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'Reservation Dogs' renewed for Season 2

The highly-acclaimed series, lauded by TV Guide as one of this years top 100 shows, "Reservation Dogs" has been officially renewed for a second season, Nick Grad, President of Original Programming for FX, announced.

It is expected to premiere in 2022, and it will be exclusively on FX on Hulu.

“We couldn’t wait to share 'Reservation Dogs' with viewers and are thrilled that they seem to love it as much as we do. We’re happy to put in an early order for another season,” said Grad in a release. “Sterlin Harjo delivered on his creative vision, partnering with Taika Waititi and the rest of the creative team, the brilliant cast and crew to create one of TV’s best new comedies and a groundbreaking showcase of representation and raw talent.”

(Related: #NativeNerd: Indian Country’s love for ‘Reservation Dogs’)

As mentioned in the release, “The first season of Reservation Dogs currently enjoys a 100 percent Certified Fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and has earned Universal Acclaim on Metacritic. Season one continues on FX on Hulu on Monday, Sept. 6 with episode six, 'Hunting: Willie Jack and Leon go hunting.' Written and Directed by Sterlin Harjo. The season one finale is slated for Sept. 20.”

FX also provided a series of positive praise from critics on “Reservation Dogs including the following (with Indian Country Today among the critics):

“Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi have pulled off something wonderful.”
Indian Country Today (Aug. 6, 2021)

“One of the best new shows of the year."
The A.V. Club (Aug. 9, 2021)

“You can't resist the charms of Reservation Dogs."
The Atlantic (Aug. 12, 2021)

“Shout-out to my favorite show of the moment: Reservation Dogs….The cast is phenomenal…and the writing is exceptionally funny….I implore you to check it out. You’ll thank me.”
CNN (Aug. 15, 2021)

— Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today

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Arizona governor signs law allowing traditional regalia at graduation

Native students in Arizona can now wear traditional regalia at their graduation ceremonies.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey held a signing ceremony this week of HB 2705. The bill overturns a law that prohibits a school from establishing a dress code that prevents students from wearing traditional regalia or objects of cultural significance at graduation ceremonies.

The bill’s original sponsor was Rep. Arlando Teller, Navajo. Rep. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren, Navajo, took lead on the bill after Teller left his position for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

At the signing, Ducey, a Republican, was joined by Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Marlene Whitehair, Gila River, and Lourdes Pereira, Tohono O’odham Nation.

“This step forward ensures Native students are able to celebrate their achievements while wearing objects significant to them,” read a post on the Gila River Facebook page.

“This bill is an important step in ensuring members of tribal nations and communities have the right to represent their culture,” Ducey said.

(Related: Graduations shouldn’t be ‘another form’ of erasure)

EPA extends public comment period for impaired waters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a second public comment period for 30 days regarding its inclusion of three additional “waters used for the production of wild rice” that are impaired for sulfate on Minnesota’s Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Impaired Waters List.

The 30-day public comment period started Wednesday and ends Oct. 1.

On April 27, EPA added 30 waters to Minnesota’s 2020 303(d) list and initiated a 30-day public comment period, which EPA then extended an additional 30 days. Comments received by EPA in response to the 60-day public comment period supported the identification of three additional Water Quality Limited Segments: Perch Lake, Sturgeon Lake, and a St. Louis River estuary segment, all of which meet EPA’s screening analysis described in Section III of its April 27 decision document.

Manoomin, good seed or wild rice is a staple for Ojibwe. (Photo by Mary Annette Pember)

In a March 2021 letter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, EPA leaders partially approved Minnesota’s listing of impaired waters. But the state’s decision to exclude waterways with high levels of sulfate, deadly to wild rice, violates the Clean Water Act, according to the federal agency.

“The 11 tribes in Minnesota have consulted with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency for years on the issue of excluding known impaired wild rice waters on Minnesota’s 303(d) list,” said April McCormick, secretary treasurer for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Sulfate has been identified by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers as a chemical that affects the growth and vitality of wild rice.

According to Minnesota tribes however, the state has routinely excluded wild rice waters from these measures claiming that they haven’t been able to establish reliable standards to determine the impact of sulfate levels on wild rice.

“The fact that the EPA has partially disapproved Minnesota’s 2020 303(d) list is historic, and is a culmination of all our joint tribal letters. It’s really a powerful tribal effort,” McCormick said.

EPA requests that any written comments be sent by email to Paul Proto (proto.paul@epa.gov) on or before Oct. 1. Additional information regarding EPA’s inclusion of the three waters is available in the public notice

Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today

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WA tribal casinos get final federal OK for sports betting

SEATTLE — Sports betting in tribal casinos in Washington could be offered in some by the opening week of the NFL season.

The Seattle Times reports the U.S. Department of the Interior approved sports gambling compact amendments for the Puyallup, Tulalip, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Cowlitz, Squaxin, Suquamish, Stillaguamish and Lummi tribes, while applications by Muckleshoot, Swinomish, Skokomish, Kalispel, Jamestown S’Klallam, Shoalwater Bay and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation remain pending.

The Washington State Gambling Commission in late July gave final approval to sports gambling proposals outlined by tribes, hoping to have everything in place by the Sept. 9 NFL season opener.

Native American tribes see the NFL season is a prime source of sports gambling revenue at a time their communities — badly hit by COVID-19 shortfalls — need additional money to provide various health, education and other social services.

Momentum has surged to legalize sports gambling nationwide since May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning such betting everywhere but Las Vegas and a handful of other places.

Individual states can now chart their own course, and more than two dozen, Washington now among them, have authorized some form of sports wagering.

— Associated Press

Native headcount up in 2020 Census despite pandemic

American Indian and Alaska Native population figures jumped in the U.S. Decennial Census report released in August – a report originally slated for release in April. The outcome quelled fears that pandemic protocol restrictions would doom Native America to be even more undercounted than in previous national surveys.

Census authorities credited improved methodology for a 160-percent increase in people identifying as Indigenous. Their data reflects unprecedented tribal and community mobilization that helped overcome 2020’s heightened odds against inclusive results. From 2010 to 2020, the American Indian and Alaska Native in-combination population increased by 160 percent, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report and findings announced Aug. 12. That is a whopping rise of 9.7 million people. It brings the tally to 2.9 percent of the U.S. population – up from a previous 1.7 percent, or 5.2 million, recorded in the previous Decennial Census of 2010.

The leap is more than a little bit due to novel question formulation in the more recent survey, explains Nicholas Jones, Race and Ethnicity Research and Outreach director for the Census Bureau… READ more.

Buffalo’s Fire

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Interior to require BIE staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Staff at Bureau of Indian Education facilities must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Interior department announced Thursday.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The order requires educators to get fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.

"The Department recognizes that education plays a critical role in promoting equity in learning and health, particularly for Indigenous communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19," a news release read.

"Today’s actions are in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that educational institutions take action to provide for the vaccination of all teachers and staff, in addition to other mitigation measures, such as masks and social distancing."

#ICYMI: William Yellow Robe: ‘A pivotal Native playwright’

Playwright William S. Yellow Robe Jr. prolific author of over 45 plays centering the Native American experience died on July 19. A citizen of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Yellow Robe was an educator at the University of Maine. He was 61 when he died in Bangor after a long battle with health problems including diabetes and congestive heart failure.

Although well respected within the mainstream theater community for his commitment to the craft, he was not as well known outside Indian Country. His influence on Native theater, however, was significant.

Some of his better-known works include two anthologies, “Where the Pavement Ends: New Native Drama,” and a collection of one act plays, “Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers and Other Untold Stories,” about an all Black regiment during the Indian wars... READ more.

Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today

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