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On Monday, Darío José Mejía Montalvo, Zenú, from Colombia was elected chairperson of the permanent forum.

He’s overseeing the 21st session of the international forum, a high-level advisory body to the UN’s Economic and Social Council.

On Tuesday discussions focused on the extractive industry and free, prior and informed consent. In his opening remarks, Mejía Montalvo reminded everyone that the survival of Indigenous languages is in the hands of the youth and there’s a lot at stake.

“We have developed our own value systems, systems of governance, ways of living and coexisting with nature,” he said. “With our practices and our still current ancestral knowledge we share a holistic relationship with nature.”

He emphasized the importance of the sacred visions and stories that have underpinned Indigenous worldviews and described how plants, insects and animals have rights.

“They have rights even more than we do, rights to continue to exist,” Mejía Montalvo continued. “This is not romanticism, it is reality."

Indigenous leaders are speaking on personal issues directly affecting their communities and homelands and are making calls to action. Experts are making clear recommendations for the UN and its member states. READ MORE.Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today


The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Wednesday morning in a case featuring the latest fallout from the court’s historic decision nearly two years ago over tribal lands and authority.

In July 2020, the high court handed down a 5-4 decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, stating that Congress had not explicitly disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation. In doing so, much of eastern Oklahoma is Indian Country and crimes involving Natives in these lands are to be prosecuted by tribal and federal courts, not the state.

In the time since the ruling, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Cherokee Nation citizen, has slammed the decision and said it has thrown the state into chaos when it comes to criminal jurisdiction.

During his State of the State Address earlier this year, Stitt said the McGirt decision threatens justice for all.

“Oklahoma has been robbed of the authority to prosecute crimes,” Stitt said in February during the speech. “Put simply, McGirt jeopardizes justice.”

The state filed over 30 appeals petitions, with all being denied by the U.S. Supreme Court except for one; Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta.

The petition presented two questions: Whether the state has authority to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in Indian Country and whether McGirt v. Oklahoma should be overruled.

In granting the petition, the court limited arguments to question one about the scope of McGirt but indicated it would not overturn the case entirely. READ MORE. — Kolby KickingWoman, Indian Country Today

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On Tuesday's ICT Newscast, we meet the first Indigenous player in the National Women's Soccer League. An award-winning children's author tells us about her new book. Plus, an Ojibwe artist perpetuates culture through paintings and dance

Dr. Gordon L. Pullar Sr, a longtime Alutiiq educator and author in Alaska, died April 18 after a long illness. He was 78.

Pullar was a professor and mentor to scores of students, a researcher and author who contributed to the renaissance of Alutiiq culture, and a leader in local tribal, regional Native nonprofit and for-profit corporate worlds.

He was also credited with helping bring home more than 1,000 Alutiiq remains that had been taken from Larsen Bay in the 1930s and were being stored at the Smithsonian Institute – a move credited with helping enact the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

“He was revered not only for his academic brilliance that shone through in a long list of scholarly publications, but also for his willingness to help all students no matter what the question was, and most of all for his overall kindness to everyone he encountered,” wrote Jenny Bell Jones on behalf of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development, which he directed for 17 years.

A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. on May 5 at the First Presbyterian Church of Anchorage. READ MORE. — Joaqlin Estus, Indian Country Today


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