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Fawn Sharp, Quinault, has become the first tribal leader to receive diplomatic recognition from the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties.

Sharp, who is attending the conference until its conclusion Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, said in a statement the recognition is an honor.

"As I accept the honor of being the first tribal leader to receive full credentials as a delegate to the United Nations Conference of Parties, I do so with an incredible sense of optimism, because I know the invaluable contributions to the fight against Climate Change that Native Americans and our Indigenous relatives globally will make to turn the tide," she said.

Sharp has long been a vocal advocate about the pressing need to combat climate change and the role tribal communities and Indigenous people should have in shaping policy to do so.

She went as far to say it is “impossible to confront the global existential crisis of climate change,” without such input.

“Tribal Nations of the United States of America have an incomparable brain trust of leaders, scientists, and policymakers who are ready to lead that effort,” Sharp said. "Indigenous communities globally have one thing in common: we are resilient survivors, and we will help lead the world through this challenge to a brighter, more just, and more sustainable future." — Kolby KickingWoman, Indian Country Today


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In her first news conference at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland described her global challenge for every applicable country to join in setting ambitious domestic offshore wind energy commitments.

“Climate change doesn’t recognize territorial or political boundaries. It’s a global problem that requires a global effort to address it,” Haaland said.

Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, was joined by representatives of Denmark, the International Energy Agency and other international colleagues to showcase U.S. and international commitments to increase offshore wind development to create jobs and reduce carbon emissions.

(Related: Homelands in peril)

Since March, the Interior reached a historic milestone with the approval of the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the U.S., located off Massachusetts. Last month, Haaland outlined a path forward that includes up to seven new offshore wind lease sales in the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico by 2025. READ MORE.Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today

DENVER — A North Dakota-based organization representing Native Americans sued Colorado this week for a measure banning American Indian school mascots which was passed last year amid a nationwide push for racial justice following George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.

The lawsuit by the nonprofit Native American Guardian’s Association was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, naming Gov. Jared Polis, Attorney General Phil Weiser and Kathryn Redhorse, the executive director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. The firm is representing a John Doe, Jane Doe and three other Colorado residents who cite Native American heritage in the lawsuit.

The organization’s lawsuit argues that the Colorado law is unconstitutional and “unlawfully enacts state-sanctioned race discrimination” against the Native American residents the association is representing.

The Colorado measure, signed into law in June, fines public schools, colleges and universities $25,000 monthly for their use of American Indian-themed mascots after June 1, 2022. The law does not apply to schools on tribal lands and also allows exceptions for schools that had existing agreements with tribes.

The suit argues that the complete erasure of Native American imagery is not beneficial and that the use of positive and respectful Native American symbols and mascots in schools honors the group, helps neutralize offensive stereotypes and teaches the public about Native American history. The lawsuit also states that the use of positive Native American symbolism is a form of “reappropriation” or a way to “reclaim names and images that were once directed at them as insults in order to turn them outward as badges of pride.”

The Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs has identified more than 20 schools across the state for violating the law by using terms such as Savages, Indians and Warriors in their mascot’s name. — The Associated Press

Manhattan is a Lenape word, loosely translated as “a thicket where wood can be found to make bows.” It’s unimaginable today that this island of expensive skyscrapers and packed grid of streets was once lush hunting and farming ground, teeming with deer and beaver.

Two contrasting exhibits at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and at the Museum of Modern Art PS1 in Long Island City, give colorful views of what Manhattan was for Natives centuries ago and what Native artists are creating there now.

“Native New York" illustrations by Alvitre Weshoyot. (Photo courtesy of C&G Partners)
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The MoMA Ps 1 show, "Greater New York," a survey of artists living and working in the New York City area, returns for its fifth edition from Oct. 7 to April 18, 2022. Artwork by Indigenous artists is given strong placement in work ranging from sculpture to painting to film and installation.

Athena LaTocha, Hunkpapa Lakota/Ojibway, shows a monumental mixed-media work, “It Came From the North,” (2021) one of the largest works in the show. READ MORE.Sandra Hale Schulman, special to Indian Country Today

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The Indian Health Service is awarding $46.4 million in funding opportunities to address suicide, domestic violence, and substance abuse, and supporting an integrative approach to the delivery of behavioral health services for Native people.

“These funding opportunities are critical for our efforts to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level,” said IHS Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler.

Applications are due by Feb. 2. Details can be found here.

Elizabeth A. Reese and Abby Abinanti are set to be part of a virtual discussion Friday titled: Imagining Justice: American Indian Tribal Laws of Criminal Responsibility. The talk starts at 3 p.m. ET.

Reese is Yunpoví (Tewa: Willow Flower) and a scholar of American Indian tribal law, federal Indian law, and constitutional law. Abinanti is Yurok and a chief judge.

To register for the event, click here.


November is Native American Heritage Month, and for Indigenous people across the country, it’s a chance to share the unique ancestry, traditions, and contributions their communities make today and have made throughout history.

Beaded moccasins owned and worn by Kansas state Rep. Ponka-We Victors from fall 2020. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today)

“Far too often in our founding era and in the centuries since, the promise of our Nation has been denied to Native Americans who have lived on this land since time immemorial,” President Joe Biden said in the proclamation naming November National Native American Heritage Month.

“Despite a painful history marked by unjust Federal policies of assimilation and termination, American Indian and Alaska Native peoples have persevered,” he added.

Biden signed a proclamation on Oct. 28, proclaiming November as National Native American Heritage Month. READ MORE.Shondiin Silversmith, Arizona Mirror

The Heard Museum in Phoenix is featuring new exhibits and live Indigenous artist performances on Friday.

The event is free and open to the public. It's part of the city's First Friday series. Masks are strongly encouraged for all visitors regardless of vaccination status.

Artist Steven Paul Judd will be in attendance for a special installation.

The event starts at 4 p.m. local time. For details, click here.

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