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New year, new leadership, same pandemic

Patrice Kunesh of Peȟíŋ Haha consulting and Holly Cook Macarro of Spirit Rock consulting both join the show today to talk about the new year with new leadership in Washington D.C.
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Patrice Kunesh, Standing Rock descendant, joins the newscast today. Patrice has been a deputy solicitor with the Interior department and recently headed the Center for Indian Economic Development at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve bank. 

And Red Lake Ojibwe citizen Holly Cook Macarro is on the show today. Holly has worked for tribal nations for more than twenty years as an advocate in Washington. She is a partner with Spirit Rock Consulting and is ready to talk about what is happening on Capitol Hill. 

Some quotes from todays show:

Patrice Kunesh:

"The big picture obviously is the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recovery. And as we go into 2021, we know that we are going to have a very brutal winter with a surge in COVID infections and higher death rates with the new restrictions on businesses and services. I think we're going to see some very Rocky economic recovery."

"We saw some jobs reports recently that showed jobs are just really weak in coming back. And what that means for Indian Country is extremely important because of course, tribal government businesses are the main source of employment and wages for tribal and reservation citizens. So we have to get the pandemic under control."

"We have to address racial inequalities. We really have to make sure that the opportunities for recovery are shared broadly and obviously address many of these racial and economic disparities. My perspective with the new Secretary of the department of the Interior, Deb Haaland is the possibility for an amazing new federal Indian policy. And this would be an all fed policy embracing the treaties as a trust responsibility of the entire federal government, not just the department of the Interior through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

Holly Cook Macarro:

"It is remarkable, as you said, we have six Native American or Indigenous members in Congress and their experiences are going to be very different. We have Congressman Tom Cole who is beginning what I believe is his 10th term in office. So he is our more senior member, when I say our, I mean Native American/ Indigenous crew."

"So he is as a senior member, he is going to be involved in managing the Republican caucuses message strategy overall, and then on a more technical basis, he is from his perch on the rules committee, he has a very large influence over how flourish use and floor bills are handled. So there are some changes to the rules package overall for the hundred and 17th Congress that give a little more power to the minority." 

"I'm sure that Congressman Tom Cole had a role in that. So I expect that we will see him in the headlines and he is a frequent commentator in, in the news as well. So I think Congressman Cole, who is familiar to many of us because of his longtime advocacy for tribes and the Republican caucus, and overall, he will be busy doing that."

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

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