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Native youth visit White House

Gabriella Nakai joined about 100 other Native youth at the White House Tribal Youth Summit last week and tells us about her experience. We meet the new director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in New Mexico. And hear what fans are saying about the NBA’s Phoenix Suns jersey that honors tribes
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The debut of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns City Edition uniform took place last week when the Suns defeated the NBA champions, Golden State Warriors 130-119. The jersey honors the 22 tribes in Arizona. ICT’s Patty Talahongva and Max Montour were at the game when the jersey made its debut and got some reaction from fans. The Suns have also defeated the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers while wearing the turquoise jersey. They will wear the Native jerseys again on Dec. 2 against the Houston Rockets.

Pollyanna Nordstrand is the new executive director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She’s responsible for leading the museum as it creates exhibits, educational programs and cares for a vast collection of Native art and artifacts.

Gabriella Nakai participated in the White House Tribal Youth Forum last week and spoke on a panel about Indigenous food sovereignty. She's a former Earth Ambassador with the United Nations Indian Tribal Youth program, also known as UNITY. Nakai tells us about her experience and the future Native youth envision.

A slice of our Indigenous world 

  • A state panel in Colorado has officially recommended a name change for Mount Evans, a prominent peak near Denver. The proposed name is Mount Blue Sky and comes directly from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations. Arapaho are known as the Blue Sky People and the Cheyenne say they hold an annual renewal-of-life ceremony called Blue Sky. The peak was named after John Evans, the state’s second governor who resigned in 1864 after the U.S. Cavalry massacred more than 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people at Sand Creek. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will weigh in on the recommendation before a final decision by the U.S .Board on Geographic Names.
  • Tribal gaming executives in Arizona are taking a deep look at election results in California. Voters there defeated two initiatives that would have permitted legal betting on sports in the state. Proposition 26 would have opened up in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks. It was backed by many gaming tribes and was opposed by commercial gaming enterprises. Proposition 27 would have been broader, opening up online sports betting. Thomas Reeg, chief executive of Caesars Entertainment, said his company did not support Proposition 27 because of the opposition from tribal partners. He said commercial gaming interests were rushing to change the laws before the next football season and ignored voices from tribal gaming. Reeg and tribal gaming executives say trust between commercial and tribal gaming needs to be repaired before this issue can resurface in the state.

  • ICT’s Pauly Denetclaw attended the White House Tribal Youth Summit last week and has a report.

  • Cedric Cromwell, the former chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, has been convicted of bribery. He will serve three years in prison, along with two years probation, and must pay a fine of $25,000. The bribes were from an architecture and design company in Rhode Island who was working with the tribe to build a new casino. Officials say Cromwell accepted $10,000, exercise equipment and a stay in a luxury hotel in Boston. Along with Cromwell, David DeQuattro, the owner of Rhode Island Architecture, was sentenced to a year of probation. The plans for the new casino are currently on hold. 

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

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, works for Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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

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.

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

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