The final results of Alaska’s ranked choice voting gives a decisive win to U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (Yup’ik/D-AK).
She becomes the first Alaska Native to win a full term in Congress.
She previously won the special election for the seat to fill the term of U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who died in March.
Unofficial results give Rep. Peltola 55% of the vote to former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s 45%. Republican Nick Begich III finished third.
Rep. Peltola was ahead in voting on election night, but the final outcome could not be determined until voters’ second choices were tabulated.
Election officials released those results Wednesday, November 23.
Rep. Peltola ran an unusually civil race. “I think it shows that Alaskans wholeheartedly embrace nonpartisanship and embrace working together and tackling issues that Alaskans face,” Peltola told Alaska Public Media.
Efforts to restore bison in central Wyoming could hold the key to strengthening ecosystems and economies across western states.
Eric Galatas has more.
Eastern Shoshone tribal member Jason Baldes is working to bring buffalo back onto tribal lands to roam freely, starting with a small herd on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming.
He says restoring a wildlife economy will require a shift in vision for land management away from the status quo driven exclusively by dollars.
“But for Native people, a healthy environment is much more valuable. And so as we restore bison to the landscape for their keystone role as an ecosystem engineer, then we’re restoring the land and we’re thinking more about biodiversity and the interconnectedness of all these beings that are here.”
Unlike grazing cattle that decrease plant and animal biodiversity critical for ecosystems, Baldes notes bison increase biodiversity by creating food and habitat for hundreds of species.
Their dust bathing creates micro depressions important for seed dispersal and water accumulation. Their hooves naturally aerate the soil.
Every winter they put on a new coat, which becomes available for many species of birds when they shed in the spring.
For thousands of years, before America’s first residents were stripped of their lands and food supplies, the health and wealth of Native communities in the region was directly connected to bison.
Baldes says despite being separated for 130 years, the animal is still very present in cultural belief systems including their annual sun dance.
“It’s in our sweat-lodge ceremonies, it’s in our house ceremonies. We still have songs about the buffalo. That animal historically was our life’s commissary, it was our store. It was where our foods, our medicines, our tools, our material came from.”
The Eastern Band of Shoshone were also widely renowned as “buffalo eaters” and Baldes says bringing herds back to western lands managed as wild animals will also help tribes heal.
“We have the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease and other health-related issues because of the removal of buffalo from our diet. So incorporating that back into our diet again is very important. It’s the highest in protein, minerals and vitamins, and the lowest in fat and cholesterol than any other meat.”
Miss Indian New Mexico 2022 says she’s a cultural ambassador, role model, and public servant.
Alysia Coriz (Santo Domingo Pueblo) is representing the 23 tribal nations in New Mexico, but says she’s also serving the state as a whole.
“As well as understanding this title is a pillar of hope for all our communities and it’s also another space for me to utilize this platform and call forth and inspire others to continue to be the solutions to their community’s needs.”
Coriz was crowned this fall.
The Miss Indian New Mexico pageant includes traditional talent, traditional skill, contemporary talent, personal interview, and a test of knowledge about New Mexico.
She ran on a platform of empowerment through community building.
“When we get our community people together to have conversations and connect with one another and continue to build a deeper understanding of the issues and impacts the challenges that we face. This is a time where we’re able to meet and continue to build community together and that’s all how we honor ourselves through kinship, through community and as well as when we find that connection, we feel that we have the support system we are building that system.”
Coriz will serve a year as Miss Indian New Mexico.
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