The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country
Our weekly roundup of the biggest stories in Indian country sees a burgeoning movement among the Indigenous people of Canada, the death of a U.S. Senator and friend to Indian country, and an apocalypse that wasn't:
• IDLE NO MORE: Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence entered the second week of her hunger strike, bolstered by supporters of the Idle No More movement across Canada, Turtle Island, and elsewhere in the world. Spence's stand is, at least partially, a reaction to Bill C-45, which many Aboriginals feel undermines their sovereignty rights, although she and the Idle No More movement have come to represent a larger protest. Chelsea Vowel contends that focusing on C-45 is missing the point: "Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat did not launch a hunger strike over a single piece of legislation. ... Canada, this is not just about Bill C-45." On Friday, flash mobs and round dances broke out in public places all over Canada, including a massive 4,000-strong demonstration was at Parliament Hill, in Ottawa.
• ALOHA, INOUYE: U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, 88, passed away December 17 due to respiratory complications after having been hospitalized since early December. His last word was reportedly, “Aloha.” Words of praise poured in. "Honor is not a large enough word to describe Senator Inouye," said Brian Patterson, president of United South and Eastern Tribes. NIGA Chairman Ernest L. Stevens Jr. and Vice Chairman Kevin Leecy called Inouye "one of the giants of our time."
• ON A LIGHTER NOTE: The world didn't end.
• THIS LAND IS OUR LAND, THIS LAND IS MINE LAND: The Navajo Nation is making moves to buy into the coal business, thereby changing its decades-long role of hosting outside companies that mine coal on their land.
• WHAT'S NEXT FOR PE'SLA: On Thursday, Chase Iron Eyes addressed an inter-tribal meeting convened in Rapid City, South Dakota, to discuss the future od the Pe'Sla sacred site, recently urchased by the Great Sioux Nation for a sum of 9 million. "We can now go to our sacred site under our own authority,” he said. “Everything happened the way it was supposed to happen.”