Canada’s Assembly of First Nations has a new leader.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, Cindy Woodhouse, a regional chief from Manitoba, was elected the new national chief.
The voting took place over two days last week.
Of the six candidates in the race, no one claimed the required 60% of the votes until Woodhouse did on the second day of voting.
The voting at times became heated as Woodhouse and her main opponent traded accusations.
It wasn’t until the seventh round of voting that David Pratt conceded.
Woodhouse says her main priority, now that she’s the national chief, is taking care of First Nations children.
“Now the child welfare system that has been separating our kids for far too long. We need to push to bring our families home together again.”
Woodhouse also says there’s a lot of work to do in the days ahead.
“Our people need housing and our people need economic development. We need policing and justice for our communities so we have safe communities. Because we’re dealing with a lot of drug epidemic. And my condolences to so many of you, us to in our community we face that. And right across this country we hear over and over again about the things that our people face.”
Woodhouse also pleaded with Canadians to support First Nations.
She also thanked the outgoing National Chief Roseanne Archibald for smashing the glass ceiling that allowed a woman to be elected into the top job.
Archibald was ousted during the year after a probe into complaints from staff members about her conduct, which included harassment and violating internal policies.
Federal land managers say they will invest nearly $70 million into co-management agreements with tribes.
Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton reports the announcement came out of last week’s White House Tribal Nations Summit.
The U.S. Forest Service says it will invest millions of dollars into land management agreements with tribes.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have already participated in projects to recruit more smokejumpers as well as to restore native plant species in the Bitterroot National Forest.
The Forest Service also announced that it will hire a liaison that will help the CSKT provide input on forest management in northwest Montana.
CSKT are the only tribes in Montana to enter into the new agreements with the federal government.
Other projects across the country include management of national monuments, fish habitat restoration, and using traditional knowledge for vegetation management.
The Indian Health Service is working to provide tens of thousands of children’s books to Native families across the country.
The Mountain West News Bureau’s Kaleb Roedel has more.
The federal agency gave a $200,000 grant to Reach Out and Read, a national nonprofit that integrates reading into pediatric care.
The group will use the money to buy more than 30,000 children’s books.
They’ll be handed out to Indigenous families during well-child visits at dozens of Indian Health Service clinics.
That includes 11 in New Mexico, one in Colorado, and one in Wyoming.
Marty Martinez is Reach Out and Read’s CEO. He says the books feature Indigenous characters and are written in half a dozen different Native languages.
“To give families a book for a two-year-old or a three-year-old that’s related to their culture, that ties in a Native Illustrator or author or a great story – and celebrates that – is so meaningful.”
And helpful to their development.
The group says about one-third of young children – and half of those living in poverty – start kindergarten without the skills they need to do well in school.
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