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

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The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is one step closer to acquiring the land of its oldest formally established Yaqui community in Tucson.

“Today is a good day for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Old Pascua is an Arizona treasure, and this proposed law will help us maintain our ties to our community and help us strengthen and protect our culture, religion, and the San Ignacio cultural area, consistent with our right to self- determination,” Pascua Yaqui Chairman Peter Yucupicio said in a statement on Nov. 2.

The Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act was introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, and passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support on Nov. 2 bringing the tribe closer to acquiring the land into trust.

H.R. 4881 would allow the tribe to open an additional gaming facility in central Tucson, as outlined in the 2021 amended gaming compact.

Sign in front of the San Ignacio cultural area in the Old Pascua community in Tucson, Arizona.

The act will also preserve the tribe’s culture, promote economic self-sufficiency and sacred historic properties, like the San Ignacio church ground where Lent and Easter ceremonies take place.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe was federally recognized in 1978 but the Old Pascua community, which was established in 1921, was excluded from the tribal land boundaries, located on the outskirts of Tucson on the south west side of town.

If the act becomes law, the urban location of the Old Pascua community will benefit the tribe and the city by promoting economic development.

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is scheduled to hear testimony on the Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act.

There are other land acquisitions on the docket, along with a water rights settlement for Shoshone-Paiute and a bid for federal recognition by the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. — Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

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A Meskwaki Nation citizen will be the first Native judge to sit on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, appointed Sarah Wheelock, Meskwaki Nation, to the appeals court.

Sarah Wheelock, Meskwaki Nation, will be first Native American judge to sit on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota governor's office)

Wheelock will fill the vacancy of Carol A. Hooten, who is retiring. This seat is designated for a resident of the Second Congressional District.

(Related: Indigenizing Minnesota’s largest courtroom)

“Sarah Wheelock is a brilliant legal mind with a deep understanding of the laws of the land,'' Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said. “Her life experience, longstanding service to her community, and her extensive legal background provide her with a unique perspective that will be invaluable in her new position. I’m thrilled by her appointment.”

Wheelock is legal counsel for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Prior Lake, Minnesota. — Indian Country Today

Little Shell Tribe opens health clinic in Montana

More than 100 people gathered in Great Falls to celebrate the opening of the Little Shell Tribal Health Clinic.

Located at 425 Smelter Ave. NE, the 10,000-square-foot clinic serves as a one-stop-shop, offering comprehensive medical, dental, vision, radiology, pharmaceutical and behavioral health services. The tribe is also offering free shuttle services to help people access the clinic.

Indian Health Service, a federal agency that provides medical care to federally recognized tribes, is expected to run the clinic initially, but Tribal Chairman Gerald Gray said he hopes the tribe can assume clinic leadership within three years. This clinic is the newest IHS facility in the region, and it's the second IHS facility in Great Falls. READ MORE.Nora Mabie, Great Falls Tribune

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has formed a new committee to offer counsel on housing and infrastructure needs in Indian Country, according to a news release.

The formation of the Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee will connect HUD officials to tribal leadership to ensure needs are being met.

“The creation of HUD’s first Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee demonstrates that HUD is firmly committed to fulfilling the federal government’s trust responsibility” Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in a statement. “This is a historic step towards honoring and strengthening our special Nation-to-Nation relationship while ensuring that the federal government is working alongside Tribal leaders to identify housing solutions that make sense for Indian Country.”

For more information, visit HUD’s website.

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The Department of Interior said the first two federal land allotments to Alaska Native Vietnam War-era veterans have been finalized.

Frank Nanooruk and Richard Boskoffsky received the first allotments under a 2019 law passed by Congress, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The allotments are east of Goodnews Bay in southwest Alaska, agency spokesperson Richard Packer said by email.

The Interior said the allotments were finalized in early November.

Under the 1906 Alaska Native Allotment Act, Alaska Natives were allowed to apply for up to 160 acres of land. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office has said that the program’s restrictions kept many from applying until the 1960s. There was a push to urge Alaska Natives to apply for lands if they had not already done so before a 1971 law took effect. But that period overlapped with the Vietnam War. READ MORE.The Associated Press

Mason City schools will drop the mascot “Mohawks” in favor of a brand that doesn’t exploit Native tribal symbols and imagery.

The Mason City Board of Education voted Monday to retire the “Mohawk” name and mascot and begin the search for a new mascot in January. Officials plan to have a new mascot and name selected by July 1.

The move comes after the Meskwaki Nation in Iowa and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council of Akwesasne, New York, objected to the Native-themed mascot.

Calls for such changes have grown more insistent across the country in recent years, leading schools and professional sports teams to drop offensive names and mascots that either pull from or pervert Native culture. — The Associated Press

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Jodi Archambault is Standing Rock Sioux and was one of the leaders responsible for the summit's original creation in 2008. She helped organize North Dakota for then presidential candidate Barack Obama. After his victory she went to work in the Obama-Biden administration where she held a variety of posts, including a senior advisor on the Domestic Policy Council.

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It’s that time of year again where you can grab your favorite pair of moccasins or traditional footwear, a turquoise ribbon or a t-shirt showcasing your Indigeneity, and post a photo on social media. Make sure to include the the hashtag #RockYourMocs or #RockYourMocs2021.

“Rock Your Mocs” started in 2011 as a one-day celebration, the day was created by Jessica Jaylyn Atsye, Laguna Pueblo. The event evolved into a one week celebration and is organized by Melissa Sanchez, Acoma and Laguna Pueblo. Here are a few fun posts we saw on social media.Vincent Schilling, 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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