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AM News Brief: Native Themed Mascots, Keystone Pipeline Cancelation & CRT Resolution

Photo of the Keystone XL pipeline in Montana.
Nate Hegyi
/
KUER
Native American activists in the Mountain West region cheered the cancellation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which they say would have encroached on tribal lands in Montana and South Dakota. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, June 14, 2021

State

Utah Refugees Begin To Reconnect With Their Community

Monday marks the start of National Refugee Week. Over the last year, they, like so many, haven't had a chance to gather — until now. Atem Aleu, a Sudanese refugee and community team supervisor, said there are mixed feelings within the community as people emerge from the pandemic, especially for those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19. “It's a very exciting moment for many of the community members [to gather], but not for others,” Aleu said. “People have a fear of people who've already been through COVID.” Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Utah Firefighters Working To Contain Large Wildfires

Firefighters worked over the weekend to contain several large wildfires burning in Utah. The Bear Fire near Helper has burned 10,932 acres and is 14% contained. U.S. 6 reopened on Friday evening after it closed on Wednesday due to the fire. The Pack Creek Fire near Moab has burned over 5,000 acres and is 6% contained. Some Pack Creek residents were able to return home Sunday after evacuating last week. The Bennion Creek Fire near Scofield has burned 7,724 acres and is 10% contained. All acreages and percent containment of fires are as of Monday morning. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Utah Weekend COVID Update

Utah health officials reported 551 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the state's weekly average to 280 cases per day. The state also reported four more people died from the virus, all of whom were over the age of 45. More than 1.3 million people are fully vaccinated, about a third of the state's total population. About 50% of people in Utah eligible for the vaccine have received both doses. — Jon Reed

Utah Republican Party Pass Resolution Against Critical Race Theory

The Utah Republican Party passed a new resolution on Critical Race Theory, or CRT, over the weekend. CRT is an academic concept exploring how race-based discrimination is systemic. Teachers say it’s not taught in Utah schools. The GOP bill follows a resolution passed by the State Legislature last month urging the state board of education to restrict it in K-12 schools. The new one goes a step further stating that the theory should not be taught in Utah colleges or used in state employee training. The resolution is not legally binding. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

No Charges In Officer-Involved Shooting

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office will not bring charges against an officer involved in a September 2020 shooting in Holladay. The case involved a hit and run, in which an officer pursued a suspect on foot. District Attorney Sim Gill said the suspect charged at the officer, who fell and dropped his gun. The suspect picked up the gun and used it to shoot at another officer, who returned fire and killed the suspect. Gill said the officer’s use of force constituted legal defense. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Colorado And Nevada Move To Ban Native Themed Mascots

State legislatures in Colorado and Nevada are the latest to approve banning Native American mascots in public schools. This comes more than 15 years after the American Psychological Association urged the retirement of such mascots, citing research showing they harm Indigenous children’s mental health. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

Native Americans In The Mountain West Celebrate End Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Native American activists in the Mountain West region cheered the cancellation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which they say would have encroached on tribal lands in Montana and South Dakota. The Canadian company behind the project scrapped it last week, five months after President Joe Biden canceled its permit. Tribal members and environmentalists had fought the pipeline for a decade. Among them was Las Vegas native Mercedes Krause, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Nation. Krause is vice-chair of the UNLV Native-American Alumni Club, which is also opposing a lithium mine planned for Thacker Pass in Northern Nevada. — Nikole Robinson Carroll, KNPR