A plan for tomorrow's leaders

On this weekend edition of Indian Country Today we're jam packed with incredible Indigenous people who are helping Indian Country to succeed.
Publish date:

Peggy Flanagan, who is White Earth Ojibwe, shares some of her personal highlights while serving as Minnesota's 50th Lieutenant Governor.

Ruth Buffalo of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, speaks with us about the effort to get public schools in North Dakota to teach American Indian history and the many people who helped to make it a reality.

Mary Kim Titla, who is San Carlos Apache talks about her magical experience with UNITY, INC and continuing its 45 year commitment to Indigenous youth.

Henry Red Cloud, from the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota knows a thing or two about trees. This May, his crew will plant 35 thousand trees.

For Ojibwe the sugarbush is a means to not only collect healthy traditional food but also a way to reconnect with the healing properties of subsistence activities. National correspondent Mary Annette Pember reports.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • NASA is creating a program that will feature Native American cultures. 
  • The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada says it needs more funding or it will collapse. 
  • A home built on a Canadian First Nations community wins a major award from the U. S. Department of Energy. 
  • April is “Native Hawaiian Plant Month” and celebrates the endangered flora of the Hawaiian Islands. Carina Dominguez has more. 
  • You can now find a tipi on one of the busiest streets in North Dakota’s capital city.

Find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Ojibwe

Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Ojibwe

Peggy Flanagan is Minnesota’s 50th Lieutenant Governor. A member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, editor of Indian Country Today Mark Trahant interviewed her for our Thursday newscast. Dalton Walker, a member of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe from Minnesota and ICT’s Deputy Managing Editor, asked a few questions after the broadcast interview. We're honored to share her response about her highest moments as Lieutenant Governor.

Peggy Flanagan:

"Well, it is, it's hard to say and it's a little weird, cause the last 14 months I've just felt like we were just responding over and over again to crisis after crisis. And, COVID has been personally, for me, has meant a lot of loss and sadness, but also determination. So making sure that other families don't experience what my family experienced. But I have to stay, there's two incidents that I can point to. The first was the signing of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's Task Force bill that the governor signed and we were surrounded by by Native women who had been working on that issue for a very long time."

"And I would say the other is when a year ago, I was able to in November, was able to go to the Stillwater correctional facility and meet with a lot of the Native men who are incarcerated there and have a round dance and bring a drum in for the first time in a long time and just hear about their experiences and start to develop a way to make sure that people can participate in ceremony and do the things that they need to do for their spiritual health that will set them up in a good way after they leave. And a lot of that work had been started and we had to put the brakes on because of COVID. But I am eager to get back to it. So those are two of the moments I think, that are most impactful for me."

Pictured: North Dakota State Representative Ruth Buffalo (D-Fargo)

Ruth Buffalo, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara

North Dakota State Representative Ruth Buffalo of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation authored a bill that requires all North Dakota schools to teach Native American Studies. This is significant, because the state used to leave it up to school districts to decide what to teach about Native Americans. Now it’s a required subject. It’s passage is a lesson in perseverance and listening.

Ruth Buffalo:

"After the 47 to 47 failed vote on the house floor on March 23rd, we spent about two straight hours listening and just really hearing out, the prevailing side, those that voted against the bill. A lot of their concerns were in the language. But we also received a lot of really, really good responses. I think people are often fearful of what they don't know or what they don't quite understand initially. We're just excited that this is moving forward and just really want to say thank you to everyone who came out and rally behind this bill. We're very grateful and thankful."

"So many different groups came together throughout the state. Former tribal council reps, current tribal council reps and their families. And we also have here in Bismarck and in Fargo, they call them IPACS Indigenous parent advisory councils or committees. They are parent volunteers and they are just very staunch advocates for their children in these school systems. They have played a really important role in providing feedback in the earlier stages of feedback and input."

Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache

Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache

UNITY turns 45 this year. United National Indian Tribal Youth began in 1976 in Southwestern Oklahoma. J.R. Cook started with a handful of youth--it now has 325 local youth councils in 36 states. He retired in 2013. Joining us today is its executive director, Mary Kim Titla.

Mary Kim Titla:

"It's quite amazing, we've had prominent people who have jobs now that are remarkable and I'm just going to name a few, Chaske Spencer, the actor and we're pretty proud of him for of course everyone knows him from the Twilight series. We have Arvo Mikkanen who is a US attorney in Oklahoma. And also in Oklahoma, Dr. Darrell Mease, Cherokee, who is a medical doctor and has his own family practice. We've had lots of tribal leaders Temet Aguilar, who is chairman of the Pauma band of Luiseno Indians in California. Vivian Juan-Saunders, who is in the Tohono O'odham Nation also on her tribal council. So yes, we have an amazing alumni, Dr. Pearl Yellowman who works for the Navajo Nation and has been a very prominent figure in their fight against COVID-19 this past year."

"And this is what I've heard, is the connections that they make at the activities that we host, the conferences, the mid-year and the national conferences. We have some amazing speakers and we have activities for the youth, but in the end, it's all about making those connections. And so there's this huge network. As you mentioned of youth councils all over the country. They learn from each other, they share with each other, and there's a lot of youth led activities. So they're leading workshops and they empower each other really."

Henry Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota

Henry Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota

It’s Spring! Another Indigenous New Year is upon us and after a long winter, folks are getting out and enjoying the weather. Arbor Day is April 30 this year. Henry Red Cloud, who is Oglala Lakota, will be planting 35,000 trees on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with his team.

Henry Red Cloud:

"Trees are so important that they do so much good things for us. Watershed, wildlife, sanctuary. Taking bad carbon, making good carbon. It's something that we all should be doing all the time. And this month, the Ann Arbor day we all should be planting maybe a dozen trees per family. So then we can start protecting, doing our part as human beings to ensure for future generations to have their quality air water, and all the important things that we need to sustain ourselves. And a tree is small, but yet it's powerful. It's something that is good for all humanity, all living beings, animals, everybody."

"Here on the pine Ridge, we sit on 2.2 million acres and back in the day when we first arrived in it, ancestors first arrived here, they called it Pine Ridge because there were so much Pines everywhere. Over the years during with wildfire and all that, we start losing quite a bit of pine trees. So our effort is to reforest straight that and bring back the pine trees. There's no better thing. When a local people start to manage your own resources, it's really important."

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

Shirley Sneve, Sicangu Lakota, is vice president of broadcasting for Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter @rosebudshirley She’s based in Nebraska and Minnesota.

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

Carina Dominguez, Pascua Yaqui, is a correspondent for the Indian Country Today. Twitter: @Carinad7, Instagram: @CarinaNicole7 
Based in New York and Arizona.

Mary Annette Pember, Red Cliff Ojibwe, is a national correspondent for Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @mapember. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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