NAC: March 2 – 5

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Monday, March 2, 2020 – Border wall construction ignores tribal concerns
The chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation says the current wall construction on the U.S. – Mexico border is no different than “building a 30-foot wall along Arlington Cemetery.” Ned Norris Jr. made the comments during a recent congressional hearing, saying blasting and bulldozing in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona is destroying many sacred places that remain important for ceremonial practices. The tribe continues to push for government-to-government consultation which is mandated by federal law. But the U.S. Government is invoking a waiver that bypasses the requirement for barriers along the border. We’ll get an update and more details from the voices of those on the ground.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 – Turning a passion for sports into a career
Dedicated high school and college athletes pour their hearts and bodies into their passion for the game. But very few people can actually make a career on the court or on the field. So many people turn that passion into related careers, like coaching, physical therapy, and even sports journalism. We’ll find out what drives people in athletic careers and get some ideas about what those interested in a sports career can expect.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 – Indigenous legislation update
A number of federal and state proposals could potentially affect issues important to Native constituents. At least three bills in Congress aim to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. They mainly hope to encourage law enforcement communication and cooperation across jurisdictions and fix the lack of accurate data that could help fight the epidemic. Another federal proposal aims to remove the pervasive barriers to broadband access in rural tribal areas. Also, states continue to seek “riot boosting” laws that enact severe penalties for people protesting projects like oil pipelines. We’ll get updates on proposed laws with a round-up of legislative actions.

Friday, March 6, 2020 – Finding the right nutrition path
Intermittent fasting, keto, and Whole30 are some of the diet plans that are currently popular. They’re among the ever-evolving ideas aimed at an audience hungry for simple, sustainable ways to lose weight and live a healthier life. There’s no shortage of information about what to eat and what to avoid. But how do you separate viable advice from internet ads telling you to “try this one weird trick” to lose weight. As we enter month three of 2020, those who started the year with a new diet plan might be questioning their decision. We’ll bring you advice from nutrition experts on where to find the most current and valuable information on feeding yourself. Send your nutrition questions to [email protected].

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Presidential Candidate Mike Bloomberg Releases Native American Plan

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Mike Bloomberg releases Native American plan. PBS photo

Published February 27, 2020

NEW YORK — On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg released a Native American plan with calls for upholding tribal sovereignty and improving the lives of tribal citizens. 

His plan is comprised of four pillars: 1) reaffirm Indian Country land rights, upgrade infrastructure, and combat environmental injustice; 2) elevate tribal authority and protect Native American women and girls; 3) improve health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives; and 4) enhance economic and educational opportunities for tribal members.

According to his campaign, Bloomberg’s plan would reverse historical injustices, affirm tribal sovereignty and protect the most vulnerable Native Americans from assault, attacks on voting rights and health disparities.

In a press release, Bloomberg’s campaign states, “Donald Trump is a racist and disrespectful toward Native Americans. His federal budgets have proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to essential services for Native Americans, including education, law enforcement, natural resource management and social services.

“The hostility and disrespect Donald Trump has shown toward Native Americans is disgraceful, and it will end with my administration,” Bloomberg continued. “The indigenous peoples of this land deserve respect – respect for their sovereignty, respect for their right to self-governance, respect for their culture – and that’s what they’ll receive when I’m president. I will increase Native American representation in the White House, deliver more resources to the Indian Health Service and tribal colleges, and treat tribal nations with the dignity they deserve.”

Bloomberg’s Plan is as follows:  

Reaffirm Indian Country land rights, bolster infrastructure, and protect Native lands from environmental degradation.

  • Rebuild tribal homelands by reaffirming and restoring the Interior Department’s authority to take tribal lands into trust. 
  • Assess and fund tribes’ infrastructure needs and bring high-speed internet to the nearly one-third of people living on tribal lands who lack it.
  • Reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act to improve housing in Indian Country.
  • Reverse Trump-era environmental protection rollbacks to ensure Indian Country has clean air and clean water. 
  • Negotiate for indigenous rights protection in all international climate agreements and work with tribes to make tribal communities, lands, and infrastructure more resilient.
  • Engage in full and meaningful consultation with tribes on federal land management. 

Strengthen tribes’ legal and civil rights, protect indigenous women and girls, and elevate Native voices in government. 

  • Expand tribal legal jurisdiction over crimes committed on reservations, while ensuring constitutional protections for all.
  • Launch an unprecedented effort to strengthen protections for indigenous women and girls, who face violence, sexual assault, and homicide, as well as trafficking, at disparate rates.  
  • Work with Congress to Pass Savanna’s Act, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act with strong protections for Native communities, and direct the Justice Department to work with tribes to investigate cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).
  • Support and defend the Indian Child Welfare Act to ensure that Native children are not unnecessarily separated from their communities. 
  • Appoint a senior White House adviser for Native issues to elevate tribal issues to the top of the federal government and restore the Tribal Nations Conference.
  • Discourage states from imposing unreasonable voting requirements on Native Americans and encourage them to accept tribal IDs as valid voter identification.
  • Eliminate discriminatory laws and practices, such as voter roll purging.

Improve health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives. 

  • Fully fund the Indian Health Service — including facilities operated by the IHS and tribes, as well as Urban Indian Health Programs — and work with Congress to make full funding mandatory.  
  • Lower Native Americans’ extraordinarily high rate of death by suicide by increasing access to mental health care and supporting the Native American Suicide Prevention Act.
  • End the opioid and behavioral health epidemics affecting Native communities by expanding access to addiction treatment and mental health services.

Improve economic and educational opportunities for tribal members.

  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour.
  • Put money back into Native Americans’ pockets by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and distributing it monthly, in line with people’s real needs.
  • Triple direct federal Title III funding to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including tribal two-year and four-year colleges. 
  • Invest in job creation and entrepreneurship by increasing federal funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program.

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Chicago Public Schools Board of Ed Drops Columbus Day; Adds Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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American Indian community protesting at Chicago’s Columbus Day 2015 parade. Native News Online photo by Anthony Roy

Published February 28, 2020

CHICAGO — A group of American Indians made public comments before the Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday, encouraging the country’s third-largest school district—355,000 students—to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day.

Chicago Public Schools has been recognizing both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day on its official school calendar as a shared holiday on the second Monday of October.

During comment before the school board, 12 Indigenous members of the Chicago community and three non-Native supporters of the change spoke on Wednesday because the school board was to vote on an amendment to only recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The group delivered over 5,700 signatures from community members in support of the measure.

The amendment was introduced by school board member Elizabeth Todd-Breland, who teaches history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The amendment passed with a 5-2 vote.

“This is an exciting day for our Native community here in Chicago because it brings attention to the fact we are still here and now it signifies a way to ensure our history is being taught in Chicago Public Schools,” Heather Miller (Wyandotte) commented to Native News Online on Thursday.

Miller is one of several individuals who have been working with Chicago Public Schools on the change. Miller says it is about teaching a better Native story and history in the schools.

“This was a very incredible display of our Native community coming together to support an important issue that impacts our Native students and all other students in the school system,” Miller said. “Today we get to celebrate our first win for the Indigenous Peoples’ Day movement here in Chicago. While this is the first step for a more equitable city, the fight is not over, and we will continue to push for change in our city, county, and state.”

Columbus Day dates back to 1892, when President William Henry Harrison made a proclamation observing a day set aside to celebrate Christopher Columbus. It has been a federal holiday since 1937.

Many American Indians have long resisted the observance of a day to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with “discovering” the Americas in American history.

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How to strengthen sensitive skin with Sond Skin

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Sensitive skin is caused by irritation to the top layer of the epidermis, otherwise known as the first of the five layers of our skin. 

Irritation can occur for a number of different reasons including tough weather conditions, harsh products and a predisposition to conditions such as eczema and rosacea. If you are one of the many who experience irritation regularly, it can feel like a struggle to find the right skincare for sensitive skin. Sond sensitive skincare products provide the latest in alkaline skincare technology to create skincare products to comfort and ease skin sensitivity whilst strengthening the skin against flare ups in the future.

Organic skincare from Sond uses a range of products to target the dryness, itching and distressing redness that sensitive skin can cause. Their Clean Slate Cream Cleanser purifies and calms the skin without stripping any of its vital moisturise or disrupting the important top layer shield against harmful, blemish causing bacteria. Gentle enough for acne and eczema prone skin, this cleanser gives a fresh start for your skin every day. 

The Sidekick Day Cream is your skin’s new best friend, providing a deeply hydrating cream that won’t block pores or cause irritation. Using the latest in alkaline skin research, this day cream helps to balance the pH of your skin. The top skin layer is naturally acidic, requiring an moisturiser that is alkaline in order to keep the skin in balance and keep the pH low. 

Skin is happiest when its cells are turning over regularly and gently and a low pH environment is the perfect way to keep your skin looking clear and smooth. Good skin is not just about topical creams and Sond’s Jump Start Silica supplements can be just the boost your skin needs to help with collagen production and increased radiance. 

Night time skincare products can often be high in pH, common culprits of causing breakouts and disturbing the natural mantle of the skin. Using Sond’s Midnight Feast Night Cream helps to repair cells from deep within the skin’s layers and its low pH means no stripping or stinging. 

Using its specialist alkaline silica salt complex, this wonder cream can soothe and replenish even the most irritated skin. Using alkaline products every day as part of your skin care routine can help to strengthen skin deep down from the inside out and allow for scars and redness to lessen over time. If you are looking to see a big difference in your skin, Sond skincare could be the answer. 

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National Congress of American Indians Condemns Destruction of Culturally Sacred Sites at Southern Border

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A contractor bulldozes a 60-foot-wide construction zone along the border, toppling saguaro cacti. NPR photo

WASHINGTON — The National Congress of American Indians on Thursday evening condemned the recent destruction and desecration of culturally sacred sites and denounced comments by Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar.  

 NCAI made the following statement:

“The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) condemns the recent activity in Arizona that led to the destruction of culturally significant sites. NCAI also denounces the recent remarks and gross allegations by Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar against the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Southeastern Arizona border wall construction in culturally important areas such as Quitobaquito Springs and Monument Hill has destroyed sacred sites, burial grounds, and other areas of cultural significance to the Tohono O’odham Nation. The National Park Service acknowledges the cultural significance of the area and recognizes the area as historic homelands of the Nation. Nonetheless, the area is under heavy construction without prior consent from the Tohono O’odham Nation.

NCAI believes the Administration’s blanket waiver of cultural protection and environmental laws, that statutorily recognize the treaty and trust responsibilities the United States owes to Indian Country, is permanently damaging culturally sensitive sacred sites, and serves as a threat to the respect for tribal sovereignty.

‘The President’s actions and policies signal to Indian Country a complete failure to sufficiently understand our American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and what it means to honor the trust responsibility owed to Indian Country,’ said NCAI CEO Kevin J. Allis. ‘The desecration of these sacred sites on tribal lands along the U.S. Southern Border is shameful and must stop immediately.’

NCAI opposes the construction of the border wall on tribal lands without the consent of the affected tribal nations and calls on the Administration to immediately cease further activity and engage directly with the Tohono O’odham Nation.”

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Tantoo Cardinal honored alongside Ryan Reynolds and Catherine O’Hara

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Tantoo Cardinal (courtesy photo)

OTTAWA, Canada — Acclaimed actress and activist Tantoo Cardinal will be honored at the upcoming Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, a star-studded event happening April 25 at the National Arts Centre.

Other Hollywood celebrities being named laureates are Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Green Lantern) and Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone, Schitt’s Creek).

Tantoo, who is currently starring in the ABC series Stumptown, is receiving the 2020 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in the “Broadcasting and Film” category. Since 1992, the annual ceremony has spotlighted talented Canadians. Nominees are been picked by the public.

In a brief video message to fans, Cardinal said: “I share this with the people that have inspired me to go into this business and be a part of telling their stories.”

Born in 1950, Cardinal was raised in the rural town of Anzac. After moving on to California and becoming a professional, self-taught actor in the early 1970s, she soon landed roles in a series of big-budget productions, like the Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves (with Kevin Costner and Graham Greene) and Legends of the Fall (with Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt), Smoke Signals, among many others.

Her television resume is equally impressive, and comprises roles on Street Legal, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Mohawk Girls, to only name a few.

“I have chosen my path from where I hope to be able to make some change,” Cardinal said on the GGPAA’s website. “It’s tied into what I completely believe in: the stream of life force, and salvaging enough of our stories and ceremonies to start building again. I see it as a responsibility.”

A long roster of other gifted Canadians are also being recognized at the 2020 event, click here for the full list. 

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As Congressional Hearing Convenes, Trump Administration Resumes Blasting of Sacred Sites

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Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States heard testimony on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, on the continued desecration of sacred burial sites on ancestral tribal lands. Photos from Livestream.

Published February 27, 2020

WASHINGTON — Just before Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. began his Congressional testimony yesterday, he received a call with some unfortunate, though not unexpected, news: blasting had resumed on his tribe’s sacred lands to clear a path for President Trump’s border wall. 

Rep. Deb Haaland

Chairman Norris was on Capitol Hill to talk about the very subject.  

Norris was one of several Native American speakers testifying at an oversight hearing titled “Destroying Sacred Sites and Erasing Tribal Culture: The Trump Administration’s Construction of the Border Wall.” He told the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States that the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security is using a waiver of several federal laws, which are supposed to protect Indigenous sacred sites.  

Instead, contractors have continued to desecrate human graves along the route of the wall. He further testified that there has been no meaningful government-to-government consultation. He said when the blasting began several weeks ago, he was notified via a text to his telephone from a federal official.

“This disrespect for our sacred sites and their desecration at the hands of our federal government is deeply painful. These sites are not only sacred to the Nation – they are a part of our shared cultural heritage as United States citizens. As Americans, we all should be horrified that the federal government has so little respect for our religious and cultural values and does not appear to have any intention of slowing down enough to understand or avoid the harm it is causing,” Norris testified.

The hearing took place just hours after U.S Customs and Border Protection held a “blasting” of Monument Hill – a well-known historical site inside Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Natural Resources Committee’s Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) district where Tohono O’odham tribal members buried Apache warriors out of respect after battle.

Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris, Jr.

In early January, Grijalva sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf expressing concern that the agency’s failure to consult with the Tohono O’odham Nation on the construction of the wall. He has not received a response, which is one more example of the Trump administration disregarding concerns of tribal nations.

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, delivered an impassioned statement to the sub-committee. She then questioned how Trump officials “can sleep at night” and rejected any comparison between litter, which can be cleaned up, and the permanent destruction of sacred locations and historical artifacts, “which is irreparable.”

Norris choked up when Haaland asked him how Tohono O’odham citizens reacted at the bulldozing and blasting of the human burial sites.

“It’s hard to see the blasting that you showed on the video today because I know in my heart and from what our elders have told us and what we have learned that is home to our ancestors and by blasting, it has fully disturbed and forever damaged our people,” Norris said.

The only Republican to speak at Wednesday’s hearing was Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who dismissed the Trump administration’s lack of tribal consultation as unimportant and pushed for continued wall construction without additional safeguards.

Shannon Keller O’Loughlin (Choctaw), executive director and attorney for the Association on American Indian Affairs said she compares tribal sacred sites to places held sacred by other Americans, such as the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and even churches.

“Tribal sacred sites have never had the same protections as non-Indian cemeteries, war memorials, churches and other western institutions – though Tribal cultural and sacred sites serve the same purposes as those western institutions,” testified Keller O’Loughlin.

DHS declined a witness invitation to Wednesday’s hearing, but told the Committee it is working on a response to Grijalva’s letter – despite construction actions that suggest otherwise. Scott Cameron, the principal deputy assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget, testified on behalf of the Interior Department.

Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) pressed Cameron on whether the administration had actually performed the necessary consultation with the Tohono O’odham before destroying Monument Hill. 

Cameron said that consultation is “in the eye of the beholder” though he declined to be more specific.


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Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills to Keynote National Tribal Public Health Summit

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The 11th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit will attract 500 to Omaha, Nebraska March 17-19, 2020. Courtesy photo

Published February 26, 2020

Conference Theme: Sovereignty = Tribal Public Health

WASHINGTON —The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) announced Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills (Oglala Sioux Tribe) will be the keynote speaker at the 11th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit. The summit is expected to attract more than 500 leaders at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb. on March 17-19, 2020.

Billy Mills

The theme of the summit is “Sovereignty = Tribal Public Health.”

Mills will present his keynote address on Wednesday, March 18. He has been an inspiration for Native Americans and non-Natives alike for decades. A track star while attending the University of Kansas, Mills enlisted as a Marine officer and joined the U.S. Marine Corps track and field team. In 1964, Mills qualified for the Olympics in Tokyo. As an unknown competitor, he made history as the first—and only—American runner to win an Olympic gold medal in the 10,000-meter run.

A pre-conference listening session will provide an overview of the potential impact of the coronavirus on Indian Country. Worldwide, over 80,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. 

“We’re gathering in Omaha at a critical time in public health to hear from Tribes and federal agencies on how they are addressing pressing issues like the Coronavirus outbreak and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic,” said NIHB CEO Stacy A. Bohlen. “Tribal governments have come a long way in providing public health for their people, but we have much to do. During the NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit, we’ll move forward as we celebrate Tribal sovereignty and its effect on Tribal health systems, including public health.”

Plenary sessions and special events are at the Hilton Omaha.

 CLICK here for the list of speakers and topics.

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