Good morning, NUNAverse:

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other federal officials are expected to announce steps the federal government plans to take to reconcile the legacy of boarding school policies on Indigenous families and communities. Secretary Haaland is scheduled to outline a path forward while addressing members of the National Congress of American Indians during the group’s midyear conference. Haaland has previously suggested that investments planned by the Biden administration and efforts to strengthen tribal sovereignty can help to heal the wrongs.

The Blackfeet Indian Reservation has recently reopened to tourists, allowing visitors to Montana’s Glacier National Park after last year’s pandemic-caused pause on all tourism. The tourists’ return is a relief to the owners of the restaurants, campgrounds, and hotels forced to shut down last summer when Blackfeet tribal leaders closed the roads leading to the eastern side of the popular park. The closures and the tribe’s strictly enforced stay-at-home orders and mask mandate kept COVID-19 related losses low on the reservation, with 50 out of the roughly 10,000 residents dying from the virus. Today, over 90% of adults on the reservation are fully vaccinated, while the national average is about 44%, according to the CDC.

As South Dakota continues to sort out the logistics of implementing a voter-initiated medical marijuana law – which goes into effect in fewer than 10 days – a representative for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in central South Dakota told a legislative summer-study subcommittee helping officials that he could envision a compact similar to the agreements worked out between tribes and states on gaming to help resolve a range of questions. While Ross Garelik Bell, a lobbyist for Crow Creek, stopped short of fully endorsing a compact, he noted agreements have been established in the past between state and tribal authorities to set up economic activities that are in conflict with state law –  namely tribal casinos.

A non-Native Minnesota man was sentenced to 15 months in prison earlier this month after he trespassed onto the Red Lake Indian Reservation and removed the head of a 700-pound black bear. The man pleaded guilty in September 2020 to knowingly and without authorization or permission, entering the Red Lake Indian Reservation for the purposes of hunting a bear. According to U.S District Court (Minnesota District) documents, the man used a compound bow to shoot and kill a large American black bear near the Reservation’s garbage dump. He returned the next day and located the carcass of the bear, then posed for photographs and shared them on Facebook.

Keep reading for a full news update. 


Blackfeet Tribe Welcomes Back Tourists After risky Shutdown Pays Off 

Montana Free Press, Aaron Bolton, June 21 

Millions of people will flock to Montana’s Glacier National Park this summer after last year’s pandemic-caused tourism skid, and they will once more be able sightsee and camp nearby on the recently reopened Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Young Adult Vaccination Rate Lags Behind Other Age Groups, CDC Finds 

ABC News, Ivan Pereira, Sony Salzman, June 21 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pushing younger Americans to get their coronavirus vaccines, as data shows they are significantly lagging behind other age groups.

Native Mascots:

Push To Ban Native American Mascots Accelerates Amid Year Of Racial Reckoning 

The Oklahoman, Molly Young, June 21 

A vote by Colorado lawmakers this month to ban public schools from using Native American mascots embodies the acceleration of a decades-long campaign.

Sec. Deb Haaland To Announce Next Steps To Address Legacy Of Indian Boarding Schools 

Native News Online, Andrew Kennard, June 21 

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) will outline the Interior Department’s next steps to “begin to reconcile the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies” on June 22 during the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 2021 Mid Year Conference, the department announced Monday.


Rep. Tom Cole And Rep. Sharice Davids Meet TO Discuss Priorities For Congressional Native American Caucus 

Native News Online, June 19 

Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sharice Davids (D-KS), who serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus, met this week to discuss priorities for the 117th Congress and what they hope to accomplish as co-chairs.

Non-Native Minnesota Man Sentenced To Prison For Killing And Beheading 700-Pound Black Bear On Red Lake Indian Reservation 

Native News Online, June 11 

A non-Native Minnesota man will have a lot of time on his hands to think about trespassing onto the Red Lake Indian Reservation and then removing the head of a 700-pound black bear after a federal judge in St. Paul, Minn. Wednesday sentenced him to a 15-month prison term. 

Boarding Schools: 

US Official To Address Legacy Of Indigenous Boarding Schools 

AP News, Susan Montoya Bryan, June 22 

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other federal officials are expected Tuesday to announce steps the federal government plans to take to reconcile the troubled legacy of boarding school policies on Indigenous families and communities. 

Native Americans Decry Unmarked Graves, Untold History Of Boarding Schools 

Reuters, Brad Brooks, June 22 

Clarence Smith was fresh off a 24-hour bus trip from his Blackfeet reservation in Montana to the Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota in the late 1980s, where he was sent by his family in the hope he would receive a better education.


Two Challenge Longtime Citizen Potwatomi Nation Chairman 

NonDoc, Joe Tomlinson, June 22 

John “Rocky” Barrett has been tribal chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation for 36 years and is running for re-election against two challengers: Lisa Kraft, a 12-year tribal legislator, and Steve Castaneda, who unsuccessfully challenged Barrett in 2017. 


South Carolina GOP Rep Raph Norman Makes Bad Joke About Native Americans – And Tim Giago’s Not Laughing 

The South Dakota Standard, Tim Giago, June 21 

Last week a new holiday was signed into law by President Joe Biden. It is called Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day. The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.”

Tribal Governments Mull Compact With South Dakota On Marijuana Regulations, Similar To Relationship On Legalized Gaming 

Mitchell Republic, Christopher Vandracek, June 21 

Question marks still surround South Dakota’s implementation of a voter-initiated medical marijuana law fewer than 10 days before it is legal in the state, including to what extent the state will regulate or interact with grow farms or dispensaries on tribal lands.

Umatilla Tribes Lead The Way 

Indian Country Today, Wil Phinney, June 22 

Thirty-two years ago, when the Umatilla Tribes realized non-Indians owned more property on the 172,000-acre reservation than the combined total for tribal government and tribal allottees, it embarked on a 50-year plan to buy back its land.

Indigenous Economics Takes Centerstage 

Indian Country Today, Kalle Benallie, June 21 

When Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, executive director of Indigenous Climate Action, noticed a lack of participation and leadership from Indigenous people at the Canadian Society of Ecological Economics conference, she spoke up about her concerns.

 In All This Darkness, Taking Back Our Stolen Children Can Offer Hope 

Native News Online, Lauren Peters, June 21 

My name is Lauren Peters. I am enrolled with the Agdaagux Tribe in the Unangax Nation in the land and waters that are now considered the Aleutian and Priblof Islands of Alaska. I am a first year PhD student in Native American Studies at UC Davis. I have a designated emphasis in Human Rights concentrating on Human Rights of the Dead. That emphasis is to reflect my work finding and documenting Alaska Native children who died and are buried in Native American boarding school cemeteries. One of which is my great Aunt Sophia from St. Paul Island who is buried at Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. We are rematriating her home to St. Paul Island this summer.