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The annual celebration of American design was themed to gilded glamour, sprouting classic black tailed tuxedos for many of the men and lots of dresses in black and white for the women. Others paid literal homage to New York City, home base for the Gilded Age, and still more shimmered in metallic golds and silver.

“Black and white are THE colors for the evening,” said Holly Katz, a stylist and host of the Fashion Crimes podcast.

Catching the eyes of photographers and fans alike on the red carpet among the A-list celebrities was Alaska Native model Quannah Chasinghorse, Hän Gwich'in and Oglala Lakota

Megan Thee Stallion was also a golden goddess. Her Moschino shiner had wings at the shoulders. Chasinghorse wore a beaded blue strapless gown created in partnership with Indigenous designer Lenise Omeasoo.

In an Instagram post, Chasinghorse said she felt like royalty at the Met Gala.

“Your story and the way you move within the fashion industry has not only always been inspiring and inclusive, but also shows how genuine you are with your designs and how you highlight, uplift, and showcase beauty in a good way,” Chasinghorse said in an Instagram post. “The fact that you wanted me to feel seen with this year's theme means the world to me because indigenous people have been overlooked and misrepresented(let alone represented at all).”

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Alaska’s largest school district has updated its policy to allow students to wear items expressive of their cultural heritage and identity during graduation.

The policy now allows students within the Anchorage School District to adorn their graduation cap or gown with “traditional objects of tribal regalia or recognized objects of cultural significance.”

The policy change came after some families found the previous policy of seeking approval to wear traditional regalia insulting, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“It is completely inappropriate for there to be anyone in a position of authority to tell Native people when and where we can wear our cultural regalia, in particular around rites of passage,” said Ayyu Qassataq, Inupiaq. Her son was one of the students last year who was told they could not wear regalia at graduation.

That situation led to apologies, a suspension of the rule and the updated policy.

Suella Wendell, Yup’ik, plans to wear regalia next year at her graduation ceremony at Chugiak High, including a Yup’ik headdress created by an elder from Toksook Bay and mukluks. She is a member of the Native Advisory Committee, one of the groups that helped change the policy this year. — Associated Press

Monday U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, told reporters, “The Biden administration announced that it was in essence taking half of the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, what we call NPR-A, off the table. This is shortsighted. It won't help, certainly, Alaskans. It won't help our energy independence. It's something that I'm sure Vladimir Putin was pleased by.”

Worst, he said, the administration didn’t heed local interests. He introduced Inupiaq leaders to describe those interests. Josiah Patkotak represents the North Slope and Northwest regions of Alaska in the state legislature and is a project manager for ASRC Eskimos, Inc. He’s also a whaler.

He’s critical of the Biden administration’s plan to reduce the leasable area in the NPR-A. Under President Donald Trump, 82 percent of the reserve, or 18.6 million acres of land, was available for development. Under Biden, 52 percent, or almost 12 million acres, is available.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which is located on the western North Slope of Alaska, holds some 8.7 billion barrels of developable oil. For comparison, Prudhoe Bay has produced about 12.5 billion barrels of oil. READ MORE Joaqlin Estus, Indian Country Today

James Tom Jr. began learning the art of tanning hides as a kid growing up in Oklahoma, then picked it back up again while serving in the military.

He wanted to perfect the traditional, Indigenous method of brain tanning -- using the animal’s brain matter to soften and protect the hide. After years of research, trial and error, he finally got it right.

He’s now sharing that knowledge, traveling to teach classes in a number of tribal and other communities while also offering instruction for students with the Native American Student Alliance in Stillwater, Minnesota.

He’s among a small group of people reviving the ancient practice of brain tanning, a method that produces soft leather without the use of harsh chemicals. It’s known to elders in a cross-section of communities in the United States and among Indigenous communities as far away as Africa, Scandinavia and Asia. READ MOREDan Ninham, Indian Country Today

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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. managingeditor@indiancountrytoday.com.

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