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The new season of behavioral health

Psychologist Darryl Tonemah is on the show today to talk about how distance learning and the pandemic continues to affect Indigenous people. Plus Holly Cook Macarro has more on what is happening in the nation's capital.

Tribal College students are struggling. A new study by AIHEC — the American Indian Higher Education Consortium — surveyed 500 returning students. The pandemic and distance learning makes classes more difficult. And 60 percent say that life at home has made studying tough. Joining us today to break this down is Darryl Tonemah, who is Kiowa, Comanche and Tuscarora, has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and Cultural Studies.

Turn on the cable news and you’ll hear the back and forth discussions about government and public policy. Often there’s something missing: Native voices. A couple of years ago on Election Night we set out to change that. We asked Holly Cook Macarro, who is Red Lake Ojibwe, to unpack what happens when candidates win election to office. What were the steps taken to actually take office? Today Holly joins us today to share her perspective. 

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The Interior Department says part of the Missouri River is owned by the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation.
  • A school board in Colorado Springs, Colorado is retiring its “Indian” mascot. 
  • The Heard Museum in Phoenix is now sending out a new traveling exhibit called.
  • Top surfers and police in Australia are joining a school initiative that creates a classroom in the water.
  • The highly popular kid’s show, The Casagrandes, on Nickelodeon is introducing a Lakota character.

You'll find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Darryl Tonemah:

"That's a really good question. And probably the exact right question, because we as humans, we're social beings. We thrive in community and we suffer in silos. So creating senses of community are so important. Particularly I would say for Native people because we are very family-based, we're clan based, we're tribal based, we're rex based. So we have all these levels of community."

"And then unfortunately with all the, all the deaths that have occurred during COVID, we haven't been able to mourn as communities. So these levels of hurt and stress and anxiety and pain honestly have really stacked up over time. And it's going to show up somewhere. We're just not void of it. So when we first thought about a year ago, one of my initial was what's going to change over time as COVID extends longer, What's going to change in us."

"Part of the work that I get to do is tele-psychology. And pairing technology to stand in the gap of what's occurring right now, social culturally has been significant. I get to meet with people in their homes. Where previously, maybe people weren't comfortable going to the clinic because they knew people who worked there or the stigma of behavioral health. I've met with people in their cars, because there were so many people in their homes that they would take their phone to their car and we'd meet in the car. So I think decreasing the stigma and increasing access to care is going to be the new season for behavioral health. And that's significant for us."

Holly Cook Macarro:

 "The Washington Post asked me for some comments on my reaction to Secretary Haaland's confirmation (and) having worked in the White House, I understood the echelon that cabinet members inhabit and how I was still getting my head around that. And just the enormity of having Secretary Deb Haaland, a Native person at the very highest level of the government."

"Leader in our language (is) ogema. So gitchie ogema ikwe, the highest leader woman, seemed like inappropriate description for secretary Haaland as I was thinking about and responding to the Washington post. So it was a unique opportunity to get a little bit of what we call Ojibwemowin, that's our Ojibwe language, into the Washington Post."

"The I think we saw something remarkable on day one ... was the meeting with Indigenous journalists. And that was extraordinary. We are usually an afterthought. And again, I think that's the kind of priority and access and inclusion. I wouldn't say priority and access over other communities, but an inclusion that we're not an afterthought."

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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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