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Who's really a Cherokee citizen

We are joined with Joshua Nelson, a Cherokee citizen, talking about identity and citizenship. Dalton Walker is our deputy managing editor and he speaks about women's sports and the Atlanta baseball team.
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Joshua Nelson, a Cherokee citizen, is an associate professor of English, a president's Associates presidential professor, and affiliated faculty with Native American Studies and Film and Media Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of Progressive Traditions: Identity in Cherokee Literature and Culture, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, and the lead organizer of the Native Crossroads Film Festival & Symposium.

Nelson is co-producer and narrator on the forthcoming PBS documentary Searching for Sequoyah, and director of Trail of the Thunderbirds, a documentary in development on two American Indian Medal of Honor recipients from the 45th Infantry Division during World War II. 

Dalton Walker is our deputy managing editor and he’s had three stories posted in the last week. “Minnesota city council gains second Indigenous voice,” about a man from the Red Lake Nation who just won a special election to the Bemidji City Council.“Haudenosaunee Nationals got game, too,” about a women’s La Crosse team who will be playing in the World Games and “Foul? Atlanta baseball team preaches equality,” about the Major League baseball team’s efforts for racial equality that don’t seem to include getting rid of the team’s racist and stereotypical antics of fans.

A slice of our Indigenous world 

  • The confirmation hearing is set for Representative Deb Haaland to become the next Interior Secretary.

    North Dakota's requirements for school curriculum could soon include instruction about tribes because of a bill recently passed by its Senate.Joshua Nelson. 

    And the resolution that would have encouraged Utah schools to retire any mascot using Native American imagery failed to pass in the House this week.

    And in South Dakota state senator Red Dawn Foster introduced a series of amendments that would include protections for individuals identifying as LGBTQ and Native American Two-Spirit.

    As the Covid-19 vaccine rolls out, the long-term health and economic impacts from the pandemic will continue to be felt for months to come.

    Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office and the Aboriginal People's Television Network are developing Indigenous identity vetting policies.

Some quotes from today's show 

Joshua Nelson

“I think there are a couple of key reasons why it's come back up. One is that the nation's Supreme Court ruling and the US Federal court ruling modified the stance of an earlier administration at the Cherokee Nation, but they didn't go back in and tweak the constitution in accordance with those rulings. So, there's some ambiguity”. 

"A key problem has to do with how it is that a group of people incorporates a group of strangers into their citizenship. And, and some of these terms are anomalous so, back when the Cherokees first start to interact with black folks or with slaves, they're not a nation. And so the word citizenship is, is a little bit again, anomalous, right? So sometimes we project these things back and we don't have a clear sense of what we mean”.

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“Sometimes slaves would be adopted into families for instance, to replace their lost, loved one sometimes. They were not protected by the clan system. And, it could be more or less killed with impunity. So, how it is that you work, these people who don't sort of descend directly from you into your larger body politic is an ongoing and troubling question”.

Dalton Walker 

“I follow a couple of women's sports. And one of the things that strikes me is how you have to work at it to keep up because it's just not in mainstream discourse”. 

“One of the things that strikes me about lacrosse, and maybe this is an opportunity is it's often played in some really wealthy suburbs across the country. And yet in some of the reservation schools or urban schools, it's not on the same level as other sports. Maybe this is the opportunity to get people thinking differently about the sport”. 

"“They announced only on their Twitter page, for whatever reason, they didn't announce under other social programs or their website that they joined a chamber in the city of Atlanta that champions racial equity in their statement basically said that they're embracing diversity in their workforce and fan base. They forgot to mention the complications with their name and their fans and their chop.”

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

Dalton Walker, Red Lake Anishinaabe, is a national correspondent at Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter: @daltonwalker Walker is based in Phoenix and enjoys Arizona winters.

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