News and Events: State Fair’s Indigenous Food Day; Appeals Court upholds ICWA, and more

In this blog:

  • Indigenous Food Day, featuring Sioux Chef Sean Sherman Sunday, Sept. 1 at the State Fair
  • Growth & Justice to host breakfast talk by MPCA Commission Laura Bishop Aug. 21 (hint: it’s an opportunity to ask about Line 3)
  • Native American Journalists Association rips Washington Post over Indian mascot commentary and survey
  • Appeals Courts reverses lower court, upholds constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Indigenous Food Day at the State Fair Sunday, Sept. 1

If you’re planning to go the Fair Sept. 1, be sure swing by and get some samples at the Indigenous Food Day event, featuring the Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman. Here’s the Facebook Page and here’s a video produced by MIGIZI from last year’s event.

MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop to speak at Growth and Justice breakfast event Wednesday, Aug. 21

Growth & Justice, a progressive research and advocacy organization, will host a breakfast featuring Laura Bishop, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The breakfast’s theme is “environmental equity.” For those following the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline debate, this is an opportunity to meet Bishop and ask the MPCA to deny project’s water crossing permits. RSVP here.

The event includes breakfast and is free and open to the public, but you have to register. (There is an option to donate to cover the cost of your meal.) According to the invitation:

Join us for our last breakfast event on August 21 at Elsie’s from 7:30-9:00am. We’ll have a short program focused on environmental equity, featuring Laura Bishop, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. See more on Laura below!

Breakfast includes eggs, sausage, bacon, french toast, bagels and pastries, fruit, and coffee. Stop by before you start your day, and invite a friend!

NAJA blasts Washington Post for Indian mascot commentary, demands retraction

The Washington Post ran a column by Theresa Vargas that argued that the majority of Native Americans aren’t offended by the team name Washington Red*****.  She cited survey data by Wolvereye. The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) said the survey data is flawed and called on the Post to retract all commentary based on it.

NAJA released the following statement:

Racialized mascots and their potential long-term effects are a serious public health issue and a pressing problem faced by Indigenous communities. The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) is one of many organizations that advocates for the retirement of racialized mascots and the application of journalistic ethics when reporting on them. It is the position of NAJA that persistent, irresponsible reporting on racialized mascots and team names is unethical and harmful to Indigenous people. …

According to Wolvereye, the sample was comprised of individuals who “self-identified as Native Americans across the United States.” Verifiable tribal citizenship or descendancy was not taken into account, and some or all respondents may not be Indigenous. This fundamental misunderstanding of Indigenous identity was at the heart of the Post’s survey published in 2016, and despite calls for the outlet to review its methods and publish corrections, the Post has failed to be accountable for its actions. …

At a time when white supremacy has become increasingly visible and violent, NAJA condemns the Washington Post for publishing materials that ignore facts, promote discrimination and undermine legally-established rights and protections for Indigenous people. NAJA encourages the Post to consider how its reporting contributes to racism in the United States.

Appeals Courts upholds constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) constitutional, according to a report by the Native American Rights Fund. This reverses the 2018 decision by a Texas judge.

Congress passed ICWA in 1978 “to address rising concerns over ‘abusive child welfare practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of Indian children from their families and tribes through adoption or foster care placement, usually in non-Indian homes,’” according to the Appeals Court ruling:

In the case Brackeen v. Bernhardt, a Texas judge ruled IWCA unconstitutional, calling it a race-based policy. Those trying to undo ICWA were the states of Texas, Indiana, and Louisiana, and seven individuals seeking to adopt Indian children.

The Appeals Court found ICWA, and it’s “Final Rule” constitutional “because they are based on a political classification that is rationally related to the fulfillment of Congress’s unique obligation toward Indians.”

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