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Vice President Kamala Harris wants to protect the Native vote

Native community leaders from across Indian Country met with Vice President Kamala Harris and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Tuesday to discuss voting rights and their experiences in protecting voting rights for Native voters.

“I will remind you that Native Americans were denied the sacred right to vote and faced discrimination and exclusion at the ballot box, and the history of the United States,” Harris said in her opening remarks. “We know that in many places, Jim Crow style policy still presented or denied meaningful access to the ballot box for our Native American voters. And so these truths must be told, they must be told in the context that all people should have their right to vote unencumbered, and that if we are truly a nation that prioritizes the voice of each person, we must make sure that they have meaningful access to the polls.”

The event was part of Harris’ voting rights events in the last two weeks and the administration’s efforts on voting rights.

Haaland shared Miguel Trujillo’s story about being denied the right to vote in New Mexico. The Isleta Pueblo man sued the state.

“Even though Miguel Trujillo story is not often found in U.S. history books, this story is no less prolific in our fight for voting rights,” she said. “It's long past time, we secure voting rights for people, regardless of what community they are from voting to sacred, and must be treated accordingly.”

Community leaders who participated in the roundtable were:

  • Oglala Lakota President Kevin Killer
  • Allie Young, Diné and founder of Protect the Sacred
  • Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes Chair Shelly Fyant
  • Julie Kitka, president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, originally from the historic village of Nuchek
  • Prairie Rose Seminole, citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara and co-founder of the North Dakota Native American Caucus

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Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma opens new cultural center

This month, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma opened up the Choctaw Cultural Center in Durant, Oklahoma.

The building houses two exhibit halls, an art gallery, auditorium, children's area, classrooms and more.

"I am so proud of this facility and the opportunity it gives us to share our culture, traditions and history with the world," Chief Gary Batton posted on Facebook.

Pinto horse Warpaint retiring

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs are retiring Warpaint the horse, president Mark Donovan said Monday at training camp.

Warpaint is a two-time Pinto World Champion who galloped on the field at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium before games and after the Chiefs scored a touchdown.

The pinto horse was originally ridden by a man in full Native American headdress. For years, a cheerleader has ridden Warpaint instead as the Chiefs distance themselves from Native American imagery.

Last season the Chiefs prohibited fans from wearing headdresses or war paint amid a push for more cultural sensitivity, and began pushing for a subtle change to the tomahawk chop celebration amid complaints that it's racist. Cheerleaders used a closed fist instead of an open palm to signal the beating of a drum. The team typically has a celebrity or other guest of honor beat a large drum before the start of the game.

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An Indigenous person could be the next Seattle mayor

An Indigenous politician could be the next mayor of a Pacific Northwest city where Native people once were banned from living within the city limits and longhouses were destroyed by arsonists.

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

Colleen Echohawk, Pawnee, and Casey Sixkiller, Cherokee, are two of 15 candidates for mayor of Seattle, the largest city in Washington and the 18th largest city in the United States with a population of 769,000.

The primary election is Aug. 3. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 2 general election… READ more.

Navajo Nation reports 15 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) - The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 15 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death.

The latest numbers brought the total number of COVID-19 cases on the vast reservation to 31,322 since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The number of known deaths now is at 1,373.

The Navajo Nation recently relaxed restrictions to allow visitors to travel on the reservation and visit popular attractions like Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley.

While cases are down, Navajo leaders are urging residents to continue wearing masks and get vaccinated.

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Paradigm shift: Tribe is now an owner of the power grid

A news release includes some almost hidden news. The lede: “Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, has completed its West of Devers transmission lines.” The company said the deal was important because it added more power, renewable and battery energy storage to serve Southern California.

And, as Kevin Payne, the utility’s president put it, the new lines will make it easier to distribute “energy resources like rooftop solar and battery energy storage” and “will contribute to decarbonizing our electric infrastructure, large-scale generation and reliable delivery of renewable energy will be vital to achieving California’s ambitious climate goals.”

OK so far. Reading further down it’s clear that a tribe is involved with the project. A new company, Morongo Transmission, owned by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, will invest in the project and that’s what allowed Southern California Edison to build the $740 million project across tribal lands.

This is where the story gets interesting. The Morongo Band is now an owner of the power line that crosses its lands... READ more.

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