Contentious start for a New Year

The Georgia special election is overshadowed by the storming of the U.S. Capitol as Indian Country looks on and responds to the events
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The New Year is off to a contentious start and ICT reflects on the news with interviews from Native thought leaders and elected officials.

Patrice Kunesh and Holly Cook Macarro look at opportunities for Native Representatives in the U.S. Congress. Jacqueline Keeler and Walter Lamar analyze Wednesday’s security breech in the Nation’s Capital.

Place names in the state of Minnesota bring Native issues to the forefront. Carly Bad Heart Bull and Allicia Waukau-Butler talk about heightened awareness of racial justice in the Twin Cities—still resonating after George Floyd’s murder in May.

And learn about the beginnings of the Jingle Dress during the pandemic of the early 1900s, and how the Ojibwe honor this through the creation of a larger-than-life Jingle Dress Dancer puppet.

JingleDressPuppet

Highlights from today’s show:

Walter Lamar, president and CEO of Lamar Associates, providing law enforcement and security consulting services to tribal governance.

Walter Capitol copy

Here's what I think is more, more important than that is we, in Indian Country, have to take this as a signal. We've got to look at that, that hate and that violence. It was demonstrated yesterday, white supremacists, white nationals, domestic terrorists. And we have to take that as a signal to be aware and be on the lookout and be monitoring that kind of hate, because trust me, they'll see us in their sites at some point.

Patrice Kunesh

Patrice Kunesh, Peȟíŋ Haha Consulting

From my experience working with the department of agriculture, through rural development, we have enormous opportunities here in Indian country for investments in broadband services. You know, the pandemic has made us realize that we're never going back to the way it was and that we've got technology really driving the dynamics of workforce, but technology is also driving the way we learn and, and, and with schools going online, the way we deliver medicine and health benefits and so forth. So absolutely we need to tap into the federal services and programs and state opportunities to extend broadband services, internet connections, to Indian Country.

Chairman Wesaw

Matthew Wesaw, chair of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi

It (the pandemic) has changed a lot in how we do business. We just upgraded our technology to 5G. So we're doing a lot of things now, virtual we use some of our cares money to put computers and all the homes that didn't have them so that we can keep the level of communication is updated as we can. We're not running at the same level of employees that we have. We, we have basically been forced to become more efficient, but we've also learned a lot about the efficiencies. And that's a double edge. There's a positive side to that. And there's a negative side to that. The negative side is we've got a lot of very good people who probably will not be coming back to work because of just the nature of the beast. It's forced us to examine a lot of different things, a lot of different areas, but I think it will make us a better government, a better community at the end of the day.

Bde Maka Ska at sign

Carly Bad Heart Bull, Bde Maka Ska name restoration

We're seeing a lot more conversations around racial justice and equity and the Bde Maka Ska name restoration, this is something a few years ago, this was before George Floyd was killed. This was a an equity recommendation that was made from the public to government entities saying that this is something we want. We live in an incredibly divisive society. We did then we do now. And, and during COVID and post COVID, this is an issue that we're dealing with, right? So many of our issues are directly connected to the disconnect between people from, from one another and, and from the land. And this effort of the Bde Maka Ska, is something that brought people together around a common love for place.

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix.

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