This Week at First Nations: September 3, 2021

Indigenous Leaders on Environmental Justice – Hear the Conversation September 15

Indigenous communities have a critical connection and relationship to lands, waters, and sacred sites that have too often been the source of malpractice by corporations, organizations, and government. They have also been at the forefront of environmental protection, leading movements to protect natural resources for all. On September 15, 2021, First Nations’ President and CEO Michael Roberts will join Green 2.0 and Indigenous leaders in the environmental movement to discuss the state of the movement and changes needed to achieve justice and equity. 

Anyone with an interest in the environment is welcome to attend. Register here!

Reminder: Roundtable on COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy September 9

Next week, First Nations’ Raymond Foxworth will join co-presenters for a Native American Journalists Association webinar, sharing new research on pathways to overcoming vaccine hesitancy in Native communities. This research highlights roots of lingering vaccine hesitancy and tests effective messages and messengers to move toward greater vaccination rates for Indigenous populations in the U.S. Learn more and register here!

Oneida Nation Food Sovereignty Recognized in UN Report

We are happy to share that First Nations’ Community Partner Oneida Nation in Wisconsin was noted in the United Nations 2021 report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World. The Oneida Nation was the only Indigenous nation in the United States – and one of only eight Indigenous nations in the world – to be highlighted. “While the Oneida Nation recognizes there are many other Indigenous communities working on their local food systems, we are honored to be recognized by the United Nations on the work we have accomplished,” said Oneida Nation Chairman, Tehassi Hill. “It is our hope that in the future other Indigenous communities will be equally recognized for their food systems work.”

See the mention on page 121 of the full report here. Congratulations, Oneida Nation!

Increasing Indigenous Visibility and Inspiring Indigenous Youth

Congratulations also to Ivy Vainio of First Nations Community Partner American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), who was one of 12 Indigenous people to receive a Maada’ookiing Grassroots Grant coordinated through the Northland Foundation. The grant was awarded for Ivy’s project to create a billboard banner and companion poster to inspire Indigenous (and diverse) girls and youth to strive for more within their education and seek their potential. The billboard and poster feature Shoshone-Bannock tribal citizen and Red Lake Nation descendant Jennie Murillo who is in her third year of medical school at the University of Minnesota. Niigaanii in the Ojibwe language means “S/he leads.” The billboard banner will be installed on Life House, Duluth’s youth transitional housing complex in downtown Duluth for up to a year.

What We’re Watching: Dateline NBC’s Investigation of MMIWG

In this one-hour special that aired last week. Dateline NBC reported on the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, the jurisdictional rules between tribal and non-tribal law enforcement, and the growing movement demanding change.

Watch “The Secrets of Spirit Lake,” read details of the still-unresolved cases of some of the missing and murdered Indigenous women covered in the digital series Dateline: Missing in America and Cold Case Spotlight, and get resources on how to help and how to get help.

What We Will Be Watching Soon: Killers of the Flower Moon

Filming began this spring for Killers of the Flower Moon, a film adaptation of the novel by the same name, which tells the story of how members of the Osage Nation were killed when oil was discovered on Osage land, making the tribe extremely wealthy. This article in Kansas City Magazine describes the ways production of the film is “changing life in a small community on the Kansas border” and the film’s depiction of the Osage Nation. Read more.

Photo credit Kansas City Magazine, Illustration by Melanie Adlich

A Look Behind the Long Fight to Rescind Deadly Evans Proclamations in Colorado

This month we shared news of Colorado Governor Jared Polis rescinding two 19th-century proclamations that called for citizens to kill Native Americans and take their property. Soon after, Colorado Newsline featured this story on First Nations’ colleague Rick Williams, who lends his expertise to First Nations’ Racial and Economic Equity work. Rick was instrumental in removing the 157-year-old proclamations, which directly led to the Sand Creek Massacre, in which white settlers killed 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people. Read the story here.

Photo credit Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline

The Fight Over Food Traditions in Oregon’s Klamath Basin

The C’waam suckerfish and its “cousin” the Koptu are central characters in this summer’s fight for water in the Klamath Basin, The Guardian reports. The fish inhabit the same lake that farmers rely on for crop irrigation. To protect the fish the Bureau of Reclamation is enforcing minimum lake outflows and lake depth levels, adding to the drought politics between farmers and tribes. The article describes how these fraught relations are also proxies for racism in the area. Read more.

Photo credit The Guardian, Nathan Howard/AP

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Supports Community-Focused, Culturally Specific Programming

Citing research from First Nations that indicates only 0.23% of philanthropic funds go to Native American-led nonprofits, Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE) is teaming up with the Red Lake Nation as part of a broad movement to increase diversity and equity in the animal welfare industry, reports Red Lake Nation News. CARE’s approach is to listen to what communities are already doing to see how they can assist, said CARE CEO James Evans. “Communities that need help, we believe, are quite capable of helping themselves if they’re supported in the same way that white organizations sustain other white organizations.”