News from Native American Netroots

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Welcome to News from Native American Netroots, a 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.

Utahns fight death among American Indian babies

By Heather May

Utahns are helping develop a campaign to improve the health of American Indian babies and mothers.

As part of a national effort to reduce infant deaths among the group, American Indian mothers and fathers were invited to the Indian Walk-In Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday to brainstorm effective and culturally appropriate ways to promote healthy pregnancies and babies.

Debt and Tribal Payday Lenders

By Michael Hudson and David Heath

In the battle to shield themselves from lawsuits and government oversight, some high-interest payday lenders have found unlikely allies: Native American tribes.

In legal fights in California, New Mexico, West Virginia and Colorado, a group of Internet-based payday lenders have argued they are immune from lawsuits and regulation because they are “tribal enterprises.” They claim they enjoy tribal-nation sovereignty, which allows them to operate outside state oversight – even when they’re making loans to non-Native Americans living far from Indian lands.

Gathering of Nations wins Grammy for Native American album

The producers of “2010 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow: A Spirit’s Dance” won the award fro best Native American music album at the 53rd annual Grammys ceremony on Sunday night.

The album was recording during the 27th annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It features songs from several drum groups and performers.

The album was produced by Derek Mathews, Lita Mathews and Melonie Mathews.

The US Clean Energy Economy: Buy Indian

Ryan DreveskrachtThe change to a “clean energy economy” has become the Obama Administration’s tagline for pulling out of the recession by investing in renewable energy and clean technologies. The American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) is one way the administration is walking the talk….

…..The application of an often-overlooked federal law may ensure that green energy investment stays in our economy, while at the same time fulfilling the government’s obligation to Native American tribes.

The Buy Indian Act (BIA) was introduced in 1910 as a way to promote the employment of American Indians and the sale of American Indian-made products. The BIA operates much like the Buy American Act, with a priority given to “the products of Indian industry.” The law directs prime contractors to use their best efforts to give Indian organizations and Indian-owned economic enterprises the “maximum practicable opportunity” to participate in subcontracts that it awards, and to do so to the fullest extent consistent with efficient performance of the contract.

Senator asks for hearings on Hawaii, Alaska Native American Contracting preferences


Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye wants his fellow Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka to hold hearings on Small Business Administration rules that give Native American groups in Alaska and Hawaii contracting preferences.

Inouye formally made the request in a letter to Akaka, who took over as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs last week. Hawaii’s senior U.S. senator wants the committee to review the importance of contracts given the Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiian Organizations and tribal entities after a series of negative articles about the Alaska contracts in the Washington Post.

“The purposed of the hearing is to allow the SBA, ANCS, NHOs, Indian tribes, shareholders and other stakeholders the opportunity to demonstrate the importance and legitimacy of the program to Native communities in fulfilling self-determination and self-sufficiency,” said the letter written by Inouye and Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and obtained by the Artic Sounder, an Anchorage newspaper

Recall effort aims at Rosebud tribal president

Rapid City Journal Staff

A group of Rosebud Reservation residents critical of Rosebud Sioux Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux are circulating recall petitions in an effort to remove him from office.

Organizers of the recall effort met Monday at the St. Francis Community Center to recruit volunteers to gather an estimated 800 signatures necessary to force a recall election. By tribal law, the signatures of 30 percent of the voters in the last tribal election are required for a recall vote, but that process has been slowed by the tribal secretary office’s delay in releasing a current voter list, according to petition organizers.

St. Francis Community Center chairman Ron Valandra, a former RST tribal council representative, and Whitey Scott, who lost to Bordeaux in the 2009 election, accuse his administration of failing to release a current voter list in a timely manner.

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