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Each day we do our best to gather the latest news for you. 

Sam McCracken has always put community first, from his years growing up on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation to his work today at Nike headquarters.

McCracken, a citizen of the Sioux and Assiniboine Tribes, was working in Nike’s distribution center in Oregon in 1999 when he proposed a plan for helping Indigenous communities improve health and wellness through physical activity.

Sam McCracken, a citizen of the Sioux and Assiniboine Tribes, was working at a Nike distribution center when he submitted a proposal in 1997 to reach out to Indigenous communities. The proposal grew into the Nike Air Native N7 shoe and retail line, and he is now general manager and founder of Nike's N7 division.

The plan grew into the Nike Air Native N7 shoe and retail line – named to honor the principle that today’s decisions will impact seven generations ahead. The N7 line has now generated millions of dollars for hundreds of Indigenous organizations through the N7 Fund.

Today, McCracken is general manager and founder of Nike N7, a division dedicated to supporting Indigenous youth and encouraging them to get active, and he serves as vice chair for the board of the Center for Native American Youth. READ MORE. — Dan Ninham, special to Indian Country Today

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The Bureau of Land Management has issued a decision opening 11.8 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to oil and gas leasing. That’s 52 percent of the reserve, which is located on the North Slope of Alaska. The decision also opens land for pipelines to offshore leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to bring oil and gas across the reserve.

11 million acres, or 48 percent will be closed to protect and conserve important surface resources.

New infrastructure will not be allowed on lands containing habitat of special importance to nesting, breeding, and molting waterfowl as well as those with critical calving and insect relief areas for the Teshekpuk Lake and Western Arctic Caribou Herds. Protected areas include most of the Utukok River Uplands Special Area, and a sizable area around Teshekpuk Lake.

Infrastructure prohibitions do not apply to surface infrastructure such as subsistence camps and cabins, single season ice and snow pads and roads, exploratory wells drilled in a single season, and support infrastructure for science and public safety.

The plan commits the Bureau of Land Management to protect values of the rivers suitable for designation as Wild and Scenic Rivers as long as the protection does not block or make essential pipeline or other infrastructure crossings uneconomical.

The new decision revokes a 2020 record of decision, which was deemed inconsistent with President Joe Biden’s executive order 13990 –– Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis, issued on January 20, 2021. — Joaqlin Estus, Indian Country Today

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We recap the Merrie Monarch festival and the National Indian Gaming Association's annual tradeshow. Plus, we have the latest on the UN's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues happening this week.

Watch: 

In 2020, construction of Fosen Vind, an onshore wind energy complex was completed on Norway’s central coast. The 151 turbines make up one of Europe’s largest onshore wind complexes, but Indigenous Sami peoples in the area say that the wind farm is encroaching on their lands, endangering their reindeer herds, and threatening their way of life. Silje Karine Muotka, president of the Sami Parliament of Norway, says that the situation is an example of how Indigenous rights are being violated in favor of renewable energy projects. “The so-called green shift can take the form of green colonization,” she said.

Indigenous leaders say that Norway and other countries need stricter enforcement and application of free, prior, and informed consent, or FPIC. FPIC is a right that is recognized by international standards like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the International Labor Organization Convention and applies to relocation, culture, legislation, land use, and the environment. Under international law, countries have an obligation to obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of impacted Indigenous communities in all of these areas. FPIC is recognized as the gold standard for respecting Indigenous rights, as it is designed to create a comprehensive and culturally appropriate consultation process for any activities that affect Indigenous peoples. But while over 100 countries have adopted UNDRIP, including the United States, Indigenous leaders say that FPIC is not being adequately enforced or applied. READ MORE.  Joseph Lee, Grist

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  • GLOBAL INDIGENOUS: This week’s Global Indigenous column highlights reconciliation, forced removal and reindeer, taking us to Queensland, Tanzania and Canada.
  • Chaco area protections: Tribal leaders are pushing federal land managers to protect hundreds of square miles of public lands several tribes consider sacred from oil and gas development.
  • Election season on the Navajo Nation: Five candidates – including the incumbent, Jonathan Nez – are running to become the next president of the Navajo Nation this year.

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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