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From an Ojibwe puppet to rising young leaders, meet extraordinary Indigenous people making a difference in their communities

Leech Lake Ojibwe artist “Michael Lyons” created “Boozhoo Nanaboozhoo,” a puppet who teaches Ojibwe words through a YouTube live broadcast and on the radio in Bemidji, Minnesota.

For 73 years, Native people in Rapid City, South Dakota have fought for ownership of land that used to be part of an Indian boarding school. But as Stewart Huntington reports, the finish line is still just out of grasp.

Lafawn Janis, Oglala Lakota, stands with the original buildings from the Rapid City (South Dakota) Indian Boarding School in the background. She is a member of a volunteer group working to gain Indigenous ownership of some of the land that once was part of the school grounds. “We’re not giving up,” she says. “This work is the work of our ancestors and our grandmothers, centuries and decades in the making, so we will not ever give up.” (Photo by Stewart Huntington for Indian Country Today)

The Bush Foundation announced a long-term investment for Black and Native communities. NDN Collective and Nexus Community Partners will steward community trust funds to address wealth disparities caused by historic racial injustice. NDN Collective leaders talked about this historic investment with ICT’s Mary Annette Pember.

St. Paul, Minnesota welcomes a new piece of public art. It’s called “Dakota Spirit Walk.” The app-based augmented reality creation uses geo-location, 3-D animation, and audio to guide users along a nature path. Marlena Myles is the creative force behind the project.

Each year the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development honors 40 outstanding Native leaders under the age of 40. The award winners are American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian leaders who dedicate themselves to making significant contributions in their communities. 

  • President Joe Biden says he will nominate a Navajo woman to serve as a federal judge. 
  • Nearly $19 million will be distributed to state, local and tribal governments to help weatherize homes and lower energy bills. 
  • In Oakland, California, Wahpepah’s Kitchen has an Indigenous foods menu rooted in chef Crystal’s personal history to the Bay Area. 

Find more details on these headlines at the top of today's show.

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Today's newscast was created with help from:

Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is an anchor for Indian Country Today’s newscast. On Twitter: @aliyahjchavez.

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.

R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., NuÉta, is a producer at Indian Country Today. Have a great story you've just got to share? Pitch it to vmoniz@indiancountrytoday.com

Maxwell Montour, Pottawatomi, is a newscast editor for Indian Country Today. On Instagram: max.montour Montour is based in Phoenix.

Mary Grace Pewewardy, Hopi/Comanche/Kiowa, is an intern at Indian Country Today. On twitter: @mgpewewardy. Pewewardy is based in Phoenix, and enjoys playing video games.

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