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Welcome to News from Native American Netroots, a Sunday evening series focused on indigenous tribes primarily in the United States and Canada but inclusive of international peoples also.
A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.
PHOENIX – A controversial new state anti-immigration law has many American Indians alarmed that tribal sovereignty has been violated, with the looming possibility that individual liberties will be threatened.
The law, S.B. 1070, makes it a crime to be in Arizona illegally, and it requires police to check suspects for residency paperwork. It also bans people from soliciting work or hiring day laborers off the street.
The state’s legislature passed the bill in late-April, with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signing it into law shortly thereafter.
Tucson, AZ – At approximately 1:00PM Friday, May 21, 2010 more than a dozen people occupied the Tucson Headquarters of the US Border Patrol to draw attention to impacts of border militarization in Indigenous Communities.
All stood as the four flags were carried through the room, history was made as the colors of the United States, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw and the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians were posted together for the first time. The NAGPRA Consultation Conference in Moundville, Ala., May 19-21, opened lines of communication between tribes, archaeologists, anthropologists and caretakers of historical landscapes with an interest in the Choctaw people and their history.
NAGPRA (the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) was passed in 1990, and established procedures for Tribes to reclaim from museums and other federal institutions Native American human remains and grave goods that have been removed from the earth and stored. These procedures include protocols for Tribal representatives to consult with archaeologists and other officials in order to repatriate the remains, so that they can be brought back home and reburied. This conference, held at Moundville, a major ancestral southeastern village site, brought together the historic preservation staffs from the three federally recognized Choctaw Tribes, with anthropologists and museum staff memebers to discuss Choctaw origins, early history, and the repatriation of Choctaw remains under NAGPRA.
WINONA, Minn. – In Winona, no one wants to recreate the past 150 years. Those were times of turmoil, when the Treaty of 1862 was signed with the federal government. Battles between settlement-minded Minnesotans and the Dakota bands broke out regularly. Meanwhile, skirmishes amongst the Indians erupted over choosing to stay, fight or leave the area. This all played out along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.
Looking back in this small southeast Minnesota town can be a tricky feat. But the town of Winona will kick off its sixth annual event, the Dakota Homecoming, June 5 – 6, and city officials hope it will buttress race relations between the Dakota peoples and its present-day inhabitants.
Every event at the two-day festival is meant to cement that which was torn apart by events that unfolded long ago. The homecoming features dance performances by Dakota peoples, youth outreaches, group camping, art exhibits and community meals. The two sides will gather in the newly built Unity Park and work to patch their common past.
FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The federal agency that manages the Missouri River needs to hold meetings on American Indian reservations along the river to get tribal members’ views on a five-year study of the tributary, representatives of several South Dakota tribes said Wednesday.
Native American tribal councils and elders who were alive when the dams were built a half-century ago should get a chance to hear about the study in face-to-face meetings, representatives told officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“I do want somebody to come to my tribe and explain this,” said Bob Walters, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council.
The state auditor has classified Bernalillo Public Schools as “high risk” for misusing federal funds and questionable overtime and stipend payments.
State Auditor Hector Balderas said in a phone interview with the Journal that the district is at risk for fraud, embezzlement and other abuses of taxpayer money.
Superintendent Barbara Vigil-Lowder said the district has taken steps to resolve Balderas’ concerns. The school board voted against renewing her contract in March. Her last day is June 30.
Shirley Butterfly DeVolve inherited 52 acres on Montana’s vast Blackfeet Indian Reservation when her father died in 1980.
The problem is, a part of an acre is on this ridge, a fraction of an acre in that valley, one-hundredth of an acre here and there. Dozens of relatives own tiny adjacent parcels, making it difficult for anyone to use or sell the land.
DeVolve, 57, has a map of the parcels, much of it leased for decades by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to private interests for cattle grazing. But the federal government – which serves as trustee for some 56 million acres of land owned by tens of thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives – seldom sent checks, DeVolve said.
The Navajo Nation Supreme Court, in its most wide-ranging decisions in its history, on Friday changed the course of Navajo history forever.
In the most anticipated announcement in recent times, the court upheld the special election that reduced the Navajo Nation Council to 24 members, took away the power of the council to put the president on administrative leave and threw out council-approved law that prohibited the courts from using Navajo Fundamental law in making its decisions.
A federal program to fight British Columbia’s unprecedented mountain pine beetle infestation has wrapped up, marking the end of a $400-million commitment that funded everything from brush removal to airport runways.
But projects to reduce the threat of wildfires by clearing brush around remote native communities are far from finished – and are stalling over a lack of money to carry them out, the head of the First Nations Forestry Council says……
Several native communities were among those evacuated or placed on evacuation alert in 2009, when hot, dry conditions created perfect wildfire conditions and helped push the provincial firefighting budget to a record-breaking $403-million.
The narrow staircase leading down to the basement has fewer than a dozen steps but getting to the bottom can be a difficult task.
“It’s not that fancy, but it’s cozy and comfortable,” Jessica Yee says as she walks past a basement bedroom in a hallway stacked with plastic storage containers and a portable closet stuffed with clothes.
Black birds, flying on the wind through bright red leaves, are stenciled on the wall above the concrete floor.
Only a handful of girls and women have made it this far…
Their histories and realities have varied – they ranged from 14 years old to about twice that age; some were mothers already and some were not – but besides being female they all have at least four things in common.
They came from remote rural communities. They were Aboriginal. They were pregnant. They did not want to be.
Aiming to improve the classroom performance of its Native American students, Sioux Falls will inject Native culture into the elementary curriculum and forge stronger ties between the schools and the community.
The plans will develop over the next two years. Administrators hope to replicate the success of a similar effort in Montana, which produced significant gains in math and reading test scores.
The district already has stand-alone Native American Connections classes at the middle and high schools. The elementary school program will be different, incorporating Native American history and traditions into regular classes.
The oil spill fouling the Gulf of Mexico has handed a public-relations weapon, and possibly some legal ammunition, to opponents of a plan to export crude oil by tanker from a port on B.C.’s rugged Pacific Coast.
Enbridge filed its environmental application Thursday for the Northern Gateway pipeline, which could move up to 525,000 barrels a day of oil produced from the vast tarsands in northern Alberta to the port of Kitimat by 2016.
Opponents of the $5.5-billion project aimed at exporting tarsands crude to world markets, especially Asia, say it creates the risk of a major spill in a sensitive coastal region that attracts tourists from around the world and is often referred to as the Great Bear Rainforest.
Manitoba aboriginal leaders demanded a historic deal protecting millions of hectares of forest be torn up or they would prevent firms from logging on native land.
Ten First Nations in Manitoba have land that is part of last week’s Boreal Forest Agreement between 21 lumber companies and nine environmental organizations.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief David Harper said MKO would tell those First Nations to suspend any deals with logging companies unless they drop out of the deal.
The defenders of sacred Eagle Rock sat in a circle and wept as they were surrounded by dozens of heavily armed state and local police officers who raided the Eagle Rock encampment the morning of May 27 arresting two campers at the request of Kennecott Eagle Minerals, who wasted no time destroying the month-old camp to make way for their nickel and copper mine.
Witnesses say there were about six people at Eagle Rock when police moved in including four campers who had spent the night and two supporters who arrived with a warning the raid was imminent. Armed with high-powered rifles, Michigan State Police and mine security could be seen atop Eagle Rock scanning the vast Yellow Dog Plains with binoculars apparently looking for trespassers.
Two handcuffed campers, who refused to leave when ordered by police, were taken away by sheriff’s deputies and driven nearly one hour to the Marquette County Jail and were released on bond. Arrested were Keweenaw Bay Indian Community members Chris Chosa, 28, and Charlotte Loonsfoot, 37, both of Baraga, Mich.
It’s an unofficial title, but comedian Marc Yaffee walks among the Kings of Native American Comedy.
He’d tell you it’s among the last of the comedy frontiers. He’d also tell you that times are changing.
A Showtime special last December, “Goin’ Native: The American Indian Comedy Jam,” announced Yaffee and his fellow comics had finally arrived.
“The population is so small,” Yaffee said. “We’re like a small splash in a big pond, but for Native comics it’s been a huge deal. We get a lot of recognition wherever we go. We’re very excited and proud about that. It’s been a very positive experience.”