Native Americans

The insurance broker President Trump nominated to lead the Indian Health Service, Robert Weaver, is firing back at the White House and the media after his nomination was withdrawn last week.

"The allegations raised against me in the media are baseless, irrelevant, and in the most important cases simply incorrect," Weaver said in a press release Tuesday.

The Trump administration unleashed a flood of outrage earlier this month after unveiling a proposal to overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps. The plan would replace half the benefits people receive with boxed, nonperishable — i.e. not fresh — foods chosen by the government and not by the people eating them.

Allison Herrera / PRI

Jason Reeves knows what a good cut of steak looks like before it hits your dinner plate. Standing in the middle of a 50-foot-wide cooler, he points out different parts of a freshly slaughtered cow hanging from the hooks while a fan roars in the background.

"That's the kidney heart. Fat on the inside. You're probably looking at a 2.0 [on a meat-grading scale between 1 and 5, with 1 being the best]. ... You can tell it’s good cattle."

The Cleveland Indians will be removing "Chief Wahoo," the bright red caricature of a Native American the team uses as a logo, from players' caps and uniforms starting in 2019.

The divisive logo, which has been publicly protested as a racist and offensive image for decades, will remain on official merchandise available for purchase by fans.

"The team must maintain a retail presence so that MLB and the Indians can keep ownership of the trademark," The Associated Press reports.

The new film Hostiles tells the story of a U.S. Army captain in the Old West circa 1892. He's spent decades fighting Native Americans and seeing his friends killed, and he's ordered to commit an act of humanitarian relief. The bitter veteran, played by Christian Bale, is tasked with escorting an old Cheyenne chief, played by Wes Studi, back to his home valley to die.

In the film, Studi only speaks a few words of English. His character's most powerful moments come when he conveys meaning with a gesture or expression.

I grew up in San Luis Obispo, a small town about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in central California. I was raised primarily by my grandmother, Anna Herrera. She was a very affectionate woman who liked to tell jokes and stories and take walks along the river behind her small house.

The life expectancy of Native Americans in some states is 20 years shorter than the national average.

There are many reasons why.

Jeremy Charles / Fire Thief Productions

“So much of its original identity is gone because of the Christianization that has happened. If you look around my house, every book that says Choctaw on it, anything about songs … it’s just Christian hymns being sung in the Choctaw language. There were definitely songs my great-grandpa was singing before they started singing whatever Christian hymns were being [sung].”

When he started working as a bartender a few years ago in Seattle, Howie Echo-Hawk says he began experiencing discrimination. First, a bar manager told him to get a respectable haircut.

"I had a Mohawk, which is the traditional style of my people and I wore it because of that," he said. Echo-Hawk is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

Rather than argue, Echo-Hawk cut his hair. Then, a few months later, he broke his ankle and had to take some time off.

Ask students in the Mohawk Club at Massena Central High School whether they've been on the receiving end of negative stereotypes, and the answer is quick and sharp.

"We see that we're always the troublemakers or that we're bad kids," says Amanda Rourke, the club's president.

Member Mallory Sunday adds, "It's funny because they don't understand who we are as a people."

They and other club members live on the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation next to Massena, N.Y., on the U.S.-Canada border. One-tenth of the student body at their high school is Native American.