The day to honor Indigenous people is catching on in schools, cities, and states. Organizers in Phoenix, AZ are putting on an all-day festival that includes food trucks, a vendor market, skateboard competitions, music, and Indigenous film screenings. New York State might be getting resistance to the idea of officially renaming the holiday, but its largest city is celebrating its eighth, two-day Indigenous festival. And Bethel, AK scheduled a march and potluck. Monday on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce checked in on Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations around the country with Martha Atmaun Glore (Cup’ik), office manager at the Kuskokwim Campus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Jir Anderson (Cochiti Pueblo), lead singer for the Jir Project and founder of Native Guitars Tour; Candace Hamana (Hopi), owner of Badger PR and the founder of Indigenous Peoples Public Relations Association; and Ray Bacasegua (Yaqui/Yoeme), director of AIM Northern Nevada and the executive grand council for AIM.
A number of tribes remain on the waiting list for federal recognition. Some want to legally secure their sovereign rights and access to trust land status, while others hope to gain federal emergency assistance or the power to take on civil lawsuits against corporate polluters. Tuesday on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce heard from some tribes on the cusp of federal recognition about what it could mean for them with Professor Kerri Malloy (Yurok/Karuk), assistant professor at San Jose University; Rachel Cushman (Chinook Indian Nation), secretary and treasurer for the Chinook Indian Nation; and Patty Ferguson-Bohnee (Pointe-au-Chien), director of the Indian legal program and clinical professor of Law at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.
A new Dept. of Interior pilot program aims to put Indigenous food hubs at a handful of Bureau of Indian Education schools and BIA-operated detention centers. It follows a similar program to distribute traditional food on Indian Reservations. It’s part of an effort to make sure Native people who receive help from the U.S. government have access to healthy, local food produced by tribal food vendors. Wednesday on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce talked about how this new pilot program will work and what it means for Native food sovereignty with Wizipan Garriott (Rosebud Sioux), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs; Foster Cournoyer-Hogan (Ihanktonwan Dakota/enrolled Siċaŋġu Lakota), Lakota foods coordinator for Wakanyeja Tokeyahci Wounspe Oti, the Lakota Immersion School; and Bradley Harrington (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), culture and language revitalization advocate.
Native candidates have a lot at stake coming up in the midterm elections. After redistricting, some incumbents find themselves in tight races, while others are expected to sail into office. Thursday on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce zeroed in on a few Native candidates, both newcomers and veterans, and looked at how a win or loss impacts the larger picture with O.J. Semans Sr. (Rosebud Sioux), co-executive director for Four Directions Vote, and Jordan James Harvill (Cherokee/Choctaw), National Program Director for Advance Native Political Leadership.
A new Netflix show for preschoolers features all Native writers and a storyline which centers around California’s Cowlitz tribe and culture. The voice cast is largely Native and includes heavy-hitting veterans Wes Studi and Tantoo Cardinal. Friday on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce speaks with showrunner and creator Karissa Valencia (Santa Ynez Chumash) as well as “Spirit Rangers” singer-songwriter Raye Zaragoza (Akimel O’odham descent) about bringing Native awareness to young viewers around the world.