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YES! Magazine: Pipelines can endanger the lives of Native women

INDIANZ.COM - October 7, 2019 - 2:46am
'When something happens to an Indigenous person, to a Native person, why isn’t that being heard? We’re just another number.'

Urban Indian: celebrating 30 years of Native American artwork in New York

NATIONAL NEWS - October 7, 2019 - 2:41am
… by Native American artists in New York for Urban Indian: Native New … of the first LGBTQ Native American organizations in New York … group called the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, who have … that he’s African American and Native Indian,” said Lujan. “He …

Navajo, Hopi will have objects, human remains repatriated by Finland

INDIANZ.COM - October 7, 2019 - 2:20am
The Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation are among 26 tribes that will see the return of ancestral remains from Finland, where the items have been held in a museum after being taken from Colorado almost 130 years ago.

Rep. Tom Cole: Addressing the high cost of prescription drugs

INDIANZ.COM - October 7, 2019 - 2:19am
Especially for those Americans who rely on regular prescriptions, the high cost of purchasing their vital medicine is an all too familiar burden.

Chuck Hoskin: New Secretary of Veterans Affairs advocates for warriors

INDIANZ.COM - October 7, 2019 - 1:11am
As Cherokee people, we have always respected our warriors – people willing to fight for us, for our values and for our way of life.

Osage Nation to Co-host Drone Conference that Focuses on Public Safety

NATIVE KNOT - October 7, 2019 - 1:00am

TULSA, Okla. — Drones have proven to be effective to combat crime, help firefighters and assist with search and rescue while keeping individuals out of harm’s way. As more and more law enforcement agencies, first responders, and emergency management organizations use Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or drones, the need for training and sharing best practices grows.

“The integration of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems has significantly increased the safety of law enforcement personnel and the efficiency in which investigations are completed,” Matt Varney, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agent in charge/sUAS program manager said.

study by Bard College estimated 910 state and local police, sheriff, fire and emergency services agencies in the U.S. had drones in 2018, increasing more than 80% from the year before. That number is only expected to continue to rise this year.

The 2019 Public Safety Drone Conference will bring together experts for three days, November 5-7, 2019, in the field for demonstrations, presentations, industry panels, and networking opportunities. Industry leaders, FAA experts, and presenters from California, Colorado, D.C., Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas will take part. Day passes or full conference passes are available.

“Public safety uses for drone technology continue to grow. This conference will provide valuable information to help build and operate an effective program,” Mason Goode, Osage Nation Police Department officials said.

The conference is open to federal, state, local and tribal agencies, fire departments, emergency medical professionals, and disaster response and emergency management. Law enforcement officers licensed in the state of Oklahoma can receive up to 24 hours of mandatory continuing education credit by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. Attendees from other states may seek reciprocal accreditation through their respective state’s training accreditation authority.

The event is presented in partnership with Osage Nation and Tulsa Community College.


Chickasaw Nation Governor Renews Commitment to Serve

NATIVE KNOT - October 7, 2019 - 1:00am

ADA, Okla. — An October 1 inauguration ceremony marked the beginning of an unprecedented ninth consecutive term for Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. The ceremony was conducted on the East Central University campus in a theater named for Chickasaw Hall of Fame member Ataloa.

“It is a great honor to serve as Governor of the great unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation,” said Governor Anoatubby. “Together, we have made great progress and accomplished much for our people and our nation. We can look forward to a bright and promising future as we continue to thrive and support the dreams of Chickasaws around the world.”

Other Chickasaw Nation elected officials sworn into office include newly-elected Lt. Governor Chris Anoatubby, Supreme Court Justice Mark Colbert and tribal legislators Lisa Johnson Billy, Linda Briggs, Derrick Priddy, and Beth Alexander.

“It is an incredible privilege to work with you to serve Chickasaws,” said Governor Anoatubby.

Governor Anoatubby began his 44-year career with the Chickasaw Nation in 1975 as a health services director. He was elected as Lt. Governor in 1979 and served in that role until he was elected Governor in 1987. He has led the Chickasaw Nation to exponential growth in economic development as well as a comparably rapid expansion of services.

“In 1987, we set out to develop a sound economy for the Chickasaw Nation, to celebrate our rich heritage and to safeguard our sovereignty,” said Governor Anoatubby. “We have accomplished many of those goals and found new and exciting ways to continue fulfilling our mission.”

Currently, the Chickasaw Nation supports more than 22,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in wages and benefits as part of a $3.7 billion annual economic contribution to the Oklahoma economy. More than 100 businesses are included in a diverse portfolio, including gaming, hospitality, tourism, banking, manufacturing, fine chocolate, and other industries.

“We continue to have a firm financial foundation, as our businesses strive every day to sustain our mission and enhance the lives of our people,” said Governor Anoatubby. “And they will continue to generate the revenue needed to grow our services and programs by reaching new markets, developing new business opportunities, and continuing to concentrate on good stewardship of our resources.”

Today, the Chickasaw Nation operates more than 100 successful businesses in gaming, hospitality, tourism, banking, manufacturing, chocolate, and other industries. Business revenues provide the majority of funding for more than 200 programs and services available to the Chickasaw people and other Native Americans.


Education is one example. Expanded education offerings serve more students in early education as well as offering scholarships for higher education and vocational training. In addition, the tribe recently implemented a new division devoted to helping prepare Chickasaws for viable, sustainable careers.

Special emphasis is placed on developing and mentoring young Chickasaw leaders through programs such as internships, career development, and a youth leadership program.

“We support these new leaders through higher education programs across all fields, from health to business to government and academia,” Governor Anoatubby said. “We have been working for many years to ensure a sustainable future for our people.”

In addition to providing grants and scholarships totaling almost $20 million annually to more than 5,000 students, the Chickasaw Nation operates four early childhood centers, in Ada, Ardmore, Tishomingo, and Sulphur, which serve more than 330 students. A range of STEM programs is also offered, which introduces students to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Other educational opportunities include a Career Technology program, adult learning, fine arts training and tribal division dedicated to preparing Chickasaws for viable, sustainable careers.

Health Care

Significant strides in health care include a state-of-the-art 370,000 square-foot hospital, four clinics, eight pharmacies, a diabetes care center, emergency medical services, four nutrition centers, eight WIC offices, and five wellness centers.

An increased focus on supporting healthy lifestyles is an integral part of the health care strategy moving forward.

“We have made great strides in the area of physical health,” said Governor Anoatubby. “But we have more that we need to do in areas of prevention. This year, we are placing a stronger emphasis on the complete health of each individual with a strategic focus on mental wellness.”


The Chickasaw Nation has also expanded and improved housing services to help meet the needs of Chickasaws from all walks of life. Those services include rental assistance as well as an increased emphasis on homeownership, including programs to facilitate home loans.

“As the housing market and the desires of people change, we will continue to develop innovative and creative solutions to solve housing needs,” said Governor Anoatubby.

Thousands of Chickasaw utilize home loan programs to make homeownership a reality.

Housing assistance for Chickasaws across the United States includes the installation of storm shelters as well as grants for closing costs. Repairs and home improvements.


“We treasure our elders and continue to learn much from their wisdom and experience,” Governor Anoatubby said.

Many programs are offered to enhance the lives of Chickasaw elders, including the operation of 11 senior centers in communities throughout southern Oklahoma and one under construction in Achille, Oklahoma. These senior centers served more than 163,000 meals this year and offer programs that focus on fellowship and health. Chore services, a senior golf academy, and a foster grandparent program are also offered to Chickasaw seniors.


“Our youth programs are an important investment in developing strong individuals and a strong nation,” said Governor Anoatubby.

Camps, academies, sports and leadership programs are offered year-round and are designed to build character, leadership, life skills and fitness. Clothing grants and reimbursement grants are also provided to ensure that youth can focus on academics without financial distractions.


“Our cultural identity is what guides us and informs our most crucial decisions, which is why cultural preservation and education efforts are so vital,” said Governor Anoatubby.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur, continues its mission of telling the Chickasaw story and sharing tribal traditions and culture. Since its 2010 opening, the cultural center has hosted more than 800,000 guests from across the globe.

Expanded programs, events, cultural and language classes also help Chickasaw citizens, employees and community members learn about the Chickasaw people and customs.

Blending modern technology with historical tradition, the Rosetta Stone Chickasaw app is also available, making the Chickasaw language easily accessible. More than 120 Rosetta Stone Chickasaw lessons have been developed through a collaboration between fluent Chickasaw speakers and Rosetta Stone.


Candi Brings Plenty Joins ACLU as Indigenous Justice Organizer

NATIVE KNOT - October 7, 2019 - 1:00am

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Candi Brings Plenty has joined the American Civil Liberties Union as the organization’s new indigenous justice organizer for South Dakota and North Dakota.

As indigenous justice organizer, Brings Plenty works to build the ACLU’s public education and advocacy programs through coalition-building, leadership development, communication, and lobbying and is responsible for advancing the ACLU’s civil liberties and civil rights campaigns in the two states.

“Candi’s commitment to social justice, along with her background and experience in advocacy and organizing, made her a natural fit for this position,” said Heather Smith, executive director of the ACLU of South Dakota. “The ACLU has wanted to expand its work on indigenous issues in the region for a long time. With Candi on board, our capacity to create change is bigger than ever.”

The indigenous justice organizer is a new position for the ACLU of South Dakota, spurred on this year in part because the “riot boosting” bill Gov. Kristi Noem introduced and signed into law in the final days of the 2019 legislative session without consulting South Dakota’s nine tribes, many of whom have been vocal opponents of TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the “riot boosting” act and two other South Dakota statutes that threaten activists who encourage or organize protests – particularly protests of the Keystone XL pipeline – with fines, civil liabilities, and/or criminal penalties of up to 25 years in prison. A federal court blocked enforcement of the unconstitutional provisions of several South Dakota laws in September.

But pipeline protests and free speech are not the only areas Brings Plenty will focus on. She also will be working to strengthen voting accessibility to tribal communities as 2020 approaches, focusing on the long-lasting epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and promoting Two-Spirit inclusion, among other issues.

As a Lakota cultural practitioner and through her spiritual activism, Brings Plenty works to bring her medicine to the Oyaté and advocates especially for the empowerment and visibility of Two-Spirit warriors to reclaim their walk of life in the sacred circle.

Prior to joining the ACLU of South Dakota, Brings Plenty was the campaign adviser and executive proxy for the tribal president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the executive director of the EQUI Institute, a trans and queer health clinic, in Portland, Ore. She also was the founder of the Two-Spirit Nation and led the Two-Spirit encampment at Standing Rock for 11 months during the peaceful prayer movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Brings Plenty graduated from Oglala Lakota College in Rapid City and earned graduate certificates in public and nonprofit management and public administration from Portland State University in Portland, Ore. Brings Plenty is an Oglala Lakota Sioux tribal member and a descendant of Crazy Horse’s Band. She grew up in the Black Hills and on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is deeply rooted in her Lakota culture, spirituality, and language.


Shaun Chapoose Officially Announces Candidacy for President of the NCAI

NATIVE KNOT - October 7, 2019 - 1:00am
UINTAH AND OURAY INDIAN RESERVATION — Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe and resident of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah, has officially announced his candidacy for president of the National Congress of American Indians. The election will be held during the 76th annual NCAI Convention & Marketplace in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Oct. 20-25.
Chapoose, a formal tribal chairman, currently serves as chairman of Utah Tribal Leaders, which comprises leadership from Utah’s eight federally recognized tribes. He also is the Uncompahgre Band representative for the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee and the co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. 
Over the years, Chapoose has gained extensive experience working with all of the federal agencies, and all facets of tribal business, including oil and gas management, environmental issues, farm operations, and cultural rights. He said he would like to see NCAI work with tribal leaders across the country to lead the charge in three main areas: sovereignty, self-determination, and tribal lands and resources.
“As Native peoples, we have inherent sovereignty, which has existed since time immemorial,” Chapoose said. “It was not bestowed upon us by the U.S. government, therefore it cannot be taken away. NCAI must join with tribal leaders to demand that the federal government uphold tribal sovereignty, respect the trust relationship, and honor the promises and commitments their ancestors made to ours over the past two centuries. We can, and we must, do more.”
Chapoose also is passionate about self-determination, noting that Native nations need to lead the discussion regarding what is in their communities’ best interests. He said it’s about more than having a seat at the table; rather, it’s about standing up for all tribes and insisting that the federal government honor existing treaty rights.
“We cannot go back in time,” he said, “but we also cannot forget who we are. We must work within the confines of today’s society using the tools we have available without losing sight of our ancestors, our traditions and our cultures.”
Chapoose’s concerns range from protecting health care and the Indian Child Welfare Act to preserving tribal lands and resources, including sacred sites and that most precious resource of all, water.
“We’re tied to the lands on which we’re born and raised,” he said. “They preserve our cultures, traditions and lifeways for future generations. We must protect them, effectively manage them, and when and where necessary, develop them for the benefit of future generations. 
“We also must take a leadership role in addressing climate change,” he added. “We were here first, and we’re still here. We have the knowledge and expertise to make America what it was supposed to be.”
Chapoose’s ties to NCAI run deep. Seventy-five years ago, Ute tribal leaders and other tribal leaders including his grandfather returned to Colorado, the Utes’ original homeland. Together, they formed NCAI in direct response to the threat of a U.S. policy seeking termination of their sovereignty. 
“Because it originated in Utah, our tribe was on the front lines of the termination policy,” Chapoose said. “We can bring our extensive experience to the national level, so we can work together with all tribes to address these critical issues facing Native peoples today. It’s time for us to write the history.”
For up-to-date information, follow Chapoose on Facebook (facebook.com/shaunchapoose) and Twitter (@chapooseshaun). 

Veterans secretary promises better healthcare for Native and rural veterans

NATIVE KNOT - October 7, 2019 - 1:00am

Sec. Wilkie met with Native veterans to share that the Veterans Administration is working to increase tribal outreach virtually in cooperation with Indian Health Services

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Leon Wilkie Jr. met with Native American veterans, tribal leaders and members of The Retired Enlisted Association in South Dakota on Wednesday to discuss efforts to help Native American military veterans, specifically in the field of healthcare.

Sec. Wilkie told Indian Country Today in an interview that he wished to “shorten the distance between people” in need of veterans services.

“In speaking with the tribal representatives today, I talked about increasing Veteran Administration's reach into tribal communities with things like telehealth, visits from VA representatives and closer cooperation between the VA and Indian Health (Services).”

Wilkie explained that Veterans Affairs — an organization responsible for nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of services offered by Indian Health Services — would be effectively “opening the aperture” on giving support to tribal governments and urban area localities.

He also explained that the methodologies for outreach needed to be updated in conjunction with the growth of technology and cited that veterans in rural areas that takes his or her life likely had none or limited access to healthcare services.

“Of the 20 veterans a day who commit suicide, who take their lives, we don't have contact with 14 of those twenty,” he said.

Wilkie also described efforts to connect Native veterans to healthcare officials using virtual technologies.

“Let me give you an example of what's happening here in South Dakota on the Standing Rock reservation and in the Cheyenne lands. We've now distributed tablets and computers that allow veterans in those communities to virtually gain access to doctors, nurses, and benefits officers. This allows us to schedule appointments for them and it brings VA a little closer to home. We've started here in South Dakota and we'll expand it. I was up in North Dakota talking to the governor yesterday and we're going to expand it there and to Montana, as well as Wyoming. So those are the kinds of things that we are doing on a national level to change the true trajectory of where Native veterans should be in relation to their VA.”

Wilkie told Indian Country Today how the Mission Act of 2018—which gives more flexibility in the health care facility used by veterans — can be an advantage when choosing a facility. He also talked about family benefits.

“If a veteran has to travel a long distance to a VA facility and that veteran passes community hospitals, urgent care clinics, individual doctors or specialty clinics, we want to make sure that that veteran knows that he or she can use those facilities and that we're not forcing them to travel those hundreds of miles if there's something along the way for them to use. The other thing that is absolutely vital, and I speak of this as the son of a gravely wounded combat soldier from Vietnam, we finally close the last circle from Vietnam by allowing the families who take care of Vietnam veterans to get financial support and material support to take care of those veterans,” explained Wilkie.

“Vietnam veterans represent the largest portion of our 9.5 million veterans who use veterans' health. I can tell you that we still have a lot of catching up to do. I can remember when my father was a senior officer in the 82nd airborne division of all units and he wasn't even allowed to wear his uniform off the post. So recognizing caregivers, family caregivers for Vietnam veterans is the very least that we can do to finally close some of the circles that opened up.”

Wilkie also stated health professionals are lauding the practice of virtual efforts or telehealth.

“I'm not a medical professional. My experience is military and department of defense, but the medical professionals tell me that this is the future in mental health because you're not forcing someone to expose himself or herself in large settings with strangers. You can have them talk to a person in the comfort of a home or familiar setting, a VSO veteran service organization, or a hall. Now, there are some people who will want that direct human contact. But if we provide that kind of variety in those options, I think we will all be better off.”

Additional efforts by the Veterans Administration

In an email to Indian Country Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Affairs provided a substantial list of efforts currently underway to benefit military veterans and families of veterans. Some of the efforts submitted to Indian Country Today were written as follows below:

Greater access to care through “The Mission Act of 2018”

Secretary Wilkie worked with Congress to create the MISSION Act, which streamlines VA’s community care programs, strengthens health care options for our nation’s Veterans, whether in the VA or in the community and, most importantly, centers those decisions on what is best for our Veterans.

More information about the Act can also be found at https://www.missionact.va.gov/.

Connecting virtually via “Telehealth”

As acting VA secretary, Secretary Wilkie announced that VA is adopting a joint electronic health record integrated across all DoD and VA components, using the same system as the Department of Defense. This will ultimately result in all patient data residing in one common system and enable seamless care between the VA and DoD.

Suicide Prevention

According to the latest VA data, the number of Veteran suicides decreased from 2015 to 2016, and on average, about 20 current or former service members die by suicide each day. Of those 20, six have been in VA health care and 14 were not.

As the Joint Commission explains: “The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been able to reduce the number of in-hospital suicides from 4.2 per 100,000 admissions to 0.74 per 100,000 admissions on mental health units, an 82.4% reduction, suggesting that well-designed quality improvement initiatives can lead to a reduction in the occurrence of these tragic events.”

Studies show that suicides occur less frequently on VA campuses than on non-VA campuses.

Also, according to the latest VA data:

  • The number of Veteran suicides decreased from 2015 to 2016.

  • The Veteran unadjusted suicide rate decreased from 30.5/100,000 to 30.1/100,000 from 2015 to 2016.

Additionally, since the department in 2017 began tracking suicides at VA facilities there have been more than 260 suicide attempts, 240 of which have been interrupted.

Suicide prevention is VA’s highest clinical priority. One life lost to suicide is one too many.

That’s why VA is implementing a wide range of prevention activities to address many different risk factors. We are working alongside dozens of partners, including DoD, to deploy suicide prevention programming that supports all current and former service members – even those who do not come to VA for care. Examples of joint efforts to prevent Veteran suicide include the Mayor’s Challenge and our work under Executive Order 13822.

Our approach is summarized in the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, which provides a framework for identifying priorities, organizing efforts, and contributing to a national focus on Veteran suicide prevention.

We encourage any Veteran, family member or friend concerned about a Veteran’s mental health to contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255. Trained professionals are also available to chat at www.veteranscrisisline.net. The lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All VA facilities provide same-day urgent primary and mental health care services to Veterans who need them, and any time an unexpected death occurs at a VA facility, the department conducts a comprehensive review of the case to see if changes in policies and procedures are warranted.

For more info on VA suicide prevention programs, including the Veterans Crisis Line, see below and here:


VA Suicide Prevention by the Numbers

  • VA spent $12.2 million on suicide prevention outreach in the fiscal year 2018, including $1.5 million on paid media. During the fiscal year 2019, our total budget for suicide prevention is approximately $47.5 million, and we plan to spend $20 million of that budget on outreach.

  • VA suicide prevention coordinators are managing care for almost 11,000 Veterans who are clinically at high-risk for suicide.

  • Under VA’s new universal screening for suicidal intent, almost 900,000 Veterans have received a standardized risk screen since October 1, 2018.

    • More than 30,000 of these Veterans have received more complex screening based on a positive initial screen and more than 3,000 have received a full clinical assessment after screening positive.

  • VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators conducted more than 20,000 outreach events in FY18, reaching almost 2 million people.

  • In FY18, the Veterans Crisis Line:

    • Dispatched emergency services for callers in immediate danger an average of 80 times per day

    • Received an average of 1,766 calls per day

    • Received an average of 203 chats per day

    • Received an average of 74 texts per day

  • VA has achieved its goal of hiring 1,000 more mental health providers – adding 1,045 as of January 31, 2019.

  • VA made the commitment to hire additional mental health providers in June 2017 as part of VA’s top clinical priority of eliminating Veteran suicide. 


Misty Upham’s Father Writes about Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women

NATIVE KNOT - October 7, 2019 - 1:00am
October 5th, 2019 marks five years since Misty left us. In her absence, we have continued to pursue the answers to questions that were left behind. Many groups have evolved over the years including MMIW, No More Stolen Sisters, Futures Without Violence and Sisters in Spirit just to name a few. These movements were created to address the issue of violence against Native and Indigenous people and their voices have raised awareness of the growing problems that many families are faced with in their struggle for justice. Because of this awareness, several initiatives have been implemented such as:
• Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
• National Day of Awareness for MMIW&G
• House of Representatives Bill 1585
• Arizona State House Bill 2570
• Washington State House Bill 2951
• Savannah’s Act
Most initiatives start out as a study by a select committee to determine the barriers such as data collection, sharing data and solutions that allow government resources to apply to Native communities. Sound great! But has this political approach been effective? My initial thoughts bring to mind the phrase: BIG SMOKE, NO FIRE. Don’t judge me for being skeptical because I come from a culture that lives with a 500-year history of over 500 broken treaties. Why wouldn’t I ask questions?  The truth is politicians have been notorious for making promises that they do not intend to keep or cannot accomplish throughout the political spectrum. Political tactics from the past have included campaigning with a big cheesy smile, promising a better tomorrow while kissing babies in front of the camera. This could be the tribal councilperson that promises to improve tribal government to President Trump who pledges to Make America Great Again. In my opinion, I feel that many of these approaches are dealing with the effects of a greater problem rather than finding solutions to the root of the matter.
Remember the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) that was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. This single act, which has been reauthorized by every Presidential Administration except the current one, has provided 1.6 billion dollars annually to investigate and prosecute violent crimes against women. You would think that after 25 years and billions of dollars that this growing problem would have been eliminated by now. But it hasn’t stopped Harvey Weinstein from using his position of power to take advantage of vulnerable women nor has it addressed the disparity of violent crimes against Native peoples or how their cases are mishandled. Maybe these efforts are not meant to include the “merciless Indian savage” or the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Red flags are raised in my camp. Why does it take a special initiative to grant human, civil rights and government services to Indigenous people that are afforded to every other American without question? One possible answer could be attributed to the fact that Institutional racism is perpetuated by systemic discrimination and people govern Indigenous people that do not share the same cultural values. America has a proven track record of marginalization and discrimination of its indigenous children. No amount of money, resources or training will fix this problem. But this does not stop someone who wants to kiss the baby. In Washington State, where I reside, HB 2951 was passed to address the local issue of missing and murdered indigenous people. This is how I feel that the closed-door political conversation unfolded.
“Wow! This missing and murdered indigenous issue is really gaining ground. We’re starting to look bad because we have been turning a blind eye and elections are just around the corner. We need to make a public statement that we really care about. Let’s throw these redskins a bone and offer to draft an initiative that will make them think that we’ve got their backs. It doesn’t have to be effective but it just has to look good on paper. This way they can’t say that we didn’t do them any favors. Maybe then they will go away!”
I have no resentment toward all the red brothers and sisters who have waged a tireless campaign to make a difference. Your efforts should be applauded but don’t trust a document or handshake from politicians. This is how the trail of broken treaties was started.
To be effective, any system of a protocol must have a series of checks and balances.
• Just as the Washington State House Committee was selected to draft an initiative to order a study to determine how to increase reporting and investigation of missing and murdered Native American Women in Washington State, an oversite committee should be put in place to make sure that all of the measures enacted and funding allocations are being adhered to on every level.
• These measures should be mandatory so that local city government, police and emergency services are not exempt from compliance.
• Consequences should in place for any state, city, agency or individual who refuses to comply, in the form of punitive damages awarded to affected families. Nothing provides motivation better than the phrase “Show Me The Money”.
• Any State employee or elected official caught in defiance of these mandates should be removed from their elected office or they’re position immediately and forever barred from taking state or local government appointments.
• Communication is essential to keep families and government-to-government agencies informed of case management. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get information from an agency that refuses to inform family members or share information with other agencies that could aid in solving crimes or disappearances.
• These measures should be retroactive and applied to all current and past cases of missing and murdered indigenous people that were closed and or unresolved.
Now imagine this type of case management for all federally recognized tribes nationwide. Could happen! To start with all federally recognized tribes are a fiduciary responsibility of the United States Government with a high standard duty of care. Under treaty agreements, the federal government has a duty to enforce, not only, protection by the law but also protection from the law including legal assistance. Under the law, tribal members are viewed as wards to their guardians. (Guardian being the U.S. government) The tribal status of “Ward” entitles tribes to sue officers of the United States when that standard of care is violated. In addition, because they are federal wards, tribes may seek United States assistance in litigating against states or private parties.
So how did we get to this place? Missing and murdered Indigenous people and nobody seems to care. Well, remember that group of kids in school who were labeled the mean girls, the boys who were bullies. These kids were just not happy unless they were making life miserable for all the other kids whom they chose to victimize. By virtue of their own egos, they determined that they were better than everyone else in their social sphere and thereby obligated to remind their insignificance of their position in life. They were not born with these character flaws. This behavior was taught to them by their environmental influences as normal, healthy social interaction. Well, all those kids grew up and took their baggage with them into the workplace. Many of them wear badges and carry guns. Some are elected to office in local, state and federal government agencies.
So why wouldn’t this thing go off the rails at some point?
The way I see it the ratification of House Bills and other initiatives would not be necessary if people in power followed the current law. But that day has not arrived yet. To whom do you start with? Every time someone goes missing or is murdered, you call the police. Then a police report is made and a case file is opened. What happens next is anybody’s guess because there are no existing protocols to ensure that the police will apply appropriate measures. This is why House Bills and other initiatives are necessary because the term “Duty of Care” was vague and ambiguous. This responsibility is laid at the feet of local law enforcement. But accountability lies at the door of every governing body and every individual who is a representative of this matrix.
I realize that many non-Native individuals including politicians are sincere in their efforts to make a difference. Their journey has given them insight into the plight of the Red Man. But there is much more work to be done. I stand with all the Native families that have missing and murdered loved ones who have become invisible in our society. Many have told me that I am wrong, it is all in my head and that we have a system of law and order that really works for all. But I am more convinced by the ashes that fill the urn on our family mantelpiece that used to be my daughter.
Always Loved, Never forgotten
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Charles Upham is the father of Misty Upham.

From the Center for Indian Country Development: New study shows Native Americans face higher-priced mortgage rates

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - October 7, 2019 - 12:02am

Published October 7, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — Native Americans living on reservations who want to buy homes are significantly more likely to have high-priced mortgages, and those mortgage rates average nearly two percentage points higher than for non-Native Americans outside reservations.

The bottom line? A Native American family purchasing a $140,000 home on a reservation could pay $107,000 more over the course of a 30-year loan than a non-Native American purchasing a home outside a reservation would pay.

That’s according to a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Center for Indian Country Development (CICD).

“This report should serve as notice to policymakers, lenders, and housing advocates that there is an urgent and deeply troubling issue around housing and mortgage costs across Indian Country,” said Minneapolis Fed Assistant Vice President and CICD Director Patrice Kunesh.

Written by CICD research economist Donna Feir and data analyst Laura Catteneo, a new working paper, “The Higher Cost of Mortgage Financing for Native Americans,” confirms that affordable access to capital and quality housing is a daunting challenge facing Native Americans, particularly those who live on or near reservations.

Feir and Catteneo’s research finds:

  • Almost 30 percent of loans made to American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN) for reservation properties were higher cost—that is, costing more in interest rates than those available to non-Native Americans.
  • Only 10 percent of loans in the same time period made to non-Native borrowers for properties near reservations were higher cost; thus, three times the proportion of Native borrowers faced higher-cost loans than did non-Native borrowers.
  • While these higher-cost home loans are predominately found on reservation lands, manufactured homes account for 25 percent to 35 percent of the difference in the cost of financing.

“We believe further investigation around the manufactured home financing market structure might be necessary if home loans are going to be made equally affordable for AIAN borrowers,” said Feir.

The report concludes: “These results potentially suggest that without other institutional market reforms, promoting homeownership as a method of increasing Native American equity and assets may be less effective than for other populations.”

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Cherokee Nation and CNB Minimum Wage Increases Will Boost Economy, Help Families 

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - October 7, 2019 - 12:02am

Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

Guest Commentary

Published October 7, 2019

Our employees here at the Cherokee Nation are the backbone of our government and business operations. It is our mission to be the employer of choice in northeast Oklahoma. Increasing the minimum wage for tribal employees was one of the first things I set out to accomplish as Principal Chief. It is a financial investment in our people that will come back to us many times over.

Our government workforce is nearly 4,000 strong, with more than 7,000 individuals comprising our workforce at Cherokee Nation Businesses. Providing a minimum wage of $11 to hourly employees ensures that we remain a positive economic force within the state of Oklahoma. The ripple effect from this action will no doubt boost many community economies across our 14 counties for years to come.

Living costs during the past decade have increased. By giving our workforce a fair, livable wage, hundreds of extra dollars per year will flow into our local market. It will allow more discretionary spending – extra dollars to help buy groceries, get school clothing for children or put gas in the car.

While the new minimum wage will be $11, there is a larger impact thanks to our employment benefits package. We offer full-time employees top-notch health, dental and life insurance, as well as a 401(k) matching plan, paid vacation, sick leave and educational reimbursement. Those kinds of benefits are unheard of in most hourly jobs. Creating full-time quality jobs allows us to hire more Cherokees and, in turn, to retain them long term in our workforce. Less turnover is better for employees, the Cherokee Nation and CNB.

As the largest tribal government in Oklahoma and the United States, we plan to continue to raise the bar for our citizens and for our employees. The financial bump is fiscally responsible and within our budget. The success we have seen over the past decade deserves to be rewarded and shared with our employees.

Our economic growth has been significant, and the hard work of our employees was directly responsible for many of the successes we have seen here at Cherokee Nation and CNB. Giving our dedicated employees a living wage is the right thing to do, and I hope the federal and state governments will eventually follow the leadership example of the Cherokee Nation on this issue.

Chuck Hoskin, Jr. is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

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Repatriation Panel Examines History of Stolen Cultural Patrimony on Four Continents

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - October 7, 2019 - 12:00am

Jodi  Simkin, Klahoose First Nation, Director of Cultural Affairs & Heritage for Klahoose First Nation, will be a panelist.

Published October 7, 2019

CHICAGO — As part of the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Inherit Chicago month of programs, four cultural allies will present a panel discussion on repatriation of human remains and cultural patrimony October 10th at the National Hellenic Museum from 6-8pm with a pop-up exhibit opening at 5pm.

Demands for repatriation of lost cultural patrimony and stolen human remains make weekly headlines around the world. Join the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian and the National Hellenic Museum in deepening your understanding of the complexities of repatriation in this panel discussion. The discussion will be accompanied by a photographic pop-up exhibit showing how the demands for the return of lost cultural treasures can unite ethnicities and nationalities.

Included among the panelists is Jodi Simkin, Klahoose First Nation, Director of Cultural Affairs & Heritage for Klahoose First Nation. Located in central British Columbia, the Nation has undertaken the development of a systematic framework for the research, location, and repatriation of ancestral remains and related cultural patrimony. A lifelong advocate of social justice issues, Jodi is also the Vice-President of the British Columbia Museums Association (BCMA), an appointed member of the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Committee, and of the Association on American Indian Affairs Repatriation Working Group. Jodi is a past presenter for the Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM) and of the Learned Society. Additional expert panelists for the Repatritation of cultural Patrimony event include Dr. Katherine Kelaidis, Resident Scholar at the National Hellenic Museum and Visiting Assistant Professor at DePaul University; and Zeresenay Alemseged, paleoanthropologist and Donald N. Pritzker Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. Also speaking is Elinor Pearlstein who served as Associate Curator of Chinese Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (1987-2017), following ten years at the Cleveland Museum of Art.   She currently works as an editor and independent scholar.

The Repatriation of Cultural Patrimony program is part of Inherit Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s month-long intercultural festival. Join us at 5pm to view the pop up exhibit and 6pm for the panel discussion on Thursday, October 10th  at the National Hellenic Museum at 333 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL, 60661 . Tickets for the event are $5 and can be purchased online at https://www.artful.ly/store/events/18358.

For more information, call the Chicago Cultural Alliance: 312-846-6814.

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Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women will be Focus on Indigenous Peoples Day in Pomona, Calif.

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - October 7, 2019 - 12:00am

Published October 7, 2019

POMONA, Calif. — The focus of the Second Annual Indigenous Peoples Day in Pomona, California will be on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman (MMIW). Tribal chairman Dee Dee Manzanares Ybarra,  Rumšen Ohlone and Gabrieleño/Kizh , invites the public to join the event at the village of Nordena (Ganesha Park) this Saturday, October 12 from 10 am – 7pm.

This celebration will include the tipi that represents Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. This tipi is usually home in northern California. However the A.I.M traveled to bring this tipi down to the Kizh Nation. The families of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women will be present as well as many others. They will put their hand print upon this tipi to create an everlasting message that these women were significant and important to their communities. MMIW Tipi


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Essentials That You Must Take When You are Going on a Beach Holiday

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - October 7, 2019 - 12:00am

Published October 7, 2019

Summers and beach holidays go hand in hand. By now there would be numerous people planning their beach vacations. Beaches are an amazing experience since they offer sandy white sand along with some great water sports and trekking activities. However dragging the entire suitcase is a bit of an issue and you can relieve yourself from all the hassle by planning it out smartly. Here are a few tips that will help you enjoy your maximum to its fullest.


It is a no brainer that there will be no travelling without a suitcase. However, the key is to take the right suitcase. You might be tempted to take an oversized suitcase that can accommodate your entire closet, but think again. If you are going on a holiday to rest and relax, the last thing you would want to get occupied with airport hassles and dragging the suitcase everywhere. Investing in a cabin-sized four-wheel luggage will give you the luxury of skipping longer check-ins. Besides that, it will be much easier for you to carry the bag at places where there is no help or support available.


It is always recommended to pack light on a holiday, therefore it is important to pack smartly and pick the right clothes. Since most beach destinations tend to have tropical or hot and humid conditions, pack a pair or two of swimwear. Besides that pack some light shirts and tees align with a mix of pants and shorts. Do not go overboard with your clothing and keep it minimal.


You do not need to walk in a pair of long heels. Stick to Havaianas and Fit flops. They will be your best friend for all the comfort that you need. Take an additional pair of joggers or sneakers just in case you need to move around comfortably. Two or max three pairs are more than enough. Shows take quite a lot of space in your suitcase so avoid taking too many shoes.


While your suitcase will be carrying all your essentials, you will be carrying an additional bag to carry everyday items such as wallet and the phone. It would be impractical for you to be dragging your luggage everywhere. Get a good drawstring bag to be able to move around freely without any hassle. Unlike other regular bags, drawstring bags give you an added advantage of moving around without hurting your body and muscles.


Taking your toiletries would be a bit awkward for most people since most resorts and hotels provide them complementary. However, it is not necessarily what toiletries they are offering will suit your hair and skin. It is worth not taking the risk and in fact better to take your own toiletries along.


No beach holiday is complete without sunbathing and dips in the ocean and you can easily get sunburns in th e process. You can get good quality sunscreen lotions that you can easiky enjoy the tropical suns without feeling guilty about getting your skin burned.

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Presidential Candidate Mark Charles: If You Think Simply Impeaching President Trump is the Solution, Then You Don’t Understand the Problem

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - October 6, 2019 - 8:41pm

A protester holds up a sign in favor of impeachment outside the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday. From PBS – Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Guest Commentary

Published October 6, 2019

Ya’at’eeh, my relatives. This weekend I sat with my cup of gohwééh (coffee) and pondered the political chaos that has enveloped our nation these past two weeks. Per its design, our simplistic two-party political system has turned the entire impeachment process binary. President Trump’s supporters in the GOP, many who were vehemently and vocally opposed to his candidacy prior to him being nominated (I’m looking directly at you Senator Lindsey Graham) are now screaming at the top of their lungs that he is an innocent victim in this situation. And some, including our President himself, are even suggesting treason from the whistle-blower, and threatening a Civil War-like chasm between the President and his political opponents. Meanwhile, on the left, we have nearly every online and 24-hour news agency tweeting out, investigating, debating and broadcasting the “insights” of partisan political pundits who are only more than willing to jump to even ludicrous conclusions over every new detail and each tiny fact that is uncovered. And this chaos, that has been growing for three years but reached a frenzied pitch this month, makes it nearly impossible for people to discern what’s really happening.

In the midst of this ongoing chaotic drama (which according to psychologists is where narcissists thrive), President Trump cannot decide which starring role he wants to play. If you observe Donald Trump’s behavior, especially since he decided to run for POTUS (but it was also very evident prior) he seems to believe that his entire existence is encapsulated within a single binary. He is either the savior of the world OR the greatest victim of it. There appears to be no middle ground. And for this current episode, he cannot decide which role will serve him best, hero or victim (if you don’t believe me just read through his Twitter feed).

Mark Charles addressing press at forum

And beneath all of this, we have our nation’s white supremacist, racist and sexist foundations. A Declaration of Independence that refers to Natives as savages. A Constitution that never mentions women, excludes Natives and counts Africans as three-fifths human. And Supreme Court Opinions, as recent as 2005, which imply natives are (still) savages and reference the dehumanizing Doctrine of Discovery as the legal precedent for land titles. All of these foundations were literally written for the purpose of protecting white land-owning men (search any of my previous statements, speeches and lectures re: the Doctrine of Discovery).

The precedent these foundations have established is this: at the highest levels of both politics and finance, there is an understanding that there will be minimal legal, ethical or moral accountability for white land-owning men and even less consequences for white land-owning men who engage in immoral, unethical or illegal behavior. This system has worked for nearly 200 years, as long as it was only white land-owning men responsible for (not) holding white land-owning men accountable within this system that was designed to protect and benefit white land-owning men.

However, in the past 50 years the situation began to change as more women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and other religions were elected into political office, joined police forces and became judges. And then the entire system nearly fell apart in 2008 when a black man was elected President of the United States. Unfortunately (for the white land-owning male power structure), President Obama was highly ethical, very moral and did his best to avoid acting illegally. While I do not know President Obama personally, after observing him and his family for nearly a decade in the public spotlight, I have learned to respect his character. But I also know that another reason his behavior (especially while in office) was as ethical, moral and legal as it was, is because he understood that, as a black man, the laws of our nation were not written to protect him. If he did act out of line, the system would not presume his innocence. And if he was convicted of any wrongdoing, the consequences would be very real and quite high (as proof I refer you to not only the incarceration rates, but also to the severity of sentencing, of people of color compared to white people in our country).

Mark Charles at the Indigenous Peoples March. Photo by Shane Bahn

And today, the GOP and President Trump are being held accountable by the most diverse US Congress our nation has ever seen. There are more women, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, LGBTQ and Muslims in the 116th Congress than at any time prior in our nation’s history. And this is sending the white land-owning men not only on the right, but also on the left, into a full panic. Their system is breaking down. Actual accountability and real consequences for white land-owning men is becoming a very distinct possibility.  And much of the chaos we are observing today is the reality of that fact sinking in. This becomes very clear when either Donald Trump or Joe Biden are asked direct questions regarding the ethics, morals or legality of their behavior by the public or journalists.

White land-owning men still hold a majority in both the House and the Senate, and our current President is one of the whitest (figuratively) and most land-owning males to ever occupy the White House. But the walls are quickly closing in, our nation is becoming more diverse, and the days of a simple white majority are precisely numbered.

If any of the 2020 Presidential candidates who are also people of color (myself, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Julian Castro and Tulsi Gabbard) behaved in a manner similar to that of either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, our disqualification from the campaign would have been immediately called for and agreed upon by the bi-partisan majority of white land-owning men. The system exists to protect them, not us.

For example, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and had mistresses. Abraham Lincoln was a blatant white supremacist, and within three years of signing the Pacific Railroad Act, he had literally ethnically-cleansed the Dakota and Winnebago from Minnesota, the Cheyenne and Arapahoe for Colorado and Wyoming, and the Navajo and Mascalero Apache from the territory of New Mexico, making him one of the most genocidal presidents in the history of the United States. The sexual exploits of President Kennedy are legendary. Ronald Reagan declared a war on drugs which in retrospect was, very clearly, a war on race. President Clinton perfected the art of mass incarceration, and he also cheated on his wife while in office. And after 9/11, President Bush mislead our nation into a decades long war on terror that has directly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians worldwide.

My point is, the divisive, corrupt, unethical and immoral Presidency of Donald Trump is not destroying the pristine reputation of the United States of America. That reputation is a myth. President Trump is simply just another example of the fruit produced by our white supremacist, racist, sexist and colonial foundations. And many Americans are finding it somewhat horrifying to see our rotten fruit on full global display in the 21st Century.

President Trump is most definitely a problem, but he is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the root of the problem. And while impeaching him may feel satisfying to some, it will at best be a temporary bandage on the cancer of racism, sexism, colonialism and white supremacy that is embedded deep within our nation’s foundations. I am not suggesting that President Trump should not be held accountable, but I want our nation to understand that impeachment of this President is not the final solution. Our problems are both deeper and more bipartisan than most Americans would care to admit and fixing them will require systemic and foundational level change.

Mark Charles

Bio: Mark Charles is a dual citizen of the United States and the Navajo Nation. He is running as an Independent candidate for the office of President of the United States (2020). Mark is calling for the creation of a Common Memory through a national Truth and Conciliation Commission. The theme of his campaign is to build a nation where “We the People” truly means #AllThePeople. Mark’s first book, “Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery” (IVP with co-author Soong-Chan Rah) is due in bookstores on November 5, 2019.

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Tribal Citizen & St. Louis Cardinal Pitcher Calls Tomahawk Chop “Disappointing, Disrespectful”

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - October 6, 2019 - 6:40pm

Ryan Hesley is one of six American Indians who play in Major League Baseball.

Published October 6, 2019

ATLANTA — Ryan Helsley, a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, observed firsthand the tomahawk chop during the first playoff game on Thursday night against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. Helsley is a relief pitcher for the Cardinals.

The tomahawk chop, which originated with the Florida Seminoles football team, made its way to Atlanta almost three decades ago as a means for the home team fans to cheer on their team, using a foam rubber tomahawk and a so-called Indian chant.

Helsley pitched in the Thursday night opener of the post-season playoff game.

Friday he took his concerns to the press.

“I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” Helsley said before the Friday night game.

“Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots.”

“That’s the disappointing part,” he continued in a conversation with The Post-Dispatch. “That stuff like this still goes on. It’s just disrespectful, I think.”

On Saturday, the Atlanta Braves organization said they “appreciate and take seriously” Helsley’s concerns. The team says it has “worked to honor and respect the Native American community through the years.”

“Our organization has sought to embrace all people and highlight the many cultures in Braves Country,” the Braves stated in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the in-game experience, and look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community once the season comes to an end.”

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Trudeau won't remove Liberal candidate for racist, sexist social media posts

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - October 6, 2019 - 2:56pm
Jaime Battiste

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says comments made by a Liberal candidate in Nova Scotia in old social media posts are unacceptable, but that he is not removing him as a candidate.

Categories: CANADA


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