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Brown and Black 'outpriced' in Portland

Rep. Tawna Sanchez tells us about unrest in the Portland, Oregon, district she represents. And News from Indian Country editor Paul DeMain talks with us about Eddie Benton-Banai.

Today we talk with Oregon state Representative Tawna Sanchez, Shoshone-Bannock. She is the only Indigenous member of the Oregon legislature. Representative Sanchez tells us more about issues specific to Portland.

Plus it's Friday and that means it's time for another Reporters Roundtable. Today we speak with News from Indian Country editor Paul DeMain about the stories he's digging into.

Some quotes from todays show

Tawna Sanchez:

"My district is North and Northeast Portland. It's becoming highly gentrified over the years. It used to be almost entirely Black and Brown people. Black and Brown people of course who moved up from the Vanport area which was flooded. And then everyone lived here and essentially redlining made it so this was the only area that you could actually buy a home."

"And then even that became difficult then afterwards. Because over the years the sort of modernization of things and the attempting to move people out of this area, Black and Brown people were just out-priced. Taxes did some different things. And the neighborhood I grew up in which again was primarily Black folks and Native folks is no longer there."

"Well, I will tell you the family has been struggling with this issue for many many years. They had an incident that occurred where one of their children got into unfortunately a legal situation. And all they did was try to, like any of us would do, take some money out of their house to try to support their child. And it ended up being a very very bizarre sort of realty type of legal situation."

Paul DeMain:

"Well the big picture is that Eddie was a very imposing personality and was well-known throughout the United States and Canada. And actually in some places in the world he's really well known mainly because of his authorship of The Mishomis Book. It was created as a more of an elementary middle school tool for recording  some of the ancient stories and instructions for Ojibwe living traditions but it was used mainly by universities. Lots of orders from universities throughout the country who used them in religious studies and in cultural studies." 

"And so he was well-known in that sense. He was an individual that I'm going to say was very unique because he's really really the last of a line of people who grew up in a stringent environment where in his case Ojibwe was the first language. He was born in a wigwam he didn't have a birth certificate. And so there was going to be all kinds of arguments about the actual date and year that he was born."

"The knowledge that he carried, he was raised in a fairly unique environment in that his namesake was a high level Midewiwin priest. His grandfather on his mother's side was an eighth degree Midewiwin priest. And at a young age of five or six years old he was already being utilized to remember songs and sequences and describe certain things in the lodge for the elders as a helper."

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

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