New Briefs – February 2024


Echo series brings new Native superhero to living rooms
A new Marvel Comics-inspired series called Echo focuses on the deaf Native American anti-hero/superhero. Native American newcomer Alaqua Cox (who is deaf), who grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, stars as Echo.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said Echo also will host an “incredible team of Indigenous writers, directors and cast members” including Zahn McClarnon (Dark Winds, Longmire), Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves, Wind River), Chaske Spencer (Wild Indian, The English), Tantoo Cardinal (Smoke Signals, Killers of the Flower Moon), Devery Jacobs (Rutherford Falls, Reservation Dogs) and Cody Lightning (Smoke Signals, Four Sheets to the Wind), and directors Sydney Freeland (Reservation Dogs, Drunktown’s Finest) and Catriona McKenzie (The Walking Dead, Shining Vale).

Echo is now streaming on Disney+, giving audiences their first series featuring a Native American comic character. It will also be the first Marvel Studios series to debut simultaneously on Disney+ and sister streaming service Hulu when all episodes are available Jan. 10.

Deadline extended for Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program
Tribes and Native entities have been given more time to submit applications for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, a national initiative to improve high-speed internet access on Native lands.

Eligible tribal and Native entities have until March 22 to apply for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).. Applications can be submitted online, via email or through the postal system.

“The deadline extensions are intended to provide potential applicants with more time to develop competitive project proposals and project consortia,” the NTIA said in a news release. “Eligible Entities that previously submitted applications may submit revised applications (entire application must be resubmitted) on or before the new submission deadline.”

TBCP is a $3 billion program, from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, to support Tribal governments bringing high-speed Internet to Tribal lands, including telehealth, distance learning, affordability, and digital inclusion initiatives. The program seeks to improve quality of life, spur economic development, and create opportunities for remote employment, online entrepreneurship, remote learning, and telehealth by expanding broadband access and by providing digital training and inclusion programs to Native American communities. This second round of funding from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program will make approximately $980 million available.
For info, see:

Do not Forget Us Fundraiser
Poets and musicians will hold an annual benefit in words and music for the victims of the wars on the earth, headlined by Spoken Word artist from Michigan Jamie Andress (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe). Andress was inspired a decade ago by Detroit rapper Eminem and specializes in long multi-factor rhyme performances of his generously open-hearted poems.

The title of the event quotes a young Minneapolis Ukrainian singer early in Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine who was asked by a audience member, “What can we do?” She answered, “Do not forget us.”

Participants include: Jamie Andress (Animikii) Anishinabe Spoken Word artist from Michigan. James Armstrong, Tim Frantzich, Sarina Partridge, Robert Robinson, Pierre Fulford,  Alicia Tovpeko.

The evening also includes a special presentation of poems by Robert Bly, recited by Phil Bryant, Mike Hazard, Ezra Hyland, Tim Frantzich, Robert Johnson, Klecko, Jim Lenfestey, Freya Manfred, Dougie Padilla, Joshua Preston, Wang Ping, Thomas R. Smith, and Tim Young.

The event takes place on February 29 at 7pm at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Free will donations to Ukrainian-American Center and Minneapolis Climate Action.