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The Navajo Nation has vaccinated more than half of its adult population against COVID-19, outpacing the U.S. national rate and marking a significant turnaround for what was once the site of the highest per-capita infection rate in the country.

The process of earning a doctorate takes a lot of time and work. And for one Iñupiaq woman  hearing the words doctor next to her name was pretty emotional.  Her response to passing her dissertation defense went viral this month after hundreds of thousands of people saw her reaction.

In a video Twitter post, Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq recorded herself getting the news that she’d passed her doctoral program at Utah State University.

Yup'ik engineers team up to build groundbreaking Yugtun technology

Apr 22, 2021

Two Yup'ik engineers are trying to push the Yugtun language into the future, using technology. Their latest project opens the door for Yugtun autocorrect, grammar checkers, and automatic subtitles on Yup'ik videos. 

Interior Department chooses Raina Thiele for top Alaska adviser

Apr 22, 2021

The Interior Department named Raina Thiele as the department’s top official on Alaska issues.

Thiele was President Barack Obama’s lead Tribal liaison and helped organize his landmark trip to Alaska in 2015.

Thiele will be the first Alaska Native person to hold the position. She is Dena’ina and Yup’ik.

Thiele, 38, grew up in several Alaska communities, urban and rural: Big Lake, Homer, Pedro Bay and Alexander Creek, where her father is from. She’s a member of the Pedro Bay Tribe.

The size of king salmon returning to Western Alaska rivers to spawn has decreased over the past few decades. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks think that they’re closer to understanding why. 

Wrangell Tribe helps keep thousands of pounds of e-waste out of landfills

Apr 22, 2021

Waste from old laptops, televisions and other electronics can and should be recycled. But in an area like Southeast Alaska, any shipment of heavy old tech costs more than many individuals or companies can afford. Kim Wickman works for the Wrangell Cooperative Association, a federally recognized Tribe. She says  piles of old electronics led to some questionable behavior.

Heat wave has lasting impacts on marine species

Apr 22, 2021

When a heat wave swept through the northeast Pacific ocean between 2014 and 2016, it changed the marine makeup of the Gulf of Alaska. The warm water decimated some commercial fish populations.

Some species bounced back right away. But a recent study from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds others are rebounding more slowly.

NOAA’s study charted the impacts of the heat wave — also known as ”the blob” —  on gulf marine species over time, through 2019.

For Alaska Native earring makers, the pandemic brought a boom

Apr 22, 2021

A year ago, as the pandemic drove everybody inside, Delaney Thiele turned her focus to earrings. She owns a business called Cloudberry, selling Indigenous beaded earrings, mostly on Instagram.

“I just had such a good time just like beading and doing all of these fun designs," Thiele said. "Most of them I never sold, or it never came to anything, but it was so fun to explore that side of things.”

Tristen Hunter was 16 and preparing to leave foster care in Juneau, Alaska, when a social worker mentioned that the state agency responsible for protecting him had been taking his money for years.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 5:37 PM ET

The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced.

Chauvin, 45, has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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