News Collection Diary for Monday, August 16th

News from Native American Netroots is a community series.

Please leave the links and a snippet from any news items you’d like to contribute for this weeks edition.

Posting time is 7 to 8 p.m. PDT.

Thanks for contributing.



  1. Researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and the American Indian Health Research and Education Alliance have joined forces to create the Center for American Indian Community Health.

    The initiative, which is being funded by a $7.5 million grant from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, will set up a pipeline to attract American Indian high school and college students to the KU School of Medicine’s master’s of public health degree program and other graduate programs to increase the number of Native people entering the health professions and conducting health research. Medical center faculty are already working with Haskell Indian Nations University to identify potential students for the master’s of public health program.

    Five years ago, there were no American Indian students in the program, the release said. Three Native students have already earned degrees; five more are now enrolled and several more have applied for the fall semester.


  2. VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Through their work at the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network and a local rape crisis center, Cherry Smiley and Laura Holland are on the frontlines of helping girls and women escape the horrors of forced prostitution.

    On a daily basis, they witness the despair and destruction of women targeted by pimps and johns who earn profits from their bodies. They see the gaping wounds and scars of women bruised and battered.

    Note:  This is Part 3 of 4.

  3. :

    An acrimonious relationship between Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and Native leaders took a turn for the worse in July when the government charged Delfin Tenesaca, Puruha Kichwa and Marlon Santi, Shaur, the presidents of the country’s largest indigenous organizations, with terrorism and sabotage. The charges were filed following a protest outside a summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas June 25 in the Ecuadorian town of Otavalo.

    The summit, which was presided by Presidents Correa, Evo Morales, of Bolivia and Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela, was dedicated to the region’s Native and African-American peoples and was attended by many members of those ethnic groups. However, the government declined to invite representatives of the country’s principal Native organizations – the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and the Kichwa confederation ECUARUNARI – both of which once supported Correa, but have grown critical of him over the past two years. Their leaders consequently organized a protest outside the summit and attempted to deliver a letter to Morales, but were prevented from entering the summit by the police, which resulted in a shoving match.

  4. VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Convicted sexual predator Martin Tremblay is still roaming free after two teenage girls died in March – one at his home – after being given a lethal mix of alcohol and drugs within hours of their deaths.

    Friends of Martha Hernandez, 17, and Kayla LaLonde, 16, said the two First Nations teens had been hanging out with a man named “Martin” who supplied them with free drugs and alcohol at parties he held for teens at his Richmond home.

    Angela LaLonde, whose daughter was found collapsed on a road with bruises on her body, said police told her they were close to an arrest in her daughter’s death, but then they stopped returning calls.

  5. :

    FORT BRAGG, Calif. – The Yurok Tribe’s message to the state Marine Life Protection Act’s Blue Ribbon Task Force may have done some good.

    “For the first time, I got a sense that the task force group was paying attention to the tribe’s concerns,” Thomas O’Rourke Sr., Yurok Tribe chairman, said after task force meetings.

    “They were listening. We had their ear. Our major message is tribal rights are non-negotiable. Whether they will act or not that is something else that we’ll have to wait to see.”

    Decisions must be made and regulations in place by the end of this year, he added.

    The Marine Life Protection Act, which was signed into law in 1999, calls for the creation of marine reserves with varying levels of protection from one end of the state to the other. Funding for implementation wasn’t in place until 2009. The Fort Bragg meeting dealt with the North Coast Study Region reaching from Mendocino County to the California/Oregon border. Now it is the task force’s job to set the boundaries and levels of protection for northern California under the act and pass their recommendations on to the California Department of Fish and Game for enforcement.

    “They just started implementation of it.” The tribes of southern California have “had their waters shut down,” O’Rourke said.

  6. SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) – A Shinnecock activist whose Indian name was Princess Smiling Face has died on Long Island. She was 85.

    The Shinnecock Indian Nation said Betty Belle Cromwell died Sunday at Southampton Hospital following complications from a stroke.

    She was a former member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s tribal council and a past president of the Shinnecock Cultural Center & Museum in Southampton.

    True to her Indian name, she taught young tribal members to remain optimistic in the face of adversity.

    Cromwell also served as director of the Shinnecock Community Employment Program, helping tribal members find jobs outside the Southampton reservation.

    She was an active member of the Shinnecock Presbyterian Church in Southampton. A funeral service was held Aug. 5.

  7. NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A representative of the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation has filed a lawsuit in Tennessee charging the state’s Commission of Indian Affairs violated open-meeting “sunshine” laws when it unexpectedly gave state recognition to six local groups. The commission appears to have altered its rules in order to do so. It took action June 19, about a month after the state legislature had curtailed its authority and 11 days before the date on which the legislature had slated it to go out of existence.

    Commission Chairperson Tammera Hicks called the event “historic” and a fulfillment of the agency’s purpose. Green-lighted groups include the Cherokee Wolf Clan, Central Band of Cherokee, Tanasi Council, Chikamaka Band, United Eastern Lenape Nation of Winfield, Tennessee and Remnant Yuchi Nation.

    Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, criticized the process. “As one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, we have had no interaction with any of these groups, and I absolutely do not support them in this endeavor.”

  8. WASHINGTON – Many Alaskan state officials have been quick to point to the works of the late Sen. Ted Stevens in the wake of his unexpected passing, but the longtime politician also carried a substantial legacy among indigenous individuals.

    Stevens, the longest-serving Republican ever in Congress, died Aug. 9 in a plane crash north of Dillingham, Alaska. He was en route to a private fishing lodge.

    . . .

    Some Alaska Natives were happy to see Stevens go; a sense of displeasure was apparent in some communities regarding his record on tribal issues over the years.

    Patricia Wade, editor of the Chickaloon News, reflected on her discontent, writing in Indian Country Today in 2003, “To read what Ted Stevens recently said in an Anchorage Daily News front-page article, I wonder if he believes what he’s saying. He makes himself sound like Mister Goodbar bestowing many gifts onto Alaska Natives, when in fact he has an over 30-year legacy of systematically taking away our rights and natural resources through the very same legislation that he brags about passing on the Natives’ behalf.”

    Wade and others took Stevens to task for his part in passing the Native Land Claims Settlement Act in the 1970s, which had been left in legislative limbo following Alaska becoming a state in 1959.

    The act is widely seen as benefitting Alaska Native businesses and economies, as it created a pathway for the development and growth of Alaska Native Corporations. Stevens penned later legislation that assisted ANCs in getting federal contracts, and some continue to prosper in the field.

    But Wade argued that Alaska Natives were not fully informed about the impact that the law would have, and she noted that the act was not voted upon by all of the adult Natives, which is a requirement of the Indian Civil Rights Act.

  9. WASHINGTON – If Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gets his way, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will be revving up for a jurisdictional clash with tribal leaders over the National Indian Gaming Commission’s authority to regulate Class III gaming.

    The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing on Indian gaming on July 29 to “examine priorities established by the new leadership of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) in areas including the NIGC’s regulatory role, staffing, budget, plans for consultation and training and technical assistance to tribes.”

    . . .

    But it wasn’t until McCain showed up around 15 minutes before the end of the 90-minute hearing during the question and answer period that the real purpose of the hearing became apparent: McCain wants a legislative “fix” for what he called the “loophole” in Class III gaming regulations created by a 2006 legal ruling known as the CRIT decision, named after the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

    That doesn’t bode well for the nations, said Joe Valandra (Rosebud Sioux), a former NIGC chief of staff, who is now a consultant on Indian gaming.

    “I don’t think it’s what Sen. Dorgan necessarily intended, but it was clear that Sen. McCain, who insisted on this hearing, I understand – that’s why it happened so quickly – used the hearing as a vehicle to advance a ‘CRIT fix’ and some other amendments to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) as well as a broad based attack on the regulation of Indian gaming,” Valandra said.

  10. Native Civil Rights Gathering
    On August 17th, 18th and 19th in Washington DC at the Lincoln Memorial there will be a Native American Mixed-Bloods March to bring attention to the facts concerning the discrimination that is being conjured up by the Grand Council of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, by the BIA and the United States Government. Those of us that are of Mixed-Blood ancestry are looked upon as being Non-Native American when many of us have more Native American Blood flowing through our veins than those that sit in judgment of us. There are many mixed-bloods that have been disenfranchised by the Federal Recognized Tribal Councils with permission given to them by the United States Government, who should never have been kicked off the American Indian Roll’s in the first place. That also goes for the Cherokee Freedmen as well; these are the descendants of the African slaves that played a very important role in our culture during the 1700′ and 1800’s as they aided their respective tribes sometimes with their very lives. Many of the Cherokee Freedmen of today are Cherokee by Blood who possess more Cherokee Blood than that of the Thin Blood White Cherokee that kicked them off the membership rolls of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. This should never have happened, but the way that I view it is that it was the greed for money that brought this about and it was for political gain. We are not pointing the finger at the citizens of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, nor the citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, but we are pointing to the Councils of these two Federal Recognized Tribes that have done this.

  11. Each August for the past eighty years, Santa Fe Indian Market has brought together the most gifted Native American artists from the U.S. with millions of visitors and collectors from around the world. The extended weekend of beauty and celebration ranks as the world’s largest and most highly acclaimed Native American arts show and as New Mexico’s largest attended annual weekend event.

    Santa Fe Indian Market is widely known as the place where Native American art and culture meets the world. As a primary vehicle for showcasing Native American arts, Indian Market also serves as a principal means for advancing the careers of many of today’s noted American Indian artists. Jamie Okuma (Luiseno, Shoshone/Bannock), SWAIA Best of Show winner 2000/2002, states, “SWAIA’s Indian Market awards have given me my career.” Lonnie Vigil, distinguished micaceous potter from Nambé Pueblo (Best of Show 2001) eloquently describes Indian Market as, “the place where the makers and receivers of our works come together in a special appreciation of the art.” Perhaps summing it up for generations of artists who have participated in Indian Market, SWAIA Fellowship Winner Michele Laughing (Navajo) shares, “It has made my journey possible.”

  12. BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – On August 5, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Upper Sioux Community, Minnesota signed the first tribal agreement in a six-state region, including Minnesota, which allows a federally recognized tribe to be considered a Grantee for federal disaster assistance.  FEMA officials signed the formal agreement with the tribal Board of Trustees, located in Yellow Medicine County, clearing the way for nation-to-nation federal disaster assistance in incidents that are beyond the capabilities of the tribe.

    The agreement, signed by FEMA Region V Regional Administrator Andrew Velasquez III and Upper Sioux Community Chairman Kevin Jensvold, completed the legal requirements that will allow federal aid to be made available to the Upper Sioux Community for damages incurred as a result of severe storms and flooding this past spring. President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the state of Minnesota on April 19.

  13. Debra Lookout wins taco title

    PAWHUSKA, Okla. – For the second time in four years, Osage Nation citizen Debra Lookout has won the National Indian Taco Championship.

    Lookout, a 39-year-old licensed practical nurse with the Osage Nation Diabetes Program, won the title in 2007 and again on May 15 in downtown Pawhuska, beating 13 other contestants.
    “I’m just blessed, truly blessed,” she said. “This year I knew that I had competition because everyone was talking about a guy who had salsa, homemade salsa, that was really good. So I decided I had better practice. My oldest daughter had a dream last week that I won. So I had a feeling that I would win, but I really tried different things, adding more flavor to my taco. I worked really hard and I couldn’t have done it without my kids.”

  14. On most of America’s Indian reservations, national percentages measuring economic anguish or progress hold scant meaning. Times have always been tough and have only gotten worse during the most recent recession, with nearly half of the work-age members in some parts of Indian Country jobless.

    With $400 billion of dollars of potential construction and significant energy development foreseen on 55 million acres of reservation lands-coupled with significant federal stimulus dollars coming in-the question is:  Who will do the work?


    A recently-concluded six-week, intensive pre-apprenticeship program for 24 Native American Indians  at the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, N.D.,  holds the promise of building an indigenous, growing work force of IBEW electricians on reservations and in nearby towns from  New York to Oklahoma to California. IBEW’s Dakotas JATC provided opportunities for hands-on electrical work, supplementing classroom time.

  15. You had to condense 2 weeks’ worth of diaries and also accommodate MB’s and navajo’s NN caucus talks – it was a looonnng diary as it was.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.