Restoring the Seneca Nation's history

We speak with the Seneca Nation about a peace medal given by President George Washington that is being returned. Plus we’re taking a look at the nominations of Native people to key posts in Washington.
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It’s been a rocky year for tribes. And then, for the Seneca Nation of Indians, came a victory. The tribal constitution was established in 1848. And more than 50 years before that, President George Washington gifted the Seneca Chief Red Jacket a peace medal. It’s been gone from the Seneca people for more than 100 years, but now, it’s home. Joining us today to talk about the return of the peace medal is the Seneca President Matthew Pagels.

New Mexico voters just picked the candidate to replace Deb Haaland in the House of Representatives, and several Natives are waiting to be confirmed to federal posts. To break it all down we have Holly Cook Macarro with us. Macarro, Red Lake Ojibwe, is a partner with Spirit Rock Consulting and is a regular contributor to our news program. 

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is restoring power back to state and tribes to protect their waterways. 
  • The Confederated Tribes of the Colville in Washington state are celebrating a Supreme Court victory in Canada. 
  • A new children’s book is encouraging bi-racial children to be proud of their lineage, ICT's Carina Dominguez reports. 
  • One industry severely impacted by the pandemic is tourism and specifically cultural tourism for Indian Country.

Some quotes from today's show.

Matthew B. Pagels:

"Well, more than a couple of centuries ago Red Jacket negotiated and signed the 1794 treaty of Canandaigua. During that time he was gifted a Peace Medal by George Washington, and that was 1792. Through that treaty the U.S. pledged to respect honor and defend the rights of the Haudenosaunee people, recognizing them as a sovereign and that sovereign nation to nation relationship endures to this day."

"So the Buffalo History Museum actually had a replica onsite in the history museum. The actual was stored away. So I guess a yes and a no to that question. But they did house it and we were able to, with the hard work of the Buffalo museum and our new museum, the Seneca Allegheny Museum, we were able to get it back to where it rightfully belongs."

"And we made some drastic changes. The council here of the Seneca Nation did amazing things to make sure that all of these services and benefits in which we deploy to our community were unaffected. But we had to tighten the belt and we had to slow down jobs and hires and still find a way to make do with what was the coronavirus. Cause we had no clue. We went into it thinking it was going to be a month long, a two-week long flu season or something. But we quickly learned that this was a life changing event." 

Holly Cook Macarro:

"Melanie Stansbury, I think, will bring an extraordinary knowledge of Indian Country's budget, which you don't normally get coming from a new member of Congress. In fact, I can't recall a newly elected member of Congress who is coming into the Congress, who was formerly at OMB or the office of Management and Budget, which is the number crunching office in within the White House and the administration and in her portfolio and during her time at OMB she worked very closely with what's called the TIBC group."

"The Tribal Interior Budget Committee, where Tribal leaders and, and budget folk, tribal budget staff on the ground in Indian Country provide their recommendations to the administration in regards to their priorities for the budget. And that input is usually very critical and is reflected hopefully and usually in the budget. So when Melanie was there, that was part of her portfolio. So she knows it well, she has some priorities. She knows both the ins and out, and some of the things that need to be improved."

"I've had a few conversations with her, having both worked with her over the years in her role representing the administration to the Tribal Interior Budget Committee and, and her run-up to the election. So there was some trepidation in political circles about because special elections are entities unto their own. They're the typical politics don't always apply. And strategies only because the national focus is on these races. And it was more so than ever because of the close split in the house."

Thank you for watching!

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Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

Carina Dominguez, Pascua Yaqui, is a correspondent for Indian Country Today. She's based in Phoenix & New York. On Twitter: @Carinad7, Instagram: @CarinaNicole7

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