Wednesday

Canadian politician to speak Mohawk in the Canadian House of Parliament, made a surprise visit to Levi Oakes to honor him with a medal

Last week, Canadian Politician and Quebec Liberal MP Marc Miller, the first Canadian politician to speak Mohawk in the Canadian House of Parliament, stopped at the home of the last living Mohawk code talker Levi Oakes to present him with a medal to honor his service as a code talker. He also read Oakes a letter of thanks in the Mohawk language.

Miller was traveling to speak with tribal representatives about cannabis and wished to pay Oakes the visit. Miller is from the Montreal community and works in the House of Commons serving Montreal and the surrounding areas.

When at the home of Oakes, Miller presented the code talker with a symbolic medal to recognize his efforts. Miller also read a letter in the Mohawk language.

The only press on scene was Kaniehtonkie from the Indian Times, who wrote an article describing the meeting between Miller and Oakes, described the moment Miller read the letter as special. It “made Levi’s eyes light up, showing he understood every word Miller said.”

Miller told the Indian Times: “It was a personal honor to meet Levi Oakes. The role of the Code Talkers in WWII has long been an interest of mine and I wanted the Government of Canada to recognize Mr. Oakes. The spirit and success of the Code Talkers was hidden for so long.”


“Even before entering politics I have always been fascinated with languages, learning Swedish as an adult, but there is such richness to Mohawk and it is very difficult to learn,” he said.

During the meeting, Oakes surprised everyone in the room and revealed he had recently received an official letter from the U. S. Department of Defense stating he was free to share what actually happened in WWII.


“Before that, no one, including his family, had any idea the role he had during the war,” said the Indian Times.

When Miller finished reading his letter, Oakes responded in Mohawk with Tsi nika’shátste, meaning “It is so strong,” a reference to the strength of the Mohawk language.
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VIDEO

Tuesday

Nature was on grand display on Washington's San Juan Island this month — and photographer Kevin Ebi was there to document it.

He describes the scene as a 'dramatic act of thievery' when a bald eagle tried stealing a rabbit from a young red fox at San Juan Island National Historical Park. This battle went airborne - more than 20 feet at times - and the tussle was photographed from start to finish.

Ebi says the red fox isn't native to San Juan Island, but introduced by settlers in the 1900s. He also notes that rabbits aren't the main prey of the fox, which typically prefer berries, insects and voles. But on this day, a young fox and rabbit found themselves on the sharp talon-end of a hunting eagle.

The scene began when the fox snatched a rabbit in a meadow and that's when Ebi noticed an eagle closing in on the rabbit. He writes, "To my surprise, the scene was even more dramatic than I expected. I thought the fox would drop the rabbit, giving the eagle an easy dinner."

But the eagle had both animals in its clutches and the three animals took flight in a continuous struggle. Ebi says the kit put up a noble fight and the eagle let go with one talon, sending the fox falling back to Earth.

Ebi says, "The whole battle was over in less than 8 seconds."


The young fox scampered off and Ebi says his photos didn't show a single scratch. But the amazing encounter doesn't end there. After KING 5 shared Ebi's photos, viewer Zachary Hartje posted video footage of the exact scene.
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VIDEO

In many ways, this unique pageant's definition of what American beauty truly entails is the ideological antithesis to Miss America.

Here are six more reasons why Miss Indian World is a far more badass alternative to the typical American event:

1. It's NOT a "beauty pageant." "It's not a beauty pageant and it never has been," contest coordinator Melodie Matthews told Native Peoples magazine.

And she's right: The currency rewarded at Miss Indian World is not looks, but "cultural knowledge" — a quality determined by a panel of 25 judges through a personal interview, public speaking assessment, essay submission and dance competition.

While the actual judging process is relatively opaque, the message behind the standards remains abundantly clear: Leave your spray-tan at home, it won't save you here.

2. It takes place at the world's biggest powwow. Miss Indian World isn't even the biggest cultural event taking place in Albuquerque that weekend in April.


The Gathering of Nations Powwow (GON) — the largest such gathering of indigenous people in the world, according to Al Jazeera — is the celebratory backdrop against which the pageant is set.

Al Jazeera reports that GON draws an estimated 112,000 people to the area, resulting in a regional economic impact of up to $21 million and making it a fixture of New Mexico life for the past 31 years. Not to mention, the images it produces are stunning.

3. Every winner is a woman of color. It wasn't until 1941 that the first Native American contestant (Miss Oklahoma) competed, and then it was 30 years more before the second one. The first black Miss America wasn't crowned until 1984.


Miss Indian World, on the other hand, can be read as a full-on celebration of women of color.

4. There's no b*kini contest. You won't see Miss Indian World parading around in a b*kini, or evening wear for that matter — the contest's overwhelming emphasis on "cultural knowledge" leaves little room for that.

What you will see is the maintenance of what Al Jazeera calls a space for Native women to combat "stereotypical notions of the 'Indian maiden' or the disappearing Indian." Simply put, the "beach body" is not a factor here.


5. When the apocalypse comes, you want these women on your team. One of this year's runners-up, 23-year-old Megan Leary of Napaimute, Alaska, demonstrated she is ready for pretty much anything. She drives a snowmobile, fixes boat engines and carries a .243 Winchester rifle when hunting moose, Al Jazeera reports.

Other contestants demonstrate their proficiency with bows and arrows during the talent portion of the competition. No plastic cups here.

6. It helps preserve and promote a culture too often overlooked by its neighbors. Megan Young, who won the contest in 2007, told Native Peoples she saw the victory as an opportunity to raise awareness about her nation: "At the time, she felt there weren't a lot of people who knew there was a federally recognized tribe in Alabama," the report reads. (Young hails from the Porch Band of Creek Indians.)


Opportunities to celebrate individual indigenous groups on a large scale are rare — especially in a country that's historically been committed to eradicating Native cultures. Not to mention, it's a chance to combat negative stereotypes: "It's empowering for people to understand and break away from that ignorance," Young told Native Peoples.

The qualities rewarded at the Miss Indian World pageant, however, last a lifetime. These are the attributes we should really be celebrating.
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Thursday

Paulette Jordan won Tuesday night’s primary in the Idaho governor’s race, setting her up for a tough November election but with a shot at becoming the nation’s first Native American governor.

Jordan, a two-term state legislator, defeated multimillionaire and Boise school board member A.J. Balukoff. With 96 percent of precincts in, Jordan won more than 58 percent of the vote to Balukoff’s 40 percent.

She prevailed despite being significantly outspent and up against her party’s establishment.

Jordan will now face Lt. Gov. Brad Little in November. He won Tuesday night’s GOP primary with 37 percent of the vote. He defeated U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador and real estate developer Tommy Ahlquist.

It is a long-shot bid for Jordan, 38. She’s running as a pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-marijuana legalization, pro-Medicaid expansion Democrat in a deeply red state. The last time Idaho elected a Democratic governor was in 1990.

Little, 64, has been lieutenant governor since 2009 and is the heir apparent to current Gov. Butch Otter (R), who decided not to run for another term. He is anti-abortion, opposes same-sex marriage and is not a fan of expanding Medicaid, though he said he would not repeal a Medicaid expansion initiative on the November ballot if it is passed by voters.


Jordan does have some advantages, namely that her candidacy is just plain exciting. She is a young woman of color running for a seat that a woman has never held in Idaho. An enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe, she would make history as the country’s first Native American governor. And her campaign comes at a time when Democrats are energized and flooding the polls nationwide in response to Donald Trump’s presidency.


Democratic turnout was off the charts in Tuesday’s elections. Precincts in and around Boise, a major hub of Democratic voters, actually ran out of ballots at one point. Statewide, Democratic turnout was more than double what it had been in the 2014 primary. That year, about 25,000 Democrats voted for a gubernatorial candidate. This time, more than 65,000 did.

Republican turnout was up in Idaho too, but not by as much as Democratic turnout. More than 155,000 Republicans voted for a gubernatorial candidate in 2014. This year, more than 191,000 did.


Jordan, who has deep roots in Idaho’s ranching culture, has some appeal among independents. A March poll by Idaho Politics Weekly found that 19 percent of independents said they liked Jordan best. That’s compared to 13 percent of independents saying they preferred Ahlquist and 12 percent saying they liked Labrador. Nine percent of independents said they preferred Little.


The same poll showed no clear front-runner in the general election. Among all voters, Jordan polled at 15 percent. Labrador and Ahlquist polled at 16 and 15 percent, respectively. Little polled at 11 percent.
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Tuesday

Adorable little raccoon Yasha from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don does not spend all his time washing stuff - he prefers social work.

His main task is to calm down canine patients before their visit to the vet, and he is definitely great at it!

His owner, veterinarian Alexei Krotov, who noticed how good Yasha was in communicating with dogs, surely values his little buddy's help. However, this fluffy employee is not over popular with the feline visitors to the clinic.

Doctors sometimes need an assistant who can help them do their work in the most efficient way. Turns out, Aleksei Krotov, a veterinarian from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, has one of the best. And yes, it’s a raccoon.

Taking care of a raccoon has always been Krotov’s dream, so after he became a vet he decided to get one. This is how Yasha came into his life – Aleksei and his wife bought him from horrible conditions where he was living in Krasnodar district, and took him home.

At first he lived with them, but later the family decided to move him to Aleksei’s clinic. This is when the doctor noticed his amazing ability to calm stressed and sick dogs that come for treatment.


For this Yasha became a local celebrity and sometimes people come just to visit this adorable raccoon. Cats don’t really like Yasha, but he is amazing with dogs – and they’re really lucky to have such a fluffy doctor.





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