Tribal Affairs

Nash Jones

As New Mexico redraws the district boundaries for its state legislature, U.S. House and Public Education Commission, pueblos across the state are collaborating on maps that reflect their peoples’ issues and needs. Tribal leaders are calling on the state’s redistricting committee to adopt the maps they put forward. 

Keres Children's Learning Center

Outside of their home in Bernalillo, N.M., 11-year-old Mililani Suina and her 8-year-old brother Marshall talk about some of their favorite foods from their tribal communities: the Pueblos of Cochiti, San Felipe and Santo Domingo.

"Tortillas are the biggest from Santo Domingo," Marshall says, stretching his arms out wide. "And from Cochiti, they're kind of, like, medium."

Mililani shares the different Keres words for a treat that's served on feast days.

How Many Indigenous People Died From COVID-19? Unknown.

Jun 9, 2021
Illustration by Jolene Nenibah Yazzie
Savannah Maher

U.S. Highway 550 runs from Montrose, Colo., to Bernailillo, N.M. If you drive all 300 miles of it, you'll weave in and out of tribal land more than a dozen times.

One of the places you'll pass through is Zia Pueblo, where Gov. Jerome Lucero, who is also an officer with the Pueblo's police department, said a stretch of the highway running through the reservation gives his department trouble.

"We have a lot of jurisdictional issues on U.S. 550," he said. "When I pull someone over, I have to take into consideration whether they're Native or non-Native."

Courtesy of Dine College

President Biden has laid out his vision for the future of public education, which includes a nationwide community college tuition waiver for all Americans who want to take advantage.

That waiver would be especially impactful in states with the lowest levels of higher education attainment, including several in the Mountain West. In Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico, fewer than 30% of adults over 25 have a bachelor's degree.

Little Shell Tribal Health

 

Many tribal leaders are used to stretching every dollar that comes their way. Last year, they were faced with a different problem: millions in badly needed aid money, and not enough time to spend it.

"The money came at us quick, and it was a flurry," said Karen Snyder, who coordinates pandemic response for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe in Wyoming. "We had to act fast in order to get it out the door."

Rex Wholster / Shutterstock

 

The Indian Child Welfare Act still stands, with some of its key provisions weakened by a sharply divided U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this month. The 325-page opinion has no immediate impact on child welfare cases in the Mountain West, but it's likely to be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Savannah Maher

The Biden administration will restore the White House Council on Native American Affairs, an interagency initiative that coordinates federal services and policies that impact tribal nations. The council was first launched under former President Obama, but went dark for most of the Trump years.

Savannah Maher

 

Last month, Deb Haaland made history as the first Indigenous person ever confirmed by the Senate to serve in a president's cabinet. In her first official trip as secretary of the Interior, she visited the Mountain West with a focus on tribal issues.

Denver Indian Health and Family Services

This is the second in a two-part series about the vaccine rollout in Indian Country. Part one looks at the success of the rollout on rural reservations.

 

The Indian Health Service has delivered coronavirus vaccine doses to the most far-flung corners of the country. From remote villages in Alaska to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Indigenous Americans as young as 16 have had access to the shot for weeks.

Amanda Fehring

 

This is the first in a two-part series about the vaccine rollout in Indian Country. Part two looks at the challenges of vaccinating our region's urban Native population. 

 

KrisNM / Flickr creative commons

 

Some Indigenous histories are preserved in stories, songs, ceremonies and elder testimony that are passed down orally - rather than with written records. These histories can constitute important evidence of past events. But they're sometimes ruled inadmissible as evidence in the American justice system.

Savannah Maher

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill into law on Friday. It includes the largest ever one-time federal investment in Indian Country, with $20 billion in direct aid to tribal governments, and another $11 billion set aside for federal Indian programs. 

The aid comes as many tribal nations in the Mountain West are struggling to stay afloat.

Adobe Stock

 Deb Haaland's road to lead the Department of the Interior has been rocky, with some members of Congress using her confirmation process to air grievances with President Joe Biden's climate change agenda. 

On Tuesday, Montana Sen. Steve Daines and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, both Republicans, placed a procedural hold on her nomination, citing concerns about her positions on oil and gas development.

 

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland / Twitter

 

Jazmine Wildcat is a star student in Riverton, Wyoming. Not the type to skip class. But on Tuesday morning, a piece of history was unfolding that the 17-year-old just couldn't miss: A congressional hearing to consider the confirmation of Deb Haaland as the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior.

"It is just super monumental and so inspiring, not only to just me, but probably other Native women," Jazmine said.

THE OFFICE OF U.S. HOUSE REP. DEB HAALAND

 

 

New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland is poised to become our nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary. As some prominent Mountain West lawmakers oppose her confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior, many of their Indigenous constituents are pushing back.

Acoma Learning Center

It's a Wednesday evening in December. Five o'clock means the end of my work day, and the start of Wampanoag language class.

"Wunee wunôq," my language teacher, Tracy Kelly, greets me as I join the Zoom call from my kitchen table in Albuquerque, New Mexico.