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Flags mean sovereignty

On the weekend edition of the ICT Newscast, a Native studies professor talks stereotypes in the movies, and a program for healthy babies is in trouble. We visit with John Tahsuda about tribal elections. But first, and what do the stars and stripes mean to Indigenous people?
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Independence Day is coming up and Americans will be waving the flag of stars and stripes. What does this mean for Indigenous people? Cheryl Crazy Bull has some thoughts on this. She’s the president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund.

The film industry and mainstream popular culture are notorious for promoting stereotypical images of Native Americans. Are things getting better? Assistant Professor Eric Buffalohead teaches at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. He co-authored “Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching and Theory” with Elise Marubbio, who is also an Augsburg professor.

With the pandemic taking a toll on many tribal health systems, the Cherokee Nation is taking major steps to help its citizens. ICT producer McKenzie Allen-Charmley reports.

Earlier this year, a public health campaign called the Healthy Native Babies Project was not renewed by federal agencies. Its goal is to reduce rates of infant mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Abigail Echo-Hawk wants to change this. She’s the executive vice president of the Seattle Indian Health Board.

It’s election season all over the country. From national, state and local offices to tribal governments. After last year’s concerns over voter fraud, what steps will ensure that votes will be counted fairly. John Tahsuda joins us to talk tribal elections and what makes them unique? He’s a partner with Navigators Global.

It’s a holiday weekend, and time for powwows and family reunions. Time for a dip in the pool, perhaps, and a book. “The Seed Keeper” looks at the relationship between generations of women and seeds. The story is told through generations of Dakota women, and the confrontations of modern-day activism. Last summer, ICT’s Shirley Sneve visited with the author Diane Wilson.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The Onondaga Nation in New York is recovering more than 1,000 acres of forest lands. According to the Interior, it is one of the largest returns of land to an Indigenous nation by a state. The tribal nation says the move comes after a historic agreement with the state and federal government. The property has been damaged by decades of brine mining by Honeywell. 

  • “Save the man and kill the Indian” was the philosophy of longtime superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Boarding School Captain Richard Henry Pratt. A hundred years later, more remains of the Native children who died at the school are being returned to their relatives. ICT’s Vincent Moniz has this report.

  • Navajo Nation citizen and filmmaker Sydney Freeland is helping Star Trek go where no sci-fi show has gone before. The highly accomplished director recently finished a one episode run on “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”Freeland is a trans-woman and producers of the series said that’s an aspect of her they didn’t know about when they approached her for the gig. Freeland’s episode is available to stream now on Paramount Plus.

  • A newly spotted asteroid near Venus is earning a name from a tribal nation in California. The Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians named an asteroid at the request of scientists who discovered it. Two years ago, astronomers discovered the first known asteroid to circle the sun within the orbit of Venus. Until now, it was known only as “20-20 A-V-2.”

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Today’s newscast was created with work from:

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

Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is the anchor of the ICT newscast. On Twitter: @aliyahjchavez.

R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., NuÉta, is the senior producer of the ICT newscast. Have a great story to share? Pitch it to

McKenzie Allen-Charmley, Dena’ina Athabaskan, is a producer of the ICT newscast. On Twitter: @mallencharmley

Drea Yazzie, Diné, is a producer/editor for the ICT newscast. On Twitter: @quindreayazzie Yazzie is based in Phoenix.

Maxwell Montour, Pottawatomi, is a newscast editor for Indian Country Today. On Instagram: max.montour Montour is based in Phoenix.

Kaitlin Onawa Boysel, Cherokee, is a producer/reporter for Indian Country Today. On Instagram: @KaitlinBoysel Boysel is based in Springfield, Illinois.

Mary Grace Pewewardy, Hopi/Comanche/Kiowa, is an intern for the ICT newscast. On Instagram: @mgpewewardy. Pewewardy is based in Phoenix, and enjoys playing video games.

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