News Collection Diary for Posting on Sunday April 25th

Post your links and snippets of news in the comment section.

UPDATE: Oke was unable to post our news diary yesterday so we will keep this diary open to collect links for next week, April 25th.


  1. The new water line will serve 10,000 members of the Navajo Nation.  Currently, four thousand of these residents drive up to 100 miles round trip to haul water for their home use and to provide water for their livestock.

    The 70 mile, four phase project will cross four New Mexico counties and will take two years to complete. Total project cost is $29-million with funding coming from USDA Rural Development, the State of New Mexico, the Navajo Nation, individual Navajo Chapters and the Indian Health Service.

  2. Black Mesa mine mess

    A controversial clean water permit for a coal mine complex sited at a Navajo and Hopi sacred mountain is once again up for review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Peabody Western Coal Company seeks a renewal of its water quality permit for the Black Mesa/ Kayenta Mine Complex, despite the mine’s impact on water quality and local public health over several decades because of discharges of toxic heavy metals and pollutants into the water supply. EPA invites the public to submit comments through April 30th on the previously-withdrawn National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit pursuant to the Clean Water Act, which requires that all industrial dischargers of wastewater obtain and maintain a permit.

  3. From RL Miller:

    probably belongs in the next Native American Netroots, but the Nat’l Park Service has just appointed its first ever assistant director for American Indian relations. In an interview he specifically mentioned tackling the issue of what to do with bison when they leave national park boundaries.  

    Under Gerard Baker, the National Park Service hopes to make up for lost time, an awful lot of lost time. In less than two weeks Mr. Baker will become the agency’s very first assistant director for American Indian Relations, and he sees a lot of opportunities to improve relations between Native Americans and the agency that, in many cases, took control of their homelands.

    “I think that now we take the opportunity to start creating dialogs, we start taking the opportunity to really start coming together as a nation to heal in many ways. And I guess I’m very thankful for that opportunity to be involved in that,” Mr. Baker said Monday evening from his office at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where he’s been the superintendent for the past six years. “I know there are a lot of things that we can do as a National Park Service under the direction of the director, and there’s a lot of things that we can do as American Indians. To come forth in education, to come forth in positions, to come forth in establishing once again that contact with the homeland that is now within Park Service boundaries in some cases.

    “So there’s a lot of opportunity here to, again, I guess the best word that I could use is to start that healing process.”

    The role, announced earlier Monday, seems a natural fit for the 56-year-old Mr. Baker, a full-blood Mandan-Hidatsa Indian from western North Dakota.

    [emphasis mine]

  4. Canada’s First Nations Take Legal Stand on Oil Sands
    Date: 04/14/2010

    The Supreme Court of Canada has taken a positive step for First Nations in a case that may have major legal implications for the development of oil sands, pipelines, and other projects in the province of Alberta. The court granted intervenor status to Duncan’s First Nation and Horse Lake First Nation. This “standing” allows the nations to pursue their case before the court, where otherwise, they wouldn’t be allowed to appeal at all. The First Nations turned to the court because of their increasing frustration over the government’s refusal to act on earlier court decisions that direct governments to deal with Indigenous rights.

    Duncan’s First Nation Chief Don Testawich stated, “Our traditional territory is being overrun and cut to pieces by oil sands, major pipelines, gas fields and major power projects. Development on this scale will is making our Treaty Rights meaningless and threatens our traditional way of life… The governments of Alberta and Canada sit back and refuse to address our concerns. We are intervening before the Supreme Court because it is abundantly clear that neither the environment nor First Nations can expect to receive a fair hearing within Alberta, where oil sands revenues are at stake. We need help now and help fast”.

    This summer, the Supreme Court will hear conflicting arguments and views of First Nations, governments and industry in the Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. v. the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council case. The case will address the question of whether regulatory boards have a duty to decide whether Canada adequately consulted and accommodated First Nations’ concerns before granting approvals for resource development, including concerns about past infringements of Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

    The two nations want the Court to direct governments and regulators to fully and effectively address the consultation rights of First Nations in the regulatory processes for the major oil sands and tar sands infrastructure projects being proposed by Royal Dutch Shell, Trans Canada Pipelines, Enbridge, Bruce Nuclear Power and other corporations.

    For more information visit:

  5. Boston International Film Festival Features  Film on Native Languages

    CS partners and advisors from the Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) Language Reclamation Project are featured in The Language of America: An Indian Story, next week at the Boston International Film Festival, Tuesday, April 20th, 5:30 PM, AMC/LOEWS Boston Common, 175 Tremont St., Boston, $10.00, (79 min).

    Language advocates and leadership from the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine and the Narragansett Nation of Rhode Island also share their struggles for cultural survival in New England, and discuss their community-based work to maintain and revitalize their languages among younger generations. Produced by Cultural Survival’s new endangered languages partner, Watching Place Productions, the film follows three Native families into “a time when words had meanings so big they could not be translated into English. As the tribes unravel the secret of the survival of their 9,000- year-old culture, they confront the power of a lie that Americans have yet to question.”

    View a one minute trailer at

  6. UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

    The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be held April 19-30 at the UN headquarters in New York. This year’s special theme is development with culture and identity. Cultural Survival is organizing two side events:

    Thursday, April  22   1:15-2:45 PM
    Persuading the US, New Zealand and Canada to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    1 UN Plaza
    Conference Room DC2,  12th floor
    New York, New York

    Participants will consider how to persuade the US, New Zealand, and Canada to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this year.

    Friday, April 23 1:15-2:45 PM  
    Mapping Community-Based Protected Areas: a model for sustainable development and cultural and environmental protection
    UNICEF Conference Room
    1 UN Plaza
    New York, New York

    This event examines how taking a community-based approach to setting up protected areas can promote sustainable development. Such an approach integrates indigenous knowledge with solid science. By respecting traditional livelihoods, tenure, culture, and access to resources it also conserves ecosystems and biodiversity.

    Cosponsors: CORALINA and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

  7. Vanishing Words, Vanishing World is a feature on Lakota language (with a video dictionary).

    When an elder dies, it’s like a library burning down, so much is lost.


    (M)any elders say the unrelenting burden of living in poverty overwhelms the need to pass down the language.

    I understand priorities but I love language. As children we were shocked to learn that our grandparents had never taught our parents the low German they had grown up speaking, because it allowed them to fit in better at school if they only spoke English at home. We asked our grandparents to teach us but they had lost too much by then. I think they were always mystified by our interest in their long-discarded language, but to us it was a kind of squandered inheritance.      

  8. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has selected $78.9 million in brownfields grants to communities in 40 states, four tribes, and one U.S. Territory

    “Strengthening our nation’s Tribal communities is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Carol Rushin, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator in Denver. “This grant will help the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe transform a contaminated property into a community asset that provides new economic opportunities and jobs.” From 1952 to 1995, the Bureau of Indian Affairs maintained and ran the school. The site is contaminated with metals, PCBs, and inorganic contaminants. Following cleanup, the Tribe is interested in constructing a new community building at the site, along with space to house a fire truck. The EPA has also awarded the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe $400,000 for projects to revitalize two properties in Fort Yates, ND.

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