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The Miss USA 2021 pageant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this year was a special kind of homecoming for Tanya Crowe.

Her Choctaw ancestors had been forced to relocate to Oklahoma from Mississippi with the signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in the early 1800s, and she was honored to return as Miss Louisiana for the competition.

“It was really cool that Miss USA happened in Oklahoma, a couple hundred miles from where my family actually got sent to,” she said.

Her family later relocated to Louisiana, where Crowe has worked as a model, New Orleans Saints cheerleader and as a cosmetologist, in addition to helping with her family’s dairy farming operation.

The reigning Miss Louisiana 2021, Crowe made it into the top 16 of the Miss USA pageant before Miss Kentucky Elle Smith took the crown. The pageant was held in November at the River Spirit Casino Resort, which is owned and operated by the Muskogee (Creek) Nation. READ MORE.Sandra Hale Schulman, special to Indian Country Today

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Around the world this week: A town in Serbia scraps a plan for lithium mining, a Canadian social worker uses Indigenous therapy in healing, an Indigenous food system wins praise for sustainability in Guatemala, an oil highway puts uncontacted Indigenous groups in danger, and more than 60 Indigenous people say they were subjected to a study without their consent.

Coverage around the world on Indigenous issues for Dec. 13-19, 2021. READ MORE. — Deusdedit Ruhangariyo, special to Indian Country Today

The Biden administration on Wednesday extended a student loan moratorium that has allowed tens of millions of Americans to put off debt payments during the pandemic.

Under the action, payments on federal student loans will remain paused through May 1. Interest rates will remain at 0 percent during that period, and debt collection efforts will be suspended. Those measures have been in place since early in the pandemic, but were set to expire Jan. 31.

President Joe Biden said financial recovery from the pandemic will take longer than job recovery, especially for those with student loans. READ MORE.The Associated Press

Chief Donald Boyd Ivy was well known in Oregon as a champion of Indigenous people and a scholar of tribal heritage. Described by his wife Lucinda DiNovo, he was a dynamic speaker, an incredible listener and a strong leader.

“He always said ‘leader’s don’t always lead from the front, they lead from behind,” she said.

Ivy died July 19 after a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 70. He is survived by his wife, son Jon Ivy, grandson Elliott Ivy, daughter-in-law Soo Lee, sister Corrine Burnum and brother-in-law Greg Burnum.

His commitment to the Coquille Indian Tribe dates back about 30 years when he was hired to be the tribe’s economic development specialist. He helped write the constitution and the original tribal government management ordinances. Then, he became the cultural resources coordinator for 15 years and seemingly retired. READ MORE.Kalle Benallie, Indian Country Today

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Richard Trudell reflects on his 40-year law career working to make Native communities better. Plus, politics with John Tahsuda.

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In the wake of the discovery of unknown children’s bodies at the Kamloops Indian Boarding School as well as other locations in the United States and Canada, a fearless Native filmmaker is working to explore and expose a disturbing past faced by Native families.

“Oyate Woyaka (The People Speak)” in pre-production delves into the issues of historical trauma, languages lost and the cultural genocide committed due to residential boarding schools.

Oyate Woyaka, which is described as “a feature-length documentary following Lakota elders as they embrace their language and spirituality to heal from historical trauma” on the film’s Kickstarter page, is being created through a collaborative process by filmmaker Bryant High Horse and his nephew George McCauliffe. READ MORE. Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today

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Julie White wishes she had her old job back.

“I completely fell in love with it,” said White, Métis/Anishinaabe, “because I really believed that what we were doing was important.”

White was recruited by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to work as an Aboriginal guide in 2015, one year after the museum opened. She was 25 years old, and in the next few years she learned more about herself, her people and her country than ever before.

She also learned about the lies behind the history and behind the museum itself — that the museum refused to acknowledge the genocide against Indigenous people in Canada even while decrying it elsewhere around the world, why human rights issues were sometimes hidden behind closed doors, why staffers like her experienced the same issues the museum claimed to be standing up against. READ MORE. Miles Morrisseau, special to Indian Country Today

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. Email dwalker@indiancountrytoday.com.

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