The 21st Show

Native American Hall Renovation; #MeToo Taxpayer Tab; Black Lung Disease; State Farm Credit Reports


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On the 21st: The Field Museum's Native North American Hall hasn’t changed much since the 1950s. Now that it’s being remodeled, Native American communities are finally getting a chance to shape it.Plus, a joint investigation between three Chicago newsrooms found that the city spent more than $55 million on sexual harassment and assault cases. And, we unpack an NPR and Frontline investigation which found that over 200,000 coal miners are now suffering from Black Lung disease. But first, State Farm Bank is being sanctioned by the federal government for the way it handled credit reports, but consumer advocates that’s not far enough.

Maybe over the holidays you’ve planned a trip to the Field Museum. If you peek into the Native North American Hall, just off the museum’s South entrance, you would find it looks not that different than it did in 1950.

Now, the Native North American Hall is undergoing a renovation slated for completion in 2021. And it’s not just cosmetic. For the first time, Native American communities are involved in shaping what the exhibit will look like.

Alaka Wali is the curator of North American anthropology for the Field Museum. We also spoke with Heather Miller who's the executive director of the American Indian Center of Chicago.


It’s hard to measure the cost of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. For survivors, these are difficult, and sometimes traumatic events that keep them out of their preferred careers, whether it’s because they feel discouraged, or because their supervisors punish them for speaking out.

And when it comes to the public sector, not just for the city of Chicago, but for 17 surrounding counties, including DeKalb and LaSalle, journalists have uncovered documents that show some of that cost (at least in monetary terms.) Over the last 3 months, NBC 5 Chicago, the Better Government Association, and Telemundo Chicago filed nearly 2,000 Freedom of Information Act requests from these counties. From that, they found more than 400 reported cases at a public cost of more $55 million.

Hilda Gutierrez is one of the reporters who’s been looking into this story. She’s an investigative reporter with Telemundo Chicago. 


Illinois has a long history of coal mining, and today there are 21 coal mines operating in the state with around 3,000 workers according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

According to an investigation from NPR and Frontline that’s been released this week, more than two thousand coal miners in the US are now suffering from the most severe form of Black Lung Disease. And despite clear warnings and opportunities to act, regulators did not stop it.

Howard Berkes is a correspondent with NPR’s investigations Unit, and he joined us from Salt Lake City, where he’s based.


As far as Illinois companies go, State Farm is one of the biggest. It controls more than $240 billion in assets. 

But earlier this month, State Farm Bank got in legal trouble with the federal government. A consent order by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the bank used consumers’ credit information illegally.

Consumer advocates say the punishment, which, by the way, was signed by outgoing director and incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, is barely a slap on the wrist.

We reached out to State Farm to have them join us today. They declined but they did give us a statement: 


Ryan Denham has been reporting on this for our partner station WGLT, and he joined us from there.

Also with us from Salt Lake City we had Christopher Peterson. He’s a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, and a law professor at the University of Utah. He also formerly worked at the CFPB. 

Story source: WILL