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Boarding school review prompts calls for trauma support

Some members of Congress want to ensure that protections are put in place to address ongoing trauma as more information comes to light about the troubled history of Indigenous boarding schools in the United States.

A group of 21 Democratic lawmakers representing states stretching from the Southwest to the East Coast sent a letter last week to the Indian Health Service. They are asking that the federal agency make available culturally appropriate support services such as a hotline and other mental and spiritual programs as the federal government embarks on its investigation into the schools.

Agency officials said in a statement they are reviewing the request and discussing what steps to take next.

Advocacy groups say additional trauma resources for Indigenous communities are more urgent than ever... READ more.

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Navajo Nation issues vaccine mandate for tribal workers

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — All Navajo Nation executive branch employees will need to be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 by the end of September or be required to submit to regular testing, according to an executive order announced by President Jonathan Nez on Sunday.

The new rules apply to full, part-time and temporary employees, including those working for tribal enterprises like utilities, shopping centers and casinos. Any worker who does not show proof of vaccination by Sept. 29 must be tested every two weeks or face discipline.

“The bottom line is that we do not want to have another large surge in new COVID-19 cases that would harm our health care system and lead to more lives lost," Nez said in a statement.

More than 80 percent of the tribe's workers are already fully vaccinated but Nez said getting the rest inoculated is needed to ensure the workforce on the reservation can serve tribal members.

The tribe reported just 30 new cases on Sunday and no new deaths. The Navajo Nation was hard hit by the virus and closed its reservation for months last year. The tribe has confirmed 32,252 COVID-19 cases and 1,397 deaths.

Vaccine appointments are widely available.

Indigenous representation in TV

2021 has been a major year for Natives in television following two influential shows about Native communities. Actress Jana Schmieding appears in both productions and joins us to discuss Indigenous visibility in Hollywood. Plus, more on the wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest.

Watch here:

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Reclaiming space

With a painted red handprint across her mouth, Rosalie Fish ran at her state championship meet in 2019 to bring awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis. As she stood among some posters, her then-girlfriend came up to hold her hand.

“I told her, ‘I don’t know if I can,’” said Fish, an enrolled citizen of The Cowlitz Indian Tribe and then a senior at Muckleshoot Tribal Schools on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Auburn, Washington.

“I was already experiencing racism at the time for representing Indigenous people… that already felt extremely vulnerable and isolating. And then to add the fact that I’m queer on top of it? I just kind of shut down from that idea,” she said.

Now a 20-year-old student at the University of Washington, Fish said it’s a moment she deeply regrets... READ more.

​​Teen's 'Remembrance Run' from tribal school stirs emotions

YERINGTON, Nev. (AP) — The significance of his “Remembrance Run” didn’t sink in until Ku Stevens was finishing up the two-day, 50-mile trek across the high desert from Carson City to Yerington to honor the memories of ancestors who were removed from their families and sent to the Stewart Indian School.

The school that operated on the south edge of Carson City from 1890 to 1980. It was one of about 350 across the United States and Canada created to force the assimilation of Native Americans.

The Yerington High school senior's great-grandfather, Frank “Togo” Quinn, escaped from the school three times — the first when he was 8 years old, more than a century ago.

Ku Stevens' father Delmar, told the Las Vegas Sun he first started thinking about a decade ago about a way to help connect his son to his heritage.

Ku Stevens says his run was a lot easier than when his great-grandfather made his first escape in 1913. For one thing, he said, “They didn’t have Gatorade.”

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#ICYMI: Lorraine Loomis, chairperson of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, dies at 81

Women were just emerging as forces in Washington state politics in the 1970s when Lorraine Loomis stepped in as a commissioner of the newly formed Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

A one-time fish processor who became fisheries manager of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Loomis by then was already deep into a 50-year fight to protect salmon habitat and fishing rights for Washington’s Indigenous people.

Her death on Aug. 10, 2021, at age 81, brought tributes from across the nation for her decades of work.

“She was really one of a kind,” Nisqually Tribe Chairman Willie Frank III — son of longtime civil and environmental rights leaders Billy Frank Jr. — said Saturday, Aug. 14, as he arrived at Swinomish for a memorial service for Loomis… READ more.

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