Indigenous Communities | KUNR

Indigenous Communities

A sign in downtown South Lake Tahoe that says, “welcome to the city of South Lake Tahoe, California.”
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

News Brief

States around the Mountain West are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, and it’s started to affect some tribes, too.

“Of course you’re going to see an uptick in cases when you live all around hotspots,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The Navajo Nation’s increase in cases is modest compared to surges in states like Arizona, though. There were 25 cases and three deaths across the Navajo Nation on Saturday and 10 more cases on Sunday.

A conceptual illustration of Jolie Varela hiking in the mountains.
Emily Whang / NPR Next Generation Radio

This story is part of a series by NPR’s Next Generation Radio program, which explored the theme: What Does It Mean To Be An American?

Jolie Varela is the founder of Indigenous Women Hike, which promotes healing through the inherent connection Indigenous peoples have to the land. She is a hiker, water protector and land defender based out of Payahuunadü, the place of flowing water, also known as Owens Valley, California.

Outside of their home in Bernalillo, N.M., 11-year-old Mililani Suina and her 8-year-old brother Marshall talk about some of their favorite foods from their tribal communities: the Pueblos of Cochiti, San Felipe and Santo Domingo.

"Tortillas are the biggest from Santo Domingo," Marshall says, stretching his arms out wide. "And from Cochiti, they're kind of, like, medium."

Mililani shares the different Keres words for a treat that's served on feast days.

This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

When police took Carlos Yazzie to jail on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico after his arrest on a bench warrant in January 2017, he needed immediate medical attention. His foot was swollen and his blood alcohol content was nearly six times the legal limit.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that tribal police can search and detain non-Native people traveling on public roads through reservation lands.

Across Indian Country, a jurisdiction maze has meant that when a tribal police officer pulls over a non-Native person, the officer most likely can't detain them or even search them – even if the cop has a strong suspicion that the driver was committing a crime.

The Weber Reservoir at the Walker River Paiute Tribe. A lakefront along a sandy, flat landscape.
Stephanie Serrano / Mountain West News Bureau

The Walker River Paiute Reservation is situated in remote western Nevada, surrounded by a sequence of mountains layered with shades of brown, red and green. In the middle of it, up a long dirt road, sits the Weber Reservoir, near the town of Schurz. At the moment, it’s very quiet, and that’s because it’s closed to non-tribal citizens.

President Biden has laid out his vision for the future of public education, which includes a nationwide community college tuition waiver for all Americans who want to take advantage.

That waiver would be especially impactful in states with the lowest levels of higher education attainment, including several in the Mountain West. In Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico, fewer than 30% of adults over 25 have a bachelor's degree.

 

Many tribal leaders are used to stretching every dollar that comes their way. Last year, they were faced with a different problem: millions in badly needed aid money, and not enough time to spend it.

"The money came at us quick, and it was a flurry," said Karen Snyder, who coordinates pandemic response for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe in Wyoming. "We had to act fast in order to get it out the door."

A recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling has broad implications for tribes in the Mountain West with historic ties to lands in Canada.

The April 23 decision affirms the rights of tribes to hunt, fish and conduct other treaty-reserved activities on traditional lands in Canada even if they aren’t citizens or residents of Canada.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has created a new unit to confront the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people, reflecting the first Native American Cabinet secretary's prioritization of the issue in leading an agency that once sought to "civilize or exterminate" Native people.

 

Some Indigenous histories are preserved in stories, songs, ceremonies and elder testimony that are passed down orally - rather than with written records. These histories can constitute important evidence of past events. But they're sometimes ruled inadmissible as evidence in the American justice system.

A close-up image of school lockers.
Alexa Ard / KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for Monday, Mar. 1, 2021.

 

Jazmine Wildcat is a star student in Riverton, Wyoming. Not the type to skip class. But on Tuesday morning, a piece of history was unfolding that the 17-year-old just couldn't miss: A congressional hearing to consider the confirmation of Deb Haaland as the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior.

"It is just super monumental and so inspiring, not only to just me, but probably other Native women," Jazmine said.

The Senate confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland, nominated to lead the Interior Department, began Tuesday. If confirmed, she'll be the nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary and oversee federal public lands management and tribal affairs.

 

 

New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland is poised to become our nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary. As some prominent Mountain West lawmakers oppose her confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior, many of their Indigenous constituents are pushing back.

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