“…representing the first people to walk upon this continent…”—Sterlin Harjo.
Gary Fife/Radio Communications
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – A major change has come for this department. In this last election, by an almost 3 to 1 margin, the citizens of the Mvskoke Nation voted to add a Freedom of the Press amendment to the tribal constitution. It means, ‘hands off’ when it comes to any interference from the tribal administration or council on coverage of our tribe. It removes the specter of censorship from over the heads of those charged with reporting accurate and fair news of our people.
This is a heavy responsibility and one that our staff does not take lightly. For those who might think there will be some retaliation on those who disagree with our decisions and directions, that won’t be happening. That is Stone Age thinking (or as I call it, ‘Fred Flintstone’ thinking) that only holds us back.
We will be continuing to work at and the dedication to presenting the best coverage of our people.
O.K. Enough preaching.
After a quarter century, the facility that I called, “The Museum That Wouldn’t Die”, didn’t. The First Americans Museum finally welcomed the world to view its collections and other offerings on Saturday the 18th. Probably one of the most unique and finest groups of Native art, offerings and exhibitions in the world is now available for public viewing.
This museum represents the 39 tribes located here in the state of Oklahoma and many items of contemporary life that are part of today’s Native cultures. I guess I’ll have to change the nickname I formerly used to something like, “The Museum That Lives On.”
More changes to today’s cultures involving Native people and images. The famous ski resort known as “Sq—w Valley” has changed its name.
The “Sq—w” word had been used as a vulgar reference to Native women’s private parts. It has now been dropped in favor of the phrase, “Palisades Tahoe.” Mid-September the resort’s website announced the name change. But the website description never made any reference to the former insulting and distasteful name. The resort is trying to build its relationship with the local Washoe Tribe.
A monument honoring California tribes will be replacing the statue of the Catholic priest who led the subjugation and near-elimination of those peoples. The statue of the priest Junipero Serra (now saint) was toppled just after the riots following the killing of George Floyd.
Native News Online reports the California State Senate approved the measure.
The U.S. Census Bureau has its count of Native Americans and says, “6.79 million, which is about 2.09% of the entire population: Alaska (20.32%) Oklahoma (13.19%) New Mexico (10.75%) South Dakota (10.09%) Montana (8.00%) North Dakota (6.51%) Arizona (5.31%) Wyoming (3.63%) Oregon (2.99%) Washington (2.82%).
I had wanted to talk with U.S. Census officials for this region but their Public Information Office didn’t get off their backsides to approve an interview so I gave it up.
An Ojibwe man, Bryan Newland, from the Bay Mills Community is now “Chief of All the Indians.” No, just kidding. But, he is the new Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. According to an Interior Department press release, Newland says, “I am committed to engaging with Tribes every step of the way and ensuring they have the support and resources they need to fully thrive.”
Good news continues to rain down upon the new TV series about Native people. “Reservation Dogs” has been renewed for a second season. Indian Country News got a peek at the latest information about the exciting new show.
The cast was also featured as presenters during the 73rd Emmy Awards. While in the international spotlight, writer and creator, Sterlin Harjo noted the historic occasion. “We are here on television’s biggest night as creators and actors, proud to be Indigenous people working in Hollywood, representing the first people to walk upon this continent, and we are really happy to be here,” Harjo said at the award show.
ICT reported, Harjo and the show’s cast, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai (who plays Bear Smallhill), Devery Jacobs (Elora Danan), Paulina Alexis (Willie Jack), and Lane Factor (who portrays the character Cheese), presented the award for Outstanding Directing in a Limited Series.
Perhaps next year, the troupe will be collecting a few of those statues themselves.
I need a vacation and am going to take one!
Hvtvm cerecares—I will see you. Skoden!
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.