KWSO News 7/22/19

The N’chi Wanapum Canoe Family left on its 2019 journey last week – a Paddle to Lummi.  Over the last nine years, the Canoe Family reports that it has 64 canoe family member who have attained cold water safety and rescue training. It has also raised over 175 pullers and had over 300 community members participate in some aspect. Today they are scheduled to arrive at the Swinomish Tribal Community. On Tuesday they will arrive at the Samish Indian Nation and will arrive at Lummi on Wednesday, where they will spend a several days. Approximately 10,000 people and over 100 canoes are expected to come ashore at Lummi.

SALEM, Oregon (AP) — A new law in Oregon allows students to take “mental health days” just as they would sick days. The teens behind the bill say it’s meant to respond to a mental health crisis in schools. Gov. Kate Brown signed the measure into law last month. The Oregon Health Authority reports suicide is the second-leading cause of death among those in the state age 10 to 34. Nearly 17% of eighth graders say they’ve considered taking their own life within the last 12 months.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — At least 14 cities in Alaska have employed police officers whose criminal records should have prevented them from being hired under state law, the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica reported. The news organizations said they found more than 34 officers who should have been ineligible for these jobs. In eight additional communities, local tribal governments have hired tribal police officers convicted of domestic violence or sex crimes, the news organizations reported. Many remain on the job. The news report comes nearly a month after U.S. Attorney General William Barr declared a law enforcement emergency in Alaska, clearing the way for the Justice Department to award more than $10 million to combat crime in rural communities. That announcement came after Barr visited the state and met with Alaska Natives, who described disproportionately high rates of violence and sexual assault in Native communities and other problems, including not having any law enforcement presence in some villages.

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Native American author whose writings have highlighted his indigenous culture is this year’s winner of a lifetime achievement award celebrating literature’s power to foster peace, social justice and global understanding. Dayton Literary Peace Prize officials selected novelist, poet and essayist N. Scott Momaday for the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. A Kiowa Indian, Momaday earned the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for fiction with “House Made of Dawn,” about a young man returning to his Kiowa pueblo after serving in the U.S. Army. His 1968 book has been credited with leading a renaissance in Native American literature.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Government hospitals placed Native American patients at increased risk for opioid abuse and overdoses, failing to follow their own protocols for prescribing and dispensing the drugs, according to a newly released federal audit.  The report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General doesn’t draw any conclusions about actual abuse or overdoses. But it said all five Indian Health Service hospitals it reviewed had patients who were given opioids in amounts that exceeded federal guidelines. The overdose epidemic that has killed more people than any other drug epidemic in U.S. history has hit indigenous communities hard. Native Americans and Alaska Natives had the second-highest rate of opioid overdose out of all racial and ethnic groups in 2017, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report made more than a dozen recommendations to the Indian Health Service to better track patients’ health records and pain management, ensure opioids are kept under tighter security and update its information technology systems. The agency agreed on every point and said changes are coming.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A bill in Congress would aid states in their efforts to conserve species before they are in crisis.  The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would fund states’ proactive management work to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.  State Wildlife Action Plans across the country identify more than 12,000 species in need of the greatest attention, including nearly 300 in Oregon.  The bill would direct $1.3 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies’ conservation plans. The bill also would direct nearly $100 million to tribal nations for their conservation efforts.