Native Americans

Since its founding in the 1950s, the Indian Health Service has provided medical care for many Native Americans. But the service has been chronically underfunded, so often pays for care only if someone is in immediate danger of losing life or limb.

A severe lack of housing on the nation's reservations means many Native Americans are forced to find rentals in nearby communities. That's the case for the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming. But tribal members there still struggle to find places to live because of what they say is racial discrimination.

Ever since last summer, Ken Hebah has been unable to find a place to live. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe member says he doesn't need much.

"Well, like a, maybe a one bedroom just for me," Hebah says.

Joe Brusky / Flickr

There are over 330,000 Native Americans in the state of Oklahoma, with 38 federally recognized tribes - the second largest Native American population in the country second to California.

As history has shown, those numbers have not always translated to political power in the state, where fights for oil and water rights have often been dominated by U.S. government interests, at the expense of tribes.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Before the Cherokee people were forced from their lands in the eastern U.S. along the Trail of Tears, the tribe grew varieties of crops now nearly lost. But at the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank in Tahlequah, Okla., a vital part of the tribe’s history is kept frozen.

Deep underground on a Norwegian island in the remote arctic, the Global Seed Vault shelters seeds from around the globe, protecting them from natural disaster, nuclear catastrophe or any apocalypse that might bring humans to the brink.

When Donald Trump won the presidential election, he made a pledge to every citizen: that he would be president for all Americans. In the weeks before Trump's inauguration, we're going to hear about some of the communities that make up this nation, from the people who know them best, in our series Finding America.

Holdenville, Okla., is home to about 5,800 people. It has a small downtown with banks, restaurants and a few shops, though some are closed down.

Copyright 2017 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

High up in the mountains of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, Delphine Gatewood teaches special education at the Crystal Boarding School. She's dreading this winter, like she dreads every winter, because temperatures can slip into the negative digits which the school building just can't handle.

"You have a boiler system that regulates heat at one certain temperature so you can't turn it down," she says. "It gets so hot in the classroom and you have to open the windows in the dead of winter."

Eli Grayson has always been fascinated with Creek history. His research led him to some surprising information about the Creek Nation, and his own family tree.

"I wish we had something in our DNA or in our brains that would allow us to go to sleep and call these people forth, and...actually hear their stories."

Watch his video below.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET on Dec. 6

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota is asking people camping near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline to go home.

"I'm asking them to go," Dave Archambault III told Reuters on Monday, saying that the Obama administration "did the right thing," and that he hoped to "educate the incoming administration" of President-elect Donald Trump.

"Nothing will happen this winter," he said.

“Gov. Mary Fallin and the state’s tribal governments have not always seen eye-to-eye,” The Tulsa World’s Randy Krehbiel and Curtis Killman report, “but that apparently is not preventing at least some of the tribes from giving Fallin their unreserved support for secretary of the interior in President-elect Donald Trump’s new administration.”

Pages