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The first Native nation to legalize marijuana continues to break new ground in the evolving — and expanding — cannabis industry by opening South Dakota’s first medical marijuana dispensary and laying plans to significantly expand its cultivation and processing operations.

A sign on of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Reservation directs patients to the place where they can begin the process of possibly obtaining a tribally issued medical marijuana identification card. The tribe operates the state of South Dakota’s sole operating medical marijuana dispensary. (Photo by Stewart Huntington, Indian Country Today)

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, a small tribe whose homelands are on the eastern edge of South Dakota, made history in 2015 by legalizing marijuana on tribal land located 40 miles north of the state’s largest city, Sioux Falls. Tribal leaders were confident they were within their rights as a sovereign nation but when federal authorities threatened to shut down the operation they opted for a tactical retreat.

“We decided to burn the crop,” said Flandreau Santee President Tony Reider, “so we could live to see another day.”

By destroying the marijuana plants they removed the threat to the investments they had made in the indoor growing and processing operation. “So here we are five, six years later and we’re able to just fire up the grow (operation) as the state moves to legalize” marijuana, Reider said. READ MORE. Stewart Huntington, Special to Indian Country Today


Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico celebrated Thursday the groundbreaking of their Walatowa Early Childhood Learning Center. The Pueblo of Jemez is the only Pueblo that speaks the Jemez (Towa) Language.

The New Mexico lawmakers – who joined and worked with the Jemez Pueblo to provide $6.2 million funding for the center – included Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, State Sen. Benny Shendo Jr., and Rep. Derrick Lente.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham at the Pueblo of Jemez groundbreaking of the Walatowa Early Childhood Learning Center. (Photo by Kalle Benallie)

“The center is the Pueblo’s top priority infrastructure project, as there is a great need in our community to provide a safe facility for early childhood education and language learning,” Jemez Pueblo Gov. Raymond Loretto said in a press release.

He said, at the groundbreaking ceremony, that he hopes the learning center will open in less than a year. READ MORE.Kalle Benallie, Indian Country Today

Officials with the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in north central Oregon have issued an emergency water conservation notice after an underground fire shut the tribes’ water treatment plant.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs asked residents starting Friday to limit water use to essential needs only, KTVZ-TV reported.

In a Facebook post, officials said the notice affects users in the Agency Area, Upper Dry Creek, Sunnyside, Wolfe Point and Kah-Nee-Ta Hamlets

Tribal Emergency Manager Dan Martinez said an underground electrical fire “caused a complete shutdown of the water plant.”

“It’s totally down, out of operation,” Martinez said Saturday, while busy with other tribal officials bringing in showers and toilets. It’s the latest chapter in years of issues with the reservation’s aging water system, which has included outages, broken pipes and contamination that prompted several lengthy boil-water notices.

The large federal infrastructure bill passed late last year includes money to address serious water issues on the nation’s reservations, but such projects can take months to plan -- and years to complete.

Martinez said the water treatment plant could be shuttered from a week to two months and that the reservation is seeking water donations. — Associated Press

The 2022 SXSW conference and festivals have a strong Indigenous presence this year.

Most notably, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, was a featured speaker discussing equity and inclusion.

For the first time Native owned company OurWorlds won the SXSW EDU Launch competition. The company is an extended reality platform.

OurWorlds also hosted panels featuring Native leaders, educators and technologists.

But other Indigenous films, exhibits, panels and programs have been sprinkled throughout the more than week-long event in Austin, Texas

Indigenous stories were told by Indigenous filmmakers at the SXSW Film Festival this year. READ MORE. Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

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On Monday's ICT Newscast, we meet all kinds of Indigenous artists: a Tlingit culinary artist and a Mniconjou Lakota poet. Plus, a Canadian woman is using her talents to expose fraudulent Indigenous art.


Officials at Walt Disney World said Friday that a performance by a visiting Texas high school drill team that used American Indian stereotypes, including chants of “scalp them," doesn't reflect the Florida resort's values.

The performance last week in the Magic Kingdom by the “Indianettes" drill team from Port Neches-Grove High School “did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place," Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said in an emailed statement.

An audition tape that the school had provided in order to be selected to perform at the theme park resort was inconsistent with the actual performance, the statement said. READ MOREAssociated Press

Over the past five years, a Cherokee Nation citizen from California has turned a winemaking hobby into a successful and award-winning venture.

Winemaker Darin Winton, 55, is the owner of Cellar 13 Winery based in the city of Livermore, which lies an hour east of San Francisco.

Cherokee Nation citizen Darin Winton, 55, makes award-winning wine in Livermore, Calif. His company is called Cellar 13 Winery. (Courtesy photo via Cherokee Phoenix)

“This is not a business that you go into to make money,” he said. “It’s kind of an eight to 10 year endeavor to turn the corner. The way I look at it is I can maybe make money at it, but what I keep on doing is reinvesting and making more and more wine. I’m trying to grow it.”

Born and raised in California, Winton’s passion for wine dates back only 15 years, he said. READ MORE. Chad Hunter, Cherokee Phoenix


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