Native Americans

Rachel Hubbard / KOSU

The Oklahoma Food Security Summit is a place where local community leaders, nutritionists and food producers gather to talk about what is going well in Oklahoma and what needs work.  This year, several tribal leaders and agricultural producers came to Tulsa to participate including the Choctaw Nation with their mobile Aquaponics Unit. 

Imagine trying to find a house when your directions sound like this: When the pavement ends, drive a mile and turn left at the school bus stop. Then it's the third house on the right.

On the Navajo Nation, Native American-governed U.S. territory, this scenario is common — having a real, physical address is pretty rare. But that's finally beginning to change.

On the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming, there's not a single trained sexual assault nurse examiner.

Northern Arapaho tribal member Millie Friday saw how devastating that lack could be when her own daughter was raped by a close relative. Friday was left with no choice but to take her daughter to a hospital off the reservation.

"We went straight to the emergency room and from the emergency room, the FBI was contacted," Friday says. "So she never even had that choice of what she wanted to do. It was just straight in."

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Feeding a caffeine habit is no sweat in our day and age: Just raid the office kitchen for some tea or hit one of the coffee shops that pepper the landscape.

But 1,000 years ago, Native Americans in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest were getting their buzz on in landscapes where no obvious sources of caffeine grew, according to new findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Justice Department is trying to make it easier for Native American tribes to gain access to national crime databases. Federal authorities say the program could prevent criminals from buying guns and help keep battered women and foster children safe.

The issue of who can see information in federal criminal databases might sound boring, until one considers a deadly shooting at a high school in Washington state last year.

The Environmental Protection Agency was investigating an old mine near Silverton, Colo., earlier this month, when it accidentally released 3 million gallons of toxic waste water into the Animas River.

Initially the agency downplayed the incident and provided little information. So Navajo President Russell Begaye traveled to the source of the toxic spill and posted a video of it on Facebook.

In the video, he stands in front of the still-leaking mine.

State courts are twice as likely to incarcerate Native teens for minor crimes such as truancy and alcohol use than any other racial and ethnic group, according to the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. And juvenile detention facilities around the country have a disproportionately high number of Native American youth, according to an Indian Law and Order Commission report.

Fewer than 20 miles north of Portland, Ore., off Interstate 5 in southwest Washington state, sits a 150-acre former dairy farm. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe eyed the grassy field as the future home of a casino, and a developer purchased the land for the tribe more than a decade ago.

"It will be a good attraction for the whole community here, drawing thousands of people daily but also providing thousands of jobs," says Bill Iyall, the Cowlitz tribal chairman.