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As part of the Native American Heritage Month celebration, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is bringing the annual Native Cinema Showcase to online audiences Nov. 12–18, making them available to everyone.

Focusing on language, healing, building community, and a continued relationship with the land, the films reveal a strong thread of activism at the heart of the stories. It is a unique forum for engagement with Native filmmakers from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and the Arctic.

All but four of the feature films will be available to watch worldwide, said Cindy Benitez, the program manager who curates and runs the showcase. She also hosts the film and conversation series and curates international film showcases.

“Some highlights for this year are women at the forefront of Native film,” said Benitez, who is non-Native from Paraguay, in an email to Indian Country Today. READ MORE. — Sandra Hale Schulman, special to Indian Country Today

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For the first time, Minnesota has an Indigenous poet laureate. Gwen Westman joins us and delivers a poem you don't want to miss. An honor guard from the Crow Nation pays tribute to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Plus, we're talking infrastructure with John Tahsuda.

Watch here:

Around the world this week: New Zealand gets its first Indigenous foreign minister, governments and private donors pledge $1.7 billion to help Indigenous people protect the forests, an Aboriginal educator in Australia wins a prestigious award, more than 1,000 communities in Peru are affected by deforestation, and patrons in Toronto demonstrate love for Indigenous art.

Coverage around the world on Indigenous issues for Nov. 1-7, 2021. READ MORE.Deusdedit Ruhangariyo, special to Indian Country Today

Gallup Indian Medical Center was one of several New Mexico hospitals that was praised by the state’s Department of Health for its treatment of COVID-19 patients by using monoclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients is an infusion given to patients through IV, and takes about an hour. Studies have shown that it has decreased the chances of death or hospitalization by 70 percent. This is an outpatient treatment and is used for patients who are identified to have mild-to-moderate COVID-19.

“It’s particularly noteworthy because these people are darn busy,” said DOH’s acting Secretary David Scrase during an Oct. 29 livestreamed town hall.

New Mexico DOH recently announced for the second time since the beginning of the pandemic it would enact the Crisis Standards of Care for the state’s hospitals because of the lack of resources. READ MORE. Source New Mexico

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AMESBURY, Mass. — The superintendent of Amesbury High School recommended to the town’s school committee that the school change its Native mascot.

Superintendent Elizabeth McAndrews made the recommendation while speaking to the school committee Monday night, The Newburyport Daily News reported. She also said a mascot review committee created last spring voted 9-2 to remove the mascot.

McAndrews spoke about her pride playing and coaching under a variety of mascots but said, “What matters is that there is a lot of evidence that the use of Native American identifiers or mascots hurts students with Native American heritage.”

She shared the results of an online survey from September in which 1,087 of the 2,062 people who responded said they wanted to keep the mascot while 869 wanted a change, the newspaper reported.

McAndrews acknowledged that the proposed change would make many in the town located on the New Hampshire border unhappy, and recommended the district create a committee of students and staff to identify potential new mascots to be voted on. — The Associated Press

Here's Indigenous Media Initiative's 2021 list of film festivals in November that are streaming the major films of the Indigenous Film Movement in 2021.

The comedy-drama film, "Run Woman Run," by Heiltsuk/Mohawk director Zoe Hopkins, is among the featured films at the National Museum of the American Indian's Native Cinema Showcase from Nov. 12-18, 2021. The film describes a single mother's journey to face her path and get healthy by running a marathon. (Photo courtesy of Running Home Productions)

Included are this year's award-winners and even premieres of new works that have not been screened before. Each festival has a special flavor, so read the brief festival descriptions, and check out on their websites the films they are making available. Some charge admission, some are streaming films for free, and many offer interesting online discussions with filmmakers as well. READ MORE.INDIGENOUS MEDIA INITIATIVES

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Navajo Nation reports 126 more COVID-19 cases plus 8 deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 126 more COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths.

The tribe had gone without reporting a coronavirus-related death 25 times in the previous 40 days before reporting one on Tuesday.

The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 37,737 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

The known death toll now is 1,507.

Based on cases from Oct. 22-Nov. 4, the Navajo Department of Health on Monday issued an advisory for 56 communities due to an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. — The Associated Press

LOWER LAFITTE, Louisiana — The blades of grass are just beginning to push through the thick, marsh mud in Russell Rodriguez’s yard as the mid-October sun beats down on southeastern Louisiana.

A bald eagle soars high above the tall trees. Morning rays glimmer off the rippling waters of nearby Barataria Bayou as it pushes toward the Gulf of Mexico.

It would be idyllic if not for the widespread destruction.

Homes are wrecked, pushed off their pylons and shattered. Fishing boats are upended onto dry land. Coffins washed out of local cemeteries sit cracked open, the bones inside still waiting to be claimed.

It’s more than Rodriguez can take. After decades in lower Lafitte about 65 miles south of New Orleans, he and his wife are leaving their home and their neighbors of the United Houma Nation for higher ground. READ MORE. — Indian Country Today

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. Email dwalker@indiancountrytoday.com.

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