An Oregon school district is the first to get state approval to keep its Native mascot
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This Week on Native America Calling
Monday, March 20, 2017 – Protecting wild rice
For wild rice, or manoomin, water literally is life. The grass species grows in shallow bodies of water. It is food for people and animals alike. But when the water is polluted wild rice becomes the “canary in the coal mine.” Since the 1970s, Minnesota has had water quality standards to protect wild rice. Now, the state’s Pollution Control Agency is in the process of changing the standards. Some tribes are concerned the rice is in danger.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – The tricky business of marijuana
It’s a confusing time for the marijuana legalization movement. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana use. But the federal government maintains its criminal designation. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said that heroin is only “slightly worse” than marijuana. For tribes getting into the business, confusion around pot legality is just as murky. The “Cole Memo” appeared to provide a green light for tribes in states that legalized recreational use. But there a few high profile setbacks.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 — HIV and AIDS prevention
Fortunately, HIV and AIDS rates remain lower for Native Americans than for some other groups. One exception: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a 2011 study that Native injected drug users experience the highest rates of HIV infections than any other demographic. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is this week. The theme is “Unity in CommUnity, Stand Strong to Prevent HIV.”
Thursday, March 23, 2017 –Music Maker Rhonda Head
Opaskwayak Cree Nation singer Rhonda Head’s latest CD “Kisahkihitan” stems from her passion for classical music. The Cree language title of the album translates to “I love you”. And there is plenty of love in the way Rhonda sings her own compositions. She says a lot of inspiration for these songs comes from the landscape of her First Nation.
Friday, March 24, 2017 — Racist resurgence?
A Montana radio host suggested Native basketball players should host their own tournament because the players are “unruly.” Also in Montana, Native basketball fans say they couldn’t claim their seats for a game until the white people are seated first. The problem isn’t limited to the U.S. At a forum organized by the CBC, one Cree woman said concert security assumed she was the source of other fans’ complaints about an intoxicated person being belligerent. The problem turned out to be a white man sitting nearby. She was sober. Are anecdotes about racism increasing, or are they just par for the course?
President Donald Trump’s skinny budget represents an agenda that would shrink the federal government dramatically. That would include deep cuts across agency lines, including those programs that serve Native Americans. But it’s Congress, not the president, that will decide how much money is to be spent next year.
Republican leaders are pushing Congress to rapidly replace the Affordable Care Act. That legislation would leave the Indian Health Care Improvement Act as is. But there are other proposed changes that you need to know about, including provisions that would turn Medicaid into a block grant to states.
Addiction to opioid pain killers and heroin is a daunting challenge to many Natives. In 2015, Minnesota had more American Indians dying from overdoses than any other state. That same year, nearly 70% of pregnant Native women gave birth to babies with opioids in their systems.
There’s a call for a culturally specific response base on traditional teachings and ceremonies, and a different urgent call for medically assisted treatment. In the end, healing from historical trauma is the path forward. Join us as we explore these issues in Minnesota’s Indian country in this special report from Minnesota Native News brought to you by Native Voice One.