North Dakota lawmakers have named Denise Lajimodiere as the state’s poet laureate, making her the first Native American to hold the position. The educator is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa Indians and the author of award-winning books of poetry. She’s also an expert on the gruesome history of Native American boarding schools. As the poet laureate, Lajimodiere plans to hold workshops with Native students and develop a publication that focuses on them. A North Dakota lawmaker says Lajimodiere’s writings have advanced conversations on contemporary issues. They range from ongoing investigations of boarding school atrocities, to how Native American children are treated in adoption proceedings in the future.
A New Mexico man was arraigned Friday on assault and carjacking charges in connection with the 2021 disappearance of a Native American woman, whose case has garnered national attention as tribal leaders and law enforcement address an epidemic of missing person cases and unsolved slayings in Indian Country. Preston Henry Tolth, 23, has been accused of assaulting Ella Mae Begay and taking her pickup truck. A federal magistrate will decide whether Tolth will remain in custody pending trial. Federal prosecutors said the indictment naming Tolth marked an important step in determining the truth about what happened to Begay, a Navajo woman who was 62 when she disappeared. Her truck was seen on the morning of June 15, 2021, leaving her home in the remote community of Sweetwater in the Navajo Nation, not far from the meeting point of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The investigation is ongoing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona says. Those are your headlines at this hour.
I’m Colette Keith in the KIPI News center.