Gaelynn Lea talks with Katie Carter on the extended hour of the Morning Show. Gaelynn is a singer, violinist, public speaker and disability advocate from Duluth. She shares ways that her and her family are getting through the stay at home order. Gaelynn talks about how disabled people are effected and often misunderstood during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minnesota Native News: Reactions to the New Operation Lady Justice Task Force
Headline: This week on Minnesota Native News, reactions to a new White House Executive Order on Missing and Murdered Indigeneous Women.
For years Native people and allies have been drawing attention to the devastatingly high number of missing and murdered indigenous women and men. There have been public marches, art exhibits, billboards and more - all in an effort to spur action. Minnesota recently set up its own state-wide task force on the issue. And on November 26th President Donald Trump sat at his desk in the oval office and announced a new Executive Order.
TRUMP: With my order today we are announcing Operation Lady Justice … (:04)
The new interagency task force will establish new protocols for dealing with cases of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. It also establishes a multi-jurisdictional team to review cold cases.
TRUMP: [applause] We have with us …
Also in the Oval Office that day were 5 tribal leaders gathered behind the President.
TRUMP: Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band…
Chairwoman Benjamin stepped forward and shared gratitude for this new effort.
BENJAMIN: [OJIBWE INTRODUCTION] It is my honor and my privilege to be here for the signing because we can not have this anymore…
TRUMP: Kevin Dupuis, Chairman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. (:12)
Chairman Dupuis [DU-pee] spoke for nearly two full minutes appealing for respect for Native women and all Native people.
DUPUIS: Our women are the ones who raise our children, our women are the ones who take are of our village, take care of our community, our teachers… (:08) [fade out]
These tribal leaders were part of this press event announcing Operation Lady Justice. But they will not will not sit on the task force itself. They will not formally guide its work.The task force expires in 2 years and there has been no dollar figure attached to the effort. All of this has some policy experts feeling skeptical.
DEER: I mean that’s unacceptable to have a task force to address this crisis with absolutely no tribal leadership. They know what the crisis looks like and they know what kind of support they need to address the crisis. (:13)
Sarah Deer is a citizen of the Muscogee [Creek] Nation and a Professor at The University of Kansas. For over 25 years she’s been working in law and public policy to end violence against women.
Deer wants to see a more sustained effort over the long-term with enough resources to really make a difference.
DEER: We’re not really sure where the money is going, who’s getting it. We know they’e going to hire people with that money but again those people are only going to be in those positions for two years, just enough to get started and the then the task force will dissolve. (:14)
Deer also wants to see urban Native leaders involved in this effort.
DEER: You know the federal government has a trust and obligation to Native people in my opinion, no matter where they are. The leadership should not stop at the city edge. (:09)
The White House has not offered a plan for how the federal task force will interact with state level task forces, like the one in Minnesota.
Overall Deer says she’s generally skeptical of Trump’s initiatives in Indian Country.
DEER: I guess for me the track record of Trump with Indian Country leaves me very skeptical. He has espoused racist views about Native people. (:08)
She says, for example, before he got to the White House…
DEER: When he was fighting with Indian casinos and saying certain Indians don’t look like Indians. (:05)
Then there’s his ongoing attack of Elizabeth Warren calling her “Pocahontas”. And when he invited Code Talkers to the Oval Office.
DEER: … with a picture of Andrew Jackson hanging over their heads. I mean, as a Creek woman to see Andrew Jackson on the wall while he’s talking to Native elders and esteemed people, it was very painful for me to see that. (:11)
Finally — while Trump announced the Operation Lady Justice Task Force, GOP allies in the Senate were signing onto a bill that would weaken tribal court’s ability to prosecute crimes on tribal lands.
DEER: It’s a disaster.
It’s Republican Senator Jonie Ernst’s bill 2920.
DEER: I don’t know that Trump’s White House has stated an official position but it is concerning that while this Executive Order is being touted, there is effort in the Senate to undermine tribe’s ability to address this problem. (:14)
It remains to be seen how these federal efforts will impact Native women’s safety and what role tribes will play.
It’s mid July and there’s lots of activity along the Gunflint. In this edition of Wildersmith on the Gunflint, Fred finds out how the blueberry crop is coming along, and attends the 39th annual Gunflint Lake canoe races.