URL Media Weekly
Friday, July 15, 2022
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 What We're Talking About

Testimony at a 1974 Congressional hearing in Washington, DC: “They went into my home, and picked up my children, and placed them in a foster home. And I think that they were abused in a foster home.”

Supreme Court Takes On Indian Child Welfare Act

After a precedent-setting summer of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court this fall will hear four cases that could overturn the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). As Native News Online reports, the cases could also have larger implications for tribal sovereignty and Native American communities. We spoke with Native News Online founder, publisher and editor Levi Rickert about the cases, their impact and how people can support Indigenous communities.

The following has been edited for length and clarity. 

URL Media: This fall, the Supreme Court will hear four cases that could overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). How could these decisions impact tribal sovereignty?

Levi Rickert: It starts with Indian boarding schools. Federal policy allowed for Native American children to be removed from their homes and placed in these schools, often thousands of miles away. More than 400 of these schools operated during a 150-year span. Their aim was to kill the spirit of Native American culture, kill the language—but “save” the human being.

The foster system also broke up families. NPR did really fine reporting on how Native American children are taken from their homes in South Dakota at three times the rate of white children. 

In the seventies, our tribal leaders came together and said that too many of our children are being removed from our homes. The Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted in 1978 and signed by president Jimmy Carter. But far right groups are now fighting trying to destroy it. With this case being considered, our fear is that [our rights will] further erode with the Supreme Court being so far right. 

URL Media: What would you say is the impact on Native communities of the Supreme Court taking on all of these cases?

Rickert: It has been upheld since the 1830s that tribal nations are, in fact, domesticated nations within the broader United States and have the right to self govern. For example, some tribal nations have cited fishing rights as part of their sovereignty. But because of Supreme Court decisions that undermine sovereignty, states can assert that they don’t have to recognize those rights.

That's the danger—that other courts and right-wing attorneys general run with these decisions and conclude they don't have to recognize sovereignty.

Today, our battles are fought in courtrooms. The good news is we have strong Native American attorneys who understand Indian law, and understand what it means for the U.S. government to fulfill their duties to tribal nations through treaties and other legal obligations. That's the bright side.

Uplift. Respect. Love.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Oneida Families Bury Remains of Boarding School Children: Two Oneida children died while attending Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania more than 120 years ago. Last month, descendants of both children’s families buried them in the cemetery at Church of the Holy Apostles in Hobart, Wisconsin.

The children, Paul Wheelock and Frank Green, are just two of about 190 children estimated to have died at the boarding school. Carlisle Indian School was the first in a system of more than 400 government-run schools whose curricula helped to erase the languages and cultures of Native American students. Read more from Native News Online here.

From Teacher of the Year to Leaving the Classroom: Just two years ago, Qorsho Hassan became the first Somali American to win Minnesota Teacher of the Year. But in June, Hassan announced that she would be leaving the classroom.
n an interview with Sahan Journal, Qorsho said Minnesota schools continually forsake their students and teachers by failing to tackle systemic racism in the classroom. “I didn’t willfully walk away,” she said of her recent decision, which reflects an endemic retention challenge among teachers of color in Minnesota schools. “I felt like I didn’t have the proper support.” Read the full story here.

Black Patients Underrepresented in Clinical Trials: Black people and people of color have historically been underrepresented in clinical trials, and that holds true today across several critical research fields including kidney disease, metastatic breast cancer and COVID-19 vaccines.

Black Voice News explains the importance of diversifying clinical trials for developing treatments that are effective for Black patients, and unpacks some of the roadblocks to increasing the number of Black trial participants, including patient hesitancy, provider bias and lack of awareness. Read the full story here.

Women Rideshare Drivers Fight for Access to Bathrooms: Rideshare driver Yan Li supports her grandparents, husband, and 21-year-old daughter, who are all living in China, with earnings from the 12-hour shifts she drives in New York City each day.

Drinking coffee keeps her alert on the long shifts, but it also notches up the frequency of restroom breaks well past the three she would need on a typical day. That’s why in a city with only two 24/7 public bathrooms, she has resorted to traveling with a bedpan and plastic bags in her car. Documented has the full story here.

Investigation Finds Mounted Agents Mistreated Haitians in Del Rio: A U.S. Customs and Border Protection internal investigation has concluded that several of its mounted agents exhibited “unprofessional and dangerous” behavior in using unnecessary force against Haitian migrants as they crossed into Del Rio, Texas in September 2021. Investigators further concluded that its mounted agents were never threatened by the Haitian migrants. The Haitian Times has the story here.

Women of Color Leading the Charge Towards Workplace Equity: What does the movement for workplace equity and inclusion look like today? This week, Our Body Politic’s guest host, acclaimed radio journalist Celeste Headlee, interviews Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani, author of the new book, PAY UP: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It’s Different Than You Think), about how equal pay for moms is the next frontier in pay equity.

Headlee then speaks with author Pamela Fuller, who is a thought leader on inclusion and bias at coaching firm Franklin Covey, about how unconscious bias continues to plague workplaces and what can be done about it. Listen to the full episode here.


 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture

Photographer Will Wilson Topples the Myth of the American Indian: Do a Google Image search for “Native American,” and among the top results you’ll likely find century-old, sepia-toned images of Native Americans taken by photographer Edward Curtis, who worked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In his latest exhibit, Diné photographer Will Wilson uses the very same aesthetic to shatter those old visual tropes and render Native people in a contemporary, modern art style. Read more from Native News Online here.

Flushing Town Hall is Keeping Jazz Alive: Queens has long been the home of many prominent jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Flushing Town Hall, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate dedicated to presenting global arts programming, is making sure New Yorkers remember these legends by hosting monthly jazz jams. Epicenter-NYC has the full story here.

 Centering Love 

Where is Daddy?: Author and longtime immigration rights activist, Ángeles Maldonado, knows how it feels to live in fear of being separated from her parents. She was just a teenager when Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained her father, who was undocumented, during an immigration raid at the auto shop where he worked near downtown Phoenix.

Maldonado tackles the impact of this type of separation in her new book, ¿Dónde Está Papi? (Where is Daddy?). The book, to be released Aug. 20, tells the real-life story of a young girl from Phoenix whose father is also undocumented and detained. palabra. has the full story here.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

Diversity in Gaming Opens Pathways to New Careers: When Nicodemus “Nico” Madehdou was a kid, gaming allowed him to dream beyond the walls of his Philadelphia home. But as an adult, Madehdou didn’t want to be buried under mountains of student loan debt just to pursue his goal of working in the gaming industry. Instead, he founded JumpButton Studio, which seeks to reimagine diversity and inclusion through the games and animation industry. Read the full story from WURD Radio here.

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URL Media Events 

Roe v. Wade Roundtable Discussion: Join WURD Radio host Amadee Braxton from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on July 21 for an exclusive roundtable discussion with leading women’s health and reproductive justice experts on the unique impact that overturning Roe v. Wade will have on Black women.

Tune in on, the WURD Radio app (available on the App Store and Google Play) and WURD TV via Facebook and Twitch.

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