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Native American people and communities continue to make headlines even while COVID-19 remains a critical concern on the reservations. The following headlines from this past month represent some of the topics impacting Indigenous people and recognize individuals for accomplishments that are inspiring their communities. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest news and information.

High schools around the country are re-examining their use of Native American mascots via Chicago Tribune

  • “Nearly six years ago, Austin Allbert dressed in beaded pants, a fringed vest and a feathered headdress, and allowed his art teacher to decorate his face with ‘war paint.’ Portraying the ‘chief,’ he stood with his arms crossed in front of him, stoically staring ahead as the band played at Morris Community High School football games. Earlier this month, Allbert sat in a lawn chair in front of his former school with more than two dozen other protesters insisting the school change its mascot.”

‘Devastating’: The Census Bureau is about to severely undercount tribes via Huffington Post

  • “The U.S. Census Bureau unexpectedly announced it will end 2020 census field operations early, a decision that will disproportionately hurt Native American tribes that are already historically undercounted, hard to reach and rely on accurate census data for lifesaving federal dollars. The agency slipped the news into a press release last week: ‘We will end field data collection by Sept. 30, 2020. Self-response options will also close on that date to permit the commencement of data processing.’”

Miss Navajo Nation is a ‘glimmer of hope’ for community during pandemic via Cronkite News

  • “After winning the title of Miss Navajo Nation in September, Shaandiin Parrish immediately got to work on the cultural preservation and advocacy efforts central to the role. At times, she attended five or more events in a single day, traveling across the 27,000-square-mile reservation to speak to elementary school students and attend conferences. But in March, as COVID-19 swept through the Southwest, Parrish suddenly went from visiting elders and delivering motivational speeches to distributing food, supplies and information to Navajo families hit hard by the novel coronavirus that causes the deadly disease.”

Federal agency to reopen 53 Native American schools despite coronavirus fears via NBC News

  • “The U.S. Department of the Interior – Indian Affairs, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Education, announced last week that it would reopen ‘brick and mortar schools’ under its jurisdiction to the ‘maximum extent possible’ on Sept. 16. That will affect 53 Bureau of Indian Education schools run by the federal government across 10 states. With President Donald Trump pushing for schools to reopen for in-person learning despite the coronavirus pandemic, his administration has a direct say in the fate of some schools on Native American reservations.”

Crystal Wahpepah is clearing a path for Indigenous chefs via Berkleyside

  • “Just before the pandemic hit, Chef Crystal Wahpepah was finally seeing the fruits of her labor. As the first Native American woman to own a catering business in California, she was in demand across the Bay Area and around the country, preparing her signature feasts of beautifully plated Indigenous dishes such as buffalo blueberry stew, three sisters salad with wild red rice, and blue corn flan with hibiscus berry sauce. Wahpepah, a member of the Kickapoo [N]ation, grew up in Oakland but spent the summers with her grandparents in Oklahoma, learning to cook with traditional ingredients.”
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