civil Works, as well as several other Indigenous non-traditional appointments in Congress, will lead to an opportunity of creating change. He was appointed to the position April 19.

The Army of the Civil Works provides policy guidance and direction to the Army Corps of Engineers. These are the folks on the ground on the civilian side, in charge of delivering the Civil Works’ mission around navigation, risk and flood management, environmental restoration and emergency management. Essentially, it is the civilian oversight provided to the military... READ more.

Nancy Marie Spears, Gaylord News

Looking for stuff to watch this weekend?

Here are a few reviews from our resident Native Nerd Vincent Schilling.

  • Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista in ‘See,’ Hugh Jackman in 'Reminiscence,' 'Paw Patrol,' and Momoa’s Netflix winner 'Sweet Girl'
  • James Gunn’s notable DC epic, 'Titans' on HBO Max proves worthy, Kate Beckinsale thrives in 'Jolt', a slow start to 'What If' and Disney’s Indian American gem 'Spin'
  • I watched more than 50 short films in a variety of genres such as animated, fiction and documentary films… here are my favorites
  • We take a look at the latest blockbuster movies: ‘Space Jam,’ ‘Quiet Place 2,’ ‘Tomorrow War’ and ‘Hitman’s Wife’

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#ICYMI: TV Guide names three Native programs in Top 100 Best Shows

This week proves another milestone for Native representation on television as TV Guide announced its selection for “The 100 Best Shows on TV Right Now.”

TV Guide recognized the talent of both Native writers and Native actors in naming FX/HULU Network’s “Reservation Dogs” at number 40 and Peacock TV’s “Rutherford Falls” at 51.

Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” came in at 83.

And just an FYI to Indian Country, the much loved Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) also grabbed the attention of TV Guide with a number 38 ranking for “The Mandalorian” on Disney Plus… READ more.

Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today

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