The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, October 5, 2014


It's our recap of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:

DAY IN COURT: The world might finally find out what really happened to Vern R. Traversie. Three years ago, the legally blind Lakota elder from South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation reported that he was verbally and physically abused while a patient at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

PARTY FOUL: A Redskins-themed birthday party that Nike threw for NBA MVP Kevin Durant is drawing ire from some Native Americans.

YOU'RE OUT: Korina Emmerich, Puyallup, was eliminated from Project Runway, while Kini Zamora, Native Hawaiian, won the week's challenge.

DISRESPECT: Football fans at Liverpool High School, near Syracuse, NY, are taking heat for the reckless decision to wear Native headdress, feathers and T-shirts with “Tribe” on the front of them to their homecoming game.

BALLER: Timothy Johnson is the first enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe to play professional basketball. The rookie, who is also part Sioux from Standing Rock, recently joined the Arizona Scorpions, which is part of the American Basketball Association (SoCal).

A PLAN: The U.S. Geological Survey has released a 36-page Tribal Engagement Strategy designed to both address tribal concerns and tap Native expertise when it comes to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

ROCKING AGAINST KXL: Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Frank Waln played the sold-out “Harvest the Hope” concert in Nebraska to raise money and awareness for a coalition of indigenous and environmentalist groups fighting TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

CHANGE THE NAME: Award-winning Ojibwe author and avid Vikings fan Louise Erdrich has weighed in resoundingly on the Redskins name, calling its continued existence "heartbreaking and sickening."

BIG PRIZE: An anonymous nomination has put Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation in a position to win $100,000. Thunder Valley is one of six finalists for the Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge.

EIGHT-LEGGED FREAKS: Navajo Vice President Rex Lee Jim is recovering from a deadly spider bite that nearly claimed his life.

DISGRACEFUL: A first grade teacher is being investigated for allegedly punching a Pit River Tribe first grader at a school in the same Northern California district where there have been multiple reports of institutional prejudice and bullying against Native students, including two racist notes that were posted on high school students’ lockers this March.

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