- By Native News Online Staff
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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Together, we can educate, enlighten, and empower.November is celebrated as “Native American Heritage Month.” At Native News Online, we amplify Native voices and share our relatives’ unique perspectives every day of the year. We believe every month should celebrate Native American heritage.
If you appreciate our commitment to Native voices and our mission to tell stories that connect us to our roots and inspire understanding and respect, we hope you will consider making a donation this month to support our work. For those who commit to a recurring donation of $12 per month or more, or make a one-time donation of $150 or greater, we're excited to offer you a copy of our upcoming Indian Boarding School publication and access to our quarterly Founder’s Circle meetings and newsletter.