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During his lifetime, few people would have predicted that Barney Peoples would be shot to death by police.

Mostly, Peoples presented a far greater threat to his own health and safety than to that of others. Homeless and battling alcohol addiction and mental illness he often slept rough with friends at the Journey Museum grounds in Rapid City during the warmer months.

Although passionate about social justice issues and well-read, Peoples was a loner who struggled to find his place in the world. He preferred to face his diabetes and mental illness himself, often refusing help from his sister Trinity Peoples who never gave up on him.

“I knew where to find him; I’d try to get him to take his medications and eat something but he hated to be told what to do,” Trinity said.

As the big sister who looked after him for most of his childhood, Trinity is still in shock and disbelief that the brother she describes as a "gentle giant" was killed in March 2022 by police during a call to investigate a burglary. READ MORE Mary Annette Pember, ICT

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Alaska state elections officials were releasing vote counts on Wednesday, the first day since the special primary in which counts were held. Counts also are planned for Friday and Tuesday.

With 132,730 votes counted, Palin had 28.3 percent, followed by Begich with 19.3 percent and Gross with 12.8 percent. Two Indigenous candidates are in fourth and fifth place for the primary. Democrat Mary Peltola, Yup'ik, had 8.7 percent and Republican Tara Sweeney, Iñupiat, 5.5 percent.

Peltola served 10 years in the Alaska State Legislature and is currently the executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. She is the only “progressive Alaskan Native candidate” on the ballot, according to her website.

Sweeney was the first, and only, Alaska Native assistant secretary of Indian Affairs for the Department of the Interior and co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN).

Sweeney in a statement said she would meet with her campaign team and supporters in the coming days to determine "next steps" after she said it appeared that she would "fall just short" of advancing to the special election. READ MOREPauly Denetclaw, ICT

St. Paul Public Schools officials are drafting a new policy to allow and encourage the Native American practice of smudging at schools and events in Minnesota’s second-largest district.

Smudging is already taking place on an informal basis at some St. Paul schools, but supporters want to develop an official policy.

In a presentation to school board members Tuesday, John Bobolink, supervisor of the district’s American Indian Education Program, said that during a smudge, cedar, sage or sweetgrass is placed in a shell or container and ignited. The flames are gently blown out, creating wafting, cleansing smoke.

Supporters say it’s a way to create a sense of belonging for Native American students who make up about 3.7 percent of the school district’s population. District officials say smudging could help students who struggle with test anxiety, or aggressive behavior, or who are fighting to overcome trauma, the Star Tribune reported.

A policy draft says smudging can be done at an event such as a pow wow or cultural presentation, or with a student or group of students with a counselor or Indian Education staff member present.

Duluth Public Schools instituted a similar policy this spring. — Associated Press

A House committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would allow tribes in Maine to benefit from future federal laws, despite a state land claims settlement.

Wabanaki tribes in Maine are governed by the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 that stipulates they’re bound by state law. That sets them apart from the other 570 federally recognized tribes.

The federal bill won’t change the state settlement, but would update federal law to give Maine tribes to benefit from federal laws going forward.

Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement that the House Natural Resources Committee vote brings tribes “a big step closer to better economic opportunity and basic fairness.”

William Nicholas, Passamaquoddy chief at Pleasant Point, said the 1980 land claims settlement is a failure, leading to four decades of “litigation, policy failures and transgressions against the tribes.”

Both chambers of the Maine Legislature advanced a bill to amend the land claims settlement to restore rights that tribes forfeited, but it stalled under a threat of veto from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

The federal proposal would ensure Maine’s tribes can benefit from federal laws going forward, Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis said. “It is a forward thinking bill that has bipartisan support in Maine,” he said. — Associated Press

A central Indiana school district that adopted a Native American mascot nearly a century ago has dropped a basketball pregame routine where students dressed as American Indians performed a “peace pipe” ceremony.

The Anderson Community Schools’ athletic teams will continue to use the Indians name and logo, but the pipe routine performed before Anderson High School’s basketball games is being eliminated immediately under recommendations unanimously approved Tuesday by the district’s school board.

Superintendent Dr. Joe Cronk proposed the changes, which include moving toward initiating a formal partnership with the Delaware Tribe of Indians to modernize some of the district’s most visible traditions.

The district formed a task force this year to review how it represents the Native American history of the city of Anderson, which is named after William Anderson, a former chief of the Delaware (Lenape) Tribe.

That review came after a widely-viewed video posted to TikTok in February showed the pregame routine, where a student dressed as the school’s American Indian mascot and another dressed as an American Indian maiden perform a dance and a peace pipe is passed among the team’s cheerleaders.

Members of the American Indian Movement who attended Tuesday’s meeting said that eliminating that pipe routine wasn’t enough, The Herald Bulletin reported. They spoke in favor of abandoning not only the pregame routine but also the Indians name and logo. — Associated Press

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On Thursday's ICT Newscast, we met the new chair of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association. A Bush Fellow works towards historic preservation for the White Earth Ojibwe and an update on Native candidates running for office

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