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Supreme Court ruling fails to protect Indigenous voters

Indigenous people first gained the right to vote in 1924 through the Indian Citizenship Act. But tribal communities’ ability to vote has long been hindered by intentional discrimination.

Obstacles include a lack of polling stations on reservations, cumbersome traveling requirements and ballots that fail to adhere to the minority language requirement of the Voting Rights Act. Meanwhile, gerrymandered districts are deliberately designed to dilute the impact of tribal votes.

On July 1, 2021, the Supreme Court released its decision in a prominent voting rights case that Indigenous activists and attorneys say will make it harder for people of color — especially Indigenous populations — to vote... READ more.

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Changes at Native America Calling

The popular Native America Calling show will sound a little different after longtime host Tara Gatewood decided to move on.

Gatewood, Isleta Pueblo and Diné, is moving on to the International Women’s Media Foundation, but will host select Native America Calling shows, according to a news release.

The show also lost another voice recently. Native America Calling Senior Producer Monica Braine, Assiniboine and Hunkpapa Lakota, recently took a new position working with Native-owned AMERIND.

Koahnic Broadcast Corp. has launched a search for a regular host of Native America Calling. Existing staff, including National Native News Anchor/Producer Antonia Gonzales and KNBA News Director Tripp Crouse, will help fill in, as well as guest hosts until a permanent replacement is hired, according to the news release.

Report: SPD stops Black people, Native Americans more

SEATTLE (AP) — A newly-released report shows Seattle police officers — despite almost a decade under federal oversight partially intended to address bias — continue to stop and use force against Black people far more often than white people.

The report found that Black people, per capita, were seven times more likely to be subjected to force by Seattle police than white people, and five times more likely to be stopped and questioned, The Seattle Times reported. Native Americans were nine times more likely to be stopped, the report said.

The greatest disparities were found in incidents where force was used against young people. The report said while Black people make up 7% of the city’s population, “most children and young people who were subjected to SPD (Seattle Police Department) force were Black.”

The report, finished in January and posted without fanfare on the police department’s website July 15, was compiled by the Center for Policing Equity, a Los Angeles-based social justice and policing think tank. It analyzed Seattle Police Department data on tens of thousands of citizen interactions between 2015-2019.

Interim Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz declined to be interviewed and said in a statement, “The SPD will not hide from the hard work ahead but will embrace our mandate to end bias in policing.”

The report noted that the data was incomplete and that officers failed to fill out race-related information on roughly 1 of every 6 use-of-force reports examined.

Red Lake Nation officer fatally shot

The entrance to the Red Lake Nation in northern Minnesota. (Photo courtesy of Red Lake Police Department)

A Red Lake Nation tribal police officer who was fatally shot while responding to a call to a residence has been identified as a six-year veteran of the force.

Ryan Bialke, 37, was killed Tuesday after he went to a home on a report of a suicidal male with children possibly in the residence, according to the Red Lake Department of Public Safety.

According to DPS, Bialke was a six-year veteran of the Red Lake Police Department. He is survived by his wife and four children.

His ex-wife, Andrea Bialke, of Hanover, Minnesota, described her former husband as a happy and generous soul who lived to help others... READ more.

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Judge won’t let San Francisco school mural be covered

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco school board violated state law when it voted to cover up a 1930s mural that critics said is racist and degrading in its depiction of Black and Native American people, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo said the board failed to conduct an environmental impact review before it voted in 2019 to cover up the sprawling mural at George Washington High School that depicts the life of George Washington, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The 1936 mural was painted by Victor Arnautoff, one of the foremost muralists in the San Francisco area during the Depression. In addition to depicting Washington as a soldier, surveyor and statesman, the 13-panel, 1,600-square-foot mural contains images of white pioneers standing over the body of a Native American and slaves working at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia… READ more.

Should vaccinated people mask up with COVID-19 cases rising?

Worried Easter egg wearing a face mask during COVID-19. (Photo by Ivan Radic, Creative Commons)

Yes. In places where the virus is surging, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that vaccinated people return to wearing masks in public indoor places.

The CDC recently announced the updated guidance, citing new evidence that vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections could carry enough virus in their noses and throats to infect others.

COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce the chance of severe illness and death and remain effective against variants, including the now predominant delta variant. But it’s still possible to get infected… READ more.

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It’s not easy being green

Indigenous nations can combat climate change by noticing environmental changes, having leadership acting on it and, maybe, by just listening to grandma.

“Conservation comes more (naturally) to a Navajo grandma cause she’s always conserved her whole life. They lived through world wars, they know how to not use a lot of things and really hold things back until they really need it,” Sandra Begay-Campbell said. “You had to do with the minimal amount you had.”

Since 2002, Begay-Campbell, Navajo, has offered technical assistance for tribes with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy through her work as a researcher at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

She measures “greenest” by who is energy efficient, followed by solar energy use... READ more.

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