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Earlier this month, I was proud to host a member of the Presidential Cabinet and other top U.S. health care officials in the Cherokee Nation. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Indian Health Service Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler and White House Council on Native American Affairs Executive Director Morgan Rodman came for a special visit on July 1. This marked Secretary Becerra’s first official visit to a tribal reservation, on the same day as the state of Oklahoma’s expansion of Medicaid took effect.

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In late May, the discovery of the remains of 215 children in a mass grave at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia was disclosed to the world. The disclosure shook the world, shining a spotlight on a dark era of forced assimilation of Indigenous children by the government of Canada and the Catholic Church.  

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July is recognized as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Due to recent news from Canada that over 1,400 graves have been discovered on four different Indian residential schools, there has been a lot of sadness and anger that has emerged among Native communities across Canada and the United States.

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Throughout American history, the relationship between American Indians and the U.S. government has been fraught with mistreatment, oppression and disregard for the welfare of Indian people. The federal government has shown little regard for American Indians and callously labeled this country’s colonized inhabitants as the “Indian problem.”

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Non-Natives often wonder how American Indians celebrate the Fourth of July — or Independence Day — the day of the “birth” of the nation 245 years ago in 1776. As with any other group of Americans, Native people are not monolithic, therefore, the answer is there is no set way.

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While the emerging stories about Indian residential school cemeteries in Canada are shocking to many, they are not to many Native Americans and First Nation citizens. 

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This past Tuesday, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) addressed the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Mid Year Conference.

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Be aware that in an abusive relationship, violence is used as a tactic for the abuser to maintain power and control over the victim-survivor. The violence will continue and may escalate in intensity and frequency. 

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Native American mascots contribute to the oppression of Native Americans throughout our country, and they create an externality on all oppressed minorities by encouraging a culture of stereotyping. 

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My name is Lauren Peters. I am enrolled with the Agdaagux Tribe in the Unangax Nation in the land and waters that are now considered the Aleutian and Priblof Islands of Alaska. I am a first year PhD student in Native American Studies at UC Davis. I have a designated emphasis in Human Rights concentrating on Human Rights of the Dead. That emphasis is to reflect my work finding and documenting Alaska Native children who died and are buried in Native American boarding school cemeteries. One of which is my great Aunt Sophia from St. Paul Island who is buried at Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. We are rematriating her home to St. Paul Island this summer.