News from Native American Netroots

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross posted at Daily Kos

Welcome to News from Native American Netroots, a Monday evening series (delayed until Wednesday this week) 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.

INDN’s List Announces First 2010 Endorsement

INDN’s List is excited to announce our first endorsement for the 2010 elections, Washington State Representative John McCoy!  We know the best candidates get an early start, and we can’t wait to build momentum for Democratic successes next year…..

Learn about INDN’s List by viewing this welcome video.

Follow INDN’s List on Twitter

Work, Prayer Bring Back Vandalized Eagle Sculpture

The broken pieces of the Rising Eagle sculpture are finally back together, almost a year after vandals reduced the American Indian art to rubble last July.

Just north of the Pioneer Park sand volleyball courts, the Rising Eagle seating area is fixed but the space for the sculpture is bare. The sculpture, created by United Tribes Technical College students, will be restored within the next couple of weeks.

“It is scary when you think that someone would want to do something like that,” said Paul Quist, president of the Bismarck Park Board, about the vandalism.

Ogechie Lake wild rice restoration moves forward

At one time members of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe could harvest wild rice growing on the small Ogechie Lake, one of the three lakes formed along the Rum River after it leaves the impressive 132,516-acre Mille Lacs Lake.

The lake produced tens of thousands of pounds of wild rice – manoomin – a plant of high cultural importance for the Ojibwe people.

Then in the early 1950s, a dam was installed that raised the modest 411-acre lake’s water more than three feet – higher than the rice was able to grow and flooding out an ecological, economic and cultural legacy.

Wyo. Tribes Oppose Amendment on Settlement

Leaders of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes in Wyoming have warned that an amendment proposed by their homestate U.S. senator would derail a $3.4 billion federal settlement with American Indians nationwide.

Sen. John Barrasso’s amendment capping attorney fees at $50 million and making several other changes in the settlement would further delay justice for far too many Indian beneficiaries in the long-running Cobell lawsuit, the leaders wrote to key senators in a letter Wednesday.

The U.S. House has already approved the settlement, including up to $100 million for legal fees in the class-action lawsuit that alleges decades of government mismanagement of funds the federal government held in trust for Indian landowners.

Declaration adoption is ‘a step on the journey of reconciliation’

When Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut-Atleo’s grandmother heard the Canadian government’s Apology for Indian Residential Schools, she said, “It’s like they’re just beginning to see us.”

National Chief Atleo, a hereditary chief from the Ahousaht First Nation, recalled his late grandmother’s comment as he marked the second anniversary of the apology with a teleconference June 11.

Canada’s Indian residential school system began in the mid-1840s – almost 40 years earlier than the Indian residential schools in the United States – and the last one closed in 1996.

Navajo Nation must move away from coal mining

The April 5 disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that killed 29 coal miners has brought a renewed attention to the issue of mine safety.

The Obama administration has announced a review of existing regulations and Rep. George Miller publicly released a list of the 48 mines with a pattern of serious safety violations. Only one from Arizona made the list.

Arizona being the top copper-producing state in the country, you might think it was one of the numerous copper mines. Or maybe one of the gold or silver mines that dot the state.

In fact, it was the Kayenta Coal Mine, located way up on the Navajo Reservation, just a few miles from where I grew up.

Indian Law Center Receives Human Rights Prize

The Helena-based Indian Law Resource Center is one of three recipients of the 2010 Justice Prize from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation.

The $500,000 prize honors organizations and individuals for championing the rights of historically oppressed groups through advocacy, legal reform and the development of international law. The center shares this year’s prize with Australian judge Michael Kirby and attorney and author John Dugard, whose writings and teachings challenged apartheid law in South Africa.

Tenth Circuit Rules in Favor of Uranium Resources, Inc. in Indian Country Case

Uranium Resources, a uranium exploration, development and production company, announced today that the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit en banc held today that the Company’s Section 8 property in Churchrock, New Mexico is not Indian Country.

Don Ewigleben, President and CEO of Uranium Resources noted, “This ruling enables us to immediately seek to renew the underground injection control (UIC) permit that we had been granted by the State of New Mexico in 1989. This is the last permit required for us to advance our in situ recovery uranium mining project on our Churchrock property where we hold 13.7 million pounds of in place mineralized uranium material.”

The result of the ruling means the authority to issue a UIC permit to URI falls under the jurisdiction of the State of New Mexico, and not the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The jurisdictional dispute originated among the State of New Mexico, the USEPA and the Navajo Nation and was initially taken to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. In January 2000, the issue was remanded to the USEPA. In February 2007, the USEPA reached a decision that Section 8 is Indian country, and therefore under its jurisdiction to administer the UIC permit. URI appealed the decision to the Tenth Circuit Court in April 2009. By a 2-1 decision the court upheld the EPA’s ruling. In August 2009, URI’s petition for an en banc review was granted and oral arguments were held January 2010. The subject ruling that the Section 8 property is not Indian Country is the result of the en banc review.

Shinnecock Finally Receive Federal Recognition

It took more than 30 years, but the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Long Island, N.Y., has finally received its federal recognition, according to a piece published by the New York Times on June 15.

The 1,292-member Shinnecock, which has an 800-acre reservation in posh Southampton, plans to build a casino. With the federal recognition, it can build a Class II (video slot machines) facility.

Court orders construction halt on Viejas sacred site

A state superior court has issued a restraining order to stop construction on a $20 million water project after human remains were found in an area that the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians says is a sacred burial ground and ceremonial place of their ancestors.

In a June 7 hearing, San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes ordered the Padre Dam Municipal Water District to avoid construction on around two-thirds of the two-and-a-half acre site where it is building a new reservoir and pumping station. The restraining order extends to June 25.

Attorneys for the Viejas Band sought the restraining order against the Padre Dam Municipal Water District to halt construction until the matter is decided by the Native American Heritage Commission.

Drum a way out of addiction, into ‘circle’ National Aboriginal Day chance to share how beat saves lives

The drum is to Jesse Morin what a crucifix is to many Catholics; its mere presence demands that he live a better life.

It calls him to tread lightly and hold native ceremonies with respect, like a gift, he says, and to treat the community around him that same way, to avoid alcohol, drugs and violence, and even the pettiness of gossip and backstabbing on Facebook.

“I’m still learning that,” he says. “Probably learning all of my life.”

Morin, now sober for 22 years, came forward to tell his story for National Aboriginal Day, a series of celebrations across the nation. His group, the River Cree Singers, is playing at the River Cree Casino today at 1 p.m. The rest of “his boys” point to Morin as the best example of how the drum can change lives.

Prairie Band Potawatomi Brings Higher Ed to Its Reservation

Through an agreement with Friends University, members and employees of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation can now obtain a college degree without leaving the reservation.

Beginning this fall, tribal members can enroll in a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management degree completion program; and in spring 2011, they will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management and Leadership (OML) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Classes for these on-site programs will be taught at the PBPN’s Government Center in Mayetta, Kan., meeting once per week. Depending on the program, degree-completion and graduate coursework can be completed within 13 months to 24 months.

Nearly a century later, a symbol of the Haida returns to its people

Ninety-five years after it was taken from Haida Gwaii to adorn a railway station in Alberta, the Raven totem pole is back in Old Massett.

Restoration experts have spent months trying to remove lead paint – bright white, red and aqua – that had been added to help make the 12-metre-long pole a tourist icon in Jasper. It arrived on a ferry Friday and on Monday, Haida leaders will formally restore the pole’s name, Stihlda.

Traces of paint remain, a reminder of the cedar pole’s travels. “It was painted some grisly colours over the years,” said Vince Collison, the Haida co-ordinator of the event. “So we’re grateful to get it, as close as possible, back to the original condition.”

Keepers of the Peace Powwow

There was a circle, and then another circle, and then another circle as the drummers sang around the drum, the dancers danced around the grassy arena, and the spectators watched in awe, as the beat of the drum echoed upward from Trophy Point overlooking the Hudson River on a sunny day.

The Keepers of the Peace powwow, the first Native American powwow to be held at West Point in its 208-year history had begun on Sunday, May 2. The powwow started with the grand entry of the dancers, entering the dance arena from the east, the direction of the rising sun.

‘Spirits still crying’ of residential-school children who died unknown

The freak accident that killed Joe Harper’s friend Joseph at the Cross Lake residential school was bad enough. But it still rankles Harper, 50 years on, that Joseph died in obscurity.

“There was never a funeral for him,” said Harper, as he stood outside one of the tents Thursday at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s first national event, which is being held in Winnipeg this week.

“I don’t even know how his parents ever found out.”

Besides Joseph, who was injured and died while sliding down a hill onto a frozen lake, Harper said many Cross Lake students, including himself, suffered from chronic tuberculosis, and there were many students who never made it home.

Tribal internship students energize alternative fuel science

Tribal lands make up only five percent of the United States’ total land area, but represent enormous potential for the production of renewable energy. The 55 million acres of land across the nation controlled by Native American tribes can potentially produce an estimated 535 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from wind power and more than 17 trillion kilowatt-hours from solar energy. These projections are equivalent to more than four times the amount of electricity generated annually in the United States, and represent new economic and employment opportunities for many Native American communities.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, together with the U.S. Department of the Interior, are working together to help educate future tribal leaders on energy resource development and environmental evaluations by offering several hands-on learning opportunities such as Tribal Energy Internships and the Indian Education Renewable Energy Challenge.

To recruit and train the next generation of tribal energy and natural resource management professionals, Argonne hosts a unique summer internship program – now in its second year – specifically for American Indian and Alaska Native college students. This year’s program includes interns participating from the following tribes: Quapaw, Navajo, Shoshone Bannock, Seneca Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai, and Eastern Shoshone, Cherokee.

Miskito Women Fight on Nature’s Side

Seven years ago, in the isolated Honduran region of Mosquitia, on the Caribbean coast, a group of women, mostly single mothers, elderly or widowed, overcame their fear and timidity — thanks in part to a waste recycling project.

They decided to break from the “machismo” of the local culture and organised themselves in the Association of Indigenous Miskito Women on the Atlantic coast (MIMAT – Miskito Miskitu Indian Mairinka Asla Takanka, in the Miskito language).

MIMAT took on the clean-up of the largest lagoon in the area and the streets of the six municipalities that make up eastern Mosquitia, a natural region shared with Nicaragua, with the Honduran part covering 16,630 square kilometres.

Cherokee Elder Care Named Outstanding Program for Achievements in Aging

Cherokee Elder Care has been named as the recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Program for the Achievements in Aging Award by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  The award was presented during the recent Oklahoma Conference on Aging in Tulsa.

“Cherokee Elder Care is extremely honored by this award, especially since we are a relatively new program in Oklahoma.  This award is really a recognition of the dedication and skill of our employees; they are the ones that give life to the PACE (Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) concept and make it become an important part of our participants’ lives,” said Ben Stevens, program director for Cherokee Elder Care.  “We also commend the Cherokee Nation for having the foresight to see the value of PACE for all the elders in our service area.”


1 Comment

  1. I’ve not been keeping up lately.

    Tulalip Tribes Tracie Stevens confirmed by Senate as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

    Stevens formerly acted as senior adviser to Assistant Interior Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk.

    As chairman, Stevens will oversee the regulation and oversight of gaming on Indian lands.


    we might also mention the bit about the scam perpetrated on the Yakamas – I sent mail to the newsgroup a few days ago on this.

    Here’s the consumer alert from the WA State Attorney General site:

    A more extensive article in the Yakima Herald:



    “Late last week a van pulled up to the Toppenish Armory on the Yakama reservation, and its occupants began offering tribal members $40-an-hour jobs cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    On the reservation, where poverty is high and opportunity slim, the generous offers struck a chord. A number of Yakamas quit Legends Casino or other tribal jobs in anticipation of high wages and free housing.

    The state Attorney General’s Office says it has been unable to determine whether the jobs are legitimately tied to BP’s cleanup efforts but says it’s unlikely.”

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