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The 2020 Election—How Native Voters Were the Deciders

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Versions of this article appeared on the pages and in a website of  In These Times  magazine in November 2020. T he power of Native voters to decide the 2020 presidential election cannot be overstated, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D ‑ Kan.), a Ho-Chunk Nation citizen, told the Democratic Party in August 2020. States with sizable Indigenous populations — Arizona, Minnesota and others — were in play, Davids said.    Native Americans are more involved and influential in U.S. elections than is commonly understood — fielding scores of candidates for state and national office, running presidential candidate forums and managing energetic get-out-the-vote campaigns. With around 3.7 million Native people of voting age concentrated in Western states — and this voting-age population accounting for up to 11% of the electorate in New Mexico, 12% in Oklahoma and 17% in Alas­ka, as tabulated by NCAI — Native voters can dramatically shape election results.    Tribal backing has helped many candidates to

Buffalo to the Rescue!

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This story first appeared in Rural America In These Times in June 2020. For more on topics like this, see my book, American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion, available wherever books are sold.   Buffalo in a National Park Service park (photo NPS). “We  have always believed that bringing back the buffalo is important, but the pandemic shows that it is urgent , ”  said Wizipan Little Elk. “We are all talking about food security and what the new normal is going to be…We [at Rosebud] have to get back to our roots and provide an example for the rest of the world.” Little Elk, CEO of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), is referring to the alarming problems the pandemic has exposed in the huge, centralized systems that provides most Americans with their food. Over the last several months, numerous large meat packers closed down after workers were found to be infected with coronavirus. Supply chain problems have cau

Enhance Your Food Supply: Advice from Native American Master Gardeners

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Yes! magazine first published this article in May 2020. UPDATE: For information on the Traditional Native American Farmers Association online 2020 permaculture-design course, email tnafa_org@yahoo.com. To see the Cheyenne River garden in June, scroll down.  For more on topics like this, please check out my book,  American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion,  available wherever books are sold. In the Cheyenne River Youth Project garden, excellent soil and hard work produce great veggies M any Americans are now experiencing an erratic food supply for the first time. Among COVID-19’s disruptions are bare supermarket shelves and items available yesterday but nowhere to be found today. As you seek ways to replace them, you can look to  Native gardens  for ideas and inspiration. “Working in a garden develops your relationship to the land,” says Aubrey Skye,  a Hunkpapa Lakota gardener . “Our ancestors understood that. Look at the old pict

Sioux Tribes Are Protecting Their People from Pandemic. The Governor Is Trying to Stop Them

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This story appeared in May 2020 in  Rural America In These Times.  For more on topics like this, please check out my book,  American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion,  available wherever books are sold. “The tribes aren’t blinking.”  That’s how attorney Greg Lembrich phrased the response to S.D. Governor Kristi Noem’s order to Sioux tribes in the state to remove the roadway checkpoints they had set up at their reservations’ borders to protect their communities from the coronavirus pandemic. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier (right) visits a Covid-19 checkpoint on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. (Photo courtesy of Remi Bald Eagle) In early April, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe began checking vehicles for drivers and passengers with Covid-19 symptoms and redirecting nonessential travel around their reservations. In May, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe began a similar effort. “We will not a