Native American

 
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.

 

Jason Baldes

Buffalo on the Wind River Indian Reservation have given birth, setting plans into motion to build a better environment for their future.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe

Wyoming's U.S. Sen. John Barrasso voiced opposition to Deb Haaland during last week's confirmation hearing for secretary of the interior.

wysac.uwyo.edu


Nicole Wagon knew something was wrong days before she would get the news.

 

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.

SCREENSHOT / CSPAN

Wyoming's congressional lawmakers expressed opposition during Tuesday's confirmation hearing for Secretary of the Interior Department nominee Deb Haaland.

The Senate confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland, nominated to lead the Interior Department, began Tuesday. If confirmed, she'll be the nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary and oversee federal public lands management and tribal affairs.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society

The University of Wyoming Native American Program is starting a chapter of a STEM program that focuses on providing support to native students. The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), was founded in 1977 to support Native students and their involvement in STEM programs.

 

 

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.

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.

John Wood


Central Wyoming College (CWC) faculty member Tarissa Spoonhunter is working to make Wyoming's only American Indian Studies associate degree into a practical program that her students can relate to.

Jenni Wildcat

Since December, Wind River Cares has been distributing the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Distribution is now happening at Great Plains Hall in Arapaho to allow for social distancing while the health care workers administer the vaccines.

 

Karlets Dennison's favorite place to be was on a horse. Preferably with loved ones riding alongside him.

"That was his love. His horses, his ranch, his rodeo," said his wife Debbie Jackson-Dennison. "And he loved sharing it with his kids and his granddaughter."

 

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden ordered a temporary suspension of new leasing and permitting for oil and gas development on public lands. But the order will not apply to tribal lands.

CWC Marketing Team

Central Wyoming College (CWC) has been designated as a Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution. That means the college will be better equipped to support their Native American students.

Rubena Tillman


On the Wind River Indian Reservation, it's hard to get things like fresh vegetables. And that lack of access is a contributor to the fact that Native Americans on the reservation have a life expectancy 20 years shorter than non-Indigenous people in the state.

Ucross Foundation

In 2018, the Ucross artist residency program in Northern Wyoming hosted its first fellows for its Native American fellowship for visual artists to have the space and time to focus solely on their art. This past fall, the program extended the opportunity to its first Native American writing fellow.

Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Diné writer and teacher Brendan Basham about his forthcoming debut novel, Swim Home to the Vanished, and his time at Ucross while on his fellowship.

Akai GreyBull

After President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in at the nation's capital a virtual parade was held. Participants from both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes were invited to dance for a national audience.

Erika Yarber

Wind River Cares, a community-based health organization that serves the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes, is piloting a program in schools to provide proactive care for eligible students.

Taylar Dawn Stagner

There is an excess of homeless dogs in Fremont County and on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Local shelters are trying to keep up with demand, but one group is helping ease the burden.

This is the second story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Cole Stump was a Montanan, through and through. The 29-year-old citizen of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe was raised on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation in the north-central part of the state and had family ties to the Fort Peck Reservation in the northeast corner. He was a loving father of five and a skilled ranch hand.

 

Tribes in the Mountain West reached resolutions in two long standing environmental disputes this week. The victories for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Navajo Nation could signal a shift toward accountability for corporate polluters operating on tribal lands.

Division of Criminal Investigation

Due to a large number of missing and murdered Indigenous people, efforts have been made to install a Wind River Indian Reservation specific Amber Alert system.

Taylar Stager

Wyoming has a short growing season and one non-profit is already starting the new year preparing to combat food insecurity on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Missing And Murdered Indigenous People

Gov. Mark Gordon's Taskforce on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People has released a report on the severity of the problem in Wyoming. It found that Indigenous people make up 21% of homicides in the state even though only 3% of the population is Indigenous.

But Wyoming Survey and Analysis Research Scientist Emily Grant said these numbers could be underestimates. For instance, murder rates could be off because coroners misclassify victims.

Map of cultural resources, historic trails, and Native American concerns in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project
Bureau of Land Management

Several tribes have filed letters of protest against the recently approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project. The U.S. Interior Department signed off on the project at the end of last year; it allows for the drilling of 5,000 wells over the next decade by five operators.

Elizabeth Ridgely

Food insecurity is being without access to affordable, healthy food. Historic racism and long drives to a grocery store impede Native people on the Wind River Reservation from access to healthy food.


Soon after she was elected as one of America's first Indigenous congresswomen in 2018, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland paid a visit to her constituents at the Pueblo of Sandia, just outside of Albuquerque. 

"She came to the Pueblo for one of our feast days," said Stephine Poston, a tribal citizen and advocate for Native women leadership. "And the young girls, a couple of them were following her around and she stopped to talk to them. It was an amazing thing to see and witness." 

Poston said Haaland may as well have been a celebrity to those girls, but she didn't act like one. 

"She's just that person who will stop and see you," Poston said. 

And she said that's how Pueblo people, and Indigenous people across the country, have been feeling since Haaland was nominated to lead the Department of the Interior: Seen.

Not Our Native Daughters

Last year, at a UW campus march for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Not Our Native Daughters Director Lynette Greybull pressed Gov. Mark Gordon to start a task force to study the problem. He agreed on the spot and since then the taskforce has been working to meet several goals.

Ben Pease

In some Native communities getting to a grocery store can take up to an hour and requires access to a vehicle. And there is no guarantee that the food there is fresh, often being trucked in from days away. Tsanavi Spoonhunter is the director of Crow Country: Our Right to Food Sovereignty.

The documentary explores food insecurity on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Wyoming Public Radio's Taylar Stagner spoke with her about the award-winning film and the inspiration that brought her to Montana.

Pages