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Alaska Native leaders are concerned about climate and environmental issues. Those were among discussions last week at the National Congress of American Indians mid-year gathering in Anchorage. As Emily Schwing reports, leaders in Alaska and other states are seeing wildfires having an impact on their communities.
Earlier this month, the largest wildfire currently burning in the state of Alaska forced the evacuation of roughly 150 residents who live in the village of St. Mary’s, a small Yup’ik village located more than 300 miles west of Anchorage. George Beans is the President of Yupiit of Andreafski, one of two tribes in the village.
“Right now, it was mostly the climate change. We’re dealing with a fire, a pretty big fire at home and I think climate change has a lot to do with these fires that are popping up. It’s just too dry.”
Beans said it was tough for him to decide if he should leave the village for the conference.
“Well first of all, we had pre-registered and we invested a lot of our finances into coming to this meeting. They address a lot of issues here and there’s a lot of intercommunication between each other and that’s why I think it’s important. We get a lot of information and we can seek some help when we do need in different areas that we do need help.”
At more than 160,000 acres, the East fork fire is the largest fire ever to burn in Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region.
It’s also the largest tundra fire the state has seen in 40 years. As of Sunday, fire officials have reported managers have reached their objectives to contain the blaze.
A new art installation in Eugene, OR has visitors gazing at art, that in turn, gazes right back.
KLCC’s Brian Bull reports on the “Culture Raising” installation and how it recognizes the region’s Indigenous people.
Flashback to August 2021, and I’m on a stretch of sidewalk between a couple utility buildings and construction projects.
Charly Swing, director of Art City, points out what at first looks like an ordinary fence 100 feet long, 8 feet high, and with individual faces.
“Actually, two faces. Each is a youth and an elder, of Native American and Indigenous people, who live in our community.”
A growing awareness of the land’s original inhabitants, the Kalapuya, has helped Oregonians relate the past with the present. Tennepah Brainard, who goes by “T.J.” is the conceptual artist behind the Culture Raising project. She’s of Coos/Apache heritage, and a student at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe. She coordinated photography of the subjects, whose images were transferred to the fence slats.
“And so, I thought okay, let’s do like half a face and eyes, but after a while I realized that for me, it’s kinda of like doing Native American people just as people. Not like full-on headgear and regalia, just…see that we’re here, and this is us, and how we look very different and how we look like everyone else.’”
The Culture Raising installation is now up for several months and will be on display during the World Track and Field Championships in Eugene.
The slats will eventually be taken down and woven into a new form, which will be auctioned to help support new art pieces by Native Americans.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is gathering written comments on cannabis in Indian Country through July 8th.
The committee held a virtual listening session on the topic last week to hear from tribal leaders and other experts on tribal cannabis commerce and related equities.
The input will help inform the committee’s current work on tribal cannabis and for future use on national cannabis reform legislation.
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