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Red Cloud Indian School is taking the lead among Christian-run schools in coming to terms with its assimilationist past.

The Jesuits have given Red Cloud a $20,000 grant to help in the work, including conducting searches with ground-penetrating radar for unmarked graves, and have allocated $50,000 to hire an archivist for one year to examine the order’s boarding school history at its archives in St. Louis.

In this 1910s photo provided by the United Church of Canada Archives, students write on a chalkboard at the Red Deer Indian Industrial School in Alberta. In Canada, where more than 150,000 Indigenous children attended residential schools over more than a century, a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 3,201 deaths amid poor conditions. In the U.S., churches and the government are beginning to look at their assimilationist past. (United Church of Canada Archives via Associated Press)

School leaders are also working with tribal representatives about searching the school grounds on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for remains of students who died there.

“The Catholic Church needs to recognize that honesty, being forthright and vulnerable are far more powerful and more healing than being reticent, restrictive and closed,” said Maka Black Elk, Oglala Lakota, executive director for Truth and Healing at Red Cloud Indian School.

Churches are joining the U.S. federal government in facing the often-brutal history of Native boarding schools, which forced children from their families into schools where they were often abused, underfed and used as virtual slave labor. Some died there without ever going home. READ MORE. — Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today

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As he begins his first full year in office, the new head of a Massachusetts tribe says he intends to take a cautious approach to gambling while turning attention to social challenges and other economic opportunities for its citizens.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Chairman Brian Weeden, who is 29 and is the youngest ever to old the post, said last month's decision by President Joe Biden's administration to affirm the tribe’s reservation and reverse a controversial Trump-era order gives the tribe legal footing to continue pursuing its long standing casino dreams.

But he said tribal leaders also want citizens to look at the idea with fresh eyes, given how much the landscape for gambling has changed.

Massachusetts currently has three major casinos — MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and the slot parlor Plainridge Park. The Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe has also broken ground on a more modest gambling hall on Martha’s Vineyard, though that’s been mired in legal uncertainty. And state lawmakers are weighing legislation to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts. READ MORE.The Associated Press

A 26-year-old Arizona man who admitted sexually assaulting a woman at a tribal resort-casino has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison, a federal prosecutor said.

Richard Anthony Hernandez, of Fort Mojave, also was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II in Las Vegas to 15 years of supervised release after prison.

Hernandez’s attorney, Josh Tomsheck, said his client took responsibility for his actions at the resort-casino owned by the Fort Mojave tribe and called the sentence a fair resolution.

Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou said the woman was hospitalized for multiple face and head injuries and loss of consciousness after being punched repeatedly in the September 2018 attack at the casino near Laughlin.

The case was prosecuted in federal court because the crime occurred on tribal land and the victim is Native American. Chiou said the FBI and Fort Mojave police handled the investigation. — The Associated Press

Cahokia touts itself as the first modern Indigenous art and social space owned by women. Nestled in the heart of downtown Phoenix, it hopes to embody the spirit of a pre-colonial city known for community, creativity and the free exchange of ideas.

Co-founders Melody Lewis and Eunique Yazzie were inspired by ancient Cahokia, an Indigenous city of 15,000 in the Mississippi Valley in what is now Illinois. They want their space to foster “creative placekeeping” for Native American art and culture.

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Eunique Yazzie, co-founder of Cahokia, raffles off items created by local Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs at the artspace’s First Friday event on Dec. 6. (Photo by Ella Ho Ching/Cronkite News)

“We called this place Cahokia because we want it to be the modern-day version of that space, where Indigenous communities and people come together to create and innovate,” Lewis said. “And so that’s how it all came to be: through our exchange in knowledge, skills and abilities when we first started.”

Cahokia is a for-profit social enterprise that is a hub for Indigenous and marginalized creatives and entrepreneurs to host events, sell products, showcase and sell their artwork and collaborate on various projects. READ MORE.Cronkite News

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Urban Native Era's products are hitting the shelves of a major retailer. Plus, Diné reporter Alastair Bitsoi is updating us on tribal relations in Utah.

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Even though “Reservation Dogs” didn’t walk away with a Golden Globe Sunday night, the show still makes history and Indian Country is proud.

The creators, cast, and all who were part of the show did something Indigenous people all knew was possible: creating a show that captured the world, using Indian humor, Indigenous stories, and Indigenous talent.

This nomination (plus other wins like the Gotham Awards and American Film Institute honoring) prove to Hollywood and the entertainment industry that Indigenous stories can be told in a beautiful, modern context.

“Reservation Dogs” was one of five nominees for “Best Musical/Comedy Series” for the 79th Golden Globe Awards hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. READ MORE. — Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today

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What the heck is Indigenous economics … and how will this be an ICT beat for at least the next year?

That’s just the first two of many questions that have yet to be answered. What is the state of Indigenous nations’ economies? How can we measure? Is there a way to represent that in a graphic?

Then Indigenous people have a long history of being interested in economics. We have always measured and reported, counted what we have collected, grown or hunted. Petroglyphs, pictographs and buffalo hide drawings are all excellent examples.

Economic data is essential because it answers the basic human question, “How are we doing?”

This is where it gets complicated. Too many stories focus on two extreme themes, poverty and wealth. READ MORE.Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today

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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. icteditors@indiancountrytoday.com.

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