BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ The North Dakota Legislature has approved a bill that would allow American Indian students to wear eagle feathers or plumes at school graduations.
The Senate passed the House bill 45-0 on Monday.
Fargo Democratic Rep. Ruth Buffalo, the bill sponsor, says American Indians view the eagle feather and plumes as a symbol of honor and pride.
The North Dakota School Boards Association supports the legislation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the National Eagle Repository to provide Native Americans with eagle carcasses, parts and feathers.
Lawmakers Mull Eagle Feathers, Plumes at Graduations
By JAMES MacPHERSON
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ American Indian students in North Dakota would be allowed to wear eagle feathers or plumes at school graduations under a measure considered by the Legislature.
Fargo Democratic Rep. Ruth Buffalo, the bill sponsor and member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, told the Senate Education Committee on Monday that some schools in the state forbid the practice of wearing eagle feather and plumes, which are Native American symbols of strength, honor and pride.
They are presented by families or elders to recognize major accomplishments, Buffalo said.
``Students should not have to worry about whether they will be allowed to celebrate their heritage,'' said Buffalo, the first female Native American Democrat elected to the state Legislature.
``Embracing our indigenous culture and identity are essential to our survival,'' she said.
The House passed the bipartisan tribal regalia bill 90-2 last month. The Senate committee did not take immediate action on Monday.
State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and the North Dakota School Boards Association and State Superintendent support the legislation, ad
South Dakota passed similar legislation last year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the National Eagle Repository to provide Native Americans with eagle carcasses, parts and feathers.
Carol Two Eagles, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux, told lawmakers that schools that forbid the practice are violating students' First Amendment Rights.
North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission Director Scott Davis, who also is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux, called the legislation ``long overdue'' and it recognizes a ``long, long, long-standing custom for us.''
Davis said in an interview he gets complaints each spring from Native American parents who have been told their children can't wear eagle feathers or plumes at high school graduation.
Sheridan McNeil, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux, said her son, Drayton Kary, will wear an eagle feather given to him by his late father at his high school graduation in Bismarck this spring.
``It sends a positive message and shows our youth and the people of North Dakota who we are,'' said McNeil, who's Dakota name translated means ``Respects the People Woman.''
Vienna to Take State Grant Money to Build Amphitheater
VIENNA, Ill. (AP) _ The southern Illinois city of Vienna will use $360,000 in state grant money to build an amphitheater as well as shower facilities at Tunnel Hill park.
The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that construction is expected to begin this summer on a project that will include a wooden amphitheater for events such as concerts and possibly interpretive history lessons related to the forced relocation of Native Americans called the Trail of Tears that reached its midway point in Vienna.
The bathroom and shower facilities will be built for the Tunnel Hill 100 race in August.
The project is one of 89 across Illinois sharing in $28.9 million from the state that will allow communities to acquire open space and develop and improve recreational facilities.
Montana Tribes Could Access Coal Fund Loans under Proposal
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) _ Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow Native American tribal governments to take out loans from the state Coal Tax Fund for infrastructure projects.
Non-tribal local governments already have access to the fund, which loaned $20.6 million last year.
The Missoulian reports the bill by Democratic Rep. Shane Morigeau of Missoula would make the state's seven federally recognized tribes and the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe eligible, too.
The Montana House Appropriations Committee heard the bill on Monday.
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes council member Carole Lankford says tribal governments have few chances to impose taxes or issue tax-exempt bonds. She says the loan program would allow tribes to accomplish more.
Morigeau says the addition of the tribes would not affect other governments' ability to access the funds.
Judge Won't End Decades-Old Everglades Cleanup Oversight
By CURT ANDERSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer
MIAMI (AP) _ A federal judge on Monday refused to end a decades-old court order that oversees water quality and environmental restoration in the sensitive Florida Everglades.
Miami U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno rejected a motion by the South Florida Water Management District to end a decree signed in 1992. Among other things, the order sets thresholds for the amount of phosphorous in the Everglades, an ingredient in fertilizer from the vast sugar-growing regions to the north that promotes unhealthy plant growth in the sprawling marsh.
Moreno said among his reasons for denying the water district's motion is that its governing board is being largely replaced by new Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made the environment a top priority. The judge also said it would require a full evidentiary hearing on complicated scientific and environmental issues to end the decree.
``This is the right thing to do at this time,'' Moreno said at a hearing. ``There's really no harm, is there?''
The order allows the water district to file the motion again in the future. The decree is not involved with other water problems that plagued Florida coasts last year, including red tide outbreaks and algae blooms.
The water district and sugar growers say the decree is outdated, thwarts projects that would benefit the Everglades and has been superseded by subsequent state and federal laws that guarantee restoration would continue. The projects include vast reservoirs that cleanse water flowing south from sugar farms before it flows into the Everglades.
``Twenty-seven years is enough. It's enough because it's unnecessary,'' said water board attorney Brian Accardo.
The U.S. government, environmental groups and the Miccosukee Indian tribe disagree, saying the decree is key to pursuing potential violations and ensuring the cleanup projects get built. They say it should remain in place until the Everglades has achieved an environmental balance close to its historical makeup. The Miccosukee reservation is in the Everglades.
``The decree is essential to protect the Everglades,'' said Anna Upton, attorney for the Florida Audubon Society. ``We're not there yet. We've come a long way.''
The decree arose out of a 1988 lawsuit filed by the U.S. against the water district claiming high phosphorous discharges were threatening the long-term future of the Everglades. The state and water district contended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was equally responsible by moving polluted water into the area.
In 1992, the consent decree was signed involving the federal and state entities, setting goals for reducing phosphorous as well as the levels of water at the right times needed to keep the ecosystem healthy.
A key point in the settlement talks came with then-Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, showed up at a court hearing in 1991 and said: ``We want to surrender. I want to find out who I can give my sword to.''
Florida Department of Environmental Protection attorney Charles DeMonaco said about $2 billion has been spent to date on Everglades projects, with another $1 billion in the pipeline over the next four years. He said the state would also like to see the consent decree end, but only when there is an agreement on how success would be measured.
``We don't want to fight anyone. We want to end it,'' DeMonaco said.
Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt
Massachusetts Tribe Opposes Tribal Land Bill in Congress
AQUINNAH, Mass. (AP) _ A Native American tribe on Martha's Vineyard says it is opposed to federal legislation aimed at securing land for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head in Aquinnah said in a Jan. 22 letter that a bill introduced by Democratic U.S. Rep. William Keating would have an adverse impact on the tribe's ability to acquire additional ancestral land.
The Cape Cod Times reports that Keating in a statement said his legislation is tailored specifically to make sure the Mashpee tribe is protected from having its land removed from a trust.
The bill would end ongoing litigation challenging the Mashpee tribe's reservation. Aquinnah Tribal Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais says her tribe should be included in the legislation.
Keating's office says it will work with the Aquinnah tribe to address concerns.
Information from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, http://www.capecodtimes.com
Oklahoma Tribal, Congressional Leaders Praise Bill's Passage
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma tribal leaders and members of Congress are applauding the final passage of bill that will end a blood-quantum requirement they have long considered discriminatory.
The Stigler Act Amendments of 2018 were given final approval in the U.S. House last week, and the bill is now awaiting President Donald Trump's signature. The legislation applies to citizens of five Oklahoma tribes: the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole nations. It ends a requirement for holders of tribal allotment land from those tribes to have a certain percentage of tribal blood.
The Oklahoman reports the bill was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, a Moore Republican and Chickasaw Nation citizen. The rest of Oklahoma's GOP delegation co-sponsored the measure.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker also praised the bill's passage.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com
Japan's Whaling Decision Could Affect Alaska Native Whalers
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) _ Japan's decision to leave the International Whaling Commission could have consequences on subsistence whaling by Alaska Natives.
Alaska's Energy Desk reports Japan announced last month that it's leaving the commission to resume commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years.
John Hopson Jr., chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, says Japan has been a ``strong ally'' in helping Alaska Native whalers obtain their hunting quota for the animals.
The international commission sets the quota for subsistence whaling. The commission approved a rule change last year that made the renewal of aboriginal subsistence whaling automatic.
Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission lawyer Jessica Lefevre says Japan's absence on the commission could shift the balance of power, possibly leading to the automatic renewal rule being challenged.
New Mexico Politics, Immigration Make Headlines in 2018
By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ New Mexico Democrats solidified their power over state government during the midterm elections as a long-held GOP congressional seat in a key border district was flipped by a political newcomer and voters sent one of the nation's first Native American congresswomen to Washington.
Politics dominated New Mexico headlines in 2018 along with an economic turn-around fueled by oil and gas and efforts by the Trump administration to address illegal immigration and bolster security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
With Republican Gov. Susana Martinez marking the end of her two-term tenure, attention was on the race for her successor as two of New Mexico's congressional representatives faced off for the top office. Michelle Lujan-Grisham defeated Republican Rep. Steve Pearce as part of a Democratic sweep that included legislative seats and judicial races.
Las Cruces attorney Xochitl Torres Small won New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District to join fellow Democrats Debra Haaland and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan in forming the first all-minority, three-member U.S. House delegation in New Mexico's history. Haaland, a former New Mexico Democratic Party chairwoman, is a Laguna Pueblo member. Lujan is member of one of New Mexico's storied political Hispanic families.
Democrats also expanded their majority in the state House of Representatives, building upon a decades-long history in which the party has dominated New Mexico's political scene.
Here are other top stories of the year:
BORDER WALL AND IMMIGRATION
A $73 million contract was awarded to a Montana company in February to design and build replacement fencing along a 20-mile section of the international border in southern New Mexico, prompting a lawsuit by environmentalists.
The work continued as New Mexico deployed fewer than 200 troops to the border at President Donald Trump's request to fight what he called a crisis of migrant crossings and crime.
Immigrant advocates voiced opposition to the increased security and raised concerns about the treatment of migrants. In one case, a transgender woman from Honduras died while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sparking claims that she was not provided adequate medical care. In December, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died after she and her father _ along with a group of 163 migrants _ were detained after crossing the border in a remote area in southern New Mexico.
New Mexico marked another year of record oil production, resulting in an economic boost and a significant budget surplus. That means state lawmakers and the next governor will have more options as they set spending priorities for the next fiscal year.
Prompted by previous investments from some of the largest energy companies in the U.S., oil production in New Mexico was on track to surpass 200 million barrels for the year. Federal geologists also released an assessment showing portions of the Permian Basin have the potential to double the nation's onshore oil and gas resources and keep the boom going if prices remain favorable.
With the addition of more than 18,000 jobs over the year, New Mexico saw the largest percentage drop of any state in its unemployment rate from November 2017 to November 2018.
It was billed as a landmark ruling that could reshape New Mexico's education system and how it gets funded. A state district judge in July ruled that New Mexico was violating the rights of at-risk students by failing to provide adequate funding for public schools.
The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2014 by advocacy groups and school districts that accused the state of failing to meeting constitutional obligations to provide a sufficient education for all students.
The case highlighted the plight of English-language learners, Native American youth and students from low-income families.
UNM SPORTS CUTS
The University of New Mexico came under great scrutiny as regents voted twice to eliminate the popular men's soccer team along with other sports as a means to get spending under control within the troubled athletics department. The decision sparked public outcry.
The fiscal concerns came as the university also grappled with fallout from an ongoing investigation into questionable spending and violations of the state's transparency laws .
A report released by the state attorney general's office pointed to emails in which former Athletics Director Paul Krebs appeared to direct employees to destroy emails and documents related to a 2015 Scotland golf trip fundraiser where the university used around $25,000 in public money to cover private donors' expenses.
CLERGY SEX ABUSE
New Mexico's largest Roman Catholic diocese dropped a bombshell in November, announcing it would seek bankruptcy protection after spending more than $50 million over the years to settle hundreds of lawsuits alleging child sex abuse by clergy members.
Archbishop John Wester, leader of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, said he had been contemplating the action for years but that the archdiocese had reached a tipping point and he wanted to ensure there would be resources to provide compensation for victims. He described the filing as an equitable thing to do as church reserves dwindle.
National watchdog groups and attorneys for victims have said the move suggests otherwise. They pointed to money spent by the archdiocese on lawyers in recent months and the tens of millions of dollars in real estate that was transferred to parishes in recent years, effectively reducing the amount of assets held by the archdiocese.
More lawsuits claiming clergy abuse were filed in 2018. Church officials expect there will be more.
VIOLENCE AGAINST NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN
The high rates of violence that have victimized numerous Native American for decades received heightened attention in 2018 as concern grew about the cases of missing and murdered indigenous women _ including in New Mexico.
Federal officials, lawmakers and advocates called for more robust investigations into missing persons cases and the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs ended the year with a hearing that focused on the deaths and disappearances of Native American women.
Democrat Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said factors compounding the crisis include poor coordination among the multiple law enforcement agencies tasked with investigating crimes on Indian reservations. He and other senators also shared concerns over a lack of government data to measure the scope of a problem.
NEW MEXICO COMPOUND
The search for a Georgia boy led authorities in August to raid a ramshackle compound on the high desert plains of Taos County. They found 11 hungry children living in filth, a dirt tunnel, arms and ammunition, and five adults related to a well-known imam from New York.
The body of 3-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj was found days later during a second search. Authorities said the boy, marked for an exorcism, had been denied medical treatment that he needed for seizures and other ailments.
The adults were initially detained by authorities on suspicion of child neglect. They remain in federal custody on firearms and conspiracy charges. A federal grand jury indictment alleges a man in the group helped train children for potential attacks on schools, law enforcement agencies and other institutions.
The federal agency that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile recommended in May that the production of the plutonium cores that trigger nuclear warheads be split between South Carolina and New Mexico. Officials said the plan would boost the resiliency and flexibility of weapons manufacturing by not relying on a single site.
Production of the cores had been based at Los Alamos National Laboratory _ the northern New Mexico site where the atomic bomb was developed decades ago _ since the 1990s. However, none have been turned out in years because of a series of safety lapses and concerns about a lack of accountability.
U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, both New Mexico Democrats, had pushed to keep the work at Los Alamos, given the hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars in federal funding at stake.
Two passenger bus crashes resulted in a dozen people being killed and nearly 50 injured in accidents on New Mexico's highways.
The first crash came in July along Interstate 25 just north of Albuquerque. Authorities say a bus driver tried to avoid hitting a car that had just slammed into the back of a pickup truck, but instead rolled on its side and was sideswiped by a semi-truck. Three women were killed, and 24 people injured.
The second crash happened in August east of Gallup. Nine passengers were killed, including an infant born prematurely as a result of the collision. Police said a semitrailer going in the opposite direction lost the tread on its left front tire, veered across a median and smashed into the bus. Twenty-five people were injured.
In April, Jennifer Riordan, a well-known figure in New Mexico community relations and communications died after fellow Southwest Airlines passengers said she was partially sucked out the window of a flight bound from New York to Dallas. The jet's engine had blown in midair and shrapnel hit the plane. She left behind a husband and two children.
In January in northern New Mexico, a key Zimbabwe opposition leader died in a fiery helicopter crash along with his wife and three others. Roy Bennett had won a devoted following among Zimbabweans for passionately advocating political change.
New Mexico farmers and water managers wrapped up the year hoping that El Nino would develop and save them from what could otherwise be another dry winter.
The Rio Grande marked some record-low flows in 2018, prompting federal officials to partner with the largest water utility authority in the state and others to keep the river from drying up at least through the Albuquerque stretch.
Elephant Butte, the state's largest reservoir, dipped to just 3 percent of capacity at the end of September. While there was a slight uptick since then, that marked the lowest level since the early 1970s.
Federal drought maps shows the situation has improved in a small portion of northern New Mexico and along the Rio Grande corridor, but the Four Corners region and the southern Colorado mountains that feed the river are still stuck with extreme to exceptional drought.
Associated Press writer Mary Hudetz contributed to this report.
After-School Program Helps Native American Students Succeed
By BLAIR EMERSON
The Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ Graduation rates for Native American students in North Dakota have lagged behind those of white students by about 20 to 30 percentage points for the past decade.
Eight years ago, a local nonprofit sought to change that by starting a program for Native American students, aimed at boosting their academic performances, while also providing them a safe place to go after school.
Youthworks' New Direction program has shown great success with Native American students in Bismarck-Mandan.
``We're really looking to positively impact these young people, and it started because of the graduation rates,'' said Mark Heinert, program manager at Youthworks. ``But our reality is this: We're giving young people the opportunity to have a place they feel comfortable in, where they belong.''
The New Direction program serves 40 to 50 students each year. Students come from Bismarck High School, South Central High School, Century High School, Legacy High School and Mandan High School.
For four days a week after school, the students get rides to and from Youthworks, assistance with their homework, help with accessing services in the community and a daily meal, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
There are program mentors, typically Native American college students, who assist students with schoolwork. The program is a component of the Youth Cultural Achievement Program, which was developed in 2008 to reduce the number of Native American youth entering the juvenile justice system.
Students are referred to the program by a parent-family liaison at their school, a school counselor or social worker, a parent or a Youthworks staff member. Students in the program often have had adverse experiences in their lives, such as dealing with family issues, are in residential or foster care or have jumped from one school to the next, often resulting in an unstable education.
The program, funded by Missouri Slope Areawide United Way, has shown positive outcomes. Last year, 78 percent of youth in the program who attended after-school sessions 16 or more times passed their core classes. Seventy-eight percent of students showed academic improvement.
Though the outcomes have been good, the program is more than just providing academic support, said Pauletta Red Willow, coordinator of the Youth Cultural Achievement Program. These students need ``constant reinforcement,'' she said.
``Especially dealing with the statistics in Bismarck-Mandan for Native youth, like the high rates of juvenile calls for the police, there's a lot of substance use in our communities,'' as well as trauma and loss, Red Willow said.
``It's about giving them that sense that, you can do this, and building up their esteem,'' Heinert said.
For Julie Middletent, a sophomore at Legacy, the program has helped her make new friends, in addition to improving her grades. She switched from Bismarck High to Legacy the first semester of her freshman year, because her mother wanted her to attend the same school as her brother.
She saw her grades improve last year, increasing to As and Bs. She now has more time to get her homework done during the after-school program, and the mentors are helpful.
``I always look forward to coming here, because I get to see everyone from different schools,'' the 15-year-old said. ``I know everyone here. We're all friends, almost like family.''
Middletent said she plans to go to college and get a degree in business and become an accountant to help the tribe in which she's enrolled, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com
Quapaw Tribe Acquires More Land in Kansas
QUAPAW, Okla. (AP) _ The Quapaw Tribe has acquired additional property in southeastern Kansas after gaining approval from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The tribe obtained about 210 acres (85 hectares) of Cherokee County grassland near the Oklahoma border, the Joplin Globe reported. The land is now part of the federal Quapaw Tribal Trust, giving the tribe governing authority.
The tribe faced opposition from the Cherokee County Commission and the Kansas attorney general's office over concerns the land would be used for gambling. The tribe owns Downstream Casino Resort in nearby Quapaw, Oklahoma.
The Quapaw Tribe had received a legal opinion from the National Indian Gaming Commission in 2014, determining the Kansas property could be used for gambling operations.
But John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee, said the tribe will use the land for agriculture and has no plans to expand its casino. The Quapaw Tribe already owns land in Cherokee County from a deal in 2006, which is used for grazing animals.
``We don't have any plans to expand upon our gaming operation, so we're just excited to have that land,'' Berrey said. ``We'll continue to graze our purebred bison herd and cattle on it. We'll keep it nice, clean and environmentally in shape for our future generations to enjoy.''
The state attorney general's office couldn't be reached for comment by the newspaper.
Berrey said the property acquisition ``brings more of our Oklahoma reservation, or what was at one time our reservation, back into our ownership and under our jurisdiction under federal statutes.''
The tribe owns about 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) in Oklahoma and Kansas, Berrey said.
University Program Training Native American Educators
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ The University of Mary is getting more federal funding to continue an effort to boost the number of Native American teachers and administrators on and off reservations across North Dakota.
The Bismarck school got a $1.1 million grant from the federal Education Department two years ago to start the Native American Educational Leadership Program. It's doing so through a consortium that involves the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and its community college in Belcourt.
Fifteen students have graduated with bachelor's degrees in education from the community college, and 12 more will do so in the spring, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
``When you think about that, 27 teachers ... to go into our Native communities, that's huge,'' said Carmelita Lamb, associate dean of the University of Mary's Liffrig School of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
``That has always been something that I felt was important _ to get people of that community to commit to the children of that community,'' she said. ``Those are going to be the ones that stay.''
The university has received a second grant totaling $1.4 million to sustain the program through 2023. The school will enroll another 20 to 24 students in the program in January.
Samantha Gourd, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who currently lives on the Spirit Lake Reservation and teaches second grade in Devils Lake, will finish her master's in elementary education through the program in the spring.
``I think that whenever you're Native American teaching another Native American, you kind of understand those dynamics more,'' she said.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com
Fort Berthold Reservation Landowners to Sue Oil Company
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ A group of landowners from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is accusing a crude oil company of trespassing in a lawsuit that seeks compensation for a pipeline that crosses their land.
Former Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation chairman Tex Hall recently announced a federal lawsuit against Andeavor, formerly known as Tesoro, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Andeavor recently merged with Marathon Petroleum.
A pipeline that transports crude oil to the Marathon Petroleum Mandan Refinery crosses 64 acres (26 hectares) within the reservation, Hall said. The tribe owns about 26 acres (10.5 hectares) of the land, while the rest is owned by landowners or allottees, he said.
The company's easement agreement with the allottees expired in 2013 and talks to re-negotiate fell apart, according to Hall.
The lawsuit alleges the company is trespassing by operating the pipeline without authorization from landowners or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
``All of these landowners have finally decided enough is enough,'' Hall said, adding that about 450 landowners are affected.
Destin Singleton, a spokeswoman for Marathon Petroleum Corp., declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The complaint seeks a jury trial to determine compensation for trespassing and other damages. The lawsuit also requests $128 million to be put into a constructive trust for the plaintiffs and allottees.
The group filing the complaint also wants a cease-and-desist order for the operation and the immediate removal of the pipeline.
``There's a huge amount of money with this size of pipeline going through,'' Hall said. ``They have the revenue and they're not negotiating in good faith. They left us no choice.''
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com
Chicago's Field Museum Plans Revamp of Native American Hall
CHICAGO (AP) _ Chicago's Field Museum plans to revamp its Native American exhibits with the help of American Indians over the next three years.
Museum president Richard Lariviere tells the Chicago Tribune that its Native North American Hall faces a much needed renovation of displays dating mostly back to the 1950s. He says the project will allow the museum to better tell the history of Native Americans.
Pokagon (poh-KAY'-gun) Band of Potawatomi Indians cultural director Marcus Winchester says the displays are essentially old beadwork or baskets that don't tell the stories of Native Americans. The Pokagon Band is based in southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana.
Museum officials also want to employ Native American workers to help interpret the exhibits and make presentations.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com
Thousands of Native Voters in North Dakota Getting Free IDs
By BLAKE NICHOLSON
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ Efforts by American Indian tribes in North Dakota to provide free identification with street addresses to thousands of members in advance of Tuesday's election are cutting into the number of Native Americans who could potentially be turned away at the polls for lack of a proper ID under recently tightened state rules.
The free programs launched with the help of groups including the Lakota People's Law Project and the Four Directions nonprofit so far have provided more than 2,000 voters on four reservations with the proper credentials. The effort to ensure a strong Native American vote comes amid uproar over what some believe is an attempt to suppress their votes.
``We're at our best in crisis,'' said Phyllis Young, an organizer on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation for the Lakota People's Law Project, adding that the issue ``is only making us more aware of our rights, more energized, and more likely to vote this November.''
Stricter voter ID rules are taking effect after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this month allowed the state to continue requiring street addresses, as opposed to other addresses such as post office boxes. Street addresses have never been important in the Native American culture, and many tribal members aren't aware of their address, don't have a provable one because they're homeless or stay with friends or relatives, or can't afford to get an updated ID with a street address assigned through the statewide 911 system.
A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Spirit Lake Sioux also alleges that the 911 system on reservations is ``characterized by disarray, errors, confusion, and missing or conflicting addresses.'' It seeks to have the residential address requirement ruled unconstitutional as it applies to Native American voters, and asks for an emergency order while the lawsuit proceeds barring the state from enforcing the requirement on Native Americans on or near reservations or who are at risk of disenfranchisement.
The nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice notes the lawsuit seeks a more limited injunction, something an appeals court indicated in an earlier lawsuit might be a more successful tactic.
State officials say not requiring street addresses could lead to people voting in the wrong district and to fraud.
The Supreme Court ruling in a lawsuit filed by Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa members in 2016 sent tribes scrambling to make sure tribal members' voices will be heard , especially in the high profile U.S. Senate race between Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer and Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.
Changes to North Dakota's voter ID laws came just months after Heitkamp's win by fewer than 3,000 votes with the help of Native Americans in 2012, though Republicans say that had nothing to do with updates aimed at guarding against voter fraud. American Indians make up about 5 percent of North Dakota's population.
The Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Standing Rock Sioux, Spirit Lake Sioux and Three Affiliated Tribes all have launched programs to provide free IDs with street address to tribal members in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.
As of Tuesday, the programs had provided 1,050 IDs on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, more than 380 on the Spirit Lake Sioux Reservation and 440 on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Three Affiliated Tribes had provided only 140, but the program had just been launched the day before.
The total of more than 2,000 IDs is approaching half of the roughly 5,000 Native Americans that U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland has said don't possess a qualifying voter ID under state rules. He based the figure on research by UCLA and University of New Mexico professors who have been expert witnesses in several voter ID cases across the country.
Tribes believe the number is much higher, perhaps even double the judge's estimate, though they base it in part on anecdotal evidence. They plan to continue issuing free IDs through Election Day, including stationing people at the polls to help those without qualifying ID on at least two of the four reservations.
The effort is largely being financed through donations. The Native American Rights Fund has given the four tribes a total of $50,000, and a GoFundMe site set up by the Standing Rock Sioux had raised more than $200,000 from more than 4,300 donors as of mid-day Wednesday.
Alexis Davis, 19, chairwoman of the Turtle Mountain Youth Council, has an ID with a residential street address but said many of her friends do not. The voter ID issue has made them more resolved to be a part of the election process, she said.
``It's like, oh you want to make this harder for me? Oh, you want to take away my rights?'' she said. ``It's like, no, now I'm going to fight that, and I'm going to be more resilient, and I'm going to make sure that I'm going to go vote.''
This story has been corrected to show that the number of IDs is more than 2,000, rather than more than 2,400
Follow Blake Nicholson on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/NicholsonBlake
For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics
Michigan, Tribal Partners Digitally Preserving Petroglyphs
CASS CITY, Mich. (AP) _ Michigan's state archaeologist says more than 100 ancient rock etchings at Sanilac Petroglyphs State Park are being digitally preserved through a partnership with tribal groups.
MLive.com reports that the Michigan Department of Transportation is using special technologies to scan the Native American petroglyphs and build digital models of them that will help document the site and track its preservation.
The project comes a year after vandals damaged some of the petroglyphs at the 240-acre park that's about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of Detroit in Cass City.
State archaeologist Dean Anderson says some of the stone etchings could date back as much as 1,400 years. He says the bows and arrows depicted in some of the etchings were first used as technology across the Great Lakes region about that time.
Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com
Maine Tribes Get Assistance to Improve Public Safety
PLEASANT POINT, Maine (AP) — Three American Indian tribal groups in Maine will benefit from more than $100 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice designed to improve public safety in native communities around the country.
The grants are also intended to assist victims of crime, stop violence against women and support youth programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
The Aroostook Band of Micmacs and Penobscot Nation are both slated to receive about $900,000 for programs that address violence against women. The Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Tribe is scheduled to receive about $750,000 for justice and drug and alcohol abuse programs.
The grants are being awarded to 133 American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages are other tribal groups.
Officials Warn Arizona Dam Could Fail and Flood Village
PHOENIX (AP) _ An earthen dam in Arizona's southern desert could fail and flood a small village because the lake behind it is swollen with runoff from the remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa, officials said Wednesday.
Ali Chuk, a Native American community with 162 people on the Tohono O'odham (TOH'-oh-no OH'-tum) Nation reservation, was being evacuated Tuesday night, the tribe's public safety department said in a statement.
No further details were available Wednesday on the evacuations. Tribal officials planned to inspect the dam and lake by helicopter.
Water levels were within a foot (0.3 meters) of topping Menagers Dam, which could give way and flood Ali Chuk, the National Weather Service said.
The area near the Mexico border got between 3 and 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) of rain on Tuesday. Flooding from runoff made roads impassable.
There were no reports Wednesday of additional rain.
The tribal safety department said 30 people had been evacuated from another village on the reservation because of flooding.
Elsewhere in the state, forecasters warned of more possible flooding in Phoenix and other areas.
The weather service said up to 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain had fallen in parts of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, and that flash flooding was expected.
A separate flash flood warning was issued for Yavapai County north of Phoenix due to high water in a creek in Cornville and for a small part of the Tohono O'odham (TOH'-oh-no OH'-tum) Nation's reservation in Pima County in southern Arizona.
The weather service said a record 2.35 inches (5.97 centimeters) of rain had fallen at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as of Tuesday night.
That made it the rainiest October day since records have been kept, topping the 2.32 (5.89) inches recorded on Oct. 14, 1988.
It also marked the eighth-rainiest day in Phoenix history for any date.
The storm was also expected to dump rain on Utah and Colorado.
Haskell to Celebrate Native American Vets of World War I
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Haskell University's Cultural Center and Museum is planning to celebrate Native Americans who served in World War I.
The center's director, Jancita Warrington, said 415 Haskell students, faculty and alumni enlisted in the war, even though they could not claim citizenship until six years after the war ended.
The celebration, ``Keeping Legends Alive,'' will be held Sept. 21 and 22, hosted by the center and the city of Lawrence.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports the event will include a celebration of veterans, a powwow and several other activities. It also will remember the 1926 dedication of Haskell Memorial Stadium, which was one of the biggest events in the city's history.
At the time, Haskell Institute was a boarding school for Native American children. It became accredited in 1927.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com
Last Reminder! L.E.A.D. Institute Conference Begins 9/26
Last Reminder: L.E.A.D. Conference is Sept. 26-27, 2018
First Nations Development Institute will hold its 22nd Annual First Nations L.E.A.D. Institute Conference at Morongo Casino & Resort in Cabazon, California, September 26-27, 2018. (Invitation-only pre-sessions will be held on September 25.) Register now to reserve your space. This is the last notice we're sending.
For 38 years, First Nations has worked with Native nations and organizations to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. As an extension of this mission, the L.E.A.D. Conference is designed to help emerging and existing leaders in Indian Country network, grow professionally, share ideas and learn new skills related to asset-building.
Training Tracks Offered
- Track 1: Language & Cultural Revitalization
- Track 2: Strengthening Tribal & Community Institutions
- Track 3: Protecting Natural Resources
Attendees have the option of attending sessions in just one track, or they may customize their experience by selecting from any of the sessions that interest them.
Who Should Attend
- Native American nonprofit professionals
- Native Americans interested in launching or expanding nonprofit and/or philanthropic organizations
- Tribal leaders or those who work in tribal organizations
- Anyone interested in Native American nonprofits and philanthropy
- Anyone interested in Native American food sovereignty
- Tribal economic development professionals
Please go here for more information: http://www.cvent.com/d/fgq84t
Alaska Looks for Panelists to Discuss New Roads in Forest
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ Alaska Gov. Bill Walker's administration is looking for Alaska residents to serve on an advisory committee that will discuss the Alaska shape the future of the Tongass National Forest.
KTOO-FM reports the U.S. Forest Service announced last month that it would be considering building new roads in the wilder parts of the Alaska forest.
The committee will discuss which areas in the Tongass, the largest national forest in the United States, could have new roads. Alaska's congressional delegation has said having enough access to timber and mining opportunities is a priority.
The governor's office says it's seeking applications for a ``diverse'' panel of up to 13 people, including Alaska Native regional corporations and tribes, local governments and environmental groups as well as interests from tourism, mining, energy, timber and fishing.
Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org
Boston Celtics Star Irving Honored by Mother's Sioux Tribe
By BLAKE NICHOLSON
FORT YATES, N.D. (AP) _ Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving has officially become a member of the Standing Rock Sioux.
Irving and his older sister, Asia Irving, took part Thursday in a traditional Native American ceremony recognizing their tribal heritage and support for the tribe's long battle against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. They were honored with Lakota names during a ritual in a packed auditorium that tribal spokeswoman Danielle Finn said ``is a very special rite of passage for a Lakota person.''
Tribal Chairman Mike Faith said: ``We're welcoming home two of our own.''
The Irvings' late mother, Elizabeth Ann Larson, was a member of the tribe and lived on the reservation until her adoption at a young age.
Kyrie Irving, who won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, was born in Australia and he grew up in New Jersey.
This post will remain active until September 13, 2018
1770s Cartoon Commemorating Boston Tea Party to be Auctioned
BOSTON (AP) _ A political cartoon published shortly after the Boston Tea Party is hitting the auction block.
Heritage Auctions says the rare print celebrating the Dec. 16, 1773, act of rebellion is expected to fetch $24,000 in the Aug. 25 auction. The print is called ``Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression.''
The copper-engraved cartoon shows British politicians and merchants standing with the devil on one side and American colonists, some disguised as Native Americans, on the other side.
Heritage Auctions says the print was published between late December 1773 and April 1774. The Dallas-based auction house says it knows of only six other copies.
The print is attributed to Philadelphia and New York engraver Henry Dawkins, who later was arrested and accused of counterfeiting currency.
Reward Rises to $20K for Info Leading to Stolen Artifacts
MOUNDVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ The reward for information leading to the recovery of more 260 artifacts stolen from Moundville Archaeological Park decades ago has been increased from $15,000 to $20,000.
Dr. Jim Knight, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Alabama, said several private citizens who hope to see the artifacts returned are offering the reward.
Al.com reports Knight said 264 pottery vessels and other artifacts were stolen from the Erskine Ramsay Archaeological Repository in 1980. An appraisal revealed the artifacts _ jars, bottles, bowls, ornaments and jewelry _ are worth around $1 million. Since the theft, none has shown up for sale or trade, leading Knight to believe the collection may still be intact.
``With the availability of the internet, it is now possible to distribute these photographs much more widely than was previously feasible. Also, Native American pottery vessels are now routinely sold in internet auctions,'' Knight told The Tuscaloosa News . ``These can be monitored by a public aware of this 40-year-old crime and the great need to reunite these rare artifacts with the citizens of Alabama and the South.
``The reward, together with advancements in technology that allow for the rapid dissemination of information by news outlets and social media, offer new hope in an effort to recover the artifacts.''
At the time, the stolen items represented about 70 percent of the museum's exhibit-quality artifacts and 20 percent of the entire Moundville vessel collection that was curated by the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Experts believe the thieves were knowledgeable about the artifacts because they targeted the highest-quality pieces.
Excavated in the 1930s, the artifacts are high-quality engraved or painted ceremonial pots and bowls, some which held food offerings that were buried with the dead. Others were ordinary cooking pots, bottles and shell jewelry. Many of the vessel engravings depict supernatural creatures, such as the flying serpent, which would guard a person's passage into the afterlife. The designs were highly distinctive of Moundville, which is considered a world heritage site. The Mississippian Indians settled in what is now the Moundville area at the beginning of the 11th century. The area reached its peak activity and population around the year 1300 when it had about 1,000 residents. About 10,000 resided in the entire Black Warrior Valley floodplain at the time.
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act makes it illegal to sell human remains or cultural artifacts of Native Americans unless a person legally owns the item. Collectors pay millions for antiquities such as the Moundville vessels, Knight said in a 2003 interview with The Tuscaloosa News.
The Alabama Museum of Natural History has established a tipline at 205-348-2800 that will allow those with information about the thefts to leave confidential messages or information.
For more information, including photographs of the artifacts, visit www.museums.ua.edu/oas/stolenartifacts.
Discovery of Native American Remains Increase in Nantucket
NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) _ The discovery of Native American remains has been increasing in one town on Cape Cod.
A flux of development means many previously undisturbed parts of Nantucket are being dug up, revealing hints of the town's first inhabitants.
The most recent occurred this spring, reports the Cape Cod Times, when a contractor uncovered a skull while digging a hole for a new foundation. The skull was determined to be one of the island's Native occupiers. An exact number of town discoveries and locations have not been made available by the state.
Nantucket police say that in recent years, they've gotten calls up to six times a year about remains. Purposely disturbing a Native burial site, or failing to report one found is a violation of the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.
Information from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, http://www.capecodtimes.com
Pamunkey Tribe Considering $700 Million Casino in Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is considering whether to build a $700 million resort and casino in Virginia.
Media outlets report that the tribe is looking at potential sites for the project but has no definitive plans.
The Department of Interior granted federal recognition to the Pamunkey in 2015, allowing the possibility of casinos through a separate approval process. Virginia currently has no casinos.
The Pamunkey's bid for federal recognition was opposed by MGM Resorts, which runs a new casino just outside the nation's capital in Maryland.
The tribe was considered the most powerful in the Powhatan Paramount Chiefdom, which greeted the English settlers at Jamestown, and claims Pocahontas among its lineage.
Native corporation to work for the Navy at Guantanamo Bay
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ An Alaska Native corporation will soon provide support services for the U.S. Navy in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corp. won the $18 million contract earlier this month, CoastAlaska News reported .
The corporation will manage maintenance services, port operations and waterfront administration for the base. The corporation announced a similar, $44 million contract about a week earlier for the U.S. Marine Corps air station in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corp. officials said it employs about 600 people. Most of the jobs are in other parts of the country. But the corporation's hiring policy includes a preference for tribal members.
Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corp. is owned by the Juneau-based Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. The council lists more than 30,000 tribal members in Southeast, the rest of Alaska and around the nation and the world. Its business operations are separate from those of Native corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Corporation CEO Richard Rinehart said the corporation continues to seek more work.
``I look at it as it's like long-lining,'' Rinehart said. ``We have all these lines out with lots of hooks. And we're out there fishing and by having more lines in the water, we're hopeful to bring more home.''
University groups keeping indigenous languages alive
By KATHERINE LONG
The Seattle Times
SEATTLE (AP) _ When Alyssa Johnston and members of her tribe speak to one another in Quinault, they are often moved to tears by the knowledge that, at the turn of the century, the language was all but dead.
The last person who spoke fluent Quinault passed away in 1996. By using recordings of those who spoke the language in the 1960s, a handful of people in the Olympic Peninsula tribe are slowly and painstakingly piecing it back together _ and teaching it to a new generation.
Last year, Johnston was the first person in recent memory to earn a world-language credit at the University of Washington by showing she had achieved ``intermediate low-level proficiency'' in that language.
``It's everything to me,'' Johnston said of the importance of reviving her tribe's native tongue. ``Language is culture,'' she said, and the tribe ``right now is literally making history'' by bringing it back.
That history is also being written on the UW's Seattle campus.
Every two weeks, two separate groups gather around a table in one building or another to practice one of two indigenous languages: Southern Lushootseed, the common tongue of the Native American tribes that lived in this region, and Hawaiian, the native language of the indigenous people of Hawaii.
Chris Teuton, chair of American Indian Studies at the UW, hopes students eventually will be able to learn both those languages in for-credit courses, joining the 55 other languages already taught by the university.
In the meantime, the informal classes are a labor of love for the volunteers who teach them. Nancy Jo Bob, a member of the Lummi Nation, and Tami Kay Hohn, of the Puyallup Tribe, both drive up from Auburn every month to offer several hours of language instruction, using a system they devised that helps students think and speak in complete sentences from the outset.
Lushootseed was revived by Upper Skagit author, teacher and linguist Vi Hilbert, who died in 2008 at the age of 90. Hilbert taught Lushootseed for credit at the UW until her retirement in 1988, and it has been taught intermittently at the university since then, along with Navajo and Yakama.
Lushootseed's sentence structure is different from English, and includes sounds that don't exist in English.
``It's like my tongue is tap-dancing,'' one speaker marveled during a recent language table session.
Sentences start with a verb, rather than a subject, and the form the verb takes, gives information about the manner and time of action, said UW English Professor Colette Moore, who is taking part in the language table.
``By the time a speaker gets to the subject in a Lushootseed sentence,'' she said, ``he or she has already given a lot of other information.''
The language's history in the Puget Sound area dates back thousands of years. English, in contrast, has been spoken around here for fewer than 250.
``Sometimes it can be a perspective shift for students to see English as an immigrant language,'' Moore added, ``but, of course, it is.''
America's past is threaded with a long, ugly history of white settlers separating Native Americans from their languages and cultures. In the 1900s, many Native American children were sent to boarding schools, where they were forced to speak only English.
Johnston, of the Quinault tribe, says her grandfather spoke the language, and her mother asked him to teach it to her. But he refused _ the older generation feared their children wouldn't be successful if they spoke a Native American language, she said.
``By revitalizing languages, that's part of the healing process,'' said Teuton, who is Cherokee and began learning that language at the University of North Carolina, where he taught before he came to the UW. ``We are trying to recover from that colonial history.''
Native American knowledge, he said, ``is really grounded in our language _ the grounding of stories, our storytelling traditions, our words for the natural world, words that describe our social relations.''
Language is also a vital cultural connection for many Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, said Manuhuia Barcham, a UW lecturer who helped organize the Hawaiian language table. Barcham hopes to also start one for Samoan and Chamorro, which is spoken in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Both Pacific Islander and Native American populations have low levels of enrollment in higher education, and part of the goal of teaching languages is to make the UW ``a more open and friendly space for our youth and our community,'' he said.
Among the state's other higher-education institutions, Lushootseed has been taught at Pacific Lutheran University and at the UW Tacoma, as part of a summer institute. Wenatchee Valley College in Omak teaches Salish; the Northwest Indian College in Bellingham teaches Native American languages.
Johnston learned Quinault from Cosette Terry-itewaste, a linguist who is her tribe's most fluent speaker, and who was able to administer the test that allowed Johnston to get UW credit for knowing that language.
The UW requires entering students to have completed two years of a foreign language in high school, and to take a third quarter while in college _ or to demonstrate that they have acquired ``intermediate low-level proficiency'' in a language other than English.
The university had to create a new way to test proficiency in languages that are not commonly taught.
``This provides an academic incentive and establishes it as an equal language, a world language,'' said Russell Hugo, a linguist in the UW's language learning center. ``Hopefully more students can do this, so we can build stronger ties of support and recognition'' for local indigenous languages.
Because she lives on the Olympic Peninsula and works full time with two young children at home, Johnston earned her undergraduate degree from the UW mostly online. She's certified as a language apprentice, and she will be helping the Quinault tribe launch family language classes in January.
While some tribal members grew up knowing the Quinault words for colors and other nouns, these language classes aim to teach them how to have simple conversations.
``It's amazing how it's been almost lost,'' Johnston said. ``I can feel it getting back to normal, and that's a really sacred thing.''
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com
Restoration of protections for Yellowstone grizzlies urged
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ Conservationists and a Montana Indian tribe have asked a judge to restore protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears in light of a recent ruling in a case involving Great Lakes wolves.
The request by three conservation groups and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe was lodged on Monday in U.S. District Court in Missoula.
Federal officials in December announced a review of their July 31 decision to lift protections for an estimated 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park. The review was prompted by the Great Lakes wolf ruling, which indicated in part that more consideration needed to be given to a species' loss of historical territory.
Attorneys for the conservation groups and tribe say the grizzly review is being improperly used as an after-the-fact justification for lifting protections.