President Obama hosts the White House Tribal Nations Conference

This conference provides leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration.  

Each federally recognized tribe was invited to send one representative to the Conference.  

This will be the second White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President’s commitment to strengthen the nation to nation relationship with Indian Country.

You can watch the opening session live starting at 8:30-AM Eastern. Video Link embedded below and at: and at the Whitehouse video feed here:

Rape Crisis on Indian Reservations

Vanguard’s “Rape on the Reservation” premieres on Current TV on Wednesday, June 2 at 10/9c.

One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime. Correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota where sexual assault and violence against women has escalated to murder. What happened to 19-year-old Marquita, and how can the reservation’s understaffed police force keep it from happening again?

(I helped with this…)  

Navajo Nation president endorses Barack Obama

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr. endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president on Thursday.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr. addressed tribal leaders from across the country saying, “I am honored today to stand before you, as the elected leader of the Navajo people, to introduce the next president of the United States-Barack Obama”.

Among the group of tribal leaders who gathered at the Indian Pueblo Culture Center included New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Governor Richardson has been a strong supporter of Senator Obama’s bid for the presidency and a friend and advocate for the Navajo people.…

Take Action: Tax Credits for Wind Resources on Reservations


Currently, Native American tribes aren’t eligible for the federal production tax credit available to non-tribal project owners under law.

Without this 2 cents per kWh tax credit, it is much harder for wind farms to get built on reservations.  

Action Info Below

Two bills, S.2520 and the H.R. 1954 propose changing the tax code to allow tribes to benefit from the tax credit.

Please contact the members of the Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on Ways and Means and your Washington representatives and tell them you want Native American tribes to get this tax credit so they will be able to build more wind farms on tribal lands.

Note that most members of Congress are on vacation from D.C. and it may be easier to contact them through their district offices until after both party’s conventions.  Regardless, emails sent through their contact forms, your calls or faxes will be there when they return to work.  Please, don’t put off acting because they are not in D.C..

Senate Bill: S.2520

S. 2520 would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Indian tribal governments to transfer the credit for electricity produced from renewable resources.

Status of the Legislation

Latest Major Action: 12/19/2007: Referred to Senate committee.

Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

House Bill: H.R. 1954

H.R. 1954 would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Indian tribal governments to transfer the credit for electricity produced from renewable resources.

Status of the Legislation

Latest Major Action: 4/19/2007: Referred to House committee.

Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.


Members of the two committees can be found by clicking on the linked committee names above.

Information courtesy of Native Energy’s July Newsletter

Even if your congress member is not on the above committees, it would be a good thing to contact them about this disparity.  If needed, you can use to find your reps.

Thank you for taking a moment to make some calls.

Still fighting to protect Bear Butte

A Report on the Hearing of SD House Bill 1309

“South Dakota Legislative Committee says “No” to simple respect”

more below

Feb. 7, 2008

By Charmaine White Face, Coordinator

Defenders of the Black Hills

The state of South Dakota should be ashamed of nine of the thirteen members of the SD House Commerce Committee for the behavior they exhibited during the Hearing on House Bill 1309, entitled “An Act to prohibit the issuance of certain alcoholic beverage licenses for establishments located near Bear Butte.” For the past thirty years, I have participated at various state committee hearings on a number of issues and never have I witnessed such outrageous behavior. It was like watching a bunch of drunken fans hollering at an opponent in a game.

Maybe that was why the time of the hearing on HB 1309 was changed in the schedule from first on the agenda to the last place so there would not be many witnesses to such outrageous behavior. Or was the change made specifically because it was a Bill that was of importance to Native American people and was put at the end of the meeting so that the public would have only a little time to comment. Yet, during the hearing, when two wealthy businessmen gave their comments, even when their comments were off topic as one mentioned, they were allowed to ramble on and on. One of the businessmen gave a lengthy discourse of misinformation about Native Americans, misinformation that had nothing to do with the subject matter of the Bill and was never cautioned about staying on topic. The proponents of the Bill, on the other hand, were told to keep their comments short. One Native American speaker brought statements from seventeen other people from around the world, and stated she would only present a few because of the time constraints. She was allowed to present only one statement. The racism exhibited toward the Native American speakers was blatant.

At the very beginning of the hearing, Representative Jim Bradford amended the Bill which he sponsored. His amendment limited the one-mile alcohol-free area to begin at the top of the sacred mountain, Bear Butte, instead of one-mile away from the perimeter as was stated in the Bill. Beginning from the top of the mountain, the area in the Bill encompassed mostly state and tribal land with a small portion from an area that is to have an agricultural easement, and an existing campground. The Bill already stated it would not affect existing permits. Although the amendment dismayed many proponents who heard it for the first time at the Hearing, they understood the reasons for the change and continued to support the Bill.

Four of the committee members, Representatives Ahlers, Engels, Street, and Nygaard, are to be praised for their extreme patience in sitting in a meeting in which their colleagues exhibited such disrespect to their efforts to submit additional amendments to the Bill. Toward the end of the hearing, Rep. Ahlers finally asked the other committee members to accept only one-half mile from the top of the sacred mountain stating, “This is only a sign of respect” as the land would be almost entirely public land. The other nine loudly hollered, “No!” as they had done time and time again to previous offers of amendments. After shouting their loud, disrespectful “Nos,”… then they would laugh.

The disrespect to the sponsors of the Bill, the four patient members of the Committee, and the public who had attended the hearing was shameful. It is sad that there is no way to sanction the nine members of the Committee for their disgraceful behavior.

To all the people who submitted comments, Thank you. To those who endured this appalling behavior in a respectful manner, you are to be commended. To the sponsors of HB 1309 and the four House Commerce Committee members who tried to have a little respect given to sacred Bear Butte, you will be blessed.


NOTE: Defenders of the Black Hills was not a part of the protests held at Bear Butte more than a year ago precisely because the mountain is such a sacred place. We did not participate because of recommendations from our spiritual advisors. There is an understanding among all traditional Native American cultures that the circle will always come back, although not necessarily in the form that started it. The consequences for the behavior exhibited by the disrespectful nine members of the South Dakota House Commerce Committee will also fall on those they represent all over the state. We understand that the disrespect they gave was not to us as human beings, but to the sacredness of Bear Butte. It is now out of our hands. Ktso. (It is so.)

Posted in Uncategorized

NativeVue Film & Media

( – promoted by navajo)

NativeVue was created to

cultivate an interest in Native performing arts by featuring North America’s most innovative Indigenous filmmakers, musicians, actors and media entrepreneurs.…

A sampling:

“Creative Spirit” Films Premiere at Paramount Studios

The purpose of the Creative Spirit program is to foster employment and training opportunities for American Indians in the film industry.  The program creates meaningful relationships between Native filmmakers and industry veterans by providing an environment for professional collaboration.

Such was the case with 2007’s productions: Ancestor Eyes, written and directed by Kalani Queypo (Blackfeet/Hawaiian), and Two Spirits, One Journey, written and produced by Shawn Imitates Dog (Oglala Lakota).

Ancestor Eyes

Ancestor Eyes  tells the story of a mother (Tantoo Cardinal) coming to terms with the declining health of her daughter (Rulan Tangen).  “I really wanted to do an homage to matriarchal power, to the love between a mother and a daughter,” said Queypo.  “An homage to the life-givers and the caregivers.”

Two Spirits, One Journey

Two Spirits, One Journey  deals with a gay relationship on the Pine Ridge reservation. Luke (Alex Meraz) wants to come out and be himself, even if it means leaving the rez. Chris (Patrick David) would rather pretend to be straight than face ostracism.

The title comes from the “two spirits” term for gay Indians. Traditionally, most tribes recognized homosexuality not as a sin or curse but simply as another identity. They didn’t reject gays, they respected them.

Good to find a spot highlighting Independent Native American film making. Be sure and click the link above so they know we found them.

Links from their links page:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Bringing Leonard Peltier to Iowa and New Hampshire

( – promoted by navajo)

Leonard Peltier is one reason I can’t support Hillary Clinton for president.  I was one of thousands who petitioned Bill Clinton to grant Leonard a pardon. Thanks to Harvey Wasserman for reminding others of the history of Peltier and Bill Clinton.

The disagreements are deep and generally predictable. But it is equally predictable that there is one issue—one man— being totally ignored by the mainstream media. His case marks the moral low point of the Clinton Era. He deserves to be a part of the primary process.

His name is Leonard Peltier.

Bill Clinton was thoroughly and repeatedly briefed on the Peltier case throughout his presidency. Yet eight years came and went, and Leonard Peltier was left to rot. Desperate last-minute pleas as he prepared his final pardon list were to no avail. It would have been easy enough for Clinton to “triangulate” by merely ordering that Peltier get a new trial.

Yet Bill Clinton left the White House fully aware that George W. Bush would do no such thing.

This is not an issue that should go unmentioned in these early primaries. Hillary Clinton is most certainly aware of the case of Leonard Peltier. She should be asked early and often whether she, as president, would have the courage and commitment to justice to at very least grant Leonard Peltier the new trial her husband would not. All the other candidates on both sides of the aisle should be asked the same thing.

We cannot save our national soul without bringing justice to bear for Leonard Peltier. No one should enter the White House without a clear commitment to doing just that.

The full article is here.

Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate I am aware of, who has given any time or mention to Native American issues.  

I have written all of the other candidates asking for their positions on issues like Peltier, the Cobell, sovereignty and trust issues, etc.  Not a single reply from any candidate.

I hope that others here, will also write the Democratic candidates and ask them to speak on what their positions on Native American issues are.

Massacre At Wounded Knee – December 29, 1890

( – promoted by navajo)

Today marked the anniversary of the massacre of Chief Big Foot and over 300 Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee.

Some of my relatives went over to the site today to offer prayers and I sweat with them when they returned tonight.   Just thought there should be something here to remember the day.

Photo from Dick Shovel’s site

I recently learned about this site, WOUNDED KNEE: THE MUSEUM, but admit that I have not had time to go through it – so not vouching for it or anything.

Emergency for Texas Native Americans who own land where Government wants border fence

Emergency in el Calaboz, Lipan Apache & Basque-Indigena North American Land Title Holders

My mother and elders of El Calaboz, since July have been the targets of numerous threats and harassments by the Border Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, NSA, and the U.S. related to the proposed building of a fence on their levee.

Since July, they have been the targets of numerous telephone calls, unexpected and uninvited visits on their lands, informing them that they will have to relinquish parts of their land grant holdings to the border fence buildup. The NSA demands that elders give up their lands to build the levee, and further, that they travel a distance of 3 miles, to go through checkpoints, to walk, recreate, and to farm and herd goats and cattle, ON THEIR OWN LANDS.

This threat against indigenous people, life ways and lands has been very very serious and stress inducing to local leaders, such as Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez, who has been in isolation from the larger indigenous rights community due to the invisibility of indigenous people of South Texas and Northern Tamaulipas to the larger social justice conversation regarding the border issues.

However recent events, of the last 5 days cause us to feel that we are in urgent need of immediate human rights observers in the area, deployed by all who can help as soon as possible-immediate relief.


Native American Network gets out Nevada’s vote

RENO, Nev. – Longtime Republican strongholds in the Midwest and West appear to be up for grabs in the upcoming presidential election, and Native people are emerging as the key swing vote, according to Democratic Party political strategist Celinda Lake. Speaking for the party, Lake has said, ”We cannot win these key battleground states without a turnout in the Indian vote.”

Enter Kalyn Free, Choctaw, who recognized a historic opportunity to make the nation take notice of indigenous people and their issues.

A former Oklahoma district attorney and Justice Department senior counsel, Free founded the Indigenous Democratic Network, or INDN’s List, in 2005. The Oklahoma-based group recruits, trains and funds Democratic Native candidates; of the 28 it has endorsed for state and local offices, 22 have won their races.

Nevada’s election format also works well with her concept. ”In caucuses, you can have a big effect with a small number of people,” explained Louis Gray, Osage, INDN’s List Education Fund’s Nevada state director. ”The last time Nevada caucused, 4,000 people turned out. If we get just 1,000 Indians to the polls, we may represent some 25 percent of the electorate. Then we’ll have representatives who go to the state convention and help write the state platform.”

The tasks for Gray and his small staff, who began work in November, are to register Native people, hold ”mock caucuses” to familiarize new voters with the process and, finally, help people get to the meetings on election day. Caucuses, Gray explained, are one-hour events, during which a voter enters a room and goes to a spot designated for his or her favorite candidate. ”If your candidate does not attract a certain proportion of voters present, other candidates’ supporters can lobby you to switch to their corner,” he said.

2007 victory: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted

NEW YORK – On Sept. 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with 143 member states voting for it and 11 abstaining. Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand – four countries with sizable indigenous populations with legitimate claims to large land masses – voted against the adoption.

Not sure why it took so long for this to appear in Indian Country. . .  

While the declaration is not legally binding, the hope and expectation is that it will become a convention with the force of international law.

However, according to an Amnesty International report titled ”Canada and the International Protection of Human Rights: An Erosion of Leadership?” after the declaration was adopted ”Canada has gone on to claim – without any basis in international law – that states that voted against the Declaration should be exempt from the standard that it has set.”

The proposition that governments can opt out by simply voting against a declaration ”dramatically undercuts the integrity of the international human rights system. Every setback has wider impacts as well,” said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty Canada. ”Millions of people around the world living the daily reality of relentless abuses of their human rights need to hear the full force of Canada’s voice on the world stage. Canada can and must do better.”

By contrast, reported on Bolivia’s adoption of the declaration as national law. Bolivia is the first country in the world to do so.

Indian Country Today

Freedom! Lakota Sioux Indians Declare Sovereign Nation Status

I’ve been working so hard the past couple of weeks that I don’t know what the local talk is about this – none of my phone calls this morning found anyone I needed at their offices or home.  My brother-in-law is at a conference in Rapid City and will be home Sunday, so I should be able to learn some from him then if not before.

Will update then.  Meanwhile. . . .

“I want to emphasize, we do not represent the collaborators, the Vichy Indians and those tribal governments set up by the United States of America to ensure our poverty, to ensure the theft of our land and resources,” Means said, comparing elected tribal governments to Nazi collaborators in France during World War II.

Rodney Bordeaux, chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said his community has no desire to join the breakaway nation. Means and his group, which call themselves the Lakota Freedom Delegation, have never officially pitched their views to the Rosebud community, Bordeaux said.

“Our position on that is we need to uphold the treaties, and we’re constantly reminding Congress of that message,” Bordeaux said. “We’re pushing to maintain and to keep the treaties there because they’re the basis of our relationship with the federal government.”

Comments at the Argus Leader

Comments at Rapid City Journal


Press Release



DECEMBER 20, 2007

9:02 AM

CONTACT: Lakota Freedom

Naomi Archer, Communications Liaison

(828) 230-1404 or

Threaten Land Liens, Contested Real Estate Over Five State Area in U.S.West; Dakota Territory Reverts back to Lakota Control According to U.S., International Law.

WASHINGTON, DC – December 20 – Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status today in Washington D.C. following Monday’s withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government. The withdrawal, hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy Director of Public Liaison at the State Department, immediately and irrevocably ends all agreements between the Lakota Sioux Nation of Indians and the United States Government outlined in the 1851 and 1868 Treaties at Fort Laramie Wyoming.

“This is an historic day for our Lakota people,” declared Russell Means, Itacan of Lakota. “United States colonial rule is at its end!”

“Today is a historic day and our forefathers speak through us. Our Forefathers made the treaties in good faith with the sacred Canupa and with the knowledge of the Great Spirit,” shared Garry Rowland from Wounded Knee. “They never honored the treaties, that’s the reason we are here today.”

The four member Lakota delegation traveled to Washington D.C. culminating years of internal discussion among treaty representatives of the various Lakota communities. Delegation members included well known activist and actor Russell Means, Women of All Red Nations (WARN) founder Phyllis Young, Oglala Lakota Strong Heart Society leader Duane Martin Sr., and Garry Rowland, Leader Chief Big Foot Riders. Means, Rowland, Martin Sr. were all members of the 1973 Wounded Knee takeover.

“In order to stop the continuous taking of our resources – people, land, water and children- we have no choice but to claim our own destiny,” said Phyllis Young, a former Indigenous representative to the United Nations and representative from Standing Rock.

Property ownership in the five state area of Lakota now takes center stage. Parts of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana have been illegally homesteaded for years despite knowledge of Lakota as predecessor sovereign [historic owner]. Lakota representatives say if the United States does not enter into immediate diplomatic negotiations, liens will be filed on real estate transactions in the five state region, clouding title over literally thousands of square miles of land and property.

Young added, “The actions of Lakota are not intended to embarrass the United States but to simply save the lives of our people”.

Following Monday’s withdrawal at the State Department, the four Lakota Itacan representatives have been meeting with foreign embassy officials in order to hasten their official return to the Family of Nations.

Lakota’s efforts are gaining traction as Bolivia, home to Indigenous President Evo Morales, shared they are “very, very interested in the Lakota case” while Venezuela received the Lakota delegation with “respect and solidarity.”

“Our meetings have been fruitful and we hope to work with these countries for better relations,” explained Garry Rowland. “As a nation, we have equal status within the national community.”

Education, energy and justice now take top priority in emerging Lakota. “Cultural immersion education is crucial as a next step to protect our language, culture and sovereignty,” said Means. “Energy independence using solar, wind, geothermal, and sugar beets enables Lakota to protect our freedom and provide electricity and heating to our people.”

The Lakota reservations are among the most impoverished areas in North America, a shameful legacy of broken treaties and apartheid policies. Lakota has the highest death rate in the United States and Lakota men have the lowest life expectancy of any nation on earth, excluding AIDS, at approximately 44 years. Lakota infant mortality rate is five times the United States average and teen suicide rates 150% more than national average. 97% of Lakota people live below the poverty line and unemployment hovers near 85%.

“After 150 years of colonial enforcement, when you back people into a corner there is only one alternative,” emphasized Duane Martin Sr. “The only alternative is to bring freedom into its existence by taking it back to the love of freedom, to our lifeway.”

We are the freedom loving Lakota from the Sioux Indian reservations of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana who have traveled to Washington DC to withdraw from the constitutionally mandated treaties to become a free and independent country. We are alerting the Family of Nations we have now reassumed our freedom and independence with the backing of Natural, International, and United States law. For more information, please visit our new website at


More Info:

Lakota Freedom

  • Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status Wednesday in Washington D.C. following Monday’s

    withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government MORE…

  • Justified?  Withdrawal originates from standing mandate carefully thought out by traditional chiefs and thousands of representatives at Treaty Councils SEE THE TREATY COUNCIL DOCUMENT…
  • Lakota delivers introductory Portfolio Packet to State Department and foreign embassies  READ THE PACKET…

  • Press Conference Photos (held at Plymouth Congregational Church, Washington, DC)…SEE THE GALLERY…  

More. . .

Lakota group pushes for new nation
(The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 12/20)

Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US (AP 12/20)

Lakota group declares sovereign nation status (The Rapid City Journal 12/20)

Green Indigenous Film Festival

Inaugural Global Green Indigenous Film Festival
To Be Launched in New Mexico April 18-20, 2008.

Call For Film Submissions

Press Release under the fold.

For Immediate Release
October 14, 2007

Contact:  Stephine Poston
505/379-6172, stephposton [at]

Albuquerque, NM – The National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC) and the New Mexico Tourism Department, will take the global stage, April 18-20, 2008, launching its inaugural Global Green Indigenous Film Festival.  The film festival will be held in conjunction with NTEC’s 15th Environmental Conference April 15-18, 2008. 

The Global Green Indigenous Film Festival and the conference will be held at the El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  “For nearly 20 years NTEC has been working with and assisting tribes throughout the country to protect, regulate and manage their environmental resources.  An international film festival of this caliber adds a new dimension that will bring innovative ideas together as a means for protecting the environment that the global community can benefit from.  We extend an invitation to people around the world to come see the powerful work being done by Indigenous communities to protect mother earth,”‘ stated Jerry Pardilla, NTEC Executive Director.

Founded in 1991, NTEC a national non-profit organization based in Albuquerque, New Mexico has a membership of 184 tribes working to protect and preserve tribal environments.  “NTEC can lend its strong presence in Indian Country to provide a forum that gives Indigenous people a voice about environmental concerns that lead to global solutions.  I believe this international film festival will let the world know that Indigenous communities around the world are doing their part to protect mother earth for generations to come,” said Joe Garcia, President of the National Congress of American Indians.

Award winning actor, director and musician Gary Farmer (Dead Man/Smoke Signals), is a member of the film festival team.  Charmaine Jackson-John, film festival director is accepting submissions for films and videos that address indigenous environmental concerns and issues from all countries.

Formats accepted: DVD, VHS, Beta SP.

Film entries should be mailed to: 
ATTN: Global Green Indigenous Film Festival
2501 Rio Grande Boulevard, NW,
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104,

Deadline for entries is January 18, 2008.

One World, One Environment
NTEC’s mission is to support Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages in protecting, regulating and managing their environmental resources according to their own priorities and values.

Visit for more information. 

Cobell historical accounting trial wraps up

After just 10 full days of testimony, the trial into the Indian trust fund historical accounting concluded in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Judge James Robertson, who was assigned the case last December, called the trial in April. At the time, he said it would “continue as long as necessary,” indicating a potentially long haul that could rival prior proceedings in the 11-year-old case.

Those expectations quickly faded as Robertson, throughout the trial, urged the government and the Cobell plaintiffs to keep their presentations short and to the point. It also helped that the judge decided not to visit the Interior Department’s Indian records repository in Kansas as he earlier envisioned.

The Bush administration wants Robertson to keep his hands off the case so that the Interior Department can finish its historical accounting. The latest plan, issued in May, calls for the project to be finished by the end of 2011.


The Cobell plaintiffs want Robertson to keep a close eye on Interior. They say it’s impossible for the historical accounting to be complete due to missing records, inaccurate data and destroyed documents.


According to his earlier court order, Robertson plans to determine whether the accounting plan satisfies fiduciary trust standards and whether the accounting was “unreasonably” delayed. […]

Robertson also wants to determine whether the government has cured the breaches of trust that were first identified by Judge Royce Lamberth back in December 1999. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in February 2001.

But Robertson has said he is guided by some overarching principles that were more recently articulated by the D.C. Circuit. One ruling blocks his court from dictating the details of the government’s plans and another requires him to be mindful of the funding limits imposed by Congress.


Trial Transcripts:
1 AM
| Day 1 PM | Day 2 AM | Day 2 PM | Day 3 AM | Day 3 PM | Day 4 AM | Day 4 PM | Day 5 AM | Day 5 PM | Day 6 AM | Day 6 PM | Day 7 AM | Day 7 PM | Day 8 AM | Day 8 PM | Day 9 AM | Day 9 PM

Bush blasts Native Hawaiian self-determination bill

The White House on Monday slammed a bill to extend self-determination to Native Hawaiians, calling it divisive and unconstitutional.

The Bush administration has long opposed efforts to organize a Native Hawaiian governing entity. But the statement from the Office of Management and Budget marked first time the White House put its objections into writing.


The statement comes on the eve of consideration of H.R.505, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. The House is set to debate the measure on Wednesday.

Most of Hawaii’s politicians — Republicans and Democrats — support the bill.[…]

The House previously voted in favor of Native Hawaiians in late 2000, before President Bush took office. But due to objections from the administration, the current measure has been held up by conservative Republicans.


The opposition is based largely on constitutional concerns. Republicans say the bill would create a race-based government that is not open to people of all ethnic backgrounds.


“Given the substantial historical and cultural differences between Native Hawaiians as a group and members of federally recognized Indian tribes, the administration believes that tribal recognition is inappropriate and unwise for Native Hawaiians and would raise serious constitutional concerns,” the statement said.

Until the release of the statement, opposition was coming from the Department of Justice. Since Bush took office in 2001, officials there have been quietly questioning a slew of Native Hawaiian programs.

Earlier this year, the campaign was extended to urban Indians, lineal Indian descendants and certain Alaska Natives. A DOJ official told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that providing health care to these groups of people would be unconstitutional.

“Under the Supreme Court’s decisions, there is a substantial likelihood that legislation providing special benefits to individuals of Indian or Alaska Native descent based on something other than membership or equivalent affiliation with a federally recognized tribe would be regarded by the courts as a racial classification,” Frederick Beckner III, a deputy assistant general at DOJ, said at a March 8 hearing.


October 24: The House debated a rule that would open H.R.505 to debate. A vote was called around 12:38pm on the rule.

The rule passed. Debate to last one hour on H.R.505 began around 1:15pm.

After one hour of debate, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) offered a motion to recommit in order to make amendments that would purportedly address constitutional, civil rights and other legal concerns regarding a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

At 2:49pm, the motion to recommit failed by a recorded vote.

The House is now voting on the bill. It passed by a 261-153 vote around 3:04pm

Statement of Administration Policy:
H.R. 505 – Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (October 22, 2007)

Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act::
H.R.505 | S.310

Relevant Links:
Office of Hawaiian Affairs –
Native Hawaiian Recognition –

Related Stories:
Appeals court revives Native Hawaiian trust lawsuit (8/22)
Spin Zone: Debate Native Hawaiian recognition (8/16)
Opinion: Native Hawaiian entity ripe for corruption (06/07)
Native Hawaiian school settles admission lawsuit (05/15)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves four bills (05/11)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee meeting (05/10)
Bush administration opposes Native Hawaiian bill (05/04)
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Democrats pass Native Hawaiian bill on second try (03/29)
House committee to take up Native Hawaiian bill (03/05)
Opinion: The misrecognition of ‘Native’ Hawaiians (2/28)
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9th Circuit rejects Native Hawaiian funding case (2/12)
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Column: Native Hawaiian advocates weigh Plan B (07/11)
9th Circuit to hear Native Hawaiian school case (06/20)
Opinion: Native Hawaiian debate far from over (6/16)
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Some hope for Native Hawaiians in court case (6/13)
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Opinion: Native Hawaiian recognition ‘racist’ (6/7)
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Bob Novak: GOPs lobby for Hawaiian Indians (6/5)
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Sen. McCain voted against Hawaiian apology (5/29)
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Miers cited Native Hawaiian work before withdrawing (10/28)
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Slade Gorton: Don’t recognize Native Hawaiians (08/19)
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Editorial: Native Hawaiians never had a government (8/4)
Appeals court blocks Native Hawaiian school policy (08/03)
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Debate on Native Hawaiian bill delayed in Senate (7/20)
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Column: Bill creates ‘tribe’ of Native Hawaiians (6/23)
High court won’t take on Native Hawaiian recognition (06/14)
Panel approves Native Hawaiian, NAGPRA changes (03/10)
Native Hawaiian recognition bill gets another shot (02/22)
Native Hawaiian recognition bill introduced again (01/27)
McCain won’t block Hawaiian recognition bill (01/14)
McCain opposes Native Hawaiian recognition bill (1/6)
Appeals court leaves Hawaiian recognition to Congress (11/02)
Bush investigating Native Hawaiian scholarships (03/17)
Hawaii senators consider deal on recognition bill (2/25)
Norton continues to question Native Hawaiian bill (2/23)
Native Hawaiian programs survive big court test (01/16)
Norton worried about ‘pitfalls’ for Native Hawaiians (01/13)
Alaska-Hawaii ties stir controversy among Natives (12/01)
Judge strikes down one Native Hawaiian lawsuit (11/21)
Lawsuits challenging Native Hawaiians benefits resume (11/12)
Legal threats galvanize Native Hawaiian community (09/15)
Native Hawaiians in limbo as courts open up programs (09/04)
Native Hawaiian recognition stalled in Congress (09/01)
Judge to rule in Native Hawaiian school case (08/20)
Native Hawaiians fight for federal recognition (07/21)
Student denied entry into Hawaiian school sues (06/30)
DOJ objected to Native Hawaiian legislation (06/06)
Native Hawaiians denied party status in suit (04/01)
Native Hawaiian office established in D.C. (02/27)
Opinion: Oppose Native Hawaiian bill (2/21)
Court affirms Native Hawaiian ruling (01/06)
Native Hawaiians press sovereignty (10/14)
U.S. dismissed from Native Hawaiian case (09/04)
Inouye: Native Hawaiian bill won’t pass (8/8)
Native Hawaiian bill supported (7/16)
Native Hawaiians intervene in lawsuit (7/12)
Judge won’t halt Hawaiian funding (3/14)
Native Hawaiian trust challenged (3/6)
Native Hawaiian bill on Senate agenda (7/20)
Federal judge blocks Army training (7/19)
Native Hawaiian lawsuit dismissed (7/13)
Shift in Senate means changes for Indian Country (5/25)
Senate confirms Olson as Solicitor General (5/25)
Native Hawaiian lands threatened (5/24)
A first for Native Hawaiians (4/5)
Indian Law and the Supreme Court (12/11)
OHA survives elections (11/14)
Final Hawaiian report released (10/24)
Native Hawaiian bill passes House (9/27)
Hawaiian affairs still controversial (9/13)
US recommends Hawaiian sovereignty (8/24)
Non-Natives win battle in suit (8/17)
Where are the Dems on tribes? (8/16)
March raises sovereignty awareness (8/14)
The GOP 2000 Platform on Native Americans (8/1)
Group challenges Hawaii (7/7)
Hawaiians march for sovereignty (7/5)

DOI attorney faults BIA office in Palm Springs

An Interior Department attorney who has been locked out of his office at the Bureau of Indian Affairs accused the agency on Tuesday of failing to account for millions of dollars in trust funds.

After a stint in Oklahoma, field solicitor Robert McCarthy went to work for the BIA in Palm Springs, California, over three years ago. He said he quickly learned that the agency didn’t have a way to track more than $30 million in annual lease payments owed to members of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Even when a payment was made, the BIA didn’t always pass it on to the beneficiary, McCarthy testified. In one case, the BIA kept a trust payment of $130,000 in a “special deposit account” for over 25 years because the agency didn’t know whose money it was.

Despite the apparent mismanagement, the BIA made money off of Agua Caliente landowners. “In virtually every case for virtually every type of administrative action,” the agency charged a fee for its services, McCarthy said.

For example, a fee of 1 percent was applied to every single land sale, McCarthy said. In Palm Springs — where real estate is big business — this amounted to payments to the BIA that were as high as $60,000, according to one document entered into evidence.

But federal regulations limit fees for land sales to $22.50, McCarthy said. The regulations also cap fees for leases at $500, though that apparently wasn’t followed in Palm Springs.

Similar problems were identified in a 1992 audit by the Interior Department’s Inspector General. The report recommended the BIA add a field solicitor to the Palm Springs office and develop a system to ensure Agua Caliente landowners were getting paid fair market value and that their leases were being enforced.

A computer system was purchased to track the leases, but McCarthy said he found it locked up in a back office and that it had never been used.

The situation prompted McCarthy to warn his superiors in the Solicitor’s Office, the Inspector General and eventually Jim Cason — the associate deputy secretary at DOI who was in charge of the BIA at the time — about the problems in Palm Springs. “I was kicked out of my office after I made my disclosures,” McCarthy told Judge James Robertson, who wondered why the solicitor was working from home — with pay — rather than at the BIA office.

“Everyone stopped talking to me,” McCarthy added. “I was shunned.”

And when McCarthy informed his superiors that he was going to testify in the Cobell trial, he was told he was going to be fired for allegedly disclosing confidential trust data to the media. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility group is defending McCarthy, who has filed appeals over his employment status.


Trial Transcripts:
Day 1 AM | Day 1 PM | Day 2 AM | Day 2 PM | Day 3 AM | Day 3 PM | Day 4 AM | Day 4 PM | Day 5 AM | Day 5 PM | Day 6 AM | Day 6 PM |Day 7 AM |Day 7 PM |Day 8 AM

Inspector General Audit:
Indian Trust Investigative Review (July 2007)

Google Map:
Agua Caliente Lands in Palm Springs

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Kempthorne –
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice –

Related Stories:
Interior attorney set to testify in Cobell case(10/22)
Interior says Cobell suit not worth billions (10/15)
Cason wraps up testimony in trust case (10/12)
Cobell accounting trial opens in DC (10/11)
Cobell historical accounting trial starts in DC (10/10)
CFO Magazine: The Indian trust fund accounting (10/5)
Cobell historical accounting trial starts October 10 (10/1)
BIA agency lacks accounting for millions in trust (09/25)
Audit finds Indian trust management problems (9/24)
Cobell: Upcoming trial tackles important issues (09/19)
Interior attorney to testify at upcoming Cobell trial (9/18)
DOI won’t release trust data in Cobell case (9/11)
Interior attorney accused of disclosing trust data (08/29)
Judge opens electronic data to Cobell plaintiffs (07/10)
Another Cobell historical accounting hearing (7/9)
Judge expresses views on Indian trust fund accounting (06/19)
Hearing on Cobell historical accounting trial (6/18)
Cobell prepares for court battle on accounting (5/30)
Cobell prepares for historical accounting trial (5/18)
Judge prods DOI on Indian trust fund accounting (5/15)
First status conference for Cobell accounting trial (5/14)
Cobell status conference pushed back to May 14 (05/02)
Attorney calls $7B Cobell offer pennies on dollar (4/24)
Cobell heads to landmark accounting trial (4/23)
Judge orders Cobell accounting trial for October 10 (4/20)
Jodi Rave: Cobell calls for accountability (4/12)
BIA office in Palm Springs criticized by landowners (4/11)
BIA office in Palm Springs under investigation (4/10)

SANI-T gets $500,000 to fight poverty

The Society for the Advancement of Native Interests-Today, commonly called SANI-T, has received a $500,000 grant from the Northwest Area Foundation in St. Paul, Minn.

The one-year grant will be used to support SANI-T initiatives aimed at reducing poverty among urban Native American populations. A portion will also be used to expand SANI-T’s ability to serve the community.

The grant will allow SANI-T to focus on a youth program and work-force program based on the medicine wheel concept of “returning to the center” (Cokata gli Najin) for healing. Divided into quadrants, the medicine wheel focuses on four areas of the individual — physical, mental, spiritual and social — each one reinforcing the other.


Going Home

I needed something to help me feel good this morning.  I’ve been in TX for over a month now and I really am ready to go home as well.  It will be a while longer before I can, but it was good to remember these guys going home.


  The Catalina Island Conservancy sends the last of the American Buffalo (Bison) home to the Lakota Indians.