The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, October 26, 2014


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

NATIVE TONGUES: During the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signed House Bill 216 designating 20 Native languages as official languages of the State of Alaska.

SENSELESS VIOLENCE: Jaylen Fryberg, Tulalip, a 14-year-old freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington state, opened fire in his school's cafeteria, killing one student and himself, and sending four to the hospital with gunshot wounds to the head. Tulalip Tribes Chairman Herman Williams asked the community to "pray for the children and families of those involved"—and he asked society to seek out ways to stop the school shootings that have plagued the nation.

DQ'ED: The Navajo Supreme Court ordered its presidential election to be postponed and for election officials to immediately reprint ballots without Chris Deschene’s name on them. Deschene, who came in second during the August 26 primary, was disqualified when he failed to prove he speaks fluent Navajo, a requirement for the position.

A NEW SEASON: The University of Louisville women’s basketball team held their annual media day on Monday, and Jude Schimmel was all smiles as she posed with some of her teammates. The Lady Cards are gearing up for the start of their season, which begins on November 14.

SHAMEFUL: A Native American transgender woman who was severely beaten in Brooklyn, New York has finally regained her ability to speak almost two weeks after being assaulted by four men. The woman’s severe injuries have prevented her from giving consent to release her name to the press.

GRIDIRON HEROES: Celia Xavier has produced and directed a new documentary, Playground of The Native Son, about the Hominy Indians, the Oklahoma-based professional football team (1925-1936), made up of Native Americans, who defeated the World Champion New York Giants in 1927.

NAMMY CONTENDERS: The nominees for the 15th annual Native American Music Awards (unofficially known as the NAMMYs) have been announced, and the slate is another impressive showcase of the best music created by Indigenous artists in all its variety and excellence.

FAREWELL, MISTY: On the Muckleshoot Reservation, in Washington, and on social media, grieving for the late actress Misty Upham has been ongoing.

STICK TO ACTING: In an interview for the November issue of GQ magazine, Matthew McConaughey says that the Redskins should keep their name. And he gives three reasons: Hamburgers (well, Chris Hanburger), Westerns and gun control.

VOTE: A record number of Native American women in New Mexico are jumping into the political arena, looking to win over non-Native American voters in races with statewide impact.

SUPER STARS: The Thompson brothers have apparently signed contracts to represent one of the most popular sports brands in the world. The three pros have inked deals with Nike.

NO FRACKING WAY: Invoking tribal health and cultural survival, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has declared a ban on fracking on its sovereign land in what is today North Carolina.


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