Native Americans

In North Dakota, work has stopped on one section of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Still, over the weekend protesters continued to stream into camps set up near the construction site.

One protest camp is about an hour's drive south of Bismarck. A prairie there is covered with tepees, tents and RVs. Flags from tribes around the country line the dirt road into the camp.

U.S. EMBASSY KYIV UKRAINE / FLICKR /CC BY-ND 2.0

Oklahoma officials and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations spent 5 years hammering out a deal to share control of water across southeast Oklahoma, but coming to an agreement isn’t the end of the process. A fickle U.S. Congress still has to give its approval.

A federal judge has granted part of a Native American tribe's emergency request to halt construction of a section of oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Allison Herrera

Freedmen is another term for descendants of former slaves. And in the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma, the question of their status within the tribes has been debated for decades. In the Cherokee Nation, there are two open court cases that will determine the freedmen’s tribal citizenship. And a similar debate is happening in the Seminole nation.

In this third and final story in our series about the Freedmen, Invisible Nations’ Allison Herrera explains why the Seminole freedmen feel especially angry about the actions of their tribal council members.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

After five years of confidential negotiations, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations have reached an agreement with the State of Oklahoma over water in southeast Oklahoma.

Native American students make up only 1.1 percent of the nation's high school population. And in college, the number is even smaller. More than any other ethnic or racial group, they're the least likely to have access to college prep or advanced placement courses. Many get little or no college counseling at all. In 1998, College Horizons, a small nonprofit based in New Mexico, set out to change that through five-day summer workshops on admissions, financial aid and the unique challenges they'll face on campus.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After five years of court proceedings and confidential negotiations, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations have reached an agreement with the state over control of water in southeast Oklahoma.

Many native languages are considered endangered, ­with few first speakers left to pass down the language to a new generation. But, a new generation of young people fueled by technology​ is making an impact. 

The famed song by Chubby Checker encouraging dancers all over to get down and do “The Twist” plays in the background as dancers from the Cherokee Pride school in NE Oklahoma move and groove around. Today, the song isn't being sung by the 1950's icon,  it’s being sung by students in their native language of Cherokee.

Herman "Mogri" Lookout is the master language teacher for the Osage Nation in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

He's studied the language for forty years and helped revitalize the written portion of it by creating an orthography. Language teachers and experts from all over Native America say that an orthography is a way to reclaim your sovereignty.

Lookout also worked with developers to create Osage for Unicode. Because of that, Osages all over the world can write and text in the language.

Rachel Hubbard

According to the 2010 US Census data, more than 5 million people claimed Native American ancestry. That’s up almost 40% from the last census. It's a big shift from the years people shunned Native identity.  If you can prove you're part of a tribe and the tribe accepts you, it can potentially mean health benefits or help with college tuition.  But, all these new Native' people are leading to questions about what it means to be Native within a tribe. 

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