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Washington Football Team bans headdresses, face paint

Less than a month after the Washington Football Team announced that its new mascot wouldn’t have any connection to a Native-themed mascot, it banned headdresses and face paint from its football field.

The team announced new stadium policies on Tuesday, and approved fan attire that doesn’t include “Native American inspired ceremonial headdresses or face paint,” according to a post on the team’s website.

Roughly 13 months ago, the team retired its previous racist Native-themed mascot. Since then, it has been known as the Washington Football Team.

"The Washington Football Team's decision to ban Native American-inspired headdresses and face paint from their stadium is another welcome and important step towards eliminating harmful mascots, team names, and racist imagery from American sports,” IllumiNative Executive Director Crystal Echo Hawk said in a statement. “Franchises that continue to pretend change isn't coming are deluding themselves. The Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, and their leagues should follow the same path Washington has set forward."

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Education department wants more Native educators

The U.S. Department of Education awarded 29 projects $10 million as part of the Indian Education Professional Development (PD) program, the department announced this week.

The money goes to training and recruiting Native educators.

Educational institutions from 12 states will receive money ranging from $98,209 to $400,000, to "address a significant gap in the number of qualified Native American individuals in education-related professions that serve Native students," according to a news release. For more information, concluding the list of projects, click here.

Report: SPD stops Black people, Native Americans more

SEATTLE (AP) — A newly-released report shows Seattle police officers — despite almost a decade under federal oversight partially intended to address bias — continue to stop and use force against Black people far more often than white people.

Mount Rainer looms in the background of the Seattle skyline at sunset. (Photo by Howard Ignatius via Creative Commons)

The report found that Black people, per capita, were seven times more likely to be subjected to force by Seattle police than white people, and five times more likely to be stopped and questioned, The Seattle Times reported. Native Americans were nine times more likely to be stopped, the report said.

The greatest disparities were found in incidents where force was used against young people. The report said while Black people make up 7% of the city’s population, “most children and young people who were subjected to SPD (Seattle Police Department) force were Black.”

The report, finished in January and posted without fanfare on the police department’s website July 15, was compiled by the Center for Policing Equity, a Los Angeles-based social justice and policing think tank. It analyzed Seattle Police Department data on tens of thousands of citizen interactions between 2015-2019.

Interim Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz declined to be interviewed and said in a statement, “The SPD will not hide from the hard work ahead but will embrace our mandate to end bias in policing.”

The report noted that the data was incomplete and that officers failed to fill out race-related information on roughly 1 of every 6 use-of-force reports examined.

What makes the COVID-19 variant different, and dangerous

After a brief period of decline, COVID-19 cases are back on the rise in the United States and experts say the delta variant, now deemed to be as contagious as the chickenpox, is to blame.

Delta is a mutation of the original coronavirus strain. Originating in India, the World Health Organization called delta the “fastest and the fittest” in regard to its rapid spread.

As a result, new cases of COVID-19 have skyrocketed: Nationally, new cases jumped from an average of 14,438 a day in the first week of June to 72,493 per day in the last week of July, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… READ more.

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Indian Country Today nets NAJA awards

ICT’s newscast took first place for general excellence in TV for the 2021 National Native Media Awards, announced the National Native American Journalists Association on Wednesday. The newscast also got second for the best program for “Wash Your Hands – ICT Newscast with Ricardo Cate.”

In all, ICT captured four first place awards. NAJA also recognized ICT in seven other categories for print and online in the professional division… READ more.

ICT studio in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by ICT)

Calls to search for remains at former boarding schools

Lee Bitsóí must reconcile daily with the fact he works for an institution born from the cultural genocide his own family experienced.

Bitsóí navigates this quandary as an Indigenous administrator at Durango’s Fort Lewis College.

Today, Fort Lewis’ student population is more than 40 percent Native American or Alaska Native. The institution prides itself on its diversity, inclusivity and a waiver covering the cost of tuition of any students from federally recognized Native American tribes or Alaska Native villages.

But the college originated more than a century ago as one of the country’s Native American boarding schools — institutions the federal government used to recruit Indigenous children from across the nation in an effort to strip them of their culture and force assimilation... READ more.

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Saginaw Grant: ‘I had to believe in myself’

Saginaw Grant’s acting career began as a writer conducting a writer’s seminar in the Bay Area of California. One of his clients asked him if he wanted to be in a commercial. The client asked Grant what type of acting he had done in commercials or on stage. Grant replied, “Only a reindeer in a Christmas play in the first grade.”

“I had to believe in myself that I could do it, and I did,” Grant, a citizen of the Sac and Fox Nation, said in a Native Trailblazers interview.

Grant did the local commercial in the San Francisco area. It led to another. Then a filmmaker saw his commercial and asked him if he wanted to go to Hollywood and act in a film.

Grant, a hereditary chief of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, died on July 28, 2021, at 85 years old... READ more.

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