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Photo: Nickelodeon

Meet Charles Little Bull: He's a role-model grad student in his twenties who wears his long hair in two braids. And today, when Nickelodeon unveils his character on "The Casagrandes," he'll become one of the first Lakota figures to appear in a major American animated-TV production.

Why it matters: His debut reflects Native American advocates' heightened campaigning to champion more positive, high-profile representation in media and news coverage.

  • That's happening as they also push for sports teams to drop offensive mascots with stereotypical images of Indigenous people.
  • Consulting producer Lalo Alcaraz, who also worked on the Disney film "Coco," has been an outspoken advocate for getting more Native Americans in film and television.

The details: Little Bull, voiced by Native American actor Robbie Daymond, tutors one of the show's teen Latina characters, Carlota Casagrande. His first appearance comes in an episode titled “Undivided Attention."

  • "Charles is a patient, encouraging, and positive tutor who never gives up on a student no matter how challenging," a Nickelodeon official tells Axios in a statement. "Charles loves to learn, and when he’s not tutoring at the library, he’s hanging at the library."

Between the lines: "The Casagrandes,” which debuted in 2019, centers around an 11-year-old girl trying to survive in a big midwestern city. It's one of the first cartoons in the U.S. to feature a multigenerational Mexican-American family.

  • The spin-off from the network’s popular animation series, “The Loud House,” came as more networks were taking chances on Latino-themed shows.
  • Some activists are hoping other characters from the franchise, like Little Bull, get their own spin-off.

What they're saying: "We’re finally seeing a shift in Native representation in Hollywood and stories that center and include contemporary Native characters," Crystal Echo Hawk, founder and executive director of networking and advocacy group IllumiNative, told Axios.

  • She said she's hopeful Little Bull will be "the first of many Native cartoon characters on Nickelodeon."

The PBS cartoon “Molly of Denali" also premiered in 2019 and centered on an Alaska Native family.

  • That children's production focuses on a 10-year-old Athabascan girl with a video blog about life in rural Alaska. PBS said it was the first nationally distributed children’s series with a Native American lead.

Don’t forget: From Looney Tunes to Peter Pan, earlier cartoons for years portrayed Native Americans using racist and stereotypical imagery. Often those characters didn't have names. Their tribal affiliations were rarely mentioned.

  • John Redcorn from the Fox cartoon series, "The King of the Hill," was a Native American character portrayed as a loner in leather vests and windblown hair. His symbolism on the show was a topic of debate among pop-culture critics.

Go deeper

52 mins ago - World

Blinken says he hasn't seen evidence Hamas was in AP building Israel struck

Smoke rises after sraeli forces destroyed building in Gaza City where Al-Jazeera and Associated Press had their offices. Photo: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday he had not seen evidence that Hamas was operating in a building that housed offices for Al Jazeera, the AP and other media in the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli government has claimed, AP reports.

Why it matters: Israel has said the presence of a Hamas military intelligence office justified an airstrike that destroyed the 12-story building on Saturday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that Israeli intelligence had shared proof with the U.S.

AT&T spins off WarnerMedia, forming new media behemoth with Discovery

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T and Discovery have agreed to create a joint venture that would house WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery's nonfiction and international entertainment and sports businesses, the companies announced Monday.

Why it matters: It's a major course correction by AT&T. The deal essentially confirms shareholder fears that the company's $85 billion merger with Time Warner three years ago was not fully baked.

2 hours ago - Health

Child tax credits from COVID relief plan to begin arriving July 15

Biden arrives in the Rose Garden on May 13. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The expanded monthly child tax credit introduced in President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package will begin arriving in parents' bank accounts on July 15, the White House said Monday.

Why it matters: The credit, part of the administration's plan to transform the country's social safety net in the wake of the pandemic, would provide families with $300 monthly cash payments per child up to age 5 and $250 for children ages 6–17.

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