U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) has introduced bipartisan legislation to establish a Congressional charter for the National American Indian Veterans group.
It’s the third year Rounds and co-sponsor U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) have submitted the legislation.
C.J. Keene has more.
Support for the proposal has increased within the Senate since it was last introduced.
Sen. Rounds says he feels good about its chances in this Congress.
“Last year we were able to have nine original co-sponsors. This year we have 34 original co-sponsors including myself, so I think we’re moving in the right direction. The reason we have those other cosponsors is because Native Americans across the country are notifying their Senators and asking them to get on this bill with us.”
Sen. Rounds says it’s about putting Native veterans on equal footing with their peers.
“There are about 140,000 Native American veterans in the United States today. They do not have a Congressional charter for their organization. We have other Congressional charters that have been granted in the past, we have the Italian American, the Polish American and Catholic American veteran groups, but we don’t have a Native American veterans’ organization that has received a Congressional charter yet.”
But D.C. isn’t the only place the proposal has support.
“Not only do all of the tribes of South Dakota offer their support for this legislation, but the Coalition of Large Tribes also supports this endeavor.”
The bill would need to pass both the Senate and House and be signed by President Biden before a charter can be established.
South Dakota State University faculty and staff are visiting tribal communities in South Dakota this spring to strengthen relationships and better understand support for current and future Native students on campus.
They are starting a bus tour Monday taking them to the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock communities.
Next week, they’ll visit Yankton and Rosebud, and through June will travel to five other tribal communities.
The trips include visiting schools, colleges and businesses, learning about tribal bison herds, and cultural nights with elders.
The tour is part of a professional development training series for faculty and staff.
The university hopes to increase Native student retention and graduation rates.
The first-ever aircraft to be named in an Alaskan Native language in the history of any domestic airline was unveiled last week in Anchorage, AK, as Hannah Bissett from our flagship station KNBA reports.
The aircraft’s name Xáat Kwáani, which means Salmon People in Tlingit.
The plane is wrapped in a Northwest Coast formline art design.
It’s created by Crystal Worl (Tlingit, Athabascan, and Filipino).
She’s well-known for her formline designs featuring her Indigenous culture, which can be found on many things from clothing to a U.S. Postal stamp and now the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800.
The salmon pictured on the side of the plane looks as if they’re swimming, with a female salmon with eggs on the tail and a giant male salmon taking up half of the plane towards the cockpit.
The male salmon’s tongues meet up in the front center of the cockpit. Worl explains:
“That I like to think of as a breathing line or a life line, it’s the beginning of oxygen and water and elements that are flowing through the salmon that the salmon absorb into their bodies as they navigate and migrate back home.”
Years ago, Worl downloaded a template of the Boeing and superimposed her artwork on it. She then posted it on social media tagging Alaska Airlines and eventually got the airline’s attention.
Alaska Airlines is also working with a Native Hawaiian artist to design an aircraft.
Learn more here.
Watch the Salmon People Aircraft, directed by Alexis Anoruk Salee (Inupiaq), host of Indigefi, a Koahnic Broadcast Corporation program:
Navajo leaders are paying tribute to World War Two veteran Steven Harrison who recently passed away at the age of 101.
Harrison enlisted in the Navy in 1944 earning several honors for his service including the American Area Ribbon, two bronze stars, and a victory medal.
He was honorably discharged in 1946.
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