March 24th, 2023

KIPI News March 16, 2023 – Part 1

The First Native American Woman in Space is Back on Earth. The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying Nicole Aunapu Mann, the first Native American woman in space, and fellow space explorers from the U.S., Japan and Russia splashed down last weekend in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida.  The safe return to earth came after a nearly 19-hour flight from the International Space Station with fellow NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. “That was one heck of a ride,” Mann said just moments after splashdown. “We’re happy to be home. Looking forward to next time.” Mann, a member of Northern California’s Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, added that she couldn’t wait to feel the wind on her face and enjoy some Earth food.

Wyoming now has its own law to prioritize the placement of Native American foster and adopted kids within their tribal communities after Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill a week ago to codify the federal Indian Child Welfare Act into state statute. The new law, which was championed by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes, will act as a backstop in case the 1978 federal ICWA is thrown as unconstitutional. That’s become a possibility now that there’s a case — Haadland v. Brackeen — before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the law’s constitutionality. Opponents of ICWA argue that it’s unconstitutional because it’s race-based, though others say that it depends on political entities, or the sovereignty of tribes, rather than racial categories.

Those are your headlines at this hour. I’m Colette Keith in the KIPI News center.