Recently in Native News
With the end of 2019 near and the start of a new decade upon us, news around Indian Country continues to make national headlines. Please enjoy a compilation of some of the most noteworthy Native American headlines from the month of December. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and stay up to date with the latest headlines all year long.
- “After decades of trying, a group of Native Americans will receive federal recognition for the first time. The recognition for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians is a result of an amendment that Montana legislators put into an annual defense authorization bill. The U.S. Senate passed the bill Tuesday by a vote of 86-8. President Donald Trump has said he would sign the bill. ‘Our ancestors are smiling today because this fight is over,’ tribe Chairman Gerald Gray said Tuesday. ‘The Little Shell Tribe can now continue forward in ensuring that our future generations will thrive and that our traditions and cultural values never disappear.’”
- “The long-awaited American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City is getting a new name. City and tribal officials announced Thursday the facility will be called the First Americans Museum. Museum officials say the old name was unwieldy and that the term ‘Indians’ is historically inaccurate. Construction on the 173,000-square-foot facility began in 2006 but was delayed for years after the project ran out of money and the Legislature refused to allocate more funds. An agreement was ultimately reached in 2016 between the city, state and tribal nations to finish construction. The museum will be located along the bank of the Oklahoma River just south of downtown Oklahoma City, and aims to be a world-class showcase for Oklahoma’s American Indian heritage and will house artifacts the tell the history of the 39 federally recognized tribes located in the state.”
- “The levels of homelessness across the U.S. are surging, but nowhere is it as prevalent as along the West Coast. While California is the first state that comes to mind, Seattle also has a sizeable population of housing-vulnerable citizens. Consistently ranking among the top 10 most expensive cities in the U.S., Seattle has officially acknowledged its homelessness rate is a crisis. Digging deeper, the data reveal an unsettling fact: the Native American and Alaskan Native population have the highest rates of homelessness in Seattle. While Native Americans and Alaskans make up just 1 percent of residents in the Seattle area, approximately 6 percent of that ethnic group are without shelter. Though it is a painful irony considering the city itself is named after late Native American Chief Seattle, the trend is not altogether surprising, with Native Americans nationally suffering significant health disparities and safety issues in comparison to the rest of the country.”
Native American women tackle high rate of maternal mortality via The Spectrum
- “As the sun begins to set on a blustery fall day, the rugged buttes of Navajoland glow red in the soft light and swift gusts spiral dust through the air. About 40 women, most draped in traditional dress, stand in a circle as Melissa Brown, an indigenous midwife, asks the group to reflect on the day just ending — and the mission still ahead. ‘We have talked about being safe here. That is our goal,’ she tells them. ‘We’re going to cry, and we’re going to laugh. And that’s OK.’ One by one, the women share a word that best captures how they feel: Happy. Safe. Joyful. Supported. Sovereign. Brave. Then one sings a hymn in her native tongue.”
- “Artist Duane Koyawena is piloting a custom R2D2 unit in front of the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz. It’s life-size and has all the signature bleeps and squawks of the original. But its appearance has a unique Southwestern spin. ‘When I was thinking about it, I was like … wouldn’t it be cool to see an R2 that’s decked out [and] looks actually like a pottery?’ he says. ‘So along with that comes the designs, and so the tans and the reddish burn marks from when they fire their pottery.’ At first glance the traditional Hopi maroon-and-tan patterns are a surprising look for the famous droid. But Koyawena says it makes total sense for R2.”