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Indigenous worldviews take center stage

An Indigenous presence takes center stage at the United Nations Climate Conference and at the White House. Plus, Minnesota’s poet laureate, and let’s go to the movies!

World leaders are meeting in Glasgow, Scotland for the United Nations climate change conference, also known as COP 26. The goal of the gathering is to continue expanding the Paris agreement, which is an international treaty — all with an ultimate goal of limiting global warming. Jade Begay, Diné and Tesuque Pueblo, is in Scotland for the conference. She is the Climate Justice Campaign Director at NDN Collective. 

PaaWee Rivera, Pojoaque Pueblo, and Libby Washburn, Chickasaw, stand outside of the White House in Washington, D.C. Rivera is a senior advisor for intergovernmental affairs and director of tribal affairs at the White House. Washburn serves as a special assistant to the president on Native Affairs in the White House domestic policy council. Both serve in the Biden-Harris administration. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today)

After a hiatus under the Trump administration, the White House Tribal Nations Summit returns on Nov. 15 and 16. ICT got a sneak peek of what to expect from top Indigenous officials at the White House. Libby Washburn, Chickasaw, and PaaWee Rivera, Pojoaque Pueblo, join us.

The state of Minnesota has a new poet laureate — and for the first time, it is a Native person. Gwen Westerman, Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, has won two Minnesota Book Awards for her work about Dakota people. Her first poetry book, “Follow the Blackbirds” was written in English and Dakota, and her poems and essays have been widely published. She’s a professor of English Literature, English Studies and Technical Communication at the Minnesota State University in Mankota.

Gwen Westerman, Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, serves as Minnesota's poet laureate. She is the first Indigenous person to hold the position, a title given to her by Minnesota's governor.

It is Native American Heritage Month. One way to celebrate is by watching movies by Indigenous filmmakers. The American Indian film festival features 126 films with 30 competing in six categories in California. The LA skins festival opens Nov. 16 and the Native Cinema Showcase runs now until Nov. 18. It is sponsored by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. The program includes a total of 47 films representing 39 native nations in 13 countries. Joining us is the festival manager Cindy Bennett. 

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Friday's newscast was made with help from: 

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

Shirley Sneve, Sicangu Lakota, is vice president of broadcasting for Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter @rosebudshirley. She’s based in Nebraska and Minnesota.

Drea Yazzie, Diné, is a producer/editor for Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @quindreayazzie. Yazzie is based in Phoenix.