Native American

Element5 Digital / Unsplash

The voting process has long disenfranchised Native American communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic and mail-in voting exacerbating the problem, U.S. senators in the Mountain West and across the country are asking the federal government to make sure voters in Indian Country can cast ballots come November.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

As Native American tribes across the country struggle to contain the coronavirus, the White House has pressured the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to remove its COVID-19 checkpoints on highways in South Dakota, according to a recording of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows obtained by the Mountain West News Bureau. 

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation is one of the largest in the state. But, some tribal members say they feel ignored by politicians locally and nationally.

Noah Glick visited Pyramid Lake High School for the caucus over the weekend. He met up with Norman Harry, the former chairman for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe to discuss voter turnout and the 2020 Election more generally.

Image of a sign that reads "caucus" with an arrow pointing into a gymnasium.
Noah Glick / KUNR Public Radio

Nevada’s caucuses are now over and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was the declared winner, but what was the experience like for native voters? And what did they have to say?

An image showing a sign that reads "Early Vote, 10-6" for people casting votes in northern Nevada.
Noah Glick

As Nevadans cast their early votes before Saturday’s presidential caucus, some say campaigns are missing out on one key voting bloc: tribes.

Blue and black pull quote saying "We don’t just look for 2020. We have issues that have been here for hundreds and hundreds of years."
Andrew Mendez / KUNR

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas recently hosted the 2020 Native American Presidential Forum where some Democratic hopefuls addressed indigenous communities and their concerns. 

Four presidential hopefuls participated, including Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard.  Steyer appeared in person while the others sent in prerecorded messages or appeared on video chat.

Representatives from various tribes across the country asked the candidates questions on topics ranging from climate change to economic development for Native communities. 

Nevada Department of Agriculture

The lack of access to nutritious food is a major issue across Indian Country. One program in Nevada is looking to increase healthy habits among youth on reservations and the rural communities surrounding them.

Four women from the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in northeastern Utah have turned to the federal court system after they were banished by Ute tribal leadership last year. 

Ed Franklin shows one participant how to take a reading on a solar panel, during the Native Waters on Arid Lands 2019 Tribal Summit in Reno, Nev.
DRI / Native Waters on Arid Lands

The climate crisis is threatening traditional ways of life throughout Indian Country. Now, tribal leaders and scientists are working together to help reservations become more climate resilient.

Rapid population growth in the Mountain West means new infrastructure. Under federal law, potential sites for things like road expansions must be surveyed and possibly excavated to see what’s below the ground. That means cultural artifacts can be disturbed and destroyed. 

A South Lake Tahoe man has been sentenced to jail time after illegally digging at a Native American archaeological site and destroying artifacts. KUNR’s Paolo Zialcita spoke to a Washoe Tribal member to learn more about the impact of this crime.

Photos: 2019 Reno Women's March

Jan 19, 2019
Women dancing on the street.
Jana Sayson

Hundreds flooded onto Virginia Street on Saturday morning for the third annual Women’s March in Reno. At the helm were various groups of indigenous women hailing from tribes all across Nevada and California. Traditional jingle dress dancers, drummers, and chant leaders led the sea of people into the City Plaza for a rally. While many women’s rights issues were called to attention, the tribes’ leadership in this march highlighted the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Movement.

Jana Sayson

Dozens of indigenous women were the first people to march down Virginia Street this year in support of progressive causes, beating drums and dancing while wearing traditional jingle dresses. 

Nevada Museum of Art

This Saturday, July 14, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony joins with the Nevada Museum of Art to celebrate Native American art, culture, community and tradition.  The event features Native American artists, dancers storytellers and musicians from a variety of cultures, including Paiute, Washoe,  Shoshone, Pala and Patwin.  The celebration is free from 10am to 5pm at the Nevada Museum of Art. 

Bree Zender

Women of color, specifically indigenous women, led the way for the second-annual Women's March in Reno on Saturday. 

Holly Hutchings

To wrap up Artown, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony held a cultural celebration this week. American Indians have called the Great Basin home for thousands of years and their cultural impact is long-lasting. Our reporter Holly Hutchings talked to three performers who show that the tradition of dancing is really a family affair.

Bob Conrad

Dozens of groups and hundreds of individuals have signed a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). They are seeking a review of the Reno Police Department's (RPD) response to the clash on Columbus Day under the Reno arch. Our reporter Bob Conrad has the story.

Native Americans and their allies were protesting downtown that day calling for Columbus Day to be changed to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Noah Glick

Native American tribes from across the country met this weekend to celebrate culture, life and family at the Numaga Indian Days Powwow in Hungry Valley. As Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports, these events have a long historical and cultural background.

Photos: Native American Cultural Fair Comes To Artown

Jul 10, 2016
Aishwarya Krishnamoorthy

For the first time this year, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony hosted their Great Basin Native American Cultural Fair as part of Artown.

The event included native artists and vendors, showcasing crafts and wares indigenous to the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe tribes.

Michon Eben is the cultural resource manager for the colony, and she says this event is a way to showcase tribal culture to the wider Reno community.

Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center

The federal government is awarding more than $2.4 million in grants to Nevada tribes for health. As Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports, much of that money will go toward helping the diabetes epidemic here in Washoe County.

Every Thursday night, Certified Personal Trainer Rick Pearson leads a group of kids and parents from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony through a weekly boot camp.

The session is designed to burn calories and build strength. But Pearson says it’s about more than getting people to exercise.

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