Warriors across Indian Country

On this weekend edition of Indian Country Today we're celebrating heroes and warriors.
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Joining us is Patty Loew, Bad River Ojibwe, a professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Illinois. She’s also produced several documentaries like the award-winning "Way of the Warrior."

With so much happening in the world of Indian Country sports, we have invited Brent Cahwee, Pawnee and Yuchi, to give us an update. Brent is the co-founder of NDN Sports, a digital website, which covers Native athletes at the high school, college, and professional levels. 

Plus John Herrington, Chickasaw, is a retired Naval Aviator, engineer and former NASA astronaut. In 2002, Herrington became the first Native American to fly in space. ICT producer-reporter Kaitlin Onawa Boysel finds out how astronauts sleep in space.

A new school in Lincoln, Nebraska, will be named after Ponca leader Standing Bear. He won the landmark case, Standing Bear v. Crook, in 1879. Joining us to share the story of Standing Bear is Larry Wright Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • 97 years ago this week Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act. 
  • A federal judge is declining to order fireworks at Mount Rushmore this year. 
  • A totem pole is making its way to our nation’s capital with several stops along the way. 
  • Indigenous leaders in Ecuador are gifting a spiritual command staff to the new president. 
  • The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will open its new cultural center next month. 
  • Archeologists in Wisconsin have recovered the remains of Indigenous people who lived in the region 2,500 years ago.

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

Some quotes from today's newscast.

Americans celebrated Memorial Day this week. A time to honor those who died in war. Native Americans honor their veterans and fallen heroes in ceremony. This tradition is documented in "Way of the Warrior," an award-winning documentary by Patricia Loew. She speaks about the significance of the Native Warrior.

Patty Loew, Bad River Ojibwe. (Photo courtesy of Patty Loew)

Patty Lowe:

"I think there's there's a lot of pride in Native America about the fact that we do serve disproportionately at rates greater than other communities in this country. But there's also a confusion that somehow that makes Native people more patriotic. And really, in my experience, talking to some of the the veterans that I've interviewed, it was all about serving their country, not necessarily the United States of America."

"But it might've been the Ho-Chunk nation or the Menominee nation or the Creek or Choctaw nation. But certainly military recruiters have used that warrior ethic and really used it in their campaigns. You look at Natives, and even in, I'm thinking about some of the video commercials and promotional materials that the military has used. They've really, really promoted that warrior ethic. And used it specifically to appeal to Native Americans.

Athletes are another kind of warrior, and Brent Cahwee is the co-founder of the website NDN Sports. He joins us to give us an update on Native athletes from high school to the pros. 

Brent Cahwee, Pawnee and Yuchi. (Photo courtesy of Brent Cahwee)

Brent Cahwee:

"Janee' Kassanavoid, she's a competitor in the hammer throw event and a few weekends ago, she competed at the USA track and field throw festival in Tucson, Arizona. And she set a personal record in the hammer throw 75 and a half meters which is a personal best for her. She's obviously she's trying to make the Olympic team in the event. And she had three American competitors finish in front of her."

"She's a rookie and like a lot of rookies, they're still learning where they fit into the system where they fit with the other players. Certainly Chelsea is a talented athlete. She had a lot of great success at the University of Arkansas. She was a top 10 draft pick. With a lot of the rookies, they kind of are learning the system and that they kind of come in and play cleanup minutes at the moment."

"I've been to about three high school prep tournaments in the past month or so. I've been to Oklahoma city, Phoenix and Kansas. And I ran into a young gentleman by the name of Juju Ramirez, who's from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe. And he's an outstanding athlete playing in at a prep school in New Hampshire. And he has a scholarship. He has a scholarship offer from the University of Kansas Jayhawks which is one of the top blue blood programs in all of college basketball."

A Ponca hero is being honored in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Board of Education voted unanimously to name a new school, Standing Bear High School. Larry Wright, Jr., Chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, relates the story of his tribe.

Standing Bear, Ponca. (Photo courtesy of Ponca Nation)

Larry Wright Jr.:

"After the Fort Laramie treaty of 1868 had erroneously included our land on the Nebraska-South Dakota border. And that we had a treaty at that time. And those acres were taken away from us. And so our people were forcibly removed to Oklahoma and we lost many people along the way our own trail of tears and Standing Bear lost a daughter along the way."

"And once they got to Oklahoma his son was dying and one of his sons dying wishes was that he wanted to be buried back in the Homeland. His son subsequently died. Many others were dying of disease and elements and many things and Standing Bear and about 30 followers at that time decided that they would rather charter to get home and were willing to die, to come home."

Thank you for watching!

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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.

Kaitlin Onawa Boysel, Cherokee, is a producer/reporter for Indian Country Today. On Instagram: @KaitlinBoysel Boysel is based in Wisconsin. 

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