Building strong Native communities

Joining us to talk about the impact of the investment his organization is making is Michael Roberts. And Dakota Louis tells us why he only picks the bulls that buck the hardest and spin the fastest.
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On today's show we’ll hear from Michael Roberts, who is Tlinglit. He's the president of the First Nations Development Institute. And he'll tell us how to find out what areas are getting investment dollars.

The International Professional Bull Riding Competitions had their first meet this weekend. Dakota Louis, who is of both Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet descent is one of the top Native American riders in PBR. He joins us today to speak about what bull riding means to him and his family.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The Biden administration is planning to spend 4 billion dollars to respond to the pandemic in Indian Country. 
  • Tribes in Arizona have new gaming compacts with the state and this one includes sports betting. 
  • The Chickasaw Nation is making sure its non-Native neighbors have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • In a landmark decision, Brazil’s Supreme Court is siding with an Indigenous Tribe on land rights. 
  • Chelsea Dungee is on her way to play in the WNBA. 
  • The NFL’s Washington football team may be ready for a new name and it wants fans to help. 
  • Soon billions of Brood X cicadas will emerge after a 17-year underground slumber.

Find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Michael Roberts:

"First Nations has always been interested in a wide range of asset based development issues. I think that the ag and food space is right along that same line. When you look at what people spend money on, even poor folks food is a big part of that household spending. So when you look at folks in Indian Country spending 40 percent of their household income on food and most of it leaving reservation economies into border towns, you start to figure out there's a huge potential impact from an economic development perspective on food and household spending."

"I would say two things, I think from the perspective of homegrown Indian philanthropies, they are getting to be more and more, and they're getting to be healthier and healthier. I mean the grand mother, grandfather of them all is Seventh Generation Funding. We've been doing this for quite awhile and we're not too far behind them. But you have new entrance in the field. Not so new, but newer, the Potlatch Fund and very new, like the NDN Collective. And so from that perspective, I think you're seeing a lot more of that re grantors who are doing great work. As far as private philanthropy giving the Indian Country is pretty abysmal still." 

"When we look 10 years ago, less than a half of 1 percent of private philanthropy was going to Indian Country. And when we did our study two or three years ago, we saw that less than four tenths of 1 percent of private philanthropic money is going to Indian Country. And when you even parse out a little bit more and see how much it's going to Indian controlled institutions, it's like 23, one hundreds of 1 a percent. And that is it's pretty dismal. It's pretty atrocious really"

Dakota Louis:

"I was born and raised in a rodeo family out on a ranch raising cows and raising horses. And my family, they did all the events. My dad, he was a world champion Indian bull rider. So growing up he was my hero and I didn't want to really do anything else besides be a cowboy. So I'm just blessed to be able to live the dream." 

"It's so awesome for us. I mean the amount of opportunity we've been given to be able to ride bulls for a living at such high level. It's just a blessing for us really. I mean to be able to go against the absolute best guys in the world and the best animal athletes, I mean, for a bull riders, it's the definitely the cream of the crop. So I'm just so blessed to be able be a part of it and to be considered one of the best in the world."

"I mean the animal athletes they have today are so huge. You're going to be getting on a great athlete every time, and that's probably going to give you a chance to win first. I mean, the the amount of bulls that you have across the world nowadays, they only bring the best to the PBR. And so everyone gets a pretty good even opportunity to win first. You want the one that bucks the hardest and spins the fastest, so you can get the most points. You gotta be on your A game every time, for sure."

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

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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