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KUNR Today: Events held across Mountain West to recognize missing and murdered Indigenous people

Jingle dress dancers wearing colorful attire march at the front of a parade under the Reno sign in downtown Reno.
Bree Zender
KUNR Public Radio
Jingle dress dancers of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Pow Wow Club marched at the helm of the crowd at the third annual Women’s March in Reno in 2019, which placed an emphasis on the missing and murdered Indigenous peoples crisis.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Events held across Mountain West to recognize missing and murdered Indigenous people
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Advocates across our region are holding events this week to raise awareness about the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people.

Last year, Congress designated May 5th a day of awareness for missing and murdered Native women and girls. They face murder rates more than 10 times the national average. Northern Cheyenne member Hanna Harris is one example. Her death inspired the resolution in Congress. The 21-year-old went missing and was found murdered in 2013 on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana. May 5th was her birthday.

In Colorado, Gina Lopez, a Ute Mountain tribal member, is working with state lawmakers on a bill to create an office for missing and murdered Indigenous people.

“I'm an adult childhood sexual abuse survivor, and survived intimate partner violence as an adult,” Lopez said, “and these are, unfortunately, experiences that are all too familiar to our communities, to our sisters, to our moms.”

Advocates are using the day of awareness to elevate the Colorado bill. The state could join several others in our region that are trying to address this crisis.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum holds solidarity walk for missing and murdered Indigenous people
By Gustavo Sagrero

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum is holding a solidarity walk Thursday. Museum Director Billie Jean Guerrero says the walk will honor and create awareness around missing and murdered Indigenous two-spirited people, men, and women like Anna Marie Scott. Anna’s body was found a few months ago. Her death has been declared a homicide by the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

Community members will be raising funds to incentivize people to come forward with information on Scott’s murder. Additionally, donations made to the museum this week will be contributed to a fund for her children.

Lake Tahoe’s Interagency Bear Team is urging residents to keep bears wild
By Gustavo Sagrero

The Lake Tahoe Interagency Bear Team is urging residents and visitors in the region to be mindful of their trash as bears come out of their dens. Their endgame is to keep bears wild. They play a crucial role in the ecosystem during springtime, doing things like transporting pollen, eating animals that have died during the winter, and spreading seeds through their scat.

The bear team says humans can put a harmful stop to those natural processes with unsecured trash and pet food that could distract them from their role in the wild ecosystem. Plastic and metals in the trash can end up in bears’ bodies. They’re also urging people to be mindful of other potential areas where bears can get into trouble looking for food. That includes grills, cars, and even gardens.

Minidoka National Historic Site makes annual list of nation's most endangered historic places
By Rachel Cohen, Boise State Public Radio for the Mountain West News Bureau

A preservation group has released its list of the most endangered places in the US. Several are in our region, including Chicano murals in Denver and an Arizona military camp used by the black Buffalo soldiers. For the Minidoka historic site in Idaho, there’s a threat posed by a wind farm. The Lava Ridge Wind Project would be Idaho’s largest wind farm and is being proposed as the Biden Administration seeks to boost renewable energy production on public lands.

Most of the 400 turbines would be visible from the visitors center and many would be on the historic footprint of the internment site, where 13,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II after being forcibly removed from their West Coast homes.

“This wind project – it feels like it’s minimizing what we experienced, what our community experienced in this country, and it’s, in a way, it’s erasing part of our history,” said Robyn Achilles, the executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Minidoka. The organization applied for the site’s inclusion on the annual list produced by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Achilles said the wind farm threatens to permanently change the landscape that conveys what it was like to be incarcerated there, in desolation.

“Minidoka’s not just a historic site – it’s also a memorial,” said Achilles.

The Bureau of Land Management could release its environmental impact statement on Lava Ridge this fall. It’s also considering alternative wind turbine arrangements based on public feedback.

California moves to embrace cryptocurrency and regulate it
By The Associated Press

California is the first state to formally begin examining how to broadly adapt to cryptocurrency and related technologies, following a path laid out by President Joe Biden in March. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday for California agencies to move in tandem with the federal government to craft regulations for digital currencies. It also calls for the state to explore incorporating broader blockchain technologies into state operations.

Ohio was the first to attempt to accept virtual currency for government services in 2018, though the program was soon discontinued. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says his state will begin accepting cryptocurrency for government services later this year.

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