Like most years in Indian Country, 2022 had its share of heartbreak and humor, as well as pride and, not surprisingly, prejudice. Scan through our most-read 22 stories of ‘22 and you’ll find plenty of examples of each on the list.

As our editor, Levi Rickert, wrote in a letter to newsletter subscribers the other day: “There have been many heavy moments in Indian Country and for all of us in the newsroom this year. Like many of you, we shed tears on May 11 when the Interior Department released the Indian boarding school report. We felt nervous tension in our chests as Supreme Court justices asked probing questions that seemed to indicate a willingness to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and threaten tribal sovereignty. And we shook our heads in disbelief as we reported stories about people referring to Native Americans as ‘Indigenous creatures’ and ‘America’s first immigrants.’

“Amid all those and other tough stories about serious issues, we also had many opportunities to report on Native people who were doing incredible things: lifting off into space, rising to the top of their professions, earning the label of genius. Their stories inspired and gave us the hope and motivation to keep doing the important work of journalism in Indian Country.”   

More than 5 million readers consumed that journalism on our website and in our newsletters, as well as across partner platforms like Yahoo News, and Native media sites that republish our stories. Over the past week, we’ve compiled the stories — including brief news reports, longer feature stories and opinion pieces — that generated the most interest among readers over the past 12 months. We present them here.   

Great Sioux Nation Issues "Notice of Trespass" Against Owner of Hotel that Banned Native Americans

The Great Sioux Nation in South Dakota issued a “Notice of Trespass (Cease and Desist)” order to a Rapid City hotel after its owner said she would ban Native Americans from the property after a shooting.

Connie Uhre, the 76-year old owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel sparked protests by Native Americans throughout South Dakota for her comments and an assault on protesters. The Department of Justice ended up filing a lawsuit against the hotel, alleging the company violated the civil rights of Native Americans. 

ABC News Anchor Refers to Indigenous People as 'Creatures' in Reference to Native American Heritage Month

During news coverage on Native American Heritage Month, an ABC reporter misspoke and referred to Indigenous people as “Indigenous creatures” on ABC News’ streaming channel on Thursday morning.

Indian Country responded swiftly, blowing up social media with annoyed Tweets and  Native Humor via TikTok. The reporter later apologized for the slip of the tongue.

Indian Country Responds to the New Washington Commanders Name

In February, after decades of using a racial slur as its team name, Washington’s National Football League (NFL) Team announced its new name as the Commanders. The announcement, made exclusively on the Today Show, was met with varying responses from leaders across Indian Country.

Suzan Harjo, who fought to end the use of the slur for decades, responded to the new name with a sharp insight: “The name could be commander, or salamander, or macaroni. It’s not the name that matters, as long as it’s not doing harm and injury to living people—that’s all we ever asked for.”

OPINION: A Message to President Biden: No Prisoner Swap Needed to FREE Leonard Peltier

The weekly opinion columns penned by Native News editor and founder Levi Rickert are always among the most-read stories each week. This column, which urged President Biden to free political prisoner Leonard Peltier, was no exception.

“Readers of Native News Online will know I have written several opinion columns calling for the release of Peltier. Obviously, there is a need to write more on this matter,” he wrote. “It is important to keep the pressure on the White House. Letters and calls should not  cease. The President should be reminded there is no prisoner swap needed to FREE Leonard Peltier.”

Mary Peltola Takes Lead in Alaska House Race

As the 2024 midterm election results rolled in slowly, readers across Indian Country — and United States as a whole — paid close attention to the race for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The reason: Congressional candidate and elect Mary Peltola (Yup’ik) was on track to fill the state’s congressional at-large seat for a full-term. Peltola, 49, had already made history as the first Alaska Native member of Congress and the first Democratic woman to represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives when she beat out Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the special election held in August. 

More top stories of the year.

Oglala Sioux Tribe Temporarily Suspends All Christian Missionary Work

OPINION: As Millions of Quarters Featuring Wilma Mankiller are Circulated Around the Country, Her Story Should be Shared Too

Saint Paul Public Schools Unanimously Supports Smudging in Classrooms

FBI releases list of 192 missing Indigenous persons in New Mexico, Navajo Nation

Yellowstone' Lakota Actor Moses Brings Plenty Wants to be U.S. President

OPINION: U.S. Supreme Court Breaks Sacred Vow to Oklahoma Tribal Nation

Markwayne Mullin Elected to the U.S. Senate; Will Become Only Native American U.S. Senator

Republican Calls Minnesota Lieutenant Governor ‘Savage’

EXCLUSIVE: Leonard Peltier Shares His Indian Boarding School Story

New Evidence Supports Restoration of Jim Thorpe as the Sole Gold Medalist for His Victories in the 1912 Olympics | Currents

“It’s About Damn Time”: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Features First Indigenous Model, Ashley Callingbull

Interior Department Releases Indian Boarding School Report

Indian Country Responds to Pope Francis Receiving a Headdress During ‘Pilgrimage of Penance’

After 350 years, the Rappahannock Tribe Gets Land Back

INTERVIEW: Astronaut Nicole Mann is Ready to Become the First Native Woman in Space

White Buffalo Born to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribe

RESPECT Act Passes House of Representatives, Will Go To President’s Desk for Signing

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