Indian Country Blog Posts

The 2020 elections featured the highest number of ballots cast in American history and was a landmark election for Indigenous representation at the Federal and State levels. In 2018, the first Native American women were elected to Congress as Representatives Deb Haaland (D-NM-1), and Sharice Davids (D-KS-3) were elected alongside incumbent Representatives Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2) and Tom Cole (R-OK-4). In 2020, the number of Indigenous representatives increased again as six candidates successfully won their federal elections, including Congressman-elect Kai Kahele (D-HI-2) and Congresswoman-elect Yvette Herrell (R-NM-2). 

New Mexico’s three-member House delegation now includes two Indigenous women. One of whom, Rep. Haaland, is currently being vetted for Secretary...

Nannakya ilánchi. Everything is changing. Everything has changed.  The election is over, and as we struggle with how we as a nation go forward, not back, our communities need compassion, and they need leadership. And as we continue as a nation to struggle with COVID as new infections surge, this winter promises to be as bad as or worse than the summer.  This virus has changed everything about our lives. Whether we like it or not, we are not going back to the world as we knew it.  But let me tell you why I am looking forward.
 
Many changes are happening in government and in Tribal governance. All necessitated by...

Native American Heritage Month was declared in 1990 by George H.W. Bush via Joint resolution designating November 1990 National American Indian Heritage Month. Similar proclamations have been issued annually each year since 1994. You can learn more about this and view a comprehensive inventory of Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations, and congressional resolutions related to Native American Heritage Month here. As AIPI is located in Arizona, the State Proclamation of Native American Heritage Month is here.

Every year the Census puts out revised demographics for NAHM. Find them here.  If you want more information about Native American Heritage Month and how it started you can find that information here....

In a recent blog post, Google highlighted the work it has done with the Navajo Nation to adopt Google Plus Codes as an alternative to typical physical and mailing address options. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Navajo Nation has utilized Plus Codes to map community Wi-Fi hot spots, food distribution and COVID-19 aide locations, and has partnered with shipping companies for the delivery of essential products and goods. 

For many tribes, providing accurate physical and mailing addresses to homes and other buildings can be a major challenge due to geographical obstacles and infrastructure limitations. While some homes, businesses, and other structures may have a traditional address capable of...

"This country was founded on genocide and slavery.” W. Kamau Bell got straight to the point when he offered this pointedly accurate assessment of American history during a conversation hosted at ASU to kick off the semester. The event was intended to bring discussions on racism to the forefront of students’ consciousness. It is a harsh statement, but it’s true. And if Americans don’t learn American history—warts and all—we are doomed to repeat it. Already, evidence that we are on an unfortunate trajectory was presented in a staggering story published last month, which showed that two-thirds of Millennials and GenZ are unaware that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Even...

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...

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