For the week of July 3rd to the 9th of 2022 there were a few exciting developments in Indian Country. The first was about Cherokee Nation citizen Dwight Birdwall, 74, who was awarded the highest military honor by President Joe Biden. Birdwall’s heroism in the January 1968 series of shock and awe attacks by North Vietnamese forces awarded him the Medal of Honor. Of the over 42,000 Native Americans and Alaska Natives that served in the Vietnam War, 90% of them enlisted voluntarily and 226 lost their lives. President Biden was quoted in an article saying, “ I’m grateful for all you have given our country and that at long last your story is being honored as it should have been always,” Biden told Birdwall, noting that Native Americans serve in U.S. armed forces at a higher percentage rate than “any other cohort.”

In Nevada county they have removed barriers to the Shoshone vote. For those whose native language isn’t English, the voting polls can be intimidating and unaccommodating. In 2021 a U.S. census data showed that the Shoshone tribe was finally able to meet the “5% or more of eligible voters are minority speakers” requirement of the 1975 Voting Rights Act. Now, Nevada is the first county in America to offer Shoshone language assistance to Native Americans.

The Blackfeet tribe has been busy as of late using dogs to nose out diseases. The study has been running for a year now and the objective was to see whether dogs could be trained to sniff out chronic wasting disease (CWD) as well as other toxins that can severely harm wild game and plants, and by extension humans if they consume or use either one. It is important to note that CWD hasn’t infected humans yet, but scientists are worried about the risks associated with handling infected wild game.

 Some exciting spotlight news for the Crow Creek Reservation. The New Yorker magazine chose to highlight a Yanktonai Dakota artist from the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota (1915-1983). The artist’s work earned him the title of “father of modern art” for the way he merged traditional tribal art with contemporary abstract styles. His work is on display until September 11th at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the America Indian in New York. After that, the viewings will be at the Portland Art Museum from October 29, 2022-May 14,2023. The viewings will then move to the South Dakota Art Museum at South Dakota State University from June 10,2023-September 17, 2023.

Last but not least, Google honored the late comedian Charlie Hill, a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, on his 71st birthday. Hill was the first Native American comedian to appear on national television. He was known for using humor as a way to shed light on the realities of Native people and their experiences and for poking fun at stereotypes about Natives and non-Natives. 

Read the article here.

Source: Voice of America. “Native American News Roundup, July 3-9, 2022.” July 8, 2022. 

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