News from Native American Netroots

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

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.

Vanishing Words, Vanishing World: ‘When we lose a culture, the whole world loses’

PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION — Skin has gathered at the corners of her eyes into soft brown wrinkles, and the tattoos on her forearms have faded into an inky blue.

Bernice Spotted Eagle rests on a couch in her three-bedroom house, her feet protected from cold linoleum floors by red slippers. The house is warmed by space heaters, one of which almost burned the house down.

But it is this house, she says as she gestures with small hands, that used to be so packed with relatives and friends, sleeping bags littering the floor every night.

Judge says no to mistrial in reservation slaying

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Tempers flared in a 34-year-old South Dakota murder case Friday when the government’s key witness described the defendant as an enforcer for a leader of a militant American Indian group that clashed with tribal and federal agents in the 1970s.

Arlo Looking Cloud took the stand for the second day in the federal trial of Richard Marshall, who is charged with aiding and abetting the 1975 slaying of Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Aquash, a member of Mi’kmaq Tribe of Nova Scotia, participated in the American Indian Movement’s 1973 armed occupation of the Pine Ridge village of Wounded Knee, a two-month siege that included ferocious gun battles with federal officers.

EPA Awards Nearly $80 Million to Cleanup and Revitalize Our Communities: Neighborhoods to gain health, environmental and economic benefits

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has selected $78.9 million in brownfields grants to communities in 40 states, four tribes, and one U.S. Territory. This funding will be used for the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties, including abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, closed smelters, and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. As of March 2010, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding, and 61,277 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment. These investments and jobs target local, under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. Cleaning up our communities is one of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities, which leads not only to health and environmental benefits but also economic development and prosperity.

Navajo Nation Council Calls on Obama to Protect Sacred Places

On April 22nd Earth Day, the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution calling on Obama to protect sacred places. The document also calls on the US to immediately sign onto the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Navajo Nation Council additionally urges the US President to meet with the tribe to discuss the protection of the holy San Francisco Peaks & other sacred places before May 8th 2009.

Bolivia: Being Present to Honor the Earth

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — At the close of the World Climate Conference, the Hall of Shame award goes to the mainstream US media, which usually pretends to be covering world events. In the case of the World Climate Conference, the mainstream US media was not only noticeably absent, but the armchair journalists pumped out spin articles to discredit Bolivian President Evo Morales. Take note of who wrote the ‘chicken’ articles and other negative articles, and follow their writing. Whether it is CIA-inspired, or just journalists attempting to make themselves look clever, the intent is to distract from the real purpose of the climate conference.

The real purpose is to rescue this planet from destruction by corporations and personal indulgence. President Evo Morales had the vision to bring people from all over the world here, people ready to rely on the wisdom of Indigenous Peoples to guarantee the protection of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Ninth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be held April 19-30 at the UN headquarters in New York. This year’s special theme is development with culture and identity. Cultural Survival is organizing two side events:

Thursday, April  22   1:15-2:45 PM

Persuading the US, New Zealand and Canada to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

1 UN Plaza

Conference Room DC2,  12th floor

New York, New York

Participants will consider how to persuade the US, New Zealand, and Canada to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this year.

Friday, April 23 1:15-2:45 PM  

Mapping Community-Based Protected Areas: a model for sustainable development and cultural and environmental protection

UNICEF Conference Room

1 UN Plaza

New York, New York

This event examines how taking a community-based approach to setting up protected areas can promote sustainable development. Such an approach integrates indigenous knowledge with solid science. By respecting traditional livelihoods, tenure, culture, and access to resources it also conserves ecosystems and biodiversity.

Cosponsors: CORALINA and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

EPA awards Cheyenne River Sioux $200,000 to clean up school property in White Horse

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe a $200,000 brownfields grant to clean up and revitalize the Old White Horse Day School property on BIA Route 4 (White Horse Road).

“Strengthening our nation’s Tribal communities is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Carol Rushin, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator in Denver. “This grant will help the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe transform a contaminated property into a community asset that provides new economic opportunities and jobs.”

From 1952 to 1995, the Bureau of Indian Affairs maintained and ran the school. The site is contaminated with metals, PCBs, and inorganic contaminants. Following cleanup, the Tribe is interested in constructing a new community building at the site, along with space to house a fire truck.

Bloody Oil

George Poitras, member of Mikisew Cree indigenous First Nation talks about the issues of pollution and cancers suffered by many of the First Nations people as a result of the Oil companies action extractive industries.

“My people are dying, and we believe British companies are responsible. My community, Fort Chipewyan in Alberta, Canada, is situated at the heart of the vast toxic moonscape that is the tar sands development. We live in a beautiful area, but unfortunately, we find ourselves upstream from the largest fossil fuel development on earth. UK oil companies like BP, and banks like RBS, are extracting the dirtiest form of oil from our traditional lands, and we fear it is killing us.” – George

BP has been prompted to disclose much information that has not been publicly available before. Tar sands has become a hot topic among the investment community and BP has been subject to a far higher level of investor scrutiny on the issue than ever before.

Chocolate’s Indigenous history makes for sweet, spicy tale

WASHINGTON – Chocolate is a flavor as old and varied as the Americas, says Richard Hetzler, executive chef at the acclaimed Mitsitam Cafe at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Mayans transplanted the cacao tree from the rainforest to their villages and fermented, dried and roasted its seeds to concoct a decidedly unsweet drink involving chilies and lots of froth.

The Aztec were drinking the bitter brew when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 1520s. Although the Spaniards didn’t like the beverage, they hauled the cacao seeds back to Europe. A century later, when someone thought to add sugar-a luxury the ancient Mayans didn’t have-this indigenous American flavor became a lasting worldwide sensation.

Native ties to making chocolate continue into the 21st century via Bedré Fine Chocolates, a company the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma bought in 2000. Bedré, sold in Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s department stores, is particularly proud to provide the guitar-shaped chocolates to three of the Seminole Nation’s Hard Rock© hotels. Guests find the delicious products of the only Native American-owned chocolate company in the United States on their pillows.



Archaeological Program opportunity for EBCI Teachers, Students

A unique program will allow EBCI high school students and teachers a chance to learn about the world of archaeological field work.

Students from Robbinsville High School work in 2008 excavating an historic Cherokee winter house in the Smokemont area during a High School Archaelogy Field School. (Photos courtesy of Melissa Crisp/GSMA)

A Teacher Workshop, designed for teachers from Cherokee High School or teachers from other schools who are EBCI tribal members, is slated for June 14-16 with a deadline to apply of May 21.  The program is sponsored by Parks as Classrooms in conjunction with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the EBCI Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO).  

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Superintendent to Oversee Indian Relations For National Park Service

Under Gerard Baker, the National Park Service hopes to make up for lost time, an awful lot of lost time. In less than two weeks Mr. Baker will become the agency’s very first assistant director for American Indian Relations, and he sees a lot of opportunities to improve relations between Native Americans and the agency that, in many cases, took control of their homelands.

“I think that now we take the opportunity to start creating dialogs, we start taking the opportunity to really start coming together as a nation to heal in many ways. And I guess I’m very thankful for that opportunity to be involved in that,” Mr. Baker said Monday evening from his office at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where he’s been the superintendent for the past six years. “I know there are a lot of things that we can do as a National Park Service under the direction of the director, and there’s a lot of things that we can do as American Indians. To come forth in education, to come forth in positions, to come forth in establishing once again that contact with the homeland that is now within Park Service boundaries in some cases.

“So there’s a lot of opportunity here to, again, I guess the best word that I could use is to start that healing process.”

California Native American Economic Development Conference

Native Nation Events is proud to announce the First Annual California Native American Economic Development Conference at the US Grant Hotel in San Diego, California this April 27th, 2010. This premiere event will cover an extensive range of topics affecting Tribal Nations, including current legal issues and diversification options, with a focus on financial strategies for continued success. This conference will connect Tribal Leaders from around the state with key professionals in the industry to generate ideas and formulate solutions.

Thousands of New Mexico Navajo Residents Will Soon Get Running Water

(April 12, 2010 Counselor, NM) USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner was in Counselor, New Mexico today to help dedicate the new water system that will provide water to thousands of residents of the Navajo Nation living in northwest New Mexico.

During the celebration, Brunner told the crowd, “This project represents the federal government’s commitment to meeting our obligations to ensure the health and welfare of the people of the Navajo Nation.” Brunner added, “Providing clean drinking water to these communities offers them the opportunity for a better quality of life and paves the path towards the sustainability of New Mexico’s rural communities.”

The new water line will serve 10,000 members of the Navajo Nation.  Currently, four thousand of these residents drive up to 100 miles round trip to haul water for their home use and to provide water for their livestock.

Bolivia’s indigenous women continue struggle for land

Sandra Fernandez is a Quechua Indian from Cochabamba, Bolivia. Her grandparents raised corn and flowers, but like many other families here, the family grew and the land didn’t suffice to support them all. Fernandez is 40, a single mother of four; she has left her children behind and come to Bolivia’s jungle frontier in search of land.

Land is a hot commodity in impoverished agrarian Bolivia, where much of the country’s 60 percent indigenous population lives by farming small parcels.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, the country’s first Indian leader, was re-elected to a second term in December 2009. Morales makes land redistribution and titling a cornerstone of his presidency. The majority of the country’s land has long been owned by a powerful non-indigenous fraction of the population, whose holdings are concentrated in the country’s fertile eastern lowlands. Morales’ government is now giving government-owned and unused land to poor and landless people, like Fernandez, in an attempt to combat this monopolization of Bolivian soil.

Black Mesa mine mess

A controversial clean water permit for a coal mine complex sited at a Navajo and Hopi sacred mountain is once again up for review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Peabody Western Coal Company seeks a renewal of its water quality permit for the Black Mesa/ Kayenta Mine Complex, despite the mine’s impact on water quality and local public health over several decades because of discharges of toxic heavy metals and pollutants into the water supply. EPA invites the public to submit comments through April 30th on the previously-withdrawn National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit pursuant to the Clean Water Act, which requires that all industrial dischargers of wastewater obtain and maintain a permit.

EPA granted the contested polllution permit in August 2009 and then withdrew it in early December 2009, after an appeal from a coalition of environmental and indigenous groups cited the mine’s numerous and egregious violations of the Clean Water Act and other federal environmental statutes. Appellants asserted that in granting the permit, EPA failed to adequately analyze the environmental impacts of leaking waste ponds, properly account for the discharge of heavy metals and pollutants into the water sources for nearby communities as well as the concomitant acidification of water and soil, or provide local residents with meaningful opportunities for public participation.

Videographer: A Portrait of Nathan Young IV

“I absolutely love my job and feel like I’m one of the luckiest people in the world,” states Pawnee filmmaker, Nathan Young IV, during a recent interview. “But honestly, and I know this may sound cheesy, I’ve always wanted to serve my culture and it seems that this is the best way for me to try and do that.”

Young, a member of the Pawnee nation, began his filmmaking career while teaching at Fort Gibson Public Schools in Oklahoma. While emphasizing cultural studies and bilingual education in Native American languages, Young encountered Joe Erb, who taught him the techniques needed to create stop-motion claymation movies.

“I had the opportunity to work on The Messenger to learn animation and I was lucky that Fort Gibson was so supportive in giving me the resources and freedom to learn,” recalls Young. Young, whose passion for Native American languages led him to pursue the study of Creek, Cherokee, and Choctaw during his studies at University of Oklahoma, viewed claymation films as an opportunity to educate and to inspire.

Indigenous leaders flee Colombia seeking protection

Three indigenous leaders from Colombia fled to Venezuela in early February fearing for their lives after more death threats from paramilitaries and harassment from the Colombian Army, according to supporters in Venezuela and other Colombian and international agencies.

The Wayuu activists are seeking protection for their people who live across northern Colombia and Venezuela. Wayuu communities have been under attack for several years in Colombia, according to Amnesty International.

Karmen Ramirez Boscan, Leonor Viloria and Linnei Ospina of the Force of Wayuu Women Organization (OFMW) are among the most recent group of indigenous activists to apply to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for protection from “armed actors” in their region, specifically from the Colombian Army, paramilitaries and others. The IACHR is an autonomous entity, affiliated with the Organization of American States

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News from Native American Netroots

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

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.

                           Eagle Feather



Uranium licenses are upheld by a split federal appeals court




DENVER – Uranium mining, banned on the Navajo Nation, advanced closer to tribal boundaries when the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing of in situ leach uranium mining at four sites near Crownpoint and Church Rock in New Mexico.

The split decision by a three-judge panel March 8 also denied a request for review of one of the sites near Church Rock where Hydro Resources, Inc., whose parent company is Uranium Resources Inc., has a joint venture with Itochu, a Tokyo-headquartered transnational, to begin producing an estimated six to nine million pounds of uranium annually from New Mexico.

Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining, a Navajo community organization; Southwest Research and Information Center, a nonprofit environmental education organization; and two local ranchers were joined by the Navajo Nation in a friend-of-the-court brief asserting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated atomic energy and environmental laws in granting the license.



Oglala Sioux Tribe picks Nebraska site for new nursing home




Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls announced Monday the construction of a new nursing home in Nebraska for members of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Two Bulls said the architectural drawings were being prepared, and financing for the nursing home is well on its way to being approved.

“We expect to begin construction sometime this spring, with the completion date in the fall of 2011,” she said.

She said the new facility would house 60 to 70 residents only minutes away from downtown Pine Ridge Village. The facility will sit on 40 acres of tribal land, provide 100 jobs with a variety of skill sets and create jobs for Native Americans.



Program aims to find American Indian victims of radiation exposure




Flagstaff, Ariz. » The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking the help of students to identify American Indians who might be victims of radiation exposure.

Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act in 1990, authorizing funding for people who worked in the uranium mining industry or nuclear weapons testing between 1942 and 1971 and contracted cancer or other diseases from radon exposure.

Most applications are filed by people living in the Four Corners region, but American Indian tradition and customs can make successful claims difficult.

Students can hear more about the part-time internships at Northern Arizona University on March 29, the University of New Mexico in Gallup on March 30 and at Dine College in Shiprock, N.M., on March 31.



Turnover negates boost to tribal police efforts




WASHINGTON – Native American reservations continue to lack adequate police protection, despite federal and tribal efforts to beef up their forces.

High turnover fueled by poor pay and high stress have worsened an epidemic of crime in tribal nations already compounded by a lack of money to hire officers and training programs to certify them, officials told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday.

About 3,000 police officers – a force smaller than the police department of Washington, D.C. – patrol 56 million acres of Indian Country. That’s barely half the level to meet adequate staffing levels, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That has contributed to violent crime rates that are 2 1/4 times the national average.



Study to examine tribal justice




WASHINGTON – The watchdog arm of Congress will examine justice on Indian reservations to see how well federal authorities work with tribal leaders to address crime rates that are among the highest in the nation.

The Government Accountability Office agreed to do the study at the behest of Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who represent states with some of the country’s largest – and least-protected – reservations. They expect to report back to the Senate by November.



Sherman Alexie wins 2010 Pen/Faulkner fiction prize for “War Dances”




“War Dances” by novelist Sherman Alexie has won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the organizers announced Tuesday.

The prestigious annual award, presented by the Washington-based PEN/Faulkner Foundation, was given to Alexie because of his book’s breadth of topics and innovative style, judges said. “War Dances” consists of short stories interspersed with poems.



US human rights record challenged




The Haudenosaunee Confederacy – the oldest continuous democratic government in North America – has long argued that Indian nations should not expect to win justice from colonizing governments, and instead must act as sovereign nations taking their quest for justice to the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms.

Though it claims to be a defender of human rights around the world, the United States is among the worst offenders of Native peoples’ rights, judging by statistics that indicate Indian women are the most raped and abused in the nation, while rampant poverty, disease, crime and unemployment are a way of life on reservations.



Guardian Angels starting first reservation chapter




HELENA, Mont. – Fed up with growing gang violence, Montana tribal leaders this weekend will start the first-ever American Indian reservation chapter of the Guardian Angels.

The new chapter of the citizens’ crime-watch group — whose members are known by their red berets in New York, Chicago and other U.S. cities — will begin training about 50 recruits on the rural Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The sprawling reservation on the plains of eastern Montana is home to 6,000 of the approximately 10,000 enrolled members of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes.

Chauncey Whitwright III, vice chairman of the Wolf Point Community Organization, said the children of the 3,200-square-mile reservation are vulnerable to gangs that have crept in from the outside.



Lawmakers advance bill to start $100K fund for Whiteclay




Lawmakers in Nebraska voted 25-15 to advance a bill that would create a $100,000 fund to address problems in and around Whiteclay.

Four liquor stores in the town sell 4.1 million cans of beer a year. Most of the customers are from the nearby Oglala Sioux Tribe. The fund represents a portion of tax revenues generated by liquor sales at Whiteclay. According to KELO-TV, the stores make $3 million a year. The fund could be used for law enforcement, health and other programs. The bill still needs to gain final approval.



RI Indians want valuable Navy property in Newport




NEWPORT, R.I. – Hundreds of prime acres are up for grabs in this waterfront city and its neighboring towns, valuable commodity on an island known for prized beaches, lavish homes and natural beauty.

The 260 acres on Aquidneck Island were for decades owned by the U.S. Navy, which says it no longer needs the land and is moving to unload it. The island communities envision the property as untapped economic potential for sweeping new development.

But another suitor — the Narragansett Indian Tribe — says the land falls under its ancestral footprint and is mounting a bid that may conflict with local development plans.



Earth lodge at archway builds bond




KEARNEY, Neb. – When the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma returns to Kearney for a powwow in June, its members will be getting building lessons from their long lost cousins, the Arikara of North Dakota.

Plans are rapidly coming together to build an authentic earth lodge near the Great Platte River Road Archway.

Decades ago, some American Indian tribes of Nebraska occupied earth lodges built of saplings, earth and sod stacked over frames of heavy timbers.



Grant to fund high-speed Internet on Navajo Nation




ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The federal government is investing more than $32 million in stimulus funds to help the nation’s largest American Indian reservation, the Navajo Nation, build a high-speed Internet highway that will connect thousands of homes and businesses across the sprawling reservation.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the grant Thursday, saying Navajo communities in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah will benefit.

Locke says 60 percent of homes on the reservation lack basic telephone service and many Navajo communities have unemployment levels that exceed 40 percent.



Stewart Udall, former Interior secretary, dies




WASHINGTON – Stewart Udall, U.S. Interior secretary during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, has passed away at 90. He was the last original Cabinet member of the Kennedy era.

According to a statement from his son, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., he died March 20 in his home in Santa Fe, N.M., surrounded by his children. Natural causes after a fall were cited as the reason.

Udall was born Jan. 31, 1920, in St. Johns, Ariz. Before serving in the executive branch, he was a member of Congress. He and several of his family members have been advocates for Native American issues both inside and outside of government.



New face at the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs




DENVER – Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, chair of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, has announced the appointment of Carol Harvey, Navajo, a former energy attorney, as the new CCIA executive secretary.

The CCIA head acts as liaison between the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes, the urban Indian population and state of Colorado. Harvey replaces Ernest House Jr., Ute Mountain Ute, who resigned Jan. 22 to become director of governmental affairs for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Harvey, a veteran of 28 years in legal work for the oil and gas industry, comes to the CCIA from a law practice in Santa Fe, N.M. Her MBA and JD degrees are from the University of Denver, where she also obtained undergraduate degrees in political science and economics.



Building Strong Sovereign Nations




Tribal Goverance Training Conference



Mich. Gov. Granholm Instructs Mich. AG Cox to Defend Obama Health Care Program




It’s not Indian law, but it is pretty amazing……



Native Stations Directory




Native Americans have built a strong network of 33 public radio stations that provide a lifeline to their communities. These stations bring a contemporary voice, often in Native languages, that evokes the oral traditions of a cultural heritage centuries in the making.

Native radio is local radio. It reaches vast stretches of tribal lands that still hold pockets of villages and isolated homes, some without electricity. Radio’s portability and 24/7 presence help Native stations carry the information that no other media is there to deliver.



Records in Arizona sweat lodge case offer details




PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) – Documents released Thursday in the case of a motivational speaker charged with manslaughter expand on the already wide range of experiences participants reported having during an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony.

James Arthur Ray, who led the ceremony as part of his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat, faces manslaughter charges in the deaths of three people who entered the sweat lodge near Sedona last year, and suffered heat stroke and hyperthermia. Ray has pleaded not guilty.

The more than 50 people inside the pitch-black sweat lodge all could be called to testify during Ray’s trial slated to begin Aug. 31. Prosecutors also have identified as potential witnesses more than two dozen other people who attended past events led by Ray and about 10 people who worked for him.

Twelve jurors could end up hearing more than 55 days of testimony from witnesses.



New report details renewable energy resources on tribal lands




The New Energy Future in Indian Country: Confronting Climate Change,

Creating Jobs, and Conserving Nature

Washington, DC (March 23) – Indian Tribes are disproportionately bearing the brunt of climate change. But the huge potential on tribal lands to generate clean energy from renewable resources presents tribes with the opportunity to be a significant part of the solution through climate policy that creates green jobs and protects natural resources, detailed in a new report.

“Tribal households pay significantly more in home energy expenses than other Americans,” said Bob Gruenig, senior policy analyst, National Tribal Environmental Council. “The vast potential on tribal lands to generate clean energy from renewable resources means that Indian Tribes can help to provide for their own energy needs, generate clean power for a new energy future in Indian Country, and put American on the path to energy independence.”



Snippets of History




Friday, March 26, 2010

On this day in 1958, the White Alice or the frozen north ALaska Integrated Communications and Electronic system began operating. Alaska Native people participated in the U.S. Air Force project that was built to enhance defense and provide telephone and telegraph service to the Alaskan public.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

During this week in 2009, the White House announced President Obama intended to nominate Dr. Yvette Roubideaux as leader of the Indian Health Service. The Rosebud Sioux member was nominated and confirmed as Director of the IHS and currently oversees the agency that serves nearly two million people across the country.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On this day in 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska. The spill had devastating impacts on subsistence resources for Alaska Native people and commercial fishers. Court battles led to compensation for victims nearly two decades after the spill.

Monday, March 22, 2010

During this month in 1909, the Navajo National Monument was established. Three intact cliff dwellings are preserved at the site in Arizona. Various groups have lived in the Four Corners region for thousands of years. Most of the remains date between 700 and 1500 years ago.

                red_black_rug_design2

News from Native American Netroots

 red_black_rug_design2

Welcome to News from Native American Netroots, a weekly series focused on indigenous tribes primarily in the United States and Canada, but inclusive of international peoples also.

Our format will be evolving and our focus of coverage will broaden as the series develops.

News from Native American Netroots is unique as a news digest in the fact that this it is based on community contributions.  Articles can be submitted in the commment thread or posted at Native American Netroots each week.

cross posted at Native Amercan Netroots



Uranium licenses are upheld by a split federal appeals court




DENVER – Uranium mining, banned on the Navajo Nation, advanced closer to tribal boundaries when the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing of in situ leach uranium mining at four sites near Crownpoint and Church Rock in New Mexico.

The split decision by a three-judge panel March 8 also denied a request for review of one of the sites near Church Rock where Hydro Resources, Inc., whose parent company is Uranium Resources Inc., has a joint venture with Itochu, a Tokyo-headquartered transnational, to begin producing an estimated six to nine million pounds of uranium annually from New Mexico.

Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining, a Navajo community organization; Southwest Research and Information Center, a nonprofit environmental education organization; and two local ranchers were joined by the Navajo Nation in a friend-of-the-court brief asserting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated atomic energy and environmental laws in granting the license.



Oglala Sioux Tribe picks Nebraska site for new nursing home




Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls announced Monday the construction of a new nursing home in Nebraska for members of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Two Bulls said the architectural drawings were being prepared, and financing for the nursing home is well on its way to being approved.

“We expect to begin construction sometime this spring, with the completion date in the fall of 2011,” she said.

She said the new facility would house 60 to 70 residents only minutes away from downtown Pine Ridge Village. The facility will sit on 40 acres of tribal land, provide 100 jobs with a variety of skill sets and create jobs for Native Americans.



Program aims to find American Indian victims of radiation exposure




Flagstaff, Ariz. » The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking the help of students to identify American Indians who might be victims of radiation exposure.

Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act in 1990, authorizing funding for people who worked in the uranium mining industry or nuclear weapons testing between 1942 and 1971 and contracted cancer or other diseases from radon exposure.

Most applications are filed by people living in the Four Corners region, but American Indian tradition and customs can make successful claims difficult.

Students can hear more about the part-time internships at Northern Arizona University on March 29, the University of New Mexico in Gallup on March 30 and at Dine College in Shiprock, N.M., on March 31.



Turnover negates boost to tribal police efforts




WASHINGTON – Native American reservations continue to lack adequate police protection, despite federal and tribal efforts to beef up their forces.

High turnover fueled by poor pay and high stress have worsened an epidemic of crime in tribal nations already compounded by a lack of money to hire officers and training programs to certify them, officials told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday.

About 3,000 police officers – a force smaller than the police department of Washington, D.C. – patrol 56 million acres of Indian Country. That’s barely half the level to meet adequate staffing levels, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That has contributed to violent crime rates that are 2 1/4 times the national average.



Study to examine tribal justice




WASHINGTON – The watchdog arm of Congress will examine justice on Indian reservations to see how well federal authorities work with tribal leaders to address crime rates that are among the highest in the nation.

The Government Accountability Office agreed to do the study at the behest of Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who represent states with some of the country’s largest – and least-protected – reservations. They expect to report back to the Senate by November.



Sherman Alexie wins 2010 Pen/Faulkner fiction prize for “War Dances”




“War Dances” by novelist Sherman Alexie has won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the organizers announced Tuesday.

The prestigious annual award, presented by the Washington-based PEN/Faulkner Foundation, was given to Alexie because of his book’s breadth of topics and innovative style, judges said. “War Dances” consists of short stories interspersed with poems.



US human rights record challenged




The Haudenosaunee Confederacy – the oldest continuous democratic government in North America – has long argued that Indian nations should not expect to win justice from colonizing governments, and instead must act as sovereign nations taking their quest for justice to the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms.

Though it claims to be a defender of human rights around the world, the United States is among the worst offenders of Native peoples’ rights, judging by statistics that indicate Indian women are the most raped and abused in the nation, while rampant poverty, disease, crime and unemployment are a way of life on reservations.



Guardian Angels starting first reservation chapter




HELENA, Mont. – Fed up with growing gang violence, Montana tribal leaders this weekend will start the first-ever American Indian reservation chapter of the Guardian Angels.

The new chapter of the citizens’ crime-watch group — whose members are known by their red berets in New York, Chicago and other U.S. cities — will begin training about 50 recruits on the rural Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The sprawling reservation on the plains of eastern Montana is home to 6,000 of the approximately 10,000 enrolled members of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes.

Chauncey Whitwright III, vice chairman of the Wolf Point Community Organization, said the children of the 3,200-square-mile reservation are vulnerable to gangs that have crept in from the outside.



Lawmakers advance bill to start $100K fund for Whiteclay




Lawmakers in Nebraska voted 25-15 to advance a bill that would create a $100,000 fund to address problems in and around Whiteclay.

Four liquor stores in the town sell 4.1 million cans of beer a year. Most of the customers are from the nearby Oglala Sioux Tribe. The fund represents a portion of tax revenues generated by liquor sales at Whiteclay. According to KELO-TV, the stores make $3 million a year. The fund could be used for law enforcement, health and other programs. The bill still needs to gain final approval.



RI Indians want valuable Navy property in Newport




NEWPORT, R.I. – Hundreds of prime acres are up for grabs in this waterfront city and its neighboring towns, valuable commodity on an island known for prized beaches, lavish homes and natural beauty.

The 260 acres on Aquidneck Island were for decades owned by the U.S. Navy, which says it no longer needs the land and is moving to unload it. The island communities envision the property as untapped economic potential for sweeping new development.

But another suitor — the Narragansett Indian Tribe — says the land falls under its ancestral footprint and is mounting a bid that may conflict with local development plans.



Earth lodge at archway builds bond




KEARNEY, Neb. – When the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma returns to Kearney for a powwow in June, its members will be getting building lessons from their long lost cousins, the Arikara of North Dakota.

Plans are rapidly coming together to build an authentic earth lodge near the Great Platte River Road Archway.

Decades ago, some American Indian tribes of Nebraska occupied earth lodges built of saplings, earth and sod stacked over frames of heavy timbers.



Grant to fund high-speed Internet on Navajo Nation




ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The federal government is investing more than $32 million in stimulus funds to help the nation’s largest American Indian reservation, the Navajo Nation, build a high-speed Internet highway that will connect thousands of homes and businesses across the sprawling reservation.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the grant Thursday, saying Navajo communities in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah will benefit.

Locke says 60 percent of homes on the reservation lack basic telephone service and many Navajo communities have unemployment levels that exceed 40 percent.



Stewart Udall, former Interior secretary, dies




WASHINGTON – Stewart Udall, U.S. Interior secretary during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, has passed away at 90. He was the last original Cabinet member of the Kennedy era.

According to a statement from his son, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., he died March 20 in his home in Santa Fe, N.M., surrounded by his children. Natural causes after a fall were cited as the reason.

Udall was born Jan. 31, 1920, in St. Johns, Ariz. Before serving in the executive branch, he was a member of Congress. He and several of his family members have been advocates for Native American issues both inside and outside of government.



New face at the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs




DENVER – Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, chair of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, has announced the appointment of Carol Harvey, Navajo, a former energy attorney, as the new CCIA executive secretary.

The CCIA head acts as liaison between the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes, the urban Indian population and state of Colorado. Harvey replaces Ernest House Jr., Ute Mountain Ute, who resigned Jan. 22 to become director of governmental affairs for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Harvey, a veteran of 28 years in legal work for the oil and gas industry, comes to the CCIA from a law practice in Santa Fe, N.M. Her MBA and JD degrees are from the University of Denver, where she also obtained undergraduate degrees in political science and economics.



Building Strong Sovereign Nations




Tribal Goverance Training Conference



Mich. Gov. Granholm Instructs Mich. AG Cox to Defend Obama Health Care Program




It’s not Indian law, but it is pretty amazing……



Native Stations Directory




Native Americans have built a strong network of 33 public radio stations that provide a lifeline to their communities. These stations bring a contemporary voice, often in Native languages, that evokes the oral traditions of a cultural heritage centuries in the making.

Native radio is local radio. It reaches vast stretches of tribal lands that still hold pockets of villages and isolated homes, some without electricity. Radio’s portability and 24/7 presence help Native stations carry the information that no other media is there to deliver.



Records in Arizona sweat lodge case offer details




PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) – Documents released Thursday in the case of a motivational speaker charged with manslaughter expand on the already wide range of experiences participants reported having during an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony.

James Arthur Ray, who led the ceremony as part of his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat, faces manslaughter charges in the deaths of three people who entered the sweat lodge near Sedona last year, and suffered heat stroke and hyperthermia. Ray has pleaded not guilty.

The more than 50 people inside the pitch-black sweat lodge all could be called to testify during Ray’s trial slated to begin Aug. 31. Prosecutors also have identified as potential witnesses more than two dozen other people who attended past events led by Ray and about 10 people who worked for him.

Twelve jurors could end up hearing more than 55 days of testimony from witnesses.



New report details renewable energy resources on tribal lands




The New Energy Future in Indian Country: Confronting Climate Change,

Creating Jobs, and Conserving Nature

Washington, DC (March 23) – Indian Tribes are disproportionately bearing the brunt of climate change. But the huge potential on tribal lands to generate clean energy from renewable resources presents tribes with the opportunity to be a significant part of the solution through climate policy that creates green jobs and protects natural resources, detailed in a new report.

“Tribal households pay significantly more in home energy expenses than other Americans,” said Bob Gruenig, senior policy analyst, National Tribal Environmental Council. “The vast potential on tribal lands to generate clean energy from renewable resources means that Indian Tribes can help to provide for their own energy needs, generate clean power for a new energy future in Indian Country, and put American on the path to energy independence.”



Snippets of History




Friday, March 26, 2010

On this day in 1958, the White Alice or the frozen north ALaska Integrated Communications and Electronic system began operating. Alaska Native people participated in the U.S. Air Force project that was built to enhance defense and provide telephone and telegraph service to the Alaskan public.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

During this week in 2009, the White House announced President Obama intended to nominate Dr. Yvette Roubideaux as leader of the Indian Health Service. The Rosebud Sioux member was nominated and confirmed as Director of the IHS and currently oversees the agency that serves nearly two million people across the country.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On this day in 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska. The spill had devastating impacts on subsistence resources for Alaska Native people and commercial fishers. Court battles led to compensation for victims nearly two decades after the spill.

Monday, March 22, 2010

During this month in 1909, the Navajo National Monument was established. Three intact cliff dwellings are preserved at the site in Arizona. Various groups have lived in the Four Corners region for thousands of years. Most of the remains date between 700 and 1500 years ago.

News from Native American Netroots

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Welcome to the first edition of News from Native American Netroots, a weekly series focused on indigenous tribes primarily in the United States and Canada, but inclusive of international peoples also.

Our format will be evolving and our focus of coverage will broaden as the series develops.

News from Native American Netroots is unique as a news digest in the fact that this it is based on community contributions.  Articles can be submitted in the commment thread or posted at Native American Netroots each week.

Attorney General Announces Significant Reforms to Improve Public Safety in Indian Country

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced sweeping reforms intended to improve public safety on tribal land. The new directive is part of a larger Justice Department initiative to create better communication and coordination to fight crime and promote justice in Indian Country.

“The public safety challenges we face in Indian Country will not be solved by a single grant or a single piece of legislation,” Holder said. “There is no quick fix. While today’s directive is significant progress, we need to continue our efforts with federal, state and tribal partners to identify solutions to the challenges we face, and work to implement them.”

Taxpayers’ money involved in financing controversial tar sands companies

Indigenous Environmental Network

New report exposes RBS involvement in Canada’s “blood oil

Bank executives meet in Toronto and discuss concerns about public backlash over involvement in tar sands

Environmental and development groups announce a week of protest around the RBS AGM in April over the bank’s tar sands investments.

Sacred Wind donates $35,000

Sacred Wind Communications Inc. is donating $10,000 to the American Indian Graduate Center and $15,000 to the Navajo Technical College.

The Albuquerque firm was voted the most inspiring small business in America in the American Express/NBC Shine a Light contest last October. It received $50,000 in cash, half of which Sacred Wind immediately donated to Native scholarship programs.

Utah Senate OKs more money to oversee Navajo fund


A bill that would double the state’s administrative budget in overseeing the Navajo Revitalization Fund cleared the Senate 24-0 on Tuesday.

According to Utah Housing & Community Development, the goal of this fund is to make the most of the state’s oil and natural gas severance taxes to reduce the impacts of those industries on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County.

“It’s our fund, and we elect to give it back to the Navajo tribe,” said SB169’s sponsor, Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, in explaining the state’s authority to expand the administrative portion.

LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO STRENGTHEN PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF DIABETES AMONG AMERICAN INDIANS, NATIVE ALASKANS


WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced legislation this week that would ramp up federal efforts to prevent and treat diabetes among American Indians and Native Alaskans. Joining Dorgan as lead co-sponsor are Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

The legislation, S. 3058, targets one of the leading health problems among American Indians and Native Alaskans. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 17 percent of all American Indians and Native Alaskans have diabetes – nearly one in five – the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group in America.

The bill reauthorizes the Special Diabetes Program, which funds both prevention and treatment research for Type I diabetes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a special prevention and treatment program for American Indians and Native Alaskans through the Indian Health Service (IHS). Each of those two programs is currently funded at $150 million annually. The new legislation would increase funding for each program by one third — to $200 million annually — for each of the next five years.

Report: Prospects good for 2010 spring runoff


New Mexico’s spring runoff forecast for March through July is looking good, according to a water-supply report released Friday.

The New Mexico portion of the Rio Grande Basin sports the fifth-best snowpack in 16 years, said Wayne Sleep, snow surveyor for the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Native America Calling

Native America Calling is a live call-in program linking public radio stations, the Internet and listeners together in a thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities. Each program engages noted guests and experts with callers throughout the United States and is designed to improve the quality of life for Native Americans. Native America Calling is heard on 52 stations in the United States and in Canada by approximately 500,000 listeners each week.

Utah Senate OKs more money to oversee Navajo fund

A bill that would double the state’s administrative budget in overseeing the Navajo Revitalization Fund cleared the Senate 24-0 on Tuesday.

According to Utah Housing & Community Development, the goal of this fund is to make the most of the state’s oil and natural gas severance taxes to reduce the impacts of those industries on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County.

“It’s our fund, and we elect to give it back to the Navajo tribe,” said SB169’s sponsor, Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, in explaining the state’s authority to expand the administrative portion.

Citgo will once again donate heating fuel to tribal residents


Applications Currently Available

AKWESASNE TERRITORY – The long-awaited fuel assistance program in

partnership with the CITGO Petroleum Corporation will once again be a

reality for the Mohawk Tribe. CITGO’s partnership with Citizens

Programs Corporation recently confirmed that they will be providing

$1,081,000 of financial support for the Akwesasne Community for home

heating.

www.srmt-nsn.gov/…/CITGOToProvideFuelAssistanceToTribe_040709.pdf

“It’s for tribes in the north for whom heating becomes a survival

issue,” said David T. Staddon, director of public information for the

tribe. “We are the northernmost tribe in the state.

Native protesters block road between Crofton and Chemainus

Members of the Halalt First Nation have erected a blockade in front of their Chemainus Road band office as part of an ongoing dispute with the District of North Cowichan.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Cpl. Kevin Day said the Halalt blocked the road between Crofton and Chemainus Thursday afternoon by parking several vehicles across it. A provincial negotiator has been called in, Day said.

The Halalt are peacefully protesting the Chemainus Wells project, said Tyler George, a Halalt Tribe councillor.

South Dakota not a ‘Race to the Top’ finalist


SIOUX FALLS – South Dakota is not one of the 16 finalists for a federal grant that would have helped the state build a residential school designed to improve academic achievement among Native American students.

The U.S. Department of Education named the finalists Thursday in the first round of its “Race to the Top” competition, delivering $4.35 billion in grants aimed at encouraging and rewarding states that help improve student success.

Under South Dakota’s proposal, partners would have established a year-round, residential school — likely in the Black Hills — for ninth through 12th grades and two years of postsecondary education. Curriculum would have focused on science, technology, engineering and math to address the need for scientists and engineers, while infusing Native American family culture.

Special thanks to our new group of researchers, advisors and diarists who make up NATIVE AMERICAN NETROOTS:

4Freedom, Aji, bablhous, Bill in MD, Chris Rodda, Deep Harm, exmearden, KentuckyKat, Kimberley, Kitsap River, Land of Enchantment, No Way Lack of Brain, Oke, ParkRanger, Richard Cranium, Soothsayer99, swampus, TiaRachel, tlemon, translatorpro, Diogenes2008, birdbrain64, lexalou, marthature, meralda.

Advisors:



Rosebud Reservation
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cacamp

SarahLee

lpggirl

Pine Ridge Reservation Photobucket

Autumn Two Bulls

Kevin Killer, State Rep. Pine Ridge SD Dist. 27

     

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

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Weekly News

It is an honor to have the opportunity to assist in bringing news and issues of the tribal nations to DailyKos and NAN.

When I say assist, that is exactly what I mean. This isn’t my weekly news diary, it is ours.

With that said, I would like to ask for suggestions as to categories of topics, issues, any suggestions or questions.

Below the fold I kicked off with a few questions that came to mind.

 

Do we want news categories?

Do we want individuals to focus on news pieces on specific topics/issues?

Any suggestions on specific formats?

Again, this is our weekly news, so please give feedback here.

Posting links to news resources here would be helpful too, as a shared resource we can all take some time to look through them. What one of us might overlook could be recognized by another as a significant piece that should be included.

What I don’t know about in all aspects of life is a lot, on any given day.

And I don’t know what I don’t know, so I’m asking for clarity, guidance, and wisdom where mine is lacking.

Again, I am grateful to be a part of this community and look forward to what we as a community put together each week.