Indian Country Blog Posts

Written by affiliate scholar Lawrence Roberts. 

Today, the Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, a case involving whether Oklahoma maintains criminal jurisdiction over crimes involving Indians within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation boundaries. The State of Oklahoma and the Trump Administration maintained that the Tribe's reservation no longer existed and therefore the State of Oklahoma possesed criminal jurisdiction over McGirt. The Court, by a 5-4 vote, reaffirmed the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s treaty reserved reservation boundaries and held that the State did not have criminal jurisdiction over McGirt.

Writing for the majority, Justice Gorsuch framed the case in historical context:

On the far end of the Trail of Tears was

...

Today, sixteen advocacy groups and indigenous organizations submitted a letter to Congress requesting an extension of the Federal Communications Commission’s 2.5 GHz Broadband Rural Tribal Priority Window.

“The unprecedented impact of the global crisis on this particular proceeding warrants a deadline extension,” wrote the advocacy groups. 

The 2.5 GHz Tribal Priority Window gives tribes an opportunity to acquire spectrum licenses for broadband internet before the licenses go to auction. The current deadline for applications is August 3, 2020; the groups are requesting that Congress intervene and require the FCC to issue an extension of the window through February 1, 2021.

The letter was directed to Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. and Rep. Greg...

The Arizona Department of Education has formed a new task force to address the digital divide and the technology needs of schools. Technology inequalities existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the rapid transition to online school revealed the deep disparities between people with and without adequate broadband internet access. 

“Access to technology and broadband internet is an issue of educational equity,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. 

“The group will work to find innovative solutions to address the extreme digital divide across Arizona,” according to the press release. It will also look for ways to expand public-private partnerships and support state Education Technology and Computer Science Standards. 

The Technology...

Indian Country continues to battle the negative effects COVID-19 has had on tribal economies as well as the health of tribal citizens. ASU’s Construction in Indian Country (CIIC) hosted a Virtual Town Hall June 19, which brought tribal leaders together with scholars and industry experts to discuss the current situation and how Indian Country can rebound from the pandemic. 

“Our role at ASU is to not only help fulfill the immediate needs of these communities but also to think about, 'What does recovery and renewal look like as we come out of our current state?'” said Jacob Moore, associate vice president for tribal relations at ASU. Moore said ASU has a...

Last month, AIPI co-authored an open letter with other American Indian Service Constituencies at ASU affirming our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

In the letter, which is available in its entirety on our blog, we join calls for justice and equity for people of color; we acknowledge the realities of historic and systemic injustice that those in the Black community and other people of color face on a regular basis; and we call for an end to normalized racist practices that pervade our society. 

Our hope is that the attention currently being given to race and injustice on a national level will inspire substantive positive changes in both our systems...

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading list, but if you’re looking for some suggestions, look no further than the AIPI Summer Reading List. 

1. Indian Horse (2012), Richard Wagamese

Indian Horse follows the story of a young First Nations man whose passion for hockey helps him survive the boarding school experience. It’s a heart-wrenching but realistic picture of how the residential school systems imposed on Native children affected Indigenous populations for generations. It’s a history lesson that is not taught in schools, told through a fictional character as relatable as any of your real life friends. 

2. The Power of Four (2009), Joseph Marshall 

In The Power of...

Ittifatpoli (Chickasaw: "talking about things that matter")

It’s pretty much official: America is in the midst of a seismic cultural revolution. So I ask you, what are you doing to embrace the change? How are you challenging yourself and your beliefs? I’ll tell you about my process if you challenge yours.

George Floyd’s death was the straw that broke the camel’s back. As Black Lives Matter protests continue, glimpses of meaningful responses have begun to emerge. Mississippi is changing its flag, the last to have a confederate symbol on it. NASCAR has banned the confederate flag at events and the only black driver has a car emblazoned with BLM...

Written by American Indian Service Constituencies at ASU

Our offices and programs, which represent and serve many tribal communities in the United States and across the globe, stand in solidarity with Black, African American, Afro Indigenous, and Afro Caribbean peoples. We condemn the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Dion Johnson, to name but a few. We acknowledge that these murders are a direct response to the larger structural and institutional racism. 

We recognize that the protests and civil discontent are the results of both the moment and the historical arc of racial injustice that has been simmering. This is a time for having hard conversations with...

The 2020 Census continues despite slowdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals can still respond to the census online. If you have access to the internet, even for just a short time, visit https://my2020census.gov to complete your census form. It only takes about 10 minutes. Self-response is available through October 31.

Why is it important to fill out the Census? Census data is used to determine everything from political apportionment and redistricting to funding for healthcare, policing, social welfare, etc. This includes things like the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Indian Housing Block Grants, Violence Against Women Formula Grants, Native American Employment...

For one remote Alaska Native village, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a return to tribal traditions and a deeper appreciation for their homelands. One hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, sits a Gwich’in village with a population nearing 200. While isolation was a reality before the pandemic, survival in the ‘new normal’ has required some adjustments. Supply flights into the village have become less frequent, meaning those within the community have been forced to ask more of its members, young and old, to ensure its population has enough to eat. The community has turned to traditional knowledge and resources for sustenance. Recently, the village council designated several tribal...

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