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The President, members of Congress and other top policy makers attended Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Alongside them was a Native educator.

Melissa Isaac, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, was invited to attend the event as an official guest of first lady Jill Biden.

(Related: State of the Union: Biden vows to halt Russia, hit inflation)

According to the White House, Jill Biden invited several guests to sit in her viewing box. The list of attendees also includes a diabetes advocate, military families and community college students.

Isaac is also known as Gizhwaasod (“Protector of the Young”). She is the lead of the Indigenous education initiative at the Michigan Department of Education.

She previously worked as the Saginaw Chippewa’s director of education. READ MORE. – Indian Country Today

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Polly Andrews knows the importance of having a health-care system that understands Alaska Natives.

Andrews, who is Cup’ik from Chevak and Lower Kalskag in southwest Alaska, is a traditional storyteller and performs Cup’ik songs and dances in her spare time.

The support she gets from her Native-owned, nonprofit health care organization goes far beyond a typical healthcare system.

“I’ve had the same provider for years now,” Andrews told Indian Country Today. “Very often, she sits down with me and really opens the door for me to share parts of my story. She asks how I’m doing, how the family is doing, and about areas where I could really use some healing in my life.” READ MORE.Richard Perry, Special to Indian Country Today

Providence’s mayor announced a city commission on reparations as he and community leaders laid out their plans for the next phase in the Rhode Island capital city’s efforts to atone for its role in Black slavery, systemic racism and the mistreatment of Native Americans.

The executive order signed by Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza at the city’s Bethel AME Church creates the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission.

The 13-member panel is charged with examining reparation work being done in other cities, conducting community outreach and creating recommendations for ways the city can begin repairing harms. NAACP Providence President Jim Vincent is among those already tapped to serve on the board, Elorza said.

“While we know the city alone cannot repair the full scope of harm, today’s action brings us another step closer to addressing the disparities our African heritage and Indigenous residents continue to face,” the mayor said in a written statement. READ MOREAssociated Press

Around the world: Three firms ask Canada court to consider systemic discrimination claims against Inuit children, a damning report in New Zealand finds systemic hospital inequities for Māori people, the Aboriginal Sea Company reaches a milestone in Australia, British Colombia commits to Indigenous reconciliation through health-care spending, and Indigenous communities in Kenya remain uncertain over proposed changes in forest law

Coverage around the world on Indigenous issues for the week. READ MORE.Deusdedit Ruhangariyo, Special to Indian Country Today

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A new report looks at the funding landscape for Indigenous women's reproductive health. We reflect on a grim milestone in Indian Country's COVID-19 fight. Plus, a breakdown of President Biden's first State of the Union Address.

Watch here:

Several Native groups and local conservation non-profits submitted a joint letter to the San Juan Capistrano City Council to consider potential development proposals for the city’s Northwest Open Space property. The joint letter urges council members to codify permanent protection for this 65.6-acre parcel, which includes Putuidem Village Park, a new Indigenous cultural site of the Acjachemen peoples.

City residents have twice voted to tax themselves to purchase open space, including the parcel in question.

The organizations signing the letter are committed to seeing this effort through to protect Northwest Open Space in perpetuity. The letter with the signee organizations’ logos can be seen online at https://bit.ly/OpenSpaceLetter. — Indian Country Today

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  • Recovering from addiction in Klamath: Paul Monteith has been through addiction, loss, prison — you name it. Now, he’s four years clean and sober, a college graduate, and working as a teaching assistant at Oregon Tech in Klamath Falls. He co-founded his own nonprofit peer support organization called Tayas Yawks.
  • Tribal leaders expect economic boost: Oklahoma tribes are hopeful an update to a century-old law will spur tribal economies and the new rules will create a uniform approach to contracting procedures. The Buy Indian Act was created in 1910 to set aside government procurement contracts for Indian-owned businesses.
  • University graduates first Native with PhD in math: John Denver music and log cabin floor plans. Those two escapes were among Benjamin Quanah Parker’s go-to ways to relieve stress and decompress from the rigors of completing a Ph.D. in mathematical sciences.


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