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PHOENIX — In a way, college basketball coach Rob McClain attended one of the premier Native prep basketball tournaments around in search of himself.

McClain, a 6-foot-5 former division 1 guard from the Muscogee Nation, credits the Native American Basketball Invitational for helping open doors to his stellar college basketball career. McClain is long, slim and quick. In his playing days, when he had the ball in the open court, it likely ended with him soaring in for a slam dunk. Even now, with a coaching clipboard, McClain, 23, still looks the part.

McClain’s return to NABI is full circle, a success story, if you will. It was here in Arizona more than five years ago, then a star at Red Lake High School in northern Minnesota, he connected with Pete Conway, men’s basketball coach at United Tribes Technical College, a junior college, or in the sports world referred to as a juco, in Bismarck, North Dakota. READ MOREDalton Walker, ICT

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This behind-the-scenes photo shows work on "Land of Gold," the first film made at the Cherokee Nation's new film studio in Oklahoma. "Land of Gold" debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Cherokee Nation Film Office)

In bold business moves, the Cherokee Nation and the Tesuque Pueblo have opened film studios on tribal lands in hopes of luring the billion-dollar film industry with incentives that go beyond tax breaks and scenic locales.

The Cherokee Nation has created a virtual soundstage, the first of its kind in Oklahoma and believed to be the first in Indian Country. The Tesuque Pueblo, a small New Mexico tribe, built Camel Rock Studios, a movie studio/campus, in an existing building that once housed a casino.

The studios are already drawing interest from award-winning directors. READ MORESandra Hale Schulman, Special to ICT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Circumstances have been dire this month for some 200 people who were taken on July 1 to an Anchorage campground after a municipal homeless shelter closed. Last week the Anchorage Daily News quoted advocates and others who called conditions at the city-owned Centennial Campground “dangerous,” “deplorable,” and “abysmal.”

Wednesday, a police officer and a shooter were injured in a shootout. Michael Baker was camped in his vehicle nearby.

“That gunfire, this close. This is not good,” Baker told the Anchorage Daily News. “That’s the thing I thought about. ‘Man, what if the bullets start flying over here?’”

Last week one of several drug overdoses ended in death. Four bears were killed after entering tents. A disabled woman fell and lay bleeding from her head until a fellow camper noticed her. Park employees and service organizations scrambled to get people fed and sheltered in tents from a chilling rain. READ MOREJoaqlin Estus, ICT

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In Australia, more than 100 animal species have gone extinct or been placed on endangered lists, ecosystems are plagued by invasive species, temperatures and sea levels rise, marine heatwaves have caused coral bleaching, while devastating floods and wildfires have ravaged the country. That’s all according to Australia’s long-awaited State of the Environment report, which describes the environment as “poor and deteriorating.”

“Our waters are struggling – and so is the land,” Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek said in an address announcing the report. “If we continue on the trajectory we are on, the precious places, landscapes, animals and plants that we think of when we think of home, may not be here for our kids and grandkids.” Plibersek called it a “shocking” call to action. READ MORE Joseph Lee, Grist

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Earlier this year, Santos Manuel was given an honorary doctorate degree from California State University San Bernardino. Santos, who has passed on, was the founding leader of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

The tribe’s Vice Chairman Johnny Hernandez was honored to accept the degree for a man he has always admired.

Brent Cahwee from NDN Sports reports on Indigenous athletes. Janee Kassanavoid, Comanche, became the first Native woman to win a medal in the World Athletic Championships in the hammer throw.

More than 150,000 First Nation children were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools from the 19th century until the 1970s. The trauma of this forced removal resonates today. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Canada starting on Sunday. ICT’s Miles Morrisseau will be there. READ MOREICT

Hualapai Chairman Damon Clarke, right, urged the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to pass a bill that would expand his tribe’s water access and improve infrastructure, badly needed help as the drought causes wells to fail. (Photo by Morgan Fischer/Cronkite News)

WASHINGTON – Hualapai Chairman Damon Clarke told a Senate committee Wednesday that getting access to Colorado River water is “the only feasible solution” for his tribe, whose wells are failing under the stress of the continuing drought.

The Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2022 would give the tribe water rights to the Colorado, Verde and Bill Williams rivers and fund construction of water infrastructure that would deliver about 4,000 acre-feet of water a year to the tribe.

Besides delivering water to the roughly 1,600 Hualapai on the reservation, the project would serve Grand Canyon West and its Skywalk, tribe-owned tourist attractions that Clarke said are major employers of tribal members. READ MORECronkite News

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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.

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