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Indian Country now knows when the Joe Biden administration will be hosting the White House Nations Summit.

The event — a hallmark event for tribal leaders to meet with the nation’s top officials — is set to return the week of Nov. 8. Details will be released at a later date, but the event will take place virtually.

The conference established by President Barack Obama has not been held since 2016. It provides an opportunity for the president and members of the Cabinet to meet directly with tribal leaders.

For additional details and to register, click here.

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With President Joe Biden mandating vaccines or testing for millions of American workers, some tribes have signaled their support for the move by announcing their own mandates, many pre-dating the president’s statement, for tribal employees.

Last week, Biden announced a workforce vaccine mandate that would apply to any employer with more than 100 employees or any health care facility that receives federal medicare or medicaid money. Employees who don’t get vaccinated must get tested weekly. More specific details have yet to be announced for the mandate that affects up to 100 million Americans.

Registered nurse Michelle O'Brien prepares a COVID-19 vaccination Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, at the Chinook Clinic on the Lummi Reservation, near Bellingham, Wash. The Native American tribe began rationing its first 300 doses of vaccine as it fights surging cases with a shelter-in-place order. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Amid the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases from the more contagious delta variant, some tribes have again taken aggressive steps to mitigate the spread. The Blackfeet Nation recently re-implemented a mask mandate and the Oglala Sioux Nation closed schools on the Pine Ridge reservation due to an outbreak.

At the same time, at least a handful of tribal nations — many before Biden’s announcement last week — have mandated vaccines for tribal employees... READ more.Chris Aadland, Indian Country Today

Butchulla Traditional Owners have welcomed the approval of their application to restore the traditional name of Fraser Island in Australia.

K'gari, meaning paradise, has already been reinstated as the title of the World Heritage Area which straddles the island and the mainland, comprising woodlands, rainforest and pristine beaches.

Now, the entire island will be known by its original name.

Veronica Bird is the General Manager of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation. She said the news was momentous.

"We're absolutely ecstatic," she told NITV News... READ more.National Indigenous Television

The National Park Service announced that Grand Canyon National Park is working on changing the name of Indian Garden to Havasupai Garden, according to the Navajo-Hopi Observer.

The Havasupai Tribe lives eight miles below the Grand Canyon's south rim called Supai.

The soon-to-be Havasupai Garden is accessible from the South Rim and is considered sacred to the Havasupai. — Navajo-Hopi Observer

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It’s early summer and a Lakota woman stares into the trees, deep past the leaves and their shadows, her dark eyes misting up. Not far away, her daughters run through the park, a creek-fed oasis in the middle of the arid, amber Sandhills of Nebraska.

Norma LeRoy tries to understand why a school secretary cut her two little girls’ hair without her consent in the spring of 2020. And then, days later, did it again. The secretary was checking for lice, LeRoy was told — lice the mother said they never found.

Norma LeRoy, 36, and Alice Johnson, 42,hold their daughters ages 7 and 12 in Valentine City Park in Valentine on May 21. Leroy and Johnson say their daughters’ hair was cut at Cody-Kilgore Unified Schools in 2020. They have filed a lawsuit against the school, saying the hair cutting violated Lakota religious and cultural beliefs and their civil rights. The school’s lawyers have attempted to get the lawsuit dismissed, calling it a lice check and saying they have ended the practice for Lakota children. (Photo by Chris Bowling, Flatwater Free Press)

It’s a new semester now, and her daughters are pinballing through the park. But LeRoy still feels the weight of those snips of hair, feels like few in this remote region of Cherry County understand what they took from her family. It’s why the 36-year-old Rosebud Sioux has to turn away from her kids, toward the trees, to shield them from her tears.

To her people, hair is sacred. Cutting it outside Lakota tradition carries consequences... READ more.Chris Bowling, Flatwater Free Press

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s Board of Education has approved changing Central Middle School’s name to honor the Hawaiian princess who once owned the downtown Honolulu property.

The board approved naming the campus Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani Middle School. School and community leaders have been trying since 2019 to rename the school.

The princess’ home, Keoua Hale, once stood on the grounds of the current campus and when she died in 1883, her property was bequeathed to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, according to documents supporting the name change. After Pauahi’s death in 1885, the board of education purchased the property for what became Honolulu High School in 1895, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

It later became Central Grammar School before it was changed briefly to Ke‘elikolani School. It became Central Junior High School in 1928, then Central Intermediate School in 1932 and Central Middle School in 1997, the newspaper reported. — The Associated Press

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The National Museum of Finland returned more than 2,200 Sámi artifacts, according to Arctic Today.

The artifacts vary from gloves and knives to bigger subjects such as whole buildings and boats. The oldest artifacts come from the late 18th century... READ more. — Arctic Today

Native people’s dramatic population increase is unlikely to bring them more political power.

The 2020 census showed a whopping 86.5 percent jump in the Native population from the numbers recorded in the 2010 census.

Overall, 2020 U.S. Census data shows that the U.S. has grown more racially diverse. The non-Hispanic White population dropped for the first time on record, according to the Census Bureau.

Since Census data is used to redraw the country’s political maps, one might assume that Native people and other voters of color will gain more power in electing congressional representatives who reflect America’s population. There is a 0.747 percent Native representation in Congress. Currently, 77 percent of both chambers’ voting members are non-Hispanic White.

But that’s not necessarily so, according to Native voting rights advocates... READ more. — Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today

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