Sherman Alexie on NPR’s Morning Edition


My life changed dramatically, and started to change dramatically, when I read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I was 4 or 5 on the reservation, and it was the first book I ever read with a brown-skinned character — this, you know, inner-city black kid wandering the snow-blanketed city all by himself. And the book spoke to me in a way few books have ever spoken to me throughout my life. But in that instance, I had this recognition of another human being in the world, fictional as he was, but that there was another person in the world who was like me. … This person was a total stranger to me — a black kid living in the city. You know, I didn’t know any black kids living in the city, but I reached across the fictional and the real barriers and boundaries to connect my heart to him.


Morning Edition’s Story on the Long Walk


About 50 years ago, Clearwater retraced his great-great-great-grandfather’s footsteps along what Navajo and Mescalero Apache people call The Long Walk. In a series of marches starting in 1864, 9,500 Navajo and 500 Mescalero Apache were forced by the U.S. Army to walk 400 miles from their reservation in northeastern Arizona to the edge of the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico; like the forced march known as the Trail of Tears, thousands died.


All Things Considered on Prosecuting in Tribal Court


“We live here. We engage the community here. We have an understanding of the crimes and the crime scenes, and we have Hopi juries here, and it gives us an advantage in that there are some cases I believe the tribal courts can more effectively prosecute,” she [Jill Engel] says.

Morning Edition Story: Maine and Tribes Truth and Reconciliation Commission


In Maine, an unusual and historic process is under way to document child welfare practices that once resulted in Indian children being forcibly removed from their homes. Many of the native children were placed with white foster parents. Chiefs from all five of Maine’s tribes, along with Gov. Paul LePage, have created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help heal the wounds.

NPR on ICWA in South Dakota

From tonight’s All Things Considered: here.

This week, officials from the Crow Creek Sioux Nation and seven other tribes in the state sent an extensive report to Congress accusing South Dakota of systematically violating the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The federal law says that, with some exceptions, if the state removes a Native American child, the state must place that child with relatives, tribal members or other Native Americans.

The report, which the officials wrote with the help of the nonprofit Lakota People’s Law Project, concludes that in many instances the state does not have the authority to remove native children from tribal land. When the state does have that authority, through a tribal court order or tribal council agreement, the report says the state is failing to place the majority of those children according to the law.

Prof. Tiya Miles on NPR Discussing Identity and the Warren Controversy

From NPR

MARTIN: Professor Miles, I’m going to give you the final word here. You know, it’s interesting, we live in a time when it seems that we’ve talked a lot more about identity and what it means than many people ever thought we would, in part because we have a president who is biracial, and even now we’re still talking about this. Do you envision that there will be more conversations about this going forward, or do you think that this is just one of those kind of weird happenstances of the fact that this is a person who is participating in a hotly contested political contest?

MILES: I don’t think this is the end. I think that given that we’re having more and more interracial marriages and people who are claiming mixed-race identities who also might want to claim what I’ll call it a fixed-race identity simultaneously, we’ll be approaching this question again and again I think in different circumstances that we can’t even imagine right now.

MARTIN: Is there anything else you wanted to say about this that I didn’t have to wit to ask you?

MILES: Well, I would just like to add, I think part of the crucial issue here is that claiming an identity – at least in my view – has two parts to it. One can claim but I think one also has to be claimed in order for that identity to be fully rounded and I think that’s part of Elizabeth Warren’s trouble, that she claimed this native identity but she has not been claimed nor does she seem to have really reached out to try to be claimed by Cherokee people and by other native academics.