Water-Rich Gila River Tribe Near Phoenix Flexes its Political Muscles in a Drying West


SACATON, Arizona (AP) — Stephen Roe Lewis grew up seeing stacks of legal briefs at the dinner table — often, about his tribe's water.

His father, the late Rodney Lewis, was general counsel for the Gila River Indian Community and fought for the tribe's rights to water in the Southwest, eventually securing in 2004 the largest Native American water settlement in U.S. history.

Years later, Stephen would become governor of the tribe, whose reservation is about a half-hour south of downtown Phoenix. Amid his tenure, he's been pivotal in navigating a water crisis across the seven-state Colorado River basin caused by existential drought made worse by climate change and decades of Western states overdrawing from the river.

Lewis, 56, has leveraged the Gila River tribe's water abundance to help Arizona, making his tribe a power player in the parched region. His fingerprints are on many recent, high-stakes decisions made in the West about the future of the river that supports 40 million people, and the tribe's influence is only growing.

“You never choose your path,” he said, “but it was laid out for me through my parents.”

Breakthroughs at Pivotal Moments

The tribe, with about 15,000 members living on its reservation, is one of two in Arizona each with rights to more than 650,00 acre-feet (801 million cubic meters) of water from the Colorado and other sources. (The other is the Colorado River Indian Tribes.) An acre-foot is enough water to serve roughly two to three U.S. households in a year. On average, tribal households use significantly less.

For years, the Gila River tribe has made a business of banking the water it gets from the Colorado River and leasing some of it to cities in Arizona in exchange for money. One such deal reached in 2016 with the fast-growing Phoenix suburb of Chandler netted $46 million for the tribe.

In 2019, it broke a stalemate when Arizona was the last Western state in the seven-state basin to sign onto a water-saving plan. The tribe offered to sell nearly 830,000 acre-feet (1 billion) of water over 25 years to a major supplier of water for new homebuilding in central Arizona, after the industry had opposed Arizona joining over concerns it would face water shortages in one of the fastest-growing real estate markets in the country.

In 2023, the tribe reached a deal for $150 million with the U.S. government to help prop up water levels at Lake Mead, the reservoir behind Hoover Dam on the Nevada/Arizona border. The dam stores Colorado River water for Arizona, California, Nevada and northern Mexico. Lake Mead had fallen to historic lows, and the Gila River tribe agreed to conserve 125,000 acre-feet of water (154 million cubic meters) each year at the man-made reservoir.

“His partnership is absolutely genuine,” said Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs. "But he also sees it as a means to bring more support for his people. And so he’s just very strategic about that.”

Tribal Politics and Infrastructure

Lewis has known tribal politics his entire life.

“Where my father fought for our water rights, I see my role now as implementing the settlement," Lewis said.

He described a childhood in Sacaton, Arizona, during which he would run into previous governors of the tribe, “giants, larger than life."

In describing his job, Lewis often looks to the past. He said he wants younger generations of the tribe to have the same respect for water and natural resources as he was taught growing up. At the same time, he’s led it to try pioneering water conservation practices — such as covering canals with solar panels that would reduce water evaporation while producing renewable electricity.

With funding from the Biden administration, the Gila River tribe is working on a pilot program to generate 1.3 megawatts of clean energy providing 2.3 million kilowatt-hours of annual electricity from solar panels on top of canals, with an eventual goal of covering 18.5 miles (29.7 kilometers) of canals.

“We can look at ways to conserve water in a very modern context," Lewis said, “but keeping in line with our cultural traditions.”

Rerouting a River

These fortunes are recent. Starting in the 1800s, state and local governments stripped the Gila River tribe of water that it had depended on for millennia by damming the once free-flowing Gila River. The river was put behind concrete or earthen dams, and the water was allocated for non-Native farmers and cities.

It was only in 2004 that the tribe regained its rights with the water settlement secured by Rodney Lewis, who also was the first Native American attorney to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“One hundred and fifty years ago, our water was stolen,” Lewis said. “So we know how devastating that can be.”

Today, the Gila River tribe's primary water use is farming, Lewis said. Farmers there grow cotton, wheat, alfalfa and vegetables, most of which is consumed locally, though some is exported to Arizona and elsewhere.

As farmers in central Arizona, whose water supply was severely cut in 2021, pare down their operations, Lewis is resolute that the Gila River tribe wants to keep expanding its farms — for which it's building more irrigation infrastructure to send water to different parts of the 586 square-mile (1,517 square-kilometer) reservation.

The tribe also operates several casinos, hotels, a theme park and various businesses on the reservation and in the Phoenix metropolitan area, which became the fifth largest city in the U.S. in 2021.

“Before we had our casinos, our Gila River farms were really one of our main economic drivers,” Lewis said. “So we’re looking at ways we can grow that industry.”

Future Negotiations

A towering figure in the Southwest, Lewis was re-elected for a fourth time last December.

“He has an extended runway in a sense,” said Republican Arizona Sen. T.J. Shope, who represents a rural district that intersects with the Gila River reservation. “He can think 10 years down the road because of that.”

As Western states and nearly 30 Native American tribes that share the Colorado River figure out how to divide the river's water after 2026, when current rules governing the river expire, Lewis hasn't shied away from rejecting ideas he considers unfair.

He has repeatedly said he won't accept a deal that’s bad for Arizona, whose junior water rights resulted in the state losing roughly 20% of its share from the river in 2021. Lewis hopes his tribe can continue to help ease longstanding tension points in negotiations between the seven U.S. states, such as that between California and Arizona.

“It's real water diplomacy on the ground,” Lewis said of his tribe’s role. “It's complicated. This is still an unfolding story.”


Naishadham reported from Washington, D.C.


The Associated Press receives support from the Walton Family Foundation for coverage of water and environmental policy. The AP is solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s environmental coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

Two Tribal Nations Sue Social Media Companies Over Native Youth Suicides


Two tribal nations are accusing social media companies of contributing to the disproportionately high rates of suicide among Native American youth.

Their lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles county court names Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta Platforms; Snapchat's Snap Inc.; TikTok parent company ByteDance; and Alphabet, which owns YouTube and Google, as defendants.

Virtually all U.S. teenagers use social media, and roughly one in six describe their use as “almost constant,” according to the Pew Research Center.

But Native youth are particularly vulnerable to these companies' addictive “profit-driven design choices,” given historic teen suicide rates and mental health issues across Indian Country, chairperson Lonna Jackson-Street of the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota said in a press release.

“Enough is enough. Endless scrolling is rewiring our teenagers’ brains,” added Gena Kakkak, chairwoman of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. “We are demanding these social media corporations take responsibility for intentionally creating dangerous features that ramp up the compulsive use of social media by the youth on our Reservation.”

Their lawsuit describes “a sophisticated and intentional effort that has caused a continuing, substantial, and long term burden to the Tribe and its members,” leaving scarce resources for education, cultural preservation and other social programs.

A growing number of similar lawsuits are being pursued by USschool districts, states, cities and other entities, claiming that TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube exploit children and adolescents with features that keep them constantly scrolling and checking their accounts.

New York City, its schools and public hospital system accuse the platforms of fueling a childhood mental health crisis that's disrupting learning and draining resources. School boards in Ontario, Canada, claim teachers are struggling because platforms designed for compulsive use "have rewired the way children think, behave, and learn.”

The Associated Press reached out to the companies for comment. Google said “the allegations in these complaints are simply not true."

"Providing young people with a safer, healthier experience has always been core to our work," Google spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement. “In collaboration with youth, mental health and parenting experts, we built services and policies to provide young people with age-appropriate experiences, and parents with robust controls.”

Snap Inc. said it provides an alternative to a feed of online content. "We will always have more work to do, and will continue to work to make Snapchat a platform that helps close friends feel connected, happy and prepared as they face the many challenges of adolescence,” the company's statement said.


Native Americans experience higher rates of suicide than any other racial demographic in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, jumping nearly 20% from 2015 to 2020 compared with a less-than 1% increase among the overall U.S. population.

Mental health care is already difficult to access from remote locations, and generations of colonization and social stigma create more barriers, particularly when the care isn’t culturally appropriate, advocates say.

About 87% of people who identify as Native American don’t live on an Indian reservation, according to the 2020 U.S. Census, and social media can help them connect with tradition, culture and other tribal communities.

But “they also might experience discrimination online. And social media companies don’t always have great, helpful policies for managing that,” said Andrea Wiglesworth, an enrolled member of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation and Shawnee Tribe who researches stress in Native populations at the University of Minnesota.

Native American identity is a complex mix of political and cultural experiences that varies from tribe to tribe and within Indigenous communities, adding a unique layer of stress onto other social pressures, Wiglesworth said.

“I won’t speak for all Native people, but from my lived experience there is this sense of shared responsibility for the well-being of our community and community members,” she added. She said Indigenous people need to think about how they carry that commitment into the digital world.


The science is still emerging about how social media affects teenagers' mental health. Psychologists and neuroscientists note the potential for both positive and negative side effects, and researchers have yet to draw a direct link between screen time alone and poor mental health outcomes, according to Mitch Prinstein, chief science officer at the American Psychological Association.

What researchers do know is that as an adolescent’s brain develops, it builds and strengthens the connections that guide responses for a variety of human interactions while it creates more receptors for oxytocin and dopamine. This is the brain’s reward system, Prinstein said, and it manifests in adolescents a need for both positive feedback and concern about social punishments.

“In the 1980s that meant that we were suddenly talking about who’s in which clique and who sits at which lunch table and are you wearing the right clothes to get positive feedback when you go to school. In 2024, we’re now making it possible to kind of feed that with 24/7, 365 button-pressing for feedback and input from peers,” he said.

Prinstein called for new legislation in Senate testimony last year, saying federal regulators should have more power to prohibit exploitative business practices and require social media companies to protect the well-being of children on their platforms.


A nationwide investigation by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general is focusing on whether TikTok is harming the mental health of children and young adults by promoting content and boosting engagement. Meanwhile, some Republican-led states have pursued their own lawsuits.

Utah accused TikTok in October of baiting children into excessive social media use. Indiana's lawsuit accusing TikTok of deceiving users about inappropriate content and insecure personal information was dismissed in November. Arkansas has two lawsuits pending, against TikTok and ByteDance.

And in Congress, a bipartisan group of senators is supporting the Kids Online Safety Act, which in part would require platform design changes to prevent harm. Tech industry groups have opposed the bill, and the American Civil Liberties Union has raised censorship concerns.


Graham Lew Brewer, who covers Indigenous Affairs for the AP's Race and Ethnicity, reported from Oklahoma City. AP writers Haleluya Hadero and Shawn Chen reported from New York.

Native American Tribes Gain New Authority to Stop Unwanted Hydropower Projects

By MICHAEL PHILLIS Associated Press

Federal regulators have granted Native American tribes more power to block hydropower projects on their land after a flurry of applications were filed to expand renewable energy in the water-scarce U.S. Southwest.

Previously, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted developers approval to move ahead with planning even if tribes objected. That practice came to an end last week. Now, a new commission policy allows tribes to quickly veto proposals, forcing businesses to cooperate with them if they want the federal government to grant exclusive rights to their hydropower projects.

“This is the acknowledgement and respect of tribal sovereignty, which is critical,” said George Hardeen, spokesperson for the Navajo Nation’s president’s office.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently rejected seven proposals for projects on the Navajo Nation, which stretches 27,000 square miles (69,000 square kilometers) across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. When it issued those rejections, the commission also announced the policy change, handing tribes the same power as federal agencies to block projects.

“It applies anywhere that a hydropower project might be proposed on tribal lands throughout the United States," said Aaron Paul, an attorney with Grand Canyon Trust, a conservation group.

The Hopi Tribe, which is completely surrounded by Navajo, urged the commission to cement the policy announcement in a formal rule, worrying a different administration would be less favorable to tribes and change the policy.

The pumped hydropower projects are essentially big batteries that generate energy when demand is high and there aren't a lot of other renewable sources like solar and wind available. Hydropower can be turned on when it is needed and works by releasing water from an upper reservoir to a lower one.

Later, when the electric grid has excess power, water is pumped in a loop back up to the higher reservoir, recharging the battery.

Developers have expressed new interest in building these pumped hydropower projects as coal-fired plants shut down in the Southwest. The canyons, towering mesas and dramatic river valleys in the area are ideal terrain because the projects require moving water between different elevations.

Environmental groups and some members of the Navajo Nation argue the projects require enormous amounts of water in a part of the country that already doesn't have enough. Roughly one-third of the 175,000 people on the Navajo Nation don’t have running water at home.

People are sensitive to how scarce water is, and “they would more likely say ‘no’ to these kinds of projects,” Hardeen said.

Some of the proposals that were rejected came from Nature and People First. For example, the company told federal regulators it wanted to build the Black Mesa East project on the Navajo reservation in Arizona that would have two upper reservoirs with a combined capacity of 100,000 acre-feet and a single, lower reservoir with the same total storage capacity. An acre-foot of water serves two or three homes annually.

The project was proposed near a home site lease that Jheremy Young's family has held for generations. He's happy the commission blocked it. The area around the mesa is rugged, quiet and vast, and water has to be hauled in.

“That’s where my dad came from, that’s where his father came from,” Young said. “The sentimental value of the land — the story, the history — were the biggest concern.”

The Navajo Nation told federal regulators the company hadn’t consulted with the correct tribal authorities or addressed key concerns about water use and harm to golden eagle and other species' habitats. Hardeen said now, developers will first need to go through the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources.

Denis Payre, president and CEO of Nature and People First, said the commission’s decision was “undeniably disheartening.” The company secured support from local Navajo communities and talked with Navajo government officials for a project he said would create jobs.

“Developing pumped storage projects is inherently challenging; this additional obstacle threatens to halt our collective efforts,” Payre said.

The company submitted a proposal for a much larger project than it intends to construct, giving it flexibility to build a smaller project on the piece of land it finds is best after study and tribal consultation.

That approach and using that amount of water engenders opposition, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group.

“If you are going to propose a small project, actually propose a small project,” said Taylor McKinnon, the center’s Southwest director.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also rejected proposals from Rye Development, which said it values tribal consultation and will continue to study opportunities on tribal land.

Malcolm Woolf, president and CEO of the industry group National Hydropower Association, said he supports tribes’ right to stop unwanted projects. But he said the new policy could halt planning too soon.

The commission denied preliminary permits for the seven projects, which only recognize a business is first in line to develop a project and allows further studies. Developers have to consult with tribes before they can be granted a license and start building.

Companies don’t want to navigate a complicated permitting process and spend years working with a tribe only for another business to swoop in and win rights to the project at the last minute, Woolf said.

One company quickly caught up in the new policy is Pumped Hydro Storage, which wants a preliminary permit for a project near the Little Colorado River on Navajo Nation land in Arizona. In light of its new policy, the commission asked for more input from those it potentially impacts before they decide what to do.

The company’s manager, Steve Irwin, said pumped storage is important but hard to build on the Navajo Nation's land.

“There’s no clear pathway to doing business on the reservation,” Irwin said. “It’s almost like you have to have 100% unanimous consensus. It’s not majority, it’s got to be 100%, and it’s like, you are never going to get 100%.”


The Associated Press receives support from the Walton Family Foundation for coverage of water and environmental policy. The AP is solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s environmental coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

Los Alamos Braces for its Biggest Mission Since the Top-Secret Manhattan Project

Associated Press

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) __ Los Alamos was the perfect spot for the U.S. government's top-secret Manhattan Project.

Almost overnight, the ranching enclave on a remote plateau in northern New Mexico was transformed into a makeshift home for scientists, engineers and young soldiers racing to develop the world's first atomic bomb. Dirt roads were hastily built and temporary housing came in the form of huts and tents as the outpost`s population ballooned.

The community is facing growing pains again, 80 years later, as Los Alamos National Laboratory takes part in the nation`s most ambitious nuclear weapons effort since World War II. The mission calls for modernizing the arsenal with droves of new workers producing plutonium cores __ key components for nuclear weapons.

Some 3,300 workers have been hired in the last two years, with the workforce now topping more than 17,270. Close to half of them commute to work from elsewhere in northern New Mexico and from as far away as Albuquerque, helping to nearly double Los Alamos` population during the work week.

While advancements in technology have changed the way work is done at Los Alamos, some things remain the same for this company town. The secrecy and unwavering sense of duty that were woven into the community`s fabric during the 1940s remain.

James Owen, the associate lab director for weapons engineering, has spent more than 25 years working in the nuclear weapons program.

"What we do is meaningful. This isn't a job, it's a vocation and there's a sense of contribution that comes with that,`` Owen said in an interview with The Associated Press following a rare tour of the facility where workers are preparing to piece together plutonium cores by hand. ``The downside is we can't tell people about all the cool things we do here."

While the priority at Los Alamos is maintaining the nuclear stockpile, the lab also conducts a range of national security work and research in diverse fields of space exploration, supercomputing, renewable energy and efforts to limit global threats from disease and cyberattacks.

The welcome sign on the way into town reads: "Where discoveries are made."

The headline grabber, though, is the production of plutonium cores.

Lab managers and employees defend the massive undertaking as necessary in the face of global political instability. With most people in Los Alamos connected to the lab, opposition is rare.

But watchdog groups and non-proliferation advocates question the need for new weapons and the growing price tag.

"For some time Los Alamosans have seemed numbed out, very involved in superficial activities but there is a very big hole in the middle where thoughtful discourse might live," Greg Mello, director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nonprofit that has been challenging the lab over safety, security and budget concerns, said in an email.

Town officials are grappling with the effects of expansion at the lab, much like the military generals who scrambled to erect the secret city on the hill in 1943.

The labor market is stressed, housing is in short supply and traffic is growing. There are few options for expansion in a town bordered by the national forest, a national park and Native American land, leaving county officials to reconsider zoning rules to allow developers to be more creative with infill projects.

Still, officials acknowledge it will take time for those changes to catch up with demand and for prices to normalize in what is already one of the most affluent counties in the U.S. With the lab being the largest employer, Los Alamos also boasts the highest per-capita levels of educational attainment with many residents holding master`s degrees and Ph.Ds.

Owen is originally from Peñasco, a Hispanic village in neighboring Taos County. His fascination with science was sparked by a high school field trip where he learned about explosions and implosions. It wasn`t long before he landed a summer job at the lab and went on to earn engineering degrees that helped him move up through the ranks.

Los Alamos taps into regional schools as a generational pipeline. Grandfathers work as machinists. Mothers solder key components. And daughters become experts at tracking radiation.

Alexandra Martinez, 40, grew up in nearby Chimayo and is the latest in her family to work at Los Alamos. She chuckles when asked if she was born into it.

"That`s what I wanted __ the ability to do something great," said Martinez, a radiation control technician who is stationed at PF-4, the highly classified complex that is being transformed into a more modern plutonium pit factory.

She must pass through fencing topped with concertina wire and checkpoints manned by armed guards. The layers of security are more sophisticated than those from the Manhattan Project era, when all incoming and outgoing mail was censored and telephone calls were monitored.

Los Alamos became an open city when the security gates came down in 1957. Still, many parts __ including historic sites related to the Manhattan Project __ remain off limits. Tourists have to settle for selfies near the town square with the bronze statue of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Across the street, rangers at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park visitor center answer questions about where scientists lived and where parties and town halls were held. A chalkboard hangs in the corner, covered in yellow sticky notes left by visitors. Some of the hand-written notes touch on the complicated legacy left by the creation of nuclear weapons.

It`s a conversation that was reignited with the release of Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer." The film put the spotlight on Los Alamos and its history, prompting more people to visit over the summer.

The attention also boosted an ongoing effort to expand the federal government`s radiation compensation program to cover people in several western states, including residents in southern New Mexico where the Trinity Test of the first atomic bomb was conducted in 1945.

Aside from pressing questions about the morality of nuclear weapons, watchdogs argue the federal government`s modernization effort already has outpaced spending predictions and is years behind schedule. Independent government analysts issued a report earlier this month that outlined the growing budget and schedule delays.

For lab managers, the task has not been easy. Modern health and safety requirements mean new constraints Manhattan Project bosses never had to contemplate. And yet, just like their predecessors, Owen said officials feel a sense of urgency amid intensifying global threats.

"What`s being asked is that we all need to do better in a faster amount of time, `` he said.

Justin Torres and Ned Blackhawk Are Among The Winners of National Book Awards

AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) __ Justin Torres` novel "Blackouts," a daring and illustrated narrative that blends history and imagination in its recounting of a censored study of gay sexuality, has won the National Book Award for fiction.

On Wednesday night, the nonfiction prize was awarded to Ned Blackhawk`s "The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History" and young people`s literature was won by Dan Santat`s "A First Time for Everything." Craig Santos Perez`s "from incorporated territory (åmot)," the fifth work in his series about his native Guam, was cited for best poetry, and Stênio Gardel`s "The Words That Remain," translated from Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato, won for literature in translation.

Torres, whose book imagines a conversation between a dying man and the young friend he educates about a real history called "Sex Variants," gave a brief acceptance speech before he was joined by more than a dozen nominees who gathered to present a statement about the Israel-Hamas war. Read by fiction nominee Aaliyah Bilal, the statement condemned the "ongoing bombardment of Gaza, " antisemitism, anti-Palestinian sentiments and Islamophobia and called for a humanitarian cease-fire. The authors received a standing ovation after Bilal finished.

One sponsor, Zibby Media, had withdrawn support out of concerns the statement might be antisemitic and anti-Israel.

Oprah Winfrey gave an emotional keynote address during the dinner ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street, and honorary medals were presented to poet Rita Dove and to Paul Yamazaki, a longtime bookseller at San Francisco's famed City Lights store.

Winners in the five competitive categories each received $10,000.

The night`s unofficial themes were self-expression, voices silenced and raised and the way literature can, as Dove described it, summon the voice of our "unarticulated disturbances."

The National Books Awards are a tribute to words and the right to read, as embodied this year by event host LeVar Burton and Winfrey. Burton, a longtime champion of reading, marveled that he and Winfrey, both descended from enslaved people, could become "symbols for literacy, literature and the written word."

Winfrey, seated during dinner between book club choices Jesmyn Ward and Abraham Verghese, became tearful as she spoke of her lifelong passion for words and reverence for authors. She quoted from such favored works as Alice Walker's "The Color Purple" and Barbara Kingsolver's "Demon Copperhead" and condemned those who ban books, calling censorship an act of isolating people into "soulless echo chambers."

Books, Winfrey said, should be within reach "of everyone to choose for themselves."

Hundreds attended the National Books Awards, raising more than $1 million for the National Book Foundation, which oversees the event and provides a wide range of public and educational programs. Booksellers and others judge panels of writers and select awards finalists and winners of the competitive categories, for which publishers submitted a total of more than 1,900 works.

The National Book Awards also are a literary celebration that often overlaps with current events, whether the election of former President Donald Trump, a prime topic at the 2016 ceremony, or the badges of support some wore last year for striking workers at HarperCollins Publishers.

Wednesday's original host, Drew Barrymore, was dropped in September by the book foundation after she renewed the taping of her talk show while Hollywood writers were still on strike. Zibby Media and Book of the Month both declined to attend the ceremony, although only Zibby withheld its financial backing, according to the book foundation. The decision came before Zibby Media could be removed from the program guide, which listed the company as a "bronze`` donor, between $25,000 and $49,000.

A full-page ad from Zibby appeared in the guide, opposite a full-page ad from Simon & Schuster for Bilal's story collection "Temple Folk."

Many of the winners spoke of using books to demonstrate and champion their own communities, whether the Native Americans in Blackhawk`s work of history or the Pacific Islanders of Perez`s poetry.

The fiction nominees were themselves a kind of collective statement, dramatizing those overlooked or oppressed, whether the brutalized prisoners of Nana Kwame's Adjei-Brenyah's "Chain Gang All-Stars: A Novel," the Nation of Islam members in "Temple Folk" or the Maine island devastated by racist theories in Paul Harding`s "This Other Eden."

Nominee Hanna Pylväinen, whose work "The End of Drum-Time: A Novel" focuses in part on the Indigenous Sami of 19th century Scandinavia, says one of the purposes of fiction is showing that "no matter what the community" we could "be any one of those people and that we can see how those people got to be where they were in their lives."

Winfrey, in her speech, said books were a path to helping us relate to people we otherwise "have nothing in common with." She then quoted the late Toni Morrison: "The function of freedom is to free someone else."

Biden Administration Restores the Power of States and Tribes to Review Projects to Protect Waterways


Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) __ States and Native American tribes will have greater authority to block energy projects such as natural gas pipelines that could pollute rivers and streams under a final rule issued Thursday by the Biden administration.

The rule, which takes effect in November, reverses a Trump-era action that limited the ability of states and tribes to review pipelines, dams and other federally regulated projects within their borders. The Environmental Protection Agency says the new regulation will empower local authorities to protect rivers and streams while supporting infrastructure projects that create jobs.

"We actually think this is going to be great for the country,`` said Radhika Fox, assistant administrator for water. "It's going to allow us to balance the Biden administration goals of protecting our water resources and also supporting all kinds of infrastructure projects that this nation so desperately needs.``

But Fox acknowledged at a briefing that the water rule will be significantly slimmed down from an earlier proposal because of a Supreme Court ruling that weakened regulations protecting millions of acres of wetlands. That ruling, in a case known as Sackett v. EPA, sharply limited the federal government's jurisdiction over wetlands, requiring that wetlands be more clearly connected to other waters such as oceans and rivers. Environmental advocates said the May decision would strip protections from tens of millions of acres of wetlands.

Fox declined to offer a specific number of waterways that would no longer be protected. But she said the Sackett case ``does limit pretty significantly the number of the waters that we expect to be (under federal jurisdiction) when those determinations are made`` by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The administration will work closely with states, tribes and territories on implementing the rule, ``but again, what is jurisdictional and not jurisdictional is determined by these very case-specific reviews`` by the Corps, she said.

In a separate action last month, the Biden administration weakened regulations protecting millions of acres of wetlands, saying it had no choice after the high court ruling. The rule defining "Waters of the United States" marks a policy shift that departs from a half-century of federal rules governing the nation's waterways.

The federal Clean Water Act allows states and tribes to review what effect pipelines, dams and some other federally regulated projects might have on water quality within their borders. The Trump administration sought to streamline fossil fuel development and made it harder for local officials to block projects.

The rule announced Thursday will shift power back to states, tribes and territories.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement that the new rule affirms the authority of states, territories and tribes ``to protect precious water resources while advancing federally permitted projects in a transparent, timely and predictable way."

The rule allows states and tribes to work with federal agencies to determine the time frame for review __ up to a maximum of one year __ but provides a six-month default deadline if local authorities and the federal agency do not agree on a timeline.

The EPA has said states should have authority to look beyond pollution directly discharged into waterways and "holistically evaluate" the impact of a project on local water quality. The new rule gives local regulators more power to ensure they have the information they need before facing deadline pressure to issue or deny a permit, the EPA said.

Environmental groups said the new rule will make it easier for states and tribes to review projects that could harm water quality.

"This rule will help end the regulatory chaos states and tribes have operated under`` since the Trump-era rollback, said Moneen Nasmith, senior attorney at Earthjustice, which represented tribes in Washington state, Nevada and Alaska in a lawsuit against the 2020 rule.

``Now, state and tribal authorities can much more confidently exercise their authority to review and reject`` or add conditions to projects that threaten water quality, Nasmith said.

Industry groups complained that a proposed rule issued last year could lead to unnecessary delays for a range of infrastructure projects, including pipelines, dams and bridges.

Former President Donald Trump had argued that states were improperly wielding the Clean Water Act to block needed fossil fuel projects.

New York, for example, has used its review authority to deny certain natural gas pipeline projects. Washington state refused to issue a permit for a coal export terminal in 2017.

In 2020, EPA officials said the Clean Water Act shouldn't be used to hold infrastructure projects hostage and finalized its rule that curtailed state and tribal power.

The Trump rule was tossed by a federal judge in 2021, but a divided Supreme Court later reinstated it. The court's three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, saying supporters of the rule had not shown that they would be sufficiently harmed by the lower court's ruling.

Biden Creates New National Monument Near Grand Canyon, Citing Tribal Heritage, Climate Concerns

Associated Press

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) __ Declaring it good "not only for Arizona but for the planet," President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a national monument designation for the greater Grand Canyon, turning the decades-long visions of Native American tribes and environmentalists into reality.

Coming as Biden is on a three-state Western trip, the move will help preserve about 1,562 square miles (4,046 square kilometers) just to the north and south of Grand Canyon National Park. It encompasses canyons, plateaus and tributaries that feed a range of plants and wildlife, including bison, elk, desert bighorn sheep and rare species of cactus, and it is Biden`s fifth monument designation.

Tribes in Arizona have been pushing the president to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create a new national monument called Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni. "Baaj Nwaavjo" means "where tribes roam," for the Havasupai people, while "I'tah Kukveni" translates to "our footprints," for the Hopi tribe.

"Preserving these lands is good, not only for Arizona but for the planet,`` said Biden, who spoke with a mountain vista behind him using a handheld mic to counter the wind and wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses to shield him from the sunshine. ``It`s good for the economy. It`s good for the soul of the nation.``

The president tied the designation to his administration's larger push to combat climate change and noted this summer`s extreme heat, which has been especially punishing in places like Phoenix. He said extreme heat was responsible for more deaths than other natural disasters like floods and hurricanes but added, ``None of this need be inevitable."

Biden also criticized adherents of former President Donald Trump 's "Make America Great Again" movement for opposing efforts to promote green energy and expand federal environmental protections. He spoke near Red Butte, a site culturally significant to the Havasupai and Hopi tribes, to an audience that included a number of people in traditional native dress, including feathered headbands.

Biden said the new designation would see the federal government live up to its treaty obligations with Native American tribes after many were forced in decades past from their ancestral homes around the Grand Canyon as officials developed the site of the national park.

"At a time when some seek to ban books and bury history, we're making it clear that we can't just choose to learn what we want to learn," Biden said, a reference to his frequent criticism of some top Republicans who have sought to impose limits on school libraries, citing parental complaints about explicit material.

The political stakes are high since Arizona is a key battleground state that Biden won narrowly in 2020. It is one of only a few genuinely competitive states heading into next year`s election, making winning Arizona a critical part of Biden`s efforts to secure a second term.

Later Tuesday, the president flies to New Mexico, considered safe for Democrats in 2024, and he will visit the Republican stronghold of Utah after that.

Invitees at Tuesday's event included Yavapai-Apache Nation Chairwoman Tanya Lewis, Colorado River Indian Tribes Chairwoman Amelia Flores, Navajo President Buu Nygren and Havasupai Tribal Councilwoman Dianna Sue White Dove Uqualla.

Carletta Tilousi, a former Havasupai councilwoman and spokesperson for the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, was moved as she first watched her daughter introduce Biden, and then saw the president sign the designation.

"I've had a lot of mixed emotions leading up to this day," Tilousi said. "One, missing my elders that started this campaign. They've all passed away. ... They weren't here to witness this special moment physically but I know they're here in the clouds, in the wind."

Noting Biden`s reference to past mistreatment of Native Americans, she added, ``I never thought I'd hear a president say that in a lifetime."

Republican lawmakers and the uranium mining industry that operates in the area had opposed the designation, touting the economic benefits for the region while arguing that the mining efforts are a matter of national security.

Reps. Bruce Westerman, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican who also holds a leadership position on the committee, released a letter to Biden on Tuesday, suggesting the designation "would permanently withdraw the richest and highest-grade uranium deposits in the United States from mining__deposits that are far outside the Grand Canyon National Park."

The Interior Department, reacting to concerns over the risk of contaminating water, enacted a 20-year moratorium on the filing of new mining claims around the national park in 2012. Still, existing mining claims will not be affected by the designation, senior Biden administration officials say.

Furthermore, the monument site encompasses around 1.3% of the nation's known and understood uranium reserves. Officials say there are significant resources in other parts of the country that will remain accessible.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs said Tuesday that "the Grand Canyon is known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but we know it for so much more." In his own remarks, Biden mistakenly referred to the nine wonders of the world, but corrected himself.

"There's no national treasure, none, that is grander than the Grand Canyon," the president said.

Other opponents of establishing a monument have argued it won't help combat a lingering drought and could prevent thinning of forests and stop hunters from keeping wildlife populations in check. Ranchers in Utah near the Arizona border say the monument designation would strip them of privately owned land.

In 2017, President Barack Obama backed off a full-on monument designation. The idea faced a hostile reception from Arizona's Republican governor and two senators. Then-Gov. Doug Ducey threatened legal action, saying Arizona already has enough national monuments.

The landscape of Arizona`s political delegation has since changed considerably. Hobbs, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent, all endorsed the move.

Mining companies and the areas that would benefit from their business nonetheless remained opposed. Buster Johnson, a Mohave County supervisor, said he doesn`t see the point of not tapping into uranium and making the country less dependent on Russia.

"We need uranium for the security of our country," Johnson said. "We`re out of the game."

No uranium mines are operating in Arizona, although the Pinyon Plain Mine, just south of Grand Canyon National Park, has been under development for years. Other claims are grandfathered in. The federal government has said nearly a dozen mines within the area that has been withdrawn from new mining claims could still potentially open.

After Arizona, Biden will go on to Albuquerque on Wednesday, where he will talk about how fighting climate change has created new jobs. During a visit to Salt Lake City on Thursday, the president will mark the first anniversary of the PACT Act, which provides new benefits to veterans who were exposed to toxic substances.


Associated Press writer Will Weissert contributed to this report from Washington.

North Carolina Bill Ensuring Native American School Graduates Can Wear Feathers Heads to Governor

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - American Indian students in North Carolina public schools could wear items like feathers and plumes to their graduation ceremonies to signify their cultural heritage in legislation given final General Assembly approval Thursday.

The House bill, which after clearing the state Senate unanimously now heads to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk for his expected signature, responds to what supporters call inconsistent decisions by schools determining whether such items related to Native Americans violate dress codes.

An appeals court ruling more than 40 years ago declared schools may deny student participation in graduation ceremonies if the student does not comply with a dress code, according to a bill explanation from General Assembly staff.

The measure, already approved by the House in March, received the final OK as high schools across the state wrap up commencement ceremonies for the school year. The bill would take effect as soon as Cooper signs it.

The bill, whose sponsors include Lumbee tribe member Rep. Jarrod Lowery of Robeson County, says any student who is a member of a state or federally recognized Indian tribe or eligible to be a member can wear "objects of cultural significance" as part of their graduation regalia. Plumes and feathers, which are considered sacred by many tribal members, would fit that definition, the legislation says.

US Postal Service Honors Civil Rights Leader, Ponca Tribe Chief Standing Bear, With Stamp

Associated Press

A Ponca tribe chief whose landmark lawsuit in 1879 established that a Native American is a person under the law was honored Friday with the unveiling of a U. S. Postal Service stamp that features his portrait.

The release of the stamp of Chief Standing Bear comes 146 years after the Army forced him and about 700 other members of the Ponca tribe to leave their homeland in northeast Nebraska and walk 600 miles (965 kilometers) to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Chief Standing Bear was arrested and imprisoned in Fort Omaha when he and others tried to return. This prompted him to file a lawsuit that led to an 1879 ruling ordering his release and finding that a Native American is a person with a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

"For so long people didn't know his story or the Ponca story - our own trail of tears," Candace Schmidt, chairwoman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska said. ''We are finally able to tell his story of perseverance and how we as a tribe are resilient.''

Judi M. gaiashkibos, executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, called the issuing of a Chief Standing Bear stamp a milestone that she hopes ''provokes necessary conversations about race, sovereignty and equality in the United States."

"It's remarkable, that the story of Nebraska Native American civil rights leader Chief Standing Bear has progressed from a native man being considered a non- person by the U.S. Government in 1879, to today, being recognized by the Postal Service with a stamp honoring him as an American icon," gaiashkibos said.

The Postal Service, which released the stamp at a ceremony Friday in Lincoln, Nebraska, has printed 18 million stamps. The stamp features a portrait of Chief Standing Bear by illustrator Thomas Blackshear II, based on a black and white photograph taken in 1877, the Postal Service said.

More than 100 members of the Ponca tribe died during or soon after the forced journey to Oklahoma, including Chief Standing Bear's only son. It was a desire to have his son buried in their homeland in Nebraska's Niobrara River Valley that resulted in the return of Chief Standing Bear and 29 others and their subsequent arrest.

According to the National Park Service, two Omaha attorneys represented Chief Standing Bear at a two-day trial before Judge Elmer S. Dundy in U.S. District Court in Omaha. The government appealed Dundy's ruling that Chief Standing Bear and other arrested members of his tribe were "persons" but the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

The Ponca members were freed and returned to their old reservation along the Niobrara River, where Chief Standing Bear died in 1908.

A congressional investigation later determined the government wrongly gave away the Ponca homeland and removed the tribe, leading to congressional legislation in 1881 that gave some compensation to members of the tribe. In 1924, an issue that arose in the 1879 trial was resolved when Congress approved a law that conferred citizenship on all Native Americans born in the United States.

The federal government terminated the Ponca tribe of Nebraska in 1966 but the tribe regained federal recognition in 1990. Schmidt said the Ponca now has about 5,500 members, operates three health clinic and offers numerous services to members.

"We're doing really well," she said.

There is a separate Ponca tribe in Oklahoma.

Anton G. Hajjar, vice chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, said the post office has been issuing stamps that honor the legacy of great Americans since the 1800s. In issuing the stamp of Chief Standing Bear, Hajjar noted, "It took our country far too long to recognize the humanity in many of its people - including the American Indians who lived in these lands for thousands of years. "

The Postal Service previously has issued stamps honoring Native Americans including Pocahontas, Chief Joseph, Sequoyah, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull and Jim Thorpe.

Biden to Designate National Monuments in Nevada, Texas

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Joe Biden is establishing national monuments in Nevada and Texas and creating a marine sanctuary in U.S. waters near the Pacific Remote Islands southwest of Hawaii.

The Democratic president is set to announce the measures Tuesday at a White House summit on conservation action at the Interior Department.

Biden said in November that he intends to designate Avi Kwa Ame, a desert mountain in southern Nevada that's considered sacred to Native Americans, as a national monument. The site spans more than 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) and includes Spirit Mountain, a peak northwest of Laughlin called Avi Kwa Ame (ah- VEE' kwa-meh) by the Fort Mojave Tribe and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In Texas, Biden plans to create the Castner Range National Monument in El Paso. The designation will protect the cultural, scientific and historic objects found within the monument's boundaries, honor U.S. veterans, service members and tribal nations, and expand access to outdoor recreation on public lands, the White House said.

Located on Fort Bliss, Castner Range served as a training and testing site for the U.S. Army during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Army ceased training at the site and closed Castner Range in 1966.

Together, the two new national monuments protect nearly 514,000 acres (208,000 hectares) of public lands.

In the Pacific, Biden will direct the Commerce Department to consider initiating a new national marine sanctuary designation within 30 days to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. If completed, the new sanctuary would help ensure the U.S. reaches Biden's goal to conserve at least 30% of ocean waters under U.S. jurisdiction by 2030, the White House said.

Biden also will announce a series of steps to conserve, restore and expand access to public lands and waters across the country, the White House said. The proposals seek to modernize management of America's public lands, harness the power of the ocean to help fight climate change, and better conserve wildlife corridors. Biden also will announce new spending to improve access to outdoor recreation, promote tribal conservation and reduce wildfire risk.

Biden's actions come as he faces sharp criticism from environmental groups and youth activists over his approval of the huge Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.

Biden has made fighting global warming a central part of his agenda, and White House officials have defended efforts to put the United States on track to meet Biden's goal to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

But the decision on Willow has alienated supporters, particularly young activists skeptical about political compromise at the same time Biden is planning to announce his reelection campaign.

Climate activists are expected to gather outside the Interior Department on Tuesday to condemn what they call Biden's "climate hypocrisy'' and demand the administration change course on Willow.

The Willow Project has garnered global attention in recent weeks as a #stopwillow campaign went viral across social media platforms, most notably gaining more than 600 million views on TikTok and amassing more than 4 million signatures on a change.org petition, making it one of the most popular petitions in the website's history.

White House officials have acknowledged the indignation among Biden's supporters over Willow but emphasized that oil giant ConocoPhillips has held leases in that area of Alaska for decades, which strengthens the Houston-based company's legal right to drill.

Environmental groups already have sued in a renewed effort to block Willow.

Conservation and tribal groups praised Biden's action. The Avi Kwa Ame landscape is sacred to 12 tribes and is home to rare wildlife and plants, while Castner Range is the ancestral homeland of the Comanche and Apache people, and its cultural ecology is considered sacred to several Indigenous communities.

"To the native people who point to Avi Kwa Ame as their spiritual birthplace, and every Nevadan who knows the value of our cherished public lands: Today is for you,? tweeted Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, who sponsored a bill to protect the rugged region near the Mojave National Preserve from development, including solar farms and a proposed wind farm.

''Spirit Mountain will now be protected for future generations,'' Titus added.

The Castner Range monument "will preserve fragile lands already surrounded on three sides by development,'' help ensure access to clean water and protect rare and endangered species, said Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas.

Fort Mojave Tribe Chairman Timothy Williams, who is in Washington for the conservation summit, said designation of the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is "a great example of the opportunity that exists when tribal, federal, state and local partners work together for conservation, restoration and stewardship solutions.

The Honor Avi Kwa Ame coalition, which includes tribes, local residents, state lawmakers and conservation groups, said its members were "overjoyed" to learn the site will be a new national monument.

''Together, we will honor Avi Kwa Ame today - from its rich Indigenous history, to its vast and diverse plant and wildlife, to the outdoor recreation opportunities created for local cities and towns in southern Nevada by a new gorgeous monument right in their backyard," the group said.

Biden designated his first national monument, in Colorado, last year. In 2021, he restored the boundaries for Bears Ears National Monument in Utah after they were significantly narrowed by President Donald Trump, a Republican.

Memories of Wounded Knee Reflect Mixed Legacy After 50 Years

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Tensions that had been smoldering on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota flared up 50 years ago Monday, when activists from the American Indian Movement took over the town of Wounded Knee.

In the view of the protesters, Oglala Sioux tribal chairman Dick Wilson was in cahoots with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal authorities, and used threats of violence to intimidate his critics. But the 71-day occupation quickly morphed into an outpouring of anger with the federal government over decades of broken treaties, the theft of ancestral lands, forced assimilation and other injustices dating back centuries.

Two Native Americans died in the fighting, and a U.S. marshal was left paralyzed.

Wounded Knee had already been seared into history as the site of an 1890 massacre by U.S. Army cavalry troops in one of the

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the occupation, The Associated Press reached out to people who were at Wounded Knee or involved from a distance to hear their stories.


Dwain Camp, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, was in California when his younger brother, Carter, called to say he and other leaders of the American Indian Movement took a group of activists into Wounded Knee.

"He was telling me they were in a hell of a fight," Camp, now 85, recalled. "I heard the gunfire and that was all I needed. I went up there and stayed for the duration of the standoff."

Their brother, Craig, a Vietnam veteran, also joined them. Camp said the rifles and shotguns the occupiers took from the trading post in town were no match for the weapons and armored vehicles the feds had.

"We were going to make it very expensive should they go ahead and roll in," Camp said. "It didn't come to that, thank goodness."

Camp remembers the occupation with pride as "a very vital time" that changed his life. He said he experienced "the freest feeling that I could ever imagine." He met AIM leaders who became famous, including Dennis Banks,Clyde Bellecourt

And it helped change the way Native Americans across the country saw themselves, Camp said.

"The Native people of this land after Wounded Knee, they had like a surge of new pride in being Native people," he said.

Camp said the takeover was a catalyst for policy changes that had been "unimaginable'' before, including the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, to name a few. And it provided a focus for his own activism.

"After we left Wounded Knee, it became paramount that protecting Mother Earth was our foremost issue,'' he said. ''Since that period of time, we've learned that we've got to teach our kids our true history."

Camp sees the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline - which drew thousands of Indigenous people and supporters to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017 - as a continuation of the resurgence fueled by Wounded Knee.

"We're not the subjugated and disenfranchised people that we were,'' he said. ''Wounded Knee was an important beginning of that. And because we're a resilient people, it's something we take a lot of pride in."

Camp said he wished he could return to Pine Ridge for the 50th anniversary observances, but traveling isn't easy at his age. Instead, he plans to get together with his surviving brother, Craig, who lives near him in Ponca. They'll burn some of the sacred sage that family members bring back every year from South Dakota.



FBI Special Agent Jim Huggins was on the other side of the roadblocks. He was one of several agents from the Denver FBI office who went to Wounded Knee to back up their colleagues.

''It was a dangerous situation," recalled Huggins, 83, who's retired and lives in Frankfort, Kentucky. "The people that took over the town of Wounded Knee were a group of militants, mostly out of Minneapolis. ... They were dedicated members of the American Indian Movement and were very anti-FBI."

Huggins said there was often an exchange of gunfire between the two sides.

"Every time you were out on the roadblocks, you could anticipate a shot coming your way," he said. "You could hear them whizz by pretty close sometimes. ... It seemed like every night just after sunset a few shots would ring our in our direction."

Unlike Camp, Huggins doesn't think much good came out of the occupation.

"I think it was totally unnecessary on their part," he said. "I base that on interviewing several Native Americans who lived for years on the reservation. They were totally against the takeover."

And Huggins believes the ongoing tensions between AIM and authorities led to the killings of two FBI agents in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation two years later, one of whom was a good friend of his. AIM activist Leonard Peltier maintains he was wrongly convicted in their deaths, but successive presidents have denied requests for clemency.



Phil Hogen was chief of staff to new U.S. Rep. James Abdnor, whose district included the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, when the occupation began just a few weeks after they moved to Washington.

"We were sort of on the front page of the Washington Post for 71 days while this was going on," Hogen recalled. He said Abdnor "did not look kindly on that disruption. He was all for resolving differences." But he said they worked hard to try to find a resolution, consulting with the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Hogen, 77, who lives off the reservation in Black Hawk, South Dakota, now has mixed, but mostly negative, views on the occupation.

"It was regrettable in many respects," he said. "That is, the disruption of government, the confrontation, the loss of lives. I don't know that all of those wounds have yet healed. But at the end of the day there was a greater awareness of American Indian/Native American concerns and injustices they had been exposed to."

As a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Hogen said he could identify with some of their concerns.

"But it didn't start out from my perspective as a national confrontation, rather a national confrontation looking for a place to happen,'' he said. Tribal leader Wilson "sometimes ruled with an iron hand, but sometimes on Pine Ridge that was necessary."

Hogen went on to serve as U.S. attorney for South Dakota under President Ronald Reagan.

If any lasting good came out of the occupation of Wounded Knee, Hogen said, it was that it ''reminded the whole country about what a tragedy the original massacre was, and how those concerns or wounds were probably never appropriately addressed. It probably steered some resources toward solving some of those problems. ... But it left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of people, so it cut both ways.''

Hogen said it's also unfortunate that relatively little has been done with the massacre site, which was mostly private land until last fall.

"It's the site of a national tragedy, and its regrettable that it isn't better memorialized there than it is," he said.



Jim Mone had been a photographer with The Associated Press in Minneapolis for about 3 1/2 months when he was sent to cover the takeover. He packed a couple hundred pounds of equipment - including photo transmitters, a complete darkroom and a bulk pack of black-and-white film - and got on a flight to Rapid City, South Dakota.

The closest available motel room was in the town of Martin, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Wounded Knee. He set up his darkroom in the bathroom and mixed his chemicals. His editor soon arrived and said, "Let's go to Wounded Knee. "

But that wasn't easy. The FBI and AIM had erected roadblocks. So they took backroads to get as close as they could, ditching their car about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away, and started walking. Soon they came upon surprised AIM members who let them keep going.

"They were courteous enough to tell us how much farther we had to go," said Mone, 79, of of the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington.

Entering Wounded Knee, they saw a ransacked church where activists and journalists had gathered - and men with rifles. But Mone said he developed good relations with AIM leaders in the seven weeks he was there.

"They knew they needed the media, so I don't think any media people got hurt,'' he said. ''You could get inches away from them, and photograph them. They treated us quite well and respectfully."

The most worrying moments, he said, included firefights when he could see tracer bullets overhead, and a when a jet buzzed the town just a few hundred feet overhead.

To get an edge on his competition, Mone said, he practically crawled into a packed tipi where AIM activists and federal authorities smoked a peace pipe to mark the deal to end the occupation. He developed his film using equipment in his trunk before driving back to his motel, where he used a bulky transmitter connected to his room phone to send in the key picture, which Mone said was used by The New York Times the next day.

Mone said the atmosphere as the deal was signed was courteous, tense and businesslike all at once, and he believed that the fact the final negotiations were conducted in a tipi was ''a sign of respect to the Native Americans."

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

First Native American Woman in Space Steps Out on Spacewalk

AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ The first Native American woman in space ventured out on a spacewalk Friday to prep the International Space Station for more solar panels.

NASA astronaut Nicole Mann emerged alongside Japan's Koichi Wakata, lugging an equipment bag. Their job was to install support struts and brackets for new solar panels launching this summer, part of a continuing effort by NASA to expand the space station's power grid.

Mann, a Marine colonel and test pilot, rocketed into orbit last fall with SpaceX, becoming the first Native American woman in space. She is a member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Northern California.

Wakata, Japan's spaceflight leader with five missions, also flew up on SpaceX. He helped build the station during the shuttle era.

Friday was the first spacewalk for both.

The pair will depart the space station in another month or so.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Boy Who Got New Heart Inspires Tribe To Boost Organ Donation

Associated Press

Greyson Parisien's time on earth was short. But the boy with dark-rimmed eyeglasses who was enchanted by the music in “Frozen”, the sound of ripping paper and his dad playing the guitar is having an outsized impact on his tribal community in the far reaches of North Dakota.

His journey to correct a heart defect led the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians to add an organ donation box to tribal IDs, which it unveiled during a November ceremony.

The rate of organ donations among Native Americans is much lower than other ethnic groups. For some tribes, cultural beliefs are a factor. In rural communities, time, distance and spotty internet access can hinder the process.

“You don't think about donation and how many people are not donors," said Greyson's grandmother, Joan Azure. “I was thinking, `There has to be more donors.' When you're going through this personally, you don't want someone to die but you also want your child to live."

Fewer than 1% of the 100,000 people nationwide waiting for organ transplants are Native Americans, who make up nearly 3% of the U.S. population.

The figures are higher in some states, including New Mexico where 1 in 5 people on the waiting list are Native American. In South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota, nearly 5% of patients awaiting an organ donation are Native American.

Greyson had surgery at 5 months to correct a heart defect, and then he needed an external device to pump blood through his small body. A heart transplant allowed him to leave the hospital after a year and return to the Turtle Mountain reservation, headquartered in Belcourt, North Dakota.

Suddenly, pneumonia ended his life in September 2019. He was 21 months old.

Greyson's story and spirit live on in parades, powwows and conversations in the community. Azure promotes organ donation during congenital heart week and with trivia games.

Tribal members knew him well through updates posted on social media.

In one, Greyson's mother, Reeanne Parisien, asked the community to choose Greyson's eyeglasses. The overwhelming vote was the dark-rimmed, boxy ones that he wore with bow ties and khakis, his hair combed in a mohawk. When he died, the community sought understanding and assurance that it wasn't because of his new heart.

His tribe passed a resolution this year in honor of Greyson. During a November event at the tribal college, it encouraged people to check the new organ donor box on tribal IDs and waived the $10 fee.

“Today is a monumental day that people will remember, especially Native nations, for decades to come," tribal Chairman Jamie Azure said, standing next to Grayson's photo that was taken after he got a new heart – smiling with arms stretched to the sky.

The tribe believes it could be the first of the 574 federally recognized Native American nations to designate a spot on tribal IDs for organ donors.

Susan Mau Larson, the chief strategy officer for LifeSource, part of a network of nearly 60 organ procurement organizations, said she hopes other tribes follow suit. Several are working with tribal communities to raise awareness of organ donation and transplant.

Those conversations can be tough, especially when personal or traditional beliefs don't align with western medicine. They happen in tribal communities, at events and in hospital rooms as someone nears the end of their life. And there are guidelines: Identify the decision maker in a family. Tell a story, don't explain the process. Give the family time to discuss. Be comfortable with silence. And comfort families, regardless of the decision.

In the Southwest, Darryl Madalena encourages tribal members to think about becoming organ donors by making a connection between kidney disease _ which afflicts Native Americans at higher rates than the U.S. population _ and organ donation and receipt.

He talks about tribes' increasing reliance on western medicine and asks, hypothetically, if members would be prevented from journeying on if they had a pacemaker or an artificial hip. If not, why not donate or receive an organ?

“So much of westernized medicine is in the fabric of our communities, our lives, our culture," said Madalena, the Native American liaison for New Mexico Donor Services. “If you pull one string, that may be very detrimental to the health of Natives."

Madalena's work is partly driven by the memory of his partner, Mylia Phouamkha, a Hopi woman who died within a week of being hospitalized with liver problems in 2019, without enough time to seriously consider a transplant.

She and Madalena had a son together, Micca, who was two years old at the time.

“If your heart tells you and you have it within yourself to have a transplant if you need it ...I would say yes, do it,” said her father, Myron Ami, as Micca sat on his lap.

Madalena has faced criticism for mentioning death, which can be a taboo topic. His community of Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico believes that people enter this world physically and spiritually whole, and that they should leave the same way.

“That's what we're taught, that's what the beliefs still are," he said.

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians doesn't hold the same beliefs, Joan Azure said. About 40% of people in Rollette County where the tribe is based have signed up to become organ donors, compared to 65% overall in North Dakota.

Education, means or opportunity are big factors, said Mau Larson. Simply getting a driver's license means traveling 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the Turtle Mountain reservation. But tribal IDs are renewed every two years, giving tribal members a more frequent opportunity to choose organ donation.

Studies show that organ recipients are best matched with donors of similar genetic makeup, Mau Larson said. Kidneys are especially needed in Native American communities, where one-quarter of the population is diabetic, she said.

Greyson and his family spent much of his life in Rochester, Minnesota, for his medical care, hundreds of miles from the rolling hills and lakes of the Turtle Mountain reservation. His heart came from a girl named Coralynn, whose picture on a puzzle piece was interlocked with Greyson's on a parade float banner reading “Not all Heroes Wear Capes!”

After Greyson died, his family asked a Turtle Mountain elder to to bestow a traditional name upon him, through their creator. The elder was in a sweat lodge praying when it came to him: “Waasizo Gichi Anong Ningaabii' Anong,” or “Shining Big Star in the West,” said Joan Azure.

“Even in his worst moments, his smile shined brightly, his presence brought happiness and light to everyone he came into contact with,” she said. “And he provided guidance to many with that bright shining light through his bravery and strength.”

Fonseca reported from Flagstaff, Arizona. Fonseca covers Indigenous communities on the AP's Race and Ethnicity Team. Follow her on Twitter: (at)FonsecaAP. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dave Kolpack in Belcourt, North Dakota.

Biden Pledges New Commitments, Respect for Tribal Nations

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged to give Native Americans a stronger voice in federal affairs, promising at the first in-person summit on tribal affairs in six years that he will bolster tribal consultations, inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in decision-making and funding for communities struggling with the impacts of climate change.

Biden spoke on the opening day of the two-day White House Tribal Nations Summit to representatives from hundreds of Native American and Alaska Native tribes, reiterating and announcing a series of new commitments. The summit coincides with National Native American Heritage Month, which is celebrated in November.

The Biden administration said its goal is to build on previous progress and create opportunities for lasting change in Indian Country, which isn't guaranteed without codified laws and regulations.

``Administrations can bring in their priorities, but they shouldn't be telling us who have lived here since the beginning of time how to manage our resources, which resources we can even access,'' said Richard Peterson, president of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. ``These are things that are inherent in our sovereignty.''

Among the pledges from the Biden administration is to establish uniform standards for federal agencies to consult with tribes and go beyond a ``check the box'' exercise, finalize a 10-year plan to revitalize Native languages and strengthen tribal rights like hunting and fishing that are outlined in existing treaties.

Biden also said he intends to designate Avi Kwa Ame, a desert mountain near Laughlin, Nevada, that's considered sacred to Native Americans, as a new national monument. Last year, he restored the boundaries for Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

On climate change, Biden said $135 million in federal money is going to 11 tribal communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Maine and Washington to help plan for and relocate to safe ground because of climate-related environmental threats.

``There are tribal communities at risk of being washed away,'' he told summit participants. ``It's devastating.''

A 2020 study from the Interior Department found that $5 billion would be needed over the next 50 years to relocate tribal communities and Alaska Native villages at risk of severe infrastructure damage due to coastal erosion and extreme weather events.

On health care, Biden reiterated a commitment to push for $9.1 billion for the Indian Health Service, which provides health care for federally recognized tribes, and make the funding mandatory.

That news was welcomed by Lummi Nation Chairman Tony Hillaire. The tribe based in Washington state took out a loan to build a new health care clinic and plans to offer services to treat substance abuse, Hillaire said.

``Part of our understanding of the trust and treaty responsibility of the federal government is to ensure resources for the work we do in taking care of our people at home,'' he told The Associated Press.

Whether Congress will act on the request for increased funding for health care and other tribal issues is another matter.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez said he's been advocating for a speedier process to get infrastructure projects approved on the reservation that stretches 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. He said it requires constant advocacy.

``Even when it's legislated, it takes a significant effort especially when, at times, tribal issues take the back seat to larger, national issues,'' said in an interview.

Thomas Lozano, chair of the National American Indian Housing Council, wants to see a federal grant program for housing in tribal communities reauthorized and a boost in funding that takes into account inflation and supply chain costs. Housing ensures tribal elders who are historians and children who will be future leaders are safe, he said.

``It's important to keep a roof over their heads and not just in substandard living, but in comfortable living that every family deserves,'' Lozano, who is from the Enterprise Rancheria tribe in California, told the AP.

Federal agencies in the Biden administration have been creating tribal advisory councils and reimaging tribal consultation policies with a goal of garnering consensus among tribes. Some of the more significant commitments from the Biden administration involve incorporating Indigenous knowledge and practices into decision-making and federal research.

The Commerce Department is the latest federal agency to sign on to an effort to work with tribes to co-manage publish resources, such as water and fisheries. The Agriculture Department and the Interior Department have signed 20 co-stewardship agreements with tribes, and an additional 60 are under review, the administration said.

The tribal nations summit wasn't held during then-President Donald Trump's administration. The Biden administration held one virtually last year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the U.S. and highlighted deepening and long-standing inequities in tribal communities.

Both administrations signed off on legislation that infused much-needed funding into Indian Country to help address health care, lost revenue, housing, internet access and other needs. The 574 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. received a combined $20 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money under the Biden administration.

Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which provided $8 billion to tribes and Alaska Native corporations but had more rigid guidelines on how it could be spent. The Treasury Department was sued over how that funding was allocated and faced harsh criticism for the time it took to get the money to tribes.

Biden's Treasury Department said it prioritized tribal engagement and feedback in distributing funding from the latest aid package. A report released Wednesday by the administration outlines how tribes spent the money on more than 3,000 projects and services.

The Karuk Tribe in northwestern California, for example, used some of the aid for permanent and temporary housing after a wildfire that burned 200 homes in the Klamath Mountains displaced tribal members.

The Native Village of Deering and other tribal governments in Alaska pooled funds to ensure access to preschool and free meals, along with extra servings in an area where food has been scarce.

Other tribal communities across the U.S. have spent the money on housing for tribal members, transportation to veterans hospitals, after-school facilities, language and culture programs, emergency services and health care facilities.

Tribes celebrated the opportunity at the summit to visit in-person and connect with U.S. officials.

Biden promised to make official presidential visits to Indian Country, saying ``the United States owes a solemn trust and treaty obligation that we haven't always lived up to. I will do so in the enduring spirit of our nation-to-nation relationship, the spirit of friendship, stewardship, and respect.''

He stressed the need for ``respect for tribes as nations and treaties as law, ... respect for Indigenous knowledge and tribal consultations as a key part of federal agency decision making. ''


Fonseca reported from Flagstaff, Arizona. Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

CVS, Walgreens Announce Opioid Settlements Totaling $10B

Associated Press

The two largest U.S. pharmacy chains, CVS Health and Walgreen Co., announced agreements in principle Wednesday to pay about $5 billion each to settle lawsuits nationwide over the toll of opioids, and a lawyer said Walmart, a third pharmacy behemoth, is in discussions for a deal.

The prospective settlements are part of a shift in the legal landscape surrounding the opioid epidemic. Instead of suspense over whether companies in the drug industry would be held to account through trials or settlements, the big question is now how their money will be used and whether it will make a difference in fighting a crisis that has only intensified.

The deals, if completed, would end thousands of lawsuits in which governments claimed pharmacies filled prescriptions they should have flagged as inappropriate. With settlements already proposed or finalized between some of the biggest drugmakers and distribution companies, the recent developments could be the among the last multibillion-dollar settlements to be announced.

They also would bring the total value of all settlements to more than $50 billion, with most of it required to be used by state and local governments to combat opioids, which have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the last two decades.

``It's one more culprit of the overdose crisis that is having to pay their dues,`` said Courtney Gary-Allen, organizing director of the Maine Recovery Advocacy Project. ``Average Americans have been paying it for a long time.``

Gary-Allen, who is a member of a council that will help determine how Maine uses its opioid settlement funds, said more money to address the problem will help. In her state, she said, the needs include more beds for medical detox and for treatment.

Neither Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS nor Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens is admitting wrongdoing.

The plans spring from mediation involving a group of state attorneys general. Before they move ahead, state and then local governments would need to sign on. So far, the detailed, formal deals have not been presented to the government entities so they can decide whether to join.

Under the tentative plans, CVS would pay $4.9 billion to local governments and about $130 million to Native American tribes over a decade. Walgreens would pay $4.8 billion to governments and $155 million to tribes over 15 years. The exact amount depends on how many governments join the deals.

Both noted they have been addressing the crisis through such measures as starting educational programs and installing safe disposal units for drugs in stores and police departments. And both said the settlements would allow them to help while staying focused on their business.

``We are pleased to resolve these longstanding claims and putting them behind us is in the best interest of all parties, as well as our customers, colleagues and shareholders,'' Thomas Moriarty, CVS chief policy officer and general counsel, said in a statement.

Walgreens said in a statement: ``As one of the largest pharmacy chains in the nation, we remain committed to being a part of the solution, and this settlement framework will allow us to keep our focus on the health and wellbeing of our customers and patients, while making positive contributions to address the opioid crisis,'' Walgreens said in a statement.

Paul Geller, a lawyer for governments in the lawsuits, said talks with Walmart continue. Walmart representatives would not comment Wednesday.

``These agreements will be the first resolutions reached with pharmacy chains and will equip communities across the country with the much-needed tools to fight back against this epidemic and bring about tangible, positive change,'' lawyers for local governments said in a statement. ``In addition to payments totaling billions of dollars, these companies have committed to making significant improvements to their dispensing practices to help reduce addiction moving forward.''

If these settlements are completed, they would leave mostly smaller drug industry players as defendants in lawsuits. Just this week, a group of mostly regional pharmacy chains sent to a judge, who is overseeing federal litigation, information about claims they face, a possible precursor to scheduling trials or mediating settlements involving some of those firms.

``One by one, we are holding every player in the addiction industry accountable for the millions of lives lost or devastated by the opioid epidemic,'' Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement. ``The companies that helped to create and fuel this crisis must commit to changing their businesses practices, and to providing the resources needed for treatment, prevention and recovery.''

Most of the nation's opioid overdose deaths initially involved prescription drugs. As governments, doctors and companies took steps to make them harder to abuse and obtain, people addicted to them increasingly switched to heroin, which proved more deadly.

In recent years, opioid deaths have soared to record levels around 80,000 a year. Most of those deaths involve illicitly produced version of the powerful lab-made drug fentanyl, which is appearing throughout the U.S. supply of illegal drugs.

Only a handful of opioid settlements have had bigger dollar figures than the CVS plan. Distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson this year finalized a combined settlement worth $21 billion, and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson finalized a $5 billion deal.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and members of the Sackler family who own the company have a proposed settlement that would involve up to $6 billion in cash, plus the value of the company, which would be turned into a new entity with its profits used to combat the epidemic. That plan has been put on hold by a court.


Associated Press writer Tom Murphy in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

Sacheen Littlefeather, Actor Who Declined Brando Oscar, Dies

AP Film Writer
Sacheen Littlefeather

Sacheen Littlefeather, the actor and activist who declined Marlon Brando's 1973 Academy Award for ``The Godfather'' on his behalf in an indelible protest of Hollywood's portrayal of Native Americans, has died. She was 75. Littlefeather's niece, Calina Lawrence, confirmed that she died peacefully Sunday, surrounded by loved ones at her Marin County, California, home. The cause was breast cancer, the family said.

Littlefeather's appearance at the 1973 Oscars would become one of the award show's most famous moments. Clad in buckskin dress and moccasins, Littlefeather took the stage when presenter Roger Moore read Brando's name as the winner for best actor.

Speaking to the audience, Littlefeather cited Native American stereotypes in film and the then-ongoing weekslong protest at Wounded Knee in South Dakota as the reason for Brando's absence. She said Brando had written ``a very long speech'' but she was restricted by time to brief remarks. Producer Howard Koch had allegedly warned Littlefeather, then 26, that he would have her arrested if she spoke for more than a minute.

``I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening and that we will in the future, our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity,'' Littlefeather said, becoming the first Native American woman to appear onstage at the Oscars.

Although brief, straightforward and courteous, Littlefeather's appearance was contentious, receiving a mix of applause and boos from the audience. In the years after, Littlefeather endured considerable scorn and abuse for her speech, she said.

``I spoke from my heart,'' she told The Associated Press days after the Oscars. ``Those words were written in blood, perhaps my own blood. I felt about like Christ carrying the weight of the cross on his shoulders.''

Only recently did the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences officially address the treatment Littlefeather received following her appearance. In August, the film academy apologized to Littlefeather. Two weeks ago, it held an evening of ``conversation, healing and celebration'' in her honor.

``The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified,'' the academy's president, David Rubin, wrote in a letter to Littlefeather. ``The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.''

Littlefeather responded in a statement: ``We Indians are very patient people _ it's only been 50 years!''

``We need to keep our sense of humor about this at all times,'' she added. ``It's our method of survival.''

Littlefeather was born Marie Cruz on Nov. 14, 1946, in Salinas, California. Her father was from the White Mountain Apache and Yaqui tribes and her mother was white. Both were saddle makers. They separated when Littlefeather was four, after which she was raised largely by her grandparents. She took the name Sacheen Littlefeather after high school. Sacheen, she said, was what her father had called her; the surname came from a feather she often wore in her hair.

Littlefeather's entry into acting corresponded with her activism. She was part of the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, she said, and began acting with San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in the early '70s.

Littlefeather met Brando through her neighbor, ``Godfather'' director Francis Ford Coppola. She had known Brando for about a year before he called her the night before the 1973 ceremony, invited her to his house and asked her to attend in his place.

Political speeches at the Oscars were then still a rarity, and some in attendance saw the brief address as a break in decorum _ and one that raised a subject not everyone was eager to consider.

``I don't know if I should present this award on behalf of all the cowboys shot in all the John Ford Westerns over the years,'' Clint Eastwood said later in the evening, while presenting the award for best picture. Presenting best actress, presenter Raquel Welch cracked: ``I hope they haven't got a cause.''

``I went up there thinking I could make a difference,'' Littlefeather told People magazine in 1990. ``I was very naive. I told people about oppression. They said, `You're ruining our evening.'''

Littlefeather described the overwhelmingly white crowd as ``a sea of Clorox.'' She said some audience members did the so-called ``tomahawk chop'' and that Brando's house was later shot at.

Over the years, Littlefeather added to the lore, describing John Wayne, who was in the theater wings as she spoke, as ``ready to have me taken off stage.'' In 2016, Littlefeather told The Los Angeles Times that Wayne ``had to be restrained by six security guards.`` The film scholar Farran Smith Nehme has since researched the supposed incident and found no evidence it occurred.

But it was indisputable that Littlefeather's life was altered by those 60 seconds. Following the Oscars, her credentials as an actor and activist _ Littlefeather had posed in 1972 for Playboy, which she defended as proof that ``red was beautiful'' _ were questioned in tabloid reports and elsewhere. Her opportunities as an actor dried up. Littlefeather said she was ``red-listed'' from the industry. She fell out of show business and, in the decades after, worked primarily as an activist for Native Americans.

At the academy event last month, Littlefeather, then in a wheelchair, said despite all the hardship she faced after the Oscars, she would do it all again.

``I was representing all Indigenous voices out there, because we had never been heard in that way before,`` Littlefeather said. ``And if I had to pay the price of admission, then that was OK, because those doors had to be opened _ like Yosemite Sam. Somebody had to do it.''


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Jim Thorpe Reinstated as Sole Winner for 1912 Olympic Golds

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ Jim Thorpe has been reinstated as the sole winner of the 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon in Stockholm _ nearly 110 years after being stripped of those gold medals for violations of strict amateurism rules of the time.

The International Olympic Committee announced the change Friday on the 110th anniversary of Thorpe winning the decathlon and later being proclaimed by King Gustav V of Sweden as ``the greatest athlete in the world.''

Thorpe, a Native American, returned to a ticker-tape parade in New York, but months later it was discovered he had been paid to play minor league baseball over two summers, an infringement of the Olympic amateurism rules. He was stripped of his gold medals in what was described as the first major international sports scandal.

Thorpe to some remains the greatest all-around athlete ever. He was voted as the Associated Press' Athlete of the Half Century in a poll in 1950.

In 1982 _ 29 years after Thorpe's death _ the IOC gave duplicate gold medals to his family but his Olympic records were not reinstated, nor was his status as the sole gold medalist of the two events.

Two years ago, a Bright Path Strong petition advocated declaring Thorpe the outright winner of the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. The IOC had listed him as a co-champion in the official record book.

``We welcome the fact that, thanks to the great engagement of Bright Path Strong, a solution could be found,'' IOC President Thomas Bach said. ``This is a most exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the National Olympic Committees concerned.''

Thorpe's Native American name, Wa-Tho-Huk, means ``Bright Path.'' The organization with the help of IOC member Anita DeFrantz had contacted the Swedish Olympic Committee and the family of Hugo Wieslander, who had been elevated to decathlon gold medalist in 1913.

``They confirmed that Wieslander himself had never accepted the Olympic gold medal allocated to him, and had always been of the opinion that Jim Thorpe was the sole legitimate Olympic gold medalist,'' the IOC said, adding that the Swedish Olympic Committee agreed.

``The same declaration was received from the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports, whose athlete, Ferdinand Bie, was named as the gold medalist when Thorpe was stripped of the pentathlon title,'' the IOC said.

Bie will be listed as the silver medalist in the pentathlon, and Wieslander with silver in the decathlon.

World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, has also agreed to amend its records, the IOC said.

Bright Path Strong commended the IOC for ``setting the record straight'' about the Sac and Fox and Potawatomi athlete.

``We are so grateful this nearly 110-year-old injustice has finally been corrected, and there is no confusion about the most remarkable athlete in history,'' said Nedra Darling, the organization co-founder and citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

As the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States, Thorpe ``has inspired our people for generations,'' said Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians.

In Stockholm, Thorpe tripled the score of his nearest competitor in the pentathlon and had 688 more points than the second-placed finisher in the decathlon.

During the closing ceremony, King Gustav V told Thorpe: ``Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.''

Malerba Sworn in as 1st Native American in US Treasurer Post

malerba sworn

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mohegan Chief Marilynn ``Lynn'' Malerba was sworn in Monday as the Treasurer of the United States, the first Native American to hold that office.

Her signature will now appear along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on U.S. currency.

Yellen hailed the appointment at the Treasury Department ceremony as a sign of the Biden administration's ``respect for, and commitment toward, our nation-to-nation relationship, trust and treaty responsibilities, and Tribal sovereignty and self-determination.''

``For all our progress _ there is more work to do to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribal governments,`` Yellen said in prepared remarks.

They were joined by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to lead that department, and members of Treasury's Tribal Advisory Committee.

Malerba, who will remain lifetime chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe which is made up of roughly 2,400 people, previously worked as a registered nurse, and has served in various tribal government roles.

Biden appointed her U.S. treasurer in June and as overseer of a new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs at the Treasury Department.

She is tasked with finding new ways to help tribes develop their economies to overcome challenges that are unique to tribal lands, among other responsibilities.

As part of the ceremony, Malerba signed a book presented by Bureau of Engraving and Printing Director Len Olijar, who will engrave her signature. Her official signature will appear as ``Lynn Roberge Malerba`` in honor of her maiden name.

A Treasury official said her name will appear on currency in the coming months.

``We all know that, historically, many promises have not been kept to the indigenous peoples of this nation. But we can and will do better,'' said Malerba, who wore a red and black tribal ensemble and matching headdress. ``My appointment is a promise kept.''

``When barriers to economic development are eliminated, tribal communities will thrive and prosper,`` she said. ``We know, when there is robust tribal economic development, our local and state communities prosper as well.``

She added that the moment made her think deeply of her parents. ``My name will be on currency, when it was so difficult for them to get money in their lifetime,'' she said during the ceremony.

For Malerba, she said she hopes her presence at Treasury will help other Americans feel pride in honoring their culture.

``Katantuoot, wuyunomsh United States qa wuyunomsh kiyawin,'' she said. ``Great spirit bless these United States and bless us all.''

Biden to Name 1st Native American US Treasurer to Head Mint

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Native American is being appointed U.S. treasurer, a historic first.

The White House on Tuesday announced President Joe Biden's intent to appoint Marilynn ``Lynn'' Malerba as his administration establishes an Office of Tribal and Native Affairs at the Treasury Department, which will be overseen by the U.S. treasurer.

The treasurer's duties include oversight of the U.S. Mint, serving as a liaison with the Federal Reserve and overseeing Treasury's Office of Consumer Policy. The treasurer's signature appears on U.S. currency.

``It is especially important that our Native voices are respected,'' Malerba said in a statement. ``This appointment underscores this Administration's commitment to doing just that. I am excited to serve our communities as Treasurer and for the work ahead.''

Malerba, who is the lifetime chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe, previously worked as a registered nurse, according to the tribe's website, and has served in various tribal government roles. The tribe's reservation is located on the Thames River in Uncasville, Connecticut.

``For the first time in history, a Tribal leader and Native woman's name will be the signature on our currency,'' Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in remarks prepared ahead of the announcement.

``Chief Malerba will expand our unique relationship with Tribal nations, continuing our joint efforts to support the development of Tribal economies and economic opportunities for Tribal citizens,'' Yellen said.

Yellen was set to visit the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Tuesday, the first time a Treasury secretary has visited a tribal nation. She is expected to focus on how the American Rescue Plan has affected tribal communities.

The relief package allotted more than $30 billion to Tribal governments, some of which oversee the poorest communities in the nation.

For instance, 59% of Rosebud Sioux Tribal households live in poverty, according to U.S. government estimates. Native communities have also suffered the brunt of waves of COVID-19-related deaths and drug overdoses.

This makes the need for representation at the federal level all the more important, says Carl Tobias, a law professor at University of Richmond who specializes in federal appointments.

With Malerba at Treasury, the agency ``can work with individual indigenous tribes to work on economic issues which are critical to Native people,`` he said.

He added that ``I think it's true in certain western states that Native Americans are an important voting group.''

There are about 9.7 million people in the U.S. who identify as American Indian and Alaska Native, according to the Census Bureau. And while roughly eight million Native Americans are eligible to cast a ballot, Census surveys estimate that large portions of the population are not registered to vote.

A March 2022 White House report on Native American Voting Rights states that ``Native voters are less attached to political parties and are more concerned with what candidates can do to support Native communities.''

Biden, a Democrat, has taken several steps to demonstrate his commitment to tribal nations, including naming Deb Haaland as the first Native American to lead the Interior Department. Biden also has appointed at least three Native American judges _ Lauren J. King, Sunshine Suzanne Sykes and Lydia Griggsby _ to the federal court system.

Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day, with the intent of refocusing the federal holiday previously dedicated to explorer Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of Native people.

The administration led by Haaland is leading a reckoning with the U.S. government's role in Native American boarding schools, which stripped children of their cultures and identities. On Wednesday, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Interior Department's report on its investigation into the federal government's past oversight of Native American boarding schools.

First Pope, Now US Churches Face Boarding-School Reckoning

Associated Press

As Native Americans cautiously welcome Pope Francis' historic apology for abuses at Catholic-run boarding schools for Indigenous children in Canada, U.S. churches are bracing for an unprecedented reckoning with their own legacies of operating such schools.

Church schools are likely to feature prominently in a report from the U.S. Department of the Interior, led by the first-ever Native American cabinet secretary, Deb Haaland, due to be released later this month. The report, prompted by last year's discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in Canada, will focus on the loss of life and the enduring traumas the U.S. system inflicted on Indigenous children from the 19th to mid-20th centuries.

From Episcopalians to Quakers to Catholic dioceses in Oklahoma, faith groups have either started or intensified efforts in the past year to research and atone for their prior roles in the boarding school system, which Native children were forced to attend _ cutting them off from their families, tribes and traditions.

While the pontiff's April 1 apology was addressed to Indigenous groups from Canada, people were listening south of the border.

``An apology is the best way to start any conversation,'' said Roy Callison, a Catholic deacon and Cherokee Nation member helping coordinate the Oklahoma Catholic Native Schools Project, which includes listening sessions for those affected by the boarding school legacy. ``That's the first step to trying to get healing.''

In his meeting with Canada's Indigenous delegations, Francis asked forgiveness ``for the role that a number of Catholics ... had in all these things that wounded you, in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values.''

Francis ``did something really important, which is name the importance of being indignant at this history,`` said Maka Black Elk, executive director of truth and healing for Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

That history ``is shameful, and it is not something we should accept,'' said Black Elk, who is Oglala Lakota.

Red Cloud, affiliated with the Catholic Jesuit order, was for generations a boarding school for Lakota children. It's now a day school incorporating Lakota leadership, language and traditions. Black Elk is guiding a reckoning process that includes archival research and hearing the stories of former students.

Canada underwent a much-publicized Truth and Reconciliation process in recent years. The issue gained unprecedented attention last year after a researcher using ground-penetrating radar reported finding about 200 unmarked probable burial sites at a former school in British Columbia.

That discovery, followed by others across Canada, prompted Haaland to commission her department's report.

``This history in the United States has not been addressed in the same way it has been addressed in Canada,'' Black Elk said. The Interior report ``will be an important first step about the work that needs to happen in this country.''

Church leaders are getting ready. The report ``will likely bring to light some very troubling information,'' said a letter circulated last fall to members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from two colleagues who chaired committees related to the issue. The letter urged bishops to build relationships with local Indigenous communities and engage ``in a real and honest dialogue about reactions to the report and what steps are needed to go forward together.''

Conditions varied at boarding schools in the United States, with some described as unsafe, unsanitary and scenes of physical or sexual abuse. Other former students recall their school years as positive times of learning, friendship and extracurricular activities.

Indigenous groups note that even the better schools were part of a project to assimilate children into a predominately white, Christian society and break down their tribal identities, customs and languages _ what many Indigenous groups call a cultural genocide.

``The very process of boarding schools is violent and damaging,'' said Bryan Rindfleisch, an expert in Native American history at Marquette University who is helping Catholics in Oklahoma research their school legacy.

There were at least 367 boarding schools across the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, a Minneapolis-based advocacy group.

Most were government-run; many others were run by Catholic and Protestant churches.

The national healing coalition called Pope Francis' comments a historic first step, but urged the Vatican to repatriate Indigenous artifacts in its museum collections and called on religious organizations to open their school archives.

In listening sessions held through the Oklahoma Catholic Native Schools Project, many participants told positive stories of school experiences, Callison said, though the church is committed to documenting the traumatic ones too. ``You're going to hear things you don't want to hear,'' he said.

The project will also include archival research and individual interviews with those affected. At least 11 Catholic boarding schools operated in Oklahoma.

``We need to get to the truth before we can deal with whatever hurt or celebrate whatever success'' the schools achieved, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley said.

Several church groups _ including Quakers, Methodists and some Catholic religious orders _ are backing pending legislation in Congress that would go beyond the Interior report. It would create a truth and healing commission, modeled on Canada's, to investigate the boarding school legacy.

The New England Yearly Meeting of Friends _ a regional group of congregations _ issued an apology last year for Quakers' historic sponsorship of such schools, acknowledging they were undertaken with ``spiritual and cultural arrogance.''

``We are deeply sorry for our part in the vast suffering caused by this system and the continuing effects,'' the New England group said.

It's important for Quakers to accept such responsibility, said Paula Palmer, a Quaker from Colorado whose research has identified about 30 Native American boarding and day schools that were run by Quakers.

``The yearly meetings voted to support, operate and finance'' the schools, she said. ``So it's really the yearly meetings who have the responsibility to respond. They were the ones who also participated in the whole project of forced assimilation of Indigenous children.''

The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States has hired an archival researcher to document its own boarding school history.

The order is ``committed to examining and sharing the truth of our history, even where that is difficult,`` said the Rev. Ted Penton, secretary of the Jesuit conference's Office of Justice and Ecology.

The Episcopal Church's General Convention in July is expected to vote on a statement that would ``acknowledge the intergenerational trauma caused by genocide, colonialism'' and the operation of boarding schools and ``other systems based on white supremacy.''

The convention will also consider authorizing a ``comprehensive and complete investigation'' of the church's operation of such schools. The proposals came from a group appointed by denominational leaders.

Such measures are strong, but local dioceses also need to research their own histories and advocate for Indigenous peoples, said the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett, Washington. Taber-Hamilton, whose heritage includes the Shackan First Nation of Canada, is an Episcopal Church representative to the worldwide Anglican Indigenous Network.

``It's not enough to say, `I'm sorry, and here's some money,''' she said. ``We first have to do some very hard work of listening to the pain.``


Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

Indigenous Woman to Lead Smithsonian American Indian Museum

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ An Indigenous New Mexico woman has been named to lead the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

Cynthia Chavez Lamar will be the first Native American woman to serve as the museum's director when she takes over on Feb. 14. She's currently the acting associate director for collections and operations.

An enrolled member at San Felipe Pueblo, Chavez Lamar is an accomplished curator, author and scholar whose research has focused on Southwest Native art. Early in her career, she was a museum intern and later an associate curator from 2000 to 2005.

``Dr. Chavez Lamar is at the forefront of a growing wave of Native American career museum professionals,'' said Lonnie Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian. ``They have played an important role in changing how museums think about their obligations to Native communities and to all communities.``

Chavez Lamar, whose ancestry also includes Hopi, Tewa and Navajo, will oversee the museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the museum's George Gustav Heye Center in New York and the Cultural Resources Center in Maryland, which houses the museum's collections and its curatorial and repatriation offices.

The museum has one of the largest and most extensive collections of Native and Indigenous items in the world. It includes more than 1 million objects and photographs and more than 500,000 digitized images, films and other media documenting Native American communities, events and organizations.

Chavez Lamar said in a statement that she looks forward to leveraging the museum's reputation to amplify Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in the interest of further informing the American public and international audiences of ``the beauty, tenacity and richness of Indigenous cultures, arts and histories.''

During her tenure as assistant director for collections, Chavez Lamar established partnerships with tribes and developed a loan program for tribal museum and cultural centers that provides training and technical assistance to enhance stewardship and reconnect tribal descendant communities with the museum's collections.

Pokagon Band and Four Winds Casinos Contribute $860,000 to South Bend and Non-Profits

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and its Four Winds Casinos announced that they presented checks totaling $860,000 to South Bend Mayor James Mueller and representatives from several area non-profits today at a ceremony at Four Winds South Bend.  This contribution is part of a voluntary local agreement between the Pokagon Band and the City of South Bend. In addition to the annual payments to the City of South Bend, the Pokagon Band also funds a variety of community development projects and causes.

“The Pokagon Band is very pleased to be able to make these contributions to the City of South Bend, the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, YWCA of North Central Indiana, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Jobs for America’s Graduates Indiana, Beacon Health Foundation, the Bowman Creek Project, South Bend Community School Corporation, and South Bend Venues, Parks & Arts for the renovation of Howard Park,” said Rebecca Richards, Tribal Chairwoman of the Pokagon Band and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority.  “Not only is South Bend home to hundreds of our Pokagon Citizens, but also many of our employees that work at Four Winds South Bend.  We are very proud to support the city, along with these important organizations that play a vital role to serve the residents of the community and help make South Bend a better place to live.”

“We are grateful for our government-to-government relationship with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and their generous contributions to the City of South Bend, which help fund a variety of city services and community development initiatives,” said Mayor James Mueller.  “We also value the support they provide to numerous organizations that provide essential services to our residents and community.  We look forward to continuing our partnership into the future.”

The Pokagon Band voluntarily entered into an agreement with South Bend to make annual payments from revenue derived from its Class II gaming devices at its Four Winds South Bend casino.  The annual payments are in lieu of property tax payments and provide funding for city services and funding for community development initiatives related to the Band’s trust lands in South Bend.  One percent of the Class II revenues is paid directly to the city and another one percent is paid to the South Bend Redevelopment Commission to contribute to the improvement of educational opportunities and to address poverty and unemployment in the city.  The agreement between South Bend and the Pokagon Band is similar to those in three additional communities where the Pokagon Band’s Four Winds Casinos operate including New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac Michigan.

In addition to the annual payments to the City of South Bend, the Pokagon Band also proposed to fund a variety of community development projects and causes.  Organizations receiving a portion of today’s revenue share are:

  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County received $20,000.  The amount will be used for academic enrichment programing.
  • The YWCA of North Central Indiana received $25,000, $20,000 of which will be applied to crisis services programs to help clients work toward self-sufficient and violence-free lives.  $5,000 will be applied to children’s services to ensure the safety of children, mitigate toxic trauma, and break the cycle of violence.
  • The Food Bank of Northern Indiana received $20,000 which will be used for the Senior Nutrition Program, and an additional 200 seniors who will receive a 7 – 10 lb. bag of assorted food items.  The Senior Nutrition Program currently serves 750 seniors a month.  This program serves low-income seniors in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Marshall, Starke and St. Joseph Counties.
  • Jobs for America’s Graduates Indiana received $50,000 which will be used to identify youth that need services via mobile units, Goodwill, and Youth Service Bureau street programs including staying in school, career training and guidance.
  • Beacon Health Foundation received $100,000 for an expansion that includes the General Pediatrics Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NIC), all-private patient rooms, playrooms, teen hideout spaces, Family Enrichment Centers, roof gardens and a two-story glass ceiling Atrium.
  • The Bowman Creek Project received $100,000 to revitalize Bowman Creek and catalyze social, economic and environmental sustainability in the surrounding community.
  • The South Bend Community School Corporation received $100,0000 for dual language immersion, a summer academy, and national board certification for teachers.
  • South Bend Venues, Parks & Arts received $445,000 for the renovation of Howard Park.

 About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and Indiana

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994.  The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care, and cultural preservation for its more than 5,900 citizens.  The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana.  Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind.  In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011, Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013 and Four Winds South Bend in January 2018.  The Pokagon Band operates a variety of businesses via Mno-Bmadsen, its non-gaming investment enterprise.  More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov, www.fourwindscasino.com and www.mno-bmadsen.com.

American Indian Movement Leader Clyde Bellecourt Dies at 85

Clyde Bellecourt

Clyde Bellecourt in earlier years.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Clyde Bellecourt, a leader in the Native American struggle for civil rights and a founder of the American Indian Movement, has died. He was 85.

Bellecourt died Tuesday morning from cancer at his home in Minneapolis, Peggy Bellecourt, his wife, told the Star Tribune. Lisa Bellanger, the current co-director of AIM, also confirmed his death to The Associated Press.

``Clyde was a really good man and influenced a lot of people,'' said Winona LaDuke, an American Indian activist and the executive director of Honor the Earth, a group dedicated to raising awareness for Indigenous environmental issues. ``He was very influential in my life.''

Bellecourt was a co-founder in 1968 of the American Indian Movement, which began as a local organization in Minneapolis that sought to grapple with issues of police brutality and discrimination against Native Americans.

One of the group's first acts was to organize a patrol to monitor allegations of police harassment and brutality against Native Americans who had settled in Minneapolis where AIM is based. Members had cameras, asked police for badge numbers and monitored radio scanner traffic for mention of anyone they might recognize as Indigenous to ensure their rights weren't being violated.

The group quickly became a national force. It would lead a string of major national protests in the 1970s, including a march to Washington, D.C., in 1972 called the Trail of Broken Treaties.

At times, the American Indian Movement's tactics were militant, which led to splintering in the group. In one of its most well-known actions, the group took over Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1973 to protest U.S. and tribal governments. The 71-day occupation turned violent, and two people died in a shootout.

The group called out instances of cultural appropriation, provided job training, sought to improve housing and education for Indigenous people, provided legal assistance, spotlighted environmental injustice and questioned government policies that were seen as anti-Indigenous.

Bellecourt was born and raised on the White Earth Indian Reservation. His Ojibwe name is Nee-gon-we-way-we-dun, which means ``Thunder Before the Storm.`` He was the only remaining living founder of the AIM movement, Bellanger said.

Bellecourt was among those who protested the 1992 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, when the Washington Football Team beat the Buffalo Bills. The Washington team dropped its old name in 2020 after decades of criticism it was offensive to Native Americans and after pressure from sponsors amid a national reckoning on race in the U.S. Bellecourt long called for the team's name to be changed.

Bellanger said condolences have been coming in from around the globe.

``He was known worldwide,'' she said.

Editor’s Note: This post will remain until February 8.

Group Studies Scourge of Missing, Murdered Native Hawaiians

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) _ At first, he was just a boyfriend. He gave Ashley Maha'a gifts and attention. But then he gave her drugs and became controlling and abusive. He would punish her for breaking ambiguous, undefined ``rules,'' only to later say he was sorry and shower her with flowers and lavish presents.

After a while, he led the Honolulu high school senior _ a 17-year-old minor _ into Hawaii's commercial sex industry.

``I shouldn't be here with everything that was going on. I should be dead. And the majority of the people who are in my situation are missing or dead,`` said Maha'a, who is Native Hawaiian.

Maha'a got out of that world years ago and is now a married mother of four. But it's on her mind as she joins a new task force studying the issue of missing and murdered Native Hawaiian women and girls. She reminds herself of her plight every day so she can fight for others similarly trapped and vulnerable.

The panel, created by the state House earlier this year, aims to gather data and identify the reasons behind the problem. As of now, few figures exist, but those that do suggest Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented among the state's sex trafficking victims.

Its work comes amid renewed calls for people to pay more attention to missing and killed Indigenous women and girls and other people of color after the recent disappearance of Gabby Petito, a white woman, triggered widespread national media coverage and extensive searches by law enforcement. Petito's body was later found in Wyoming.

Several states formed similar panels after a groundbreaking report by the Urban Indian Health Institute found that of more than 5,700 cases of missing and slain Indigenous girls in dozens of U.S. cities in 2016, only 116 were logged in a Justice Department database.

Wyoming's task force determined 710 Indigenous people disappeared there between 2011 and September 2020 and that Indigenous people made up 21% of homicide victims even though they are only 3% of the population. In Minnesota, a task force led to the creation of a dedicated office to provide ongoing attention and leadership on the issue.

The Urban Indian Health Institute's report didn't include data on the state of Hawaii because the organization is funded by the Indian Health Service, a U.S. agency that serves Native Americans and Alaska Natives but not Native Hawaiians. The Seattle institute didn't have the resources to extend the study to the islands, Director Abigail Echo-Hawk said.

It's not the first time Native Hawaiians have been sidelined in the broader national conversation. The federal government's efforts to tackle the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women often focus on Native Americans and Alaska Natives _ in part because it has authority over major crimes on most tribal lands, and Native Hawaiians don't have such lands in the same sense as many other U.S. Indigenous communities. An Interior Department spokesman said it instead works to support and collaborate with state programs in the islands.

Yet Hawaii faces many of the same challenges as other states, including a lack of data on missing and murdered Indigenous women. The precise number of nationwide cases is unknown because many have gone unreported or have not been well-documented or tracked.

Public and private agencies don't always collect statistics on race. And some data groups Native Hawaiians with other Pacific Islanders, making it impossible to identify the degree to which Hawaii's Indigenous people are affected. About 20% of the state's population is Native Hawaiian.

Its task force is being led by representatives from the Hawaii State Commission on the State of Women and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a semi-autonomous state agency directed by Native Hawaiians. The panel also includes members from state agencies, county police departments and private organizations.

Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of the commission and co-chairperson of the task force, suspects its work will show Hawaii's large tourism industry and military presence fuel sex trafficking. Money to be made from these sectors gives people an incentive to take girls and women from their families, she said.

``It's not like someone is kidnapped off the street. It's that person is enticed and convinced to cut off their family if they're a child, or a teenager,'' Jabola-Carolus said.

Advocates for Native American and Alaska Native women and girls say sex trafficking affects them as well, particularly in areas with high populations of transitory male workers.

Maha'a said the extent of the commercial sex industry in Hawaii also is illustrated by the number of girls and women brought to the islands from other states.

``I've met so many people on the mainland, and so, so, so many of them have told me that when they were being trafficked nationally, they would be flown here for a period of time and work here when things were slow, because the demand is so high,'' Maha'a said.

Advocates say a number of systemic issues contribute to the problem. Native Hawaiians have the highest poverty rate _ 15.5% _ of any of the five largest racial groups in Hawaii, which is also one of country's the most expensive places to rent or own property.

The history of colonization has torn Native Hawaiians from their land, language and culture, similar to Indigenous communities in other states.

Rosemond Pettigrew, board president of Pouhana 'O Na Wahine, a grassroots collective of Native Hawaiian women advocating against domestic and sexual violence, said land is family, and not being connected to it severs Native Hawaiians from their past.

``When you separate yourself from what you know or what you believe, and you're no longer on land, then you're left where you don't know where you come from and who you are, and your identity becomes lost,'' she said.

Echo-Hawk, of the Urban Indian Health Institute, said Hawaii's task force is ``monumental'' and necessary to understanding the full scope of the problem.

She suspects some of its biggest obstacles will be in getting cooperation from law enforcement agencies and not having dedicated funding. Lawmakers didn't allocate the panel any money, so its members are relying on existing resources to do their research. The most successful state task forces had funding, Echo-Hawk said.

It will be important for the task force to recognize the problems are rooted in government policies, said Paula Julian, senior policy specialist with the Montana-based National Indigenous Women's Resource Center. The solutions for Native Hawaiians, meanwhile, must come from Native Hawaiians, she said.

Pettigrew said she'd like to see resources put into prevention. For example, Hawaii's public schools could teach students about healthy relationships, starting as early as elementary grades. Lessons could address dating once students get to middle and high schools.

State Rep. Stacelynn Eli, a Native Hawaiian and a Democrat who sponsored the resolution creating the task force, said she has friends and classmates who were trafficked. She doesn't want her nieces to face the same thing because no one knew enough to take action.

``We are surviving, and I would like to see our people get to a point where we are thriving. And I think we won't get to that point until we know for sure that we are protecting our Native women and children and holding those who try to harm them accountable,'' she said.

The panel is expected to produce reports for the Legislature by the end of 2022 and 2023.

Infrastructure Deal Makes Investments Throughout Indian Country

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal passed by Congress makes historic investments in Indigenous communities’ efforts to tackle the climate crisis and boost resilience of physical and natural systems.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’s historic investments in Tribal communities will help bolster community resilience, replace aging infrastructure, and provide support needed for climate-related relocation and adaptation.” said Secretary Deb Haaland.

It includes a $736 million investment for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), including for infrastructure projects and climate resiliency initiatives.

  • $270 million for BIA’s road maintenance program to improve the safety and condition of BIA-owned roads;
  • $250 million for construction, repair, improvement and maintenance of irrigation and power systems, safety of dams, water sanitation and other facilities; and
  • $216 million for Tribal climate resilience, adaptation and community relocation planning, design and implementation of projects which address the varying climate challenges facing Tribal communities across the country.

The infrastructure deal also includes a historic investment of $2.5 billion to help the Department fulfill settlements of Indian water rights claims and deliver long-promised water resources to Tribes, certainty to all their non-Indian neighbors, and a solid foundation for future economic development for entire communities dependent on common water resources in the face of climate change.

With this transformational funding, the Interior Department will support collaborative and community-led planning, relocation expenses, infrastructure investments, and other forms of assistance to Tribal communities. The infrastructure deal’s investments would also advance our equity and environmental justice goals by helping safeguard vulnerable Tribal communities and making our economy fairer and more equitable. Secretary Haaland previously highlighted these investments in a trip to the Quinault Nation, as well as in a Seattle Times op-ed.

As part of this broader commitment, the Interior Department also recently awarded nearly $14 million to dozens of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations and organizations to support their climate adaptation planning, ocean and coastal management planning, capacity building, and relocation, managed retreat, and protect-in-place planning for climate risks.

This all-of-government approach is essential to supporting and empowering Tribal communities as they simultaneously face environmental impacts to physical, cultural, and subsistence-based infrastructure and relocate to higher ground.

About the U.S. Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.

Review: Johnson Explores Violence Against Native Americans

Associated Press

``Daughter of the Morning Star,'' by Craig Johnson (Viking)

Cheyenne Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long's niece, Jayla, star of the Lame Deer Lady Stars High School basketball team, is in danger. The girl has been getting credible death threats, so Long asks her friend, Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire, to help her find out who is responsible.

What makes the case especially ominous is that Jayla's older sister, Jeanie, disappeared months ago. Longmire figures the disappearance and the threats are probably related. With the help of his pal Henry Standing Bear, he sets out to discover what happened to Jeanie while trying to keep Jayla safe at the same time.

So begins ``Daughter of the Morning Star,'' Craig Johnson's 17th novel featuring Longmire. This time, the author uses the mystery genre to raise awareness about violence against Native American women, half of whom are reported to have been victims of sexual violence and who are murdered at ten times the national average.

In pursuing the case, Longmire encounters dysfunctional families and white supremacists while grappling with a life-draining Cheyenne spirit known as The Wandering Without, ``the nothing, the thing that takes and never gives.'' Johnson's series often contains spiritual elements, and this time around there are moments in which neither the reader nor Longmire can be sure what is real and what is not.

Longmire also has to contend with Jayla, who is as uncooperative with him as she is with her frustrated coaches and teammates.

As usual with this series, the characters are well drawn and the suspenseful plot takes some surprising twists. However, the author's prose, which is usually first-rate, falters when he writes about basketball. In the acknowledgements, he credits a high school basketball coach with helping him understand the game, but the descriptions of practices and tournament games are clumsy and sometimes hard to follow.


Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including ``The Dread Line.''

Dakotas Natives Who Died at Pennsylvania School Coming Home

Aberdeen American News

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) _ An effort to return the remains of young men and women who died at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania will include those of two young men from the Sisseton area.

While Carlisle is just one of many Indian boarding schools used across the country starting before the 1900s, this cemetery is unique.

Unlike many of the school cemeteries, these grounds, which were once operated by the Department of Interior, are now under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army, which is working with tribes from across the country who are interested in claiming the remains of their ancestors and bringing them home. That process started in 2016, according to Justin Buller, an attorney with the U.S. Army General's office at a public meeting in Sisseton last week.

Tamara St. John, tribal historian for Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, has been looking into the lives of six children who left the Sisseton area in 1879. They're significant, she said, because these two girls and four boys were the first to leave the area. Of this group, three of the boys died at the school and two are buried in the school cemetery.

St. John's work has taken many twists and turns, and sparse documents available from that time period have made it a challenge, but through the help of the few documents she's found and local tribal veterans, she's been able to confirm the remains of two students buried in the school cemetery are local ancestors of significance, the Aberdeen American News reported.

Now, the Lake Traverse and Spirit Lake Indian reservations will be working together to bring these remains home next summer.

The remains belong to Amos LaFramboise and Edward Upwright, both of whom are descendants of tribal leaders.

LaFromboise went to school with his sister Emily, who completed her education at the boarding school and returned home. St. John said the fact that she completed her education at Carlisle was a point of pride for the family.

Amos, however, died Nov. 26, 20 days after his arrival in Pennsylvania. Their father, Joseph LaFromboise, was a founding father who helped set up the Lake Traverse Reservation government after the Sisseton Wahpeton treaty was signed in 1867.

``He's the first to die at Carlisle,'' St. John said, noting he was initially buried in the county cemetery, but the county residents objected to having a Native American buried there and Amos was ultimately moved onto the school grounds.

Though her research has been ongoing since 2016, St. John said only recently she was able to confirm Upwright's ancestry as the son of Waanatan II, an early tribal chief.

``We all as tribal nations have our historical figures, and American history doesn't even touch that,'' she said. ``And so for us, our children here, we try to educate them.''

Upwright died in March 1881.

St. John said limited information is available about the cause of death, but many at that time died from tuberculosis. In Upwright's case, he caught the measles. When she thinks about bringing Upwright home, St. John said, ``It would be much like the Lakota were bringing back a child of Sitting Bull.''

The balance of the group included John Renville, his sister Nancy and George Walker.

St. John said she's still piecing together Walker's story, and although he was the last of the four to die, she believes his health was failing and he left the school. That, she said, is supported by two letters written by Walker in the Dakota language.

``He's lonely,'' she said. ``He wants to go home and he's very hopeful.'' In one letter, St. John said, Walker talks about leaving the school with an agent and another student. This leads her to believe Walker died after leaving the school.

``I couldn't find any record after that,'' she said. ``The idea that he wanted so desperately to come home, it speaks to the level of loneliness and sadness.''

The Renville siblings were also the children of tribal chief Gabriel Renville. ``He was chief until 1892,'' St. John said. ``The Renville family has a huge presence.''

John Renville would have been the oldest son, who was 13 when he died. St. John said according to documentation at the school, Renville and his classmates were heading out to camp in the area and he became sick after drinking water from a stream. When Gabriel Renville came to the school to pick up his son's body, St. John said, Nancy Renville returned home. But, the fact that Gabriel Renville was able to come get his son and bring him home was a rare occurrence.

``Gabriel Renville had resources that many of our chiefs would not,'' she said. Raised by a fur trader, Renville's ancestry was a mix of both French and Sioux.

St. John said in the case of Waanatan, he had a signed pass that allowed him to go certain places. ``How do you go get your child if you needed a written document that says you have permission to go off the reservation?'' she asked.

These six weren't the only Sisseton Wahpeton tribal members who attended Carlisle. St. John said there's a long list of youth who attended the school, but these six were the first to leave the area in 1879 and, within a very short period of time, the four boys were gone.

St. John said discussion about bringing these youth home started with a group of Rosebud youth who visited Carlisle, saw the graves and started asking about who they were. ``They looked at the kids... and realized that some were from Rosebud,'' she said. ``They saw names that were familiar to them. That sparked something within them and they started to ask about their story.''

In 2016, they met with them in Rosebud, St. John said. By then, she said, several tribes were looking at this cemetery to see if there was a way to bring their ancestors home.

These children arrived at Carlisle not long after the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.

``I tried to remind people to take into consideration the political climate at the time,'' she said. Through her research she found an article from the time that references a meeting of tribal chiefs in Washington, D.C. and how the chiefs were able to see their children while they were there. ``That says right there they were used as a pawn,'' she said.

While some didn't make it home, others did. St. John said her grandmother attended a boarding school in Rapid City. `There are a lot of things that happened, but she said there's a lot of things a person could learn,'' St. John said. ``The fact remains that those things are a part of people today.''

The first meeting to discuss the process of digging up the remains from the cemetery was last week at the Sisseton Wahpeton College in Agency Village. That's when Buller explained how disinterment works.

Buller said the process requires a signed affidavit from the closest living relative, which is a determination made locally. This process is outlined in U.S. Army regulations for any family wishing to claim the remains of a relative in a military cemetery.

``The family and tribe can decide who is the closest living relative,'' he said.

Once that affidavit is received, he said, a notice about the planned disinterment is published in the federal register. If another tribe objects, Buller said, the tribes are asked to settle the dispute.

Some tribes have chosen to leave the remains where they are, he said. Others have asked for modified gravestones with the removal of the cross at the top of the headstone and corrections to the children's names.

Expenses for the disinterment process and gravestone modifications are covered by the U.S. Army, Buller said, but also limited. As an example, Buller said the U.S. Army will cover travel expenses of two family members and two tribal leaders for each disinterment.

Because the extended families of these two boys are significant, those limited travel expenses were a point of concern by tribal members who were at the meeting, which was recorded and posted on YouTube.

Buller said the graves have already been moved once in 1927. That's when the Army decided to move the cemetery, because it was next to a dump. In retrospect, he said officials should have moved the dump, but as early as 1927, families were asking for the return of family members.

Those requests went unanswered.

In 2016, notices were sent to every tribe giving them an opportunity to decide if they want to claim the remains of children in the cemetery. Since then, he said, 21 of the 188 Native American children buried there have been disinterred.

Buller said the original cemetery site has been subject to extensive excavation and no remains were found and documentation they have supports the fact that the cemetery was moved.

Once excavated, remains are evaluated to confirm they are the person who should be in that place. Buller said that's done by checking to make sure they are the correct gender and the size matches a person of that age.

The final resting place for Upwright and LaFramboise is yet to be determined, and is a decision that will be made by the families, but, St. John said, some possible sites are under discussion.

For example, Joseph Lafromboise is buried near Veblen in St. Matthew's cemetery. Waanatan is buried at St. Michael's cemetery in North Dakota. Now, with the tribe's involvement and participation from family members who can help with the process, St. John said, she doesn't see any roadblocks. ``I don't see anything that would stop us from moving forward in their next cycle of disinterment,'' she said.

Alaska Native Artist Creates Stamp for Postal Service

Associated Press

Tlingit artist creates stamp for U.S. Postal Service - Indian Country Today

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ Alaska Native artist Rico Worl said he jumped at the chance to create for the U.S. Postal Service a stamp he hopes will be a gateway for people to learn about his Tlingit culture.

``I think a lot of people already are learning that there's a lot more richness in authentic work, and authentic work from Indigenous people and the stories that are there,'' he told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

A ceremony marking the release of Worl's Raven Story stamp was held Friday in Juneau, where Worl lives. The event featured dancers, including Worl, and the telling of a version of the Raven story.

Two ravens, birds that are ubiquitous in Juneau, happened to fly overhead after the story was told.

Worl said his Twitter following exploded from five to more than 8,000 after he shared the Postal Service's tweet highlighting the stamp announcement earlier this month, with his own quote tweet adding: ``I did a thing.''

People seem excited, he said. ``They know it's something different, and they want to be a part of that,'' Worl said.

Raven, a trickster or transformer, is a key figure in Tlingit culture. Worl described as an influence for the stamp a story in which Raven discovers that a clan leader had in his possession the sun, moon and stars. Raven assumed human form to share those items with the world. The stars were in the last box Raven opened.

In a statement, Worl said he wanted to showcase ``a bit of drama,'' with Raven trying to hold onto as many stars as possible while transforming back into bird form during a frenzied escape.

The Sealaska Heritage Institute, which hosted the unveiling in front of its building, said this is the first stamp by a Tlingit artist.

Marlene Johnson, chair of the institute's board, said she has known Worl all his life. Worl has a goal ``to tell the story of Indigenous people today, a story that we are all still here. We have been here for at least 10,000 years, and we will be here for 10,000 more,`` she said.

``Rico, I say, you did good,'' Johnson said.

The Postal Service posted on social media a video featuring an illustrated version of the Raven story and Worl discussing the story behind the stamp and his process. Jakki Krage Strako, an executive vice president with the Postal Service, was on hand for Friday's ceremony.

Antonio Alcala, an art director for the Postal Service who worked with Worl on the stamp, said he became aware of Worl's work while at a gift shop at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The shop carried work by Worl and his sister, Crystal Worl, through their Trickster Co. Alcala said a basketball stood out.

``There are many typical types of books, art, and crafts on display in the gift shops of museums presenting American Indian history and culture. But this was the first time I saw a basketball. The fact that it featured a piece of formline art seemed incongruous at first and also very cool,'' said Alcala, who noted he's ``always looking for visually appealing artwork.``

He remembered the ball being credited to Trickster Co., and looked up the business when he was looking for an artist for the stamp.

Worl, who is Tlingit and Athabascan, has a background in anthropology and considers himself a social designer, who uses design to address societal concerns. One of the first products he designed were playing cards, which Worl said was in response to concerns about seeing a tourism market for Native-inspired art not produced by Native artists.

``It was me, experimenting, how can we, as Indigenous artists, break into this economy?'' he said. Worl said he hopes more people buy Indigenous pieces, such as art work or hand-carved items. ``I think there's a growing demand for authenticity in the world. But at the same time not everyone can afford that.'' For some people, he said, a deck of cards ``is a lot more accessible.''

He said he likes to infuse modern, traditional and playful touches in his work. He cites Trickster's basketballs, with traditional formline designs, as a way for members of the Native community to ``represent who they are'' in a light-hearted way.

Art directors can work with photographers, designers, artists or others to bring a stamp from concept to final design. Final designs undergo a legal review and, once cleared, advance to the postmaster general for the last stamp of approval.

David Rupert, a Postal Service spokesperson, said 18 million Raven Story stamps are being produced. He said a stamp unveiling, like the one held Friday in Juneau, is meant to be a ``momentous occasion.''

Other stamps announced by the Postal Service for this year include those celebrating flowers, the late nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, Japanese American soldiers of World War II, lighthouses, the 200-year anniversary of Missouri statehood, America's ``love of coffee'' and barns.

``We look at stamps as often little pieces of art, really, and they represent America,'' Rupert said, adding later: ``We want to celebrate America and all the great things about it.''

Cleveland's Baseball Team Goes From Indians to Guardians

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Known as the Indians since 1915, Cleveland's Major League Baseball team will be called Guardians.

The ballclub announced the name change Friday _ effective at the end of the 2021 season _ with a video on Twitter narrated by actor and team fan Tom Hanks. The decision ends months of internal discussions triggered by a national reckoning by institutions and teams to drop logos and names considered racist.

The choice of Guardians will undoubtedly be criticized by many of the club's die-hard fans, some of whom quickly went on social media to vent.

The organization spent most of the past year whittling down a list of potential names that was at nearly 1,200 just over a month ago. But the process, which the club said included 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders, front office personnel and a survey of 40,000 fans.

Owner Paul Dolan said last summer's social unrest, touched off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, spurred his intention to change the name.

Dolan is expected to provide more details on the choice and background on the change at a news conference at Progressive Field before the Indians host the Tampa Bay Rays.

Dolan said the new name mirrors the city and its people.

``Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity,'' he said in a statement. ``Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders. `Guardians' reflects those attributes that define us.''

``It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While `Indians' will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.''

The change comes as the Washington Football Team continues to work toward a similar makeover. The franchise dropped its Redskins name before the 2020 season. Washington recently said it will reveal a new name and logo in 2022.

Cleveland's new name was inspired by two large landmark stone edifices near the downtown ballpark _ referred to as traffic guardians _ on the Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River.

The team's colors will remain the same, and the new Guardians' new logos will incorporate some of the architectural features of the bridge.

In 2018, the Indians stopped wearing the contentious Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps. However, the team continues to sell merchandise bearing the smiling, red-faced caricature that was protested for decades by Native American groups.

Numerous Native American groups have protested Cleveland's use of the Wahoo logo and Indians name for years, so the latest development brought some comfort.

``It is a major step towards righting the wrongs committed against Native peoples, and is one step towards justice,'' said Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director and founder of IllumiNative, a group dedicated to fighting misrepresentations of Native Americans.

The name change has sparked lively debate among the city's passionate sports fans. Other names, including the Spiders, which is what the team was called before 1900, were pushed by supporters on social media platforms.

But Guardians does seem to fit the team's objective to find a name that embodies Cleveland's hard-working, loyal, Midwestern-valued ethos while preserving the team's history and uniting the community.

The rebranding comes as the Indians, who have one of baseball's lowest payrolls, try to stay in contention despite a slew of injuries as the July 30 trading deadline approaches.

``This is a historic moment for our franchise, and we are excited for our players and staff to debut our new team name and look in 2022,'' said Chris Antonetti, the club's president of baseball operations. ``We look forward to our team proudly representing the city of Cleveland as the Guardians.''

Guardians is the fifth name in franchise history joining the Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-1914) and Indians (1915-2021).

Water Crisis Reaches Boiling Point on Oregon-California Line

Associated Press

TULELAKE, Calif. (AP) _ Ben DuVal knelt in a barren field near the California-Oregon state line and scooped up a handful of parched soil as dust devils whirled around him and birds flitted between empty irrigation pipes.

DuVal's family has farmed the land for three generations, and this summer, for the first time ever, he and hundreds of others who rely on irrigation from a depleted, federally managed lake aren't getting any water from it at all.

As farmland goes fallow, Native American tribes along the 257-mile (407-kilometer) long river that flows from the lake to the Pacific Ocean watch helplessly as fish that are inextricable from their diet and culture die in droves or fail to spawn in shallow water.

Just a few weeks into summer, a historic drought and its on-the-ground consequences are tearing communities apart in this diverse basin filled with flat vistas of sprawling alfalfa and potato fields, teeming wetlands and steep canyons of old-growth forests.

Competition over the water from the river has always been intense. But this summer there is simply not enough, and the farmers, tribes and wildlife refuges that have long competed for every drop now face a bleak and uncertain future together.

``Everybody depends on the water in the Klamath River for their livelihood. That's the blood that ties us all together. ... They want to have the opportunity to teach their kids to fish for salmon just like I want to have the opportunity to teach my kids how to farm,`` DuVal said of the downriver Yurok and Karuk tribes. ``Nobody's coming out ahead this year. Nobody's winning.''

With the decadeslong conflict over water rights reaching a boiling point, those living the nightmare worry the Klamath Basin's unprecedented drought is a harbinger as global warming accelerates.

``For me, for my family, we see this as a direct result of climate change,'' said Frankie Myers, vice chairman of the Yurok Tribe, which is monitoring a massive fish kill where the river enters the ocean. ``The system is crashing, not just for Yurok people ... but for people up and down the Klamath Basin, and it's heartbreaking.''


Twenty years ago, when water feeding the farms was drastically reduced amid another drought, the crisis became a national rallying cry for the political right, and some protesters breached a fence and opened the main irrigation canal in violation of federal orders.

But today, as reality sinks in, many irrigators reject the presence of anti-government activists who have once again set up camp. In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, irrigators who are at risk of losing their farms and in need of federal assistance fear any ties to far-right activism could taint their image.

Some farmers are getting some groundwater from wells, blunting their losses, and a small number who get flows from another river will have severely reduced water for just part of the summer. Everyone is sharing what water they have.

``It's going to be people on the ground, working together, that's going to solve this issue,'' said DuVal, president of the Klamath Water Users Association. ``What can we live with, what can those parties live with, to avoid these train wrecks that seem to be happening all too frequently?''

Meanwhile, toxic algae is blooming in the basin's main lake _ vital habitat for endangered suckerfish _ a month earlier than normal, and two national wildlife refuges that are a linchpin for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway are drying out. Environmentalists and farmers are using pumps to combine water from two stagnant wetlands into one deeper to prevent another outbreak of avian botulism like the one that killed 50,000 ducks last summer.

The activity has exposed acres of arid, cracked landscape that likely hasn't been above water for thousands of years.

``There's water allocated that doesn't even exist. This is all unprecedented. Where do you go from here? When do you start having the larger conversation of complete unsustainability?'' said Jamie Holt, lead fisheries technician for the Yurok Tribe, who counts dead juvenile chinook salmon every day on the lower Klamath River.

``When I first started this job 23 years ago, extinction was never a part of the conversation,`` she said of the salmon. ``If we have another year like we're seeing now, extinction is what we're talking about.''

The extreme drought has exacerbated a water conflict that traces its roots back more than a century.

Beginning in 1906, the federal government reengineered a complex system of lakes, wetlands and rivers in the 10 million-acre (4 million-hectare) Klamath River Basin to create fertile farmland. It built dikes and dams to block and divert rivers, redirecting water away from a natural lake spanning the California-Oregon border.

Evaporation then reduced the lake to one-quarter of its former size and created thousands of arable acres in an area that had been underwater for millennia.

In 1918, the U.S. began granting homesteads on the dried-up parts of Tule Lake. Preference was given to World War I and World War II veterans, and the Klamath Reclamation Project quickly became an agricultural powerhouse. Today, farmers there grow everything from mint to alfalfa to potatoes that go to In 'N Out Burger, Frito-Lay and Kettle Foods.

Water draining off the fields flowed into national wildlife refuges that continue to provide respite each year for tens of thousands of birds. Within the altered ecosystem, the refuges comprise a picturesque wetland oasis nicknamed the Everglades of the West that teems with white pelicans, grebes, herons, bald eagles, blackbirds and terns.

Last year, amid a growing drought, the refuges got little water from the irrigation project. This summer, they will get none.


While in better water years, the project provided some conservation for birds, it did not do the same for fish _ or for the tribes that live along the river.

The farmers draw their water from the 96-square-mile (248-square-kilometer) Upper Klamath Lake, which is also home to suckerfish. The fish are central to the Klamath Tribes' culture and creation stories and were for millennia a critical food source in a harsh landscape.

In 1988, two years after the tribe regained federal recognition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed two species of suckerfish that spawn in the lake and its tributaries as endangered. The federal government must keep the extremely shallow lake at a minimum depth for spawning in the spring and to keep the fish alive in the fall when toxic algae blooms suck out oxygen.

This year, amid exceptional drought, there was not enough water to ensure those levels and supply irrigators. Even with the irrigation shutoff, the lake's water has fallen below the mandated levels _ so low that some suckerfish were unable to reproduce, said Alex Gonyaw, senior fish biologist for the Klamath Tribes.

The youngest suckerfish in the lake are now nearly 30 years old, and the tribe's projections show both species could disappear within the next few decades. It says even when the fish can spawn, the babies die because of low water levels and a lack of oxygen. The tribe is now raising them in captivity and has committed to ``speak for the fish`` amid the profound water shortage.

``I don't think any of our leaders, when they signed the treaties, thought that we'd wind up in a place like this. We thought we'd have the fish forever,`` said Don Gentry, Klamath Tribes chairman. ``Agriculture should be based on what's sustainable. There's too many people after too little water.''

But with the Klamath Tribes enforcing their senior water rights to help suckerfish, there is no extra water for downriver salmon _ and now tribes on different parts of the river find themselves jockeying for the precious resource.

The Karuk Tribe last month declared a state of emergency, citing climate change and the worst hydrologic conditions in the Klamath River Basin in modern history. Karuk tribal citizen Aaron Troy Hockaday Sr. used to fish for salmon at a local waterfall with a traditional dip net. But he says he hasn't caught a fish in the river since the mid-1990s.

``I got two grandsons that are 3 and 1 years old. I've got a baby grandson coming this fall. I'm a fourth-generation fisherman, but if we don't save that one fish going up the river today, I won't be able to teach them anything about our fishing,'' he said. ``How can I teach them how to be fishermen if there's no fish?''


The downstream tribes' problems are compounded by hydroelectric dams, separate from the irrigation project, that block the path of migrating salmon.

In most years, the tribes 200 miles (320 kilometers) to the southwest of the farmers, where the river reaches the Pacific, ask the Bureau of Reclamation to release pulses of extra water from Upper Klamath Lake. The extra flows mitigate outbreaks of a parasitic disease that proliferates when the river is low.

This year, the federal agency refused those requests, citing the drought.

Now, the parasite is killing thousands of juvenile salmon in the lower Klamath River, where the Karuk and Yurok tribes have coexisted with them for millennia. Last month, tribal fish biologists determined 97% of juvenile spring chinook on a critical stretch of the river were infected; recently, 63% of fish caught in research traps near the river's mouth have been dead.

The die-off is devastating for people who believe they were created to safeguard the Klamath River's salmon and who are taught that if the salmon disappear, their tribe is not far behind.

``Everybody's been promised something that just does not exist anymore,`` said Holt, the Yurok fisheries expert. ``We are so engrained within our environment that we do see these changes, and these changes make us change our way of life. Most people in the world don't get to see that direct correlation _ climate change means less fish, less food.``

Hundreds of miles to the northeast, near the river's source, some of the farmers who are seeing their lives upended by the same drought now say a guarantee of less water _ but some water _ each year would be better than the parched fields they have now. And there is concern that any problems in the river basin _ even ones caused by a drought beyond their control _ are blamed on a way of life they also inherited.

``I know turning off the project is easy,'' said Tricia Hill, a fourth-generation farmer who returned to take over the family farm after working as an environmental lawyer.

``But sometimes the story that gets told ... doesn't represent how progressive we are here and how we do want to make things better for all species. This single-species management is not working for the fish _ and it's destroying our community and hurting our wildlife.''

DuVal's daughter also dreams of taking over her family's farm someday. But DuVal isn't sure he and his wife, Erika, can hang onto it if things don't change.

``To me it's a like a big, dark cloud that follows me around all the time. It's depressing knowing that we had a good business and that we had a plan on how we're going to grow our farm and to be able to send my daughters to a good college,`` said DuVal. ``And that plan just unravels further and further with every bad water year.''


Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus

U.S. to Review Native American Boarding Schools' Dark History

Associated Press

The federal government will investigate its past oversight of Native American boarding schools and work to ``uncover the truth about the loss of human life and the lasting consequences'' of policies that over the decades forced hundreds of thousands of children from their families and communities, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Tuesday.

The unprecedented work will include compiling and reviewing records to identify past boarding schools, locate known and possible burial sites at or near those schools, and uncover the names and tribal affiliations of students, she said.

``To address the intergenerational impact of Indian boarding schools and to promote spiritual and emotional healing in our communities, we must shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past no matter how hard it will be,'' Haaland said.

A member of New Mexico's Laguna Pueblo and the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, Haaland outlined the initiative while addressing members of the National Congress of American Indians during the group's midyear conference.

She said the process will be long, difficult and painful and will not undo the heartbreak and loss endured by many families.

Starting with the Indian Civilization Act of 1819, the U.S. enacted laws and policies to establish and support Indian boarding schools across the nation. For over 150 years, Indigenous children were taken from their communities and forced into boarding schools that focused on assimilation.

Haaland talked about the federal government's attempt to wipe out tribal identity, language and culture and how that past has continued to manifest itself through long-standing trauma, cycles of violence and abuse, premature deaths, mental health issues and substance abuse.

The recent discovery of children's remains buried at the site of what was once Canada's largest Indigenous residential school has magnified interest in the troubling legacy both in Canada and the United States.

In Canada, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and were not allowed to speak their languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.

After reading about the unmarked graves in Canada, Haaland recounted her own family's story in a recent opinion piece published by the Washington Post.

Haaland cited statistics from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, which reported that by 1926, more than 80% of Indigenous school-age children were attending boarding schools that were run either by the federal government or religious organizations. Besides providing resources and raising awareness, the coalition has been working to compile additional research on U.S. boarding schools and deaths that many say is sorely lacking.

Interior Department officials said aside from trying to shed more light on the loss of life at the boarding schools, they will be working to protect burial sites associated with the schools and will consult with tribes on how best to do that while respecting families and communities.

As part of the initiative, a final report from agency staff is due by April 1, 2022.

Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, which had about 80 boarding schools, called the announcement encouraging and said anything that can be done to address those ``troubling chapters of history'' is a positive thing.

``I hope we don't discover gruesome incidents like were discovered in Canada. I just think it's good in this country to have conversations about what happened to Native American children,'' Hoskin said.

Navajo Nation President Nez also offered his support for the initiative, noting discrimination against Native Americans continues today on many fronts _ from voter suppression to high numbers of missing and murdered people.

``Last week, Congress and President Biden established `Juneteenth' as a national holiday, in observance of the end of slavery, which I fully support as a means to healing the African American community,`` Nez said. ``Now, from my perspective as a Navajo person, there are so many atrocities and injustices that have been inflicted upon Native Americans dating back hundreds of years to the present day that also require national attention, so that the American society in general is more knowledgeable and capable of understanding the challenges that we face today.''

This is not the first time the federal government has attempted to acknowledge what Haaland referred to as a ``dark history.''

More than two decades ago, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Gover issued an apology for the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual violence committed against children at the off-reservation schools. Then in 2009, President Barack Obama quietly signed off on an apology of sorts that was buried deep in a multibillion-dollar defense spending bill; the language had been watered down from the original legislation introduced years earlier.

Associated Press writer Ken Miller in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

Haaland Sends Recommendation on Utah Monuments to President

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has made her recommendation about whether to reverse former President Donald Trump's decision to downsize two sprawling national monuments in Utah, but details of her decision were not released.

The Interior Department gave her report to President Joe Biden on Wednesday, according to a court filing Thursday in a legal battle that began more than three years ago after Trump's decision.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys mentioned the report as part of a request to have until July 13 to address the judge's question about whether the legal battle has become a moot point.

Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz declined to provide any information about the report.

Haaland traveled to Utah to visit the monuments in April as she became the latest cabinet official to step into a public lands tug-of-war that has gone on for years. She is the first Indigenous official to get involved in the decision.

A string of U.S. officials has heard from advocates for expanding national monuments to protect archaeological and cultural sites, and from opponents who see such moves as federal overreach.

Biden asked Haaland to research whether the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante should be restored. Native American tribes supported the creation of Bears Ears by President Barack Obama, but Republican state leaders opposed it. Grand Staircase is older but has long been a point of contention for conservative state leaders who consider both monuments U.S. government overreach.

Bears Ears was downsized by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante cut by nearly half under the Trump administration.

The reductions paved the way for potential coal mining and oil and gas drilling on lands that used to be off-limits, though such activity has been limited because of market dynamics.

Bears Ears covers lands considered sacred to Native Americans where red rocks reveal petroglyphs and cliff dwellings and distinctive twin buttes bulge from a grassy valley.

Interior officials told Utah Gov. Spencer Cox that the report had been given to the White House but didn't provide any information about the findings, said his spokeswoman, Jennifer Napier-Pearce.

Cox and other prominent Utah Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, have expressed concern with the review. They met with Haaland on her visit. Cox has said the state would likely sue if the monuments are enlarged without approval from Congress.

Pat Gonzales-Rogers, executive director of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, said the group found out about the report being done from the court filing and hasn't been provided any additional information. The coalition remains hopeful that the Biden administration will reverse Trump's decision.

``We're standing on the sidelines, but with great optimism,'' Gonzales-Rogers said.

Navajo Nation Tops Cherokee to Become Largest Tribe in US

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ The Navajo Nation has by far the largest land mass of any Native American tribe in the country. Now, it's boasting the largest enrolled population, too.

Navajos clamored to enroll or fix their records as the tribe offered hardship assistance payments from last year's federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. That boosted the tribe's rolls from about 306,000 to nearly 400,000 citizens.

The figure surpasses the Cherokee Nation's enrollment of 392,000. But it, too, has been growing, said tribal spokeswoman Julie Hubbard. The Oklahoma tribe has been receiving about 200 more applications per month from potential enrollees, leaving Navajo's position at the top unstable.

The numbers matter because tribes often are allocated money based on their number of citizens. Each of the 574 federally recognized tribes determines how to count its population. Navajo, for example, requires a one-quarter blood quantum to enroll. Cherokee primarily uses lineal descent.

Tribal governments received $4.8 billion from the CARES Act based on federal housing population data for tribes, which some said was badly skewed. The Treasury Department recently revised the methodology and said it would correct the most substantial disparities.

The Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, one of three tribes that sued the Treasury Department over the payments, said it's satisfied with an additional $5.2 million it's set to receive. The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians in Florida and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas would get $825,000 and $864,000 under the new methodology. Both said those amounts didn't make sense when broken down to a per-person figure. They plan to continue their fight in court.

``We just cannot accept this as it is,'' Carol Heckman, an attorney for Prairie Band, said in a court hearing last week. ``We're happy to keep talking about it, but Treasury would have to sweeten the pie.''

The Miccosukee Tribe amended its lawsuit Wednesday to reflect the latest arguments.

The Treasury Department will avoid much of the problems it encountered with CARES Act funding in the distribution of the $20 billion for tribes under the American Rescue Plan Act. The department said it will use tribally certified enrollment figures to pay out $12.35 billion and tribal employment data for $6.65 billion.

Another $1 billion will be divided equally among eligible tribal governments, the Treasury Department said. Alaska Native corporations, which own much of the Native land in Alaska under a 1971 settlement, aren't eligible for any of the $20 billion in funding. The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether the corporations will get a slice of the CARES Act money.

The Treasury Department set a Monday deadline for tribal governments to submit their enrollment information online for the American Rescue Plan funding. It acknowledged that no formula perfectly can capture the needs of tribes, which have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.

Tribes also won't be under as tight of a deadline to spend the money as they were for the CARES Act and will have more flexibility. They can spend the money to replace lost revenue and improve water, sewer and broadband infrastructure that often lags behind the rest of the U.S.

The Navajo Nation is on track to get the largest share of the enrollment-based funding. About half of its members live on the vast 27,000-square-mile (70,000-square-kilometer) reservation that extends into New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

The tribe opened the hardship assistance program in November, up against an initial deadline to spend federal virus assistance by the end of the year. It required that applicants be enrolled as Navajo citizens. The response was huge, with the tribe paying out more than $322 million to more than 293,000 applicants, the tribal controller's office said. Adults received up to $1,350 and children up to $450.

On the American Rescue Plan Act funding, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez questioned the fairness of awarding more money to tribes that enroll people with less than one-fourth blood quantum.

``Here on Navajo, we verify blood quantum, and that's a requirement,'' he told The Associated Press. ``If they had that same requirement, one-quarter Cherokee, just imagine.''

The U.S. Census reflects higher numbers for Native Americans than tribes' enrollment records because it allows people to self-identify as Native American and Alaska Native and report ties to multiple Indigenous groups across North America, Central America and South America. Not all of those 5.2 million people are eligible to enroll in tribes. The 2010 count put the Cherokee Nation around 820,000 and Navajo at 332,000.

Cherokee Native Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said the recent higher enrollment figure from the Navajo Nation government shows Natives are strong and an important force for economies, education and environment.

``It's truly a positive anytime our citizenship grows and thrives,'' he said in a statement.

Lummi Nation Totem Pole Making Journey to Biden

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) _ A totem pole carved at the Lummi Nation from a 400-year-old red cedar will begin a cross-country journey next month, evoking an urgent call to protect sacred lands and waters of Indigenous people.

The journey, called the Red Road to DC, will culminate in early June in Washington, D.C., The Seattle Times reported.

The expedition will start at the Lummi Nation outside Bellingham, Washington, and will make stops at Nez Perce traditional lands; Bears Ears National Monument in Utah; the Grand Canyon; Chaco Canyon, New Mexico; the Black Hills of South Dakota; and the Missouri River, at the crossing of the Dakota Access Pipeline, where thousands protested its construction near Native lands.

This fall, the pole will be featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. A special exhibition was developed by The Natural History Museum and House of Tears Carvers at the Lummi Nation, which is gifting the pole to the Biden administration.

Head carver and Lummi tribal member Jewell Praying Wolf James said he and a team ranging in age from 4 to 70 carved the pole beginning this winter.

They carved the pole one figure at a time, led by spirit, inspiration and dreams, James said. The figures include Chinook salmon, a wolf, a bear, an eagle diving to Earth, and even a child in jail _ a reference to children presently incarcerated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pennsylvania High School Keeps 'Warriors' Name, Drops Mascot

GLEN ROCK, Pa. (AP) _ A school board in southern Pennsylvania voted to keep the name of the Susquehannock High School mascot the ``Warriors,'' but will drop an image meant to portray a Native American fighter.

The school board for the Southern York County School District made the decision in a 7-2 vote on Thursday, The York Dispatch reported.

The decision followed a review by the board's diversity committee, a hearing with testimony from Native American advocates and a petition against removing the mascot that garnered 3,800 signatures. Another petition supported removing the mascot, the newspaper reported.

Students will design the new logo and Superintendent Sandra Lemmon said the board will get an update about it next month, the newspaper reported.

Research from the board's diversity committee found that there are no longer members of the Susquehannock tribe living in the district. It also found that the district's curriculum does not mention the Susquehannock tribe except in a section in the 4th grade curriculum, the newspaper reported.

Some 1,900 schools across the U.S. have Native American-themed mascots. That is according to a database kept by the National Congress of American Indians, a nonprofit established in 1944 to protect Native American and Alaska Native rights.

Many schools have debated changing mascots that represent Native Americans in stereotypical or demeaning ways, but others have kept their mascot's names while removing the logo, like Susquehannock High School.

New Mexico Tribes Sue US Over Federal Clean Water Rule

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Two Indigenous communities in New Mexico are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a revised federal rule that lifts protections for many streams, creeks and wetlands across the nation, saying the federal government is violating its trust responsibility to Native American tribes.

The pueblos of Jemez and Laguna are the latest to raise concerns over inadequate protections for local water sources in the desert Southwest. The challenge filed last week in federal court follows a similar case brought in 2020 by the Navajo Nation, the nation's largest Native American tribe, and several environmental groups.

Like other Indigenous communities, the Laguna and Jemez pueblos said in the court filing that waters flowing through their lands are used for domestic and agricultural purposes and are essential for cultural and ceremonial practices.

Removing or limiting access to clean water for both rural communities directly threatens to diminish tribal resources and adversely affect cultural practices, the lawsuit stated.

Both pueblos have small populations with poverty rates surpassing the national average. Laguna encompasses nearly 20 square miles (50 square kilometers) just west of Albuquerque. Jemez Pueblo covers mountainous and desert regions in northern New Mexico.

The tribes argue that water holds a special value because of its scarcity in the arid Southwest. They describe the gullies, arroyos and seasonal streams inscribed into the landscape as ``a vein of life'' that channels rain or snowmelt to their communities.

``Any water pollution in and around the pueblos has a disproportionate impact because of the scarcity and preciousness of the resource in the region,'' the lawsuit stated.

The rule change, which took effect in June, narrowed the types of waterways that qualify for federal protection under the half-century-old Clean Water Act. As a result, critics have said that the number of waterways in New Mexico and other arid states in the West that were previously protected under the act were drastically reduced.

The Navajo Nation, environmental groups, public health advocates and some Western states that are waging their own legal battles over the rule have said the rollback left many of the nation's millions of miles of waterways more vulnerable to pollution since permits are no longer necessary for discharging pollution into many rivers, lakes and streams.

In adopting the change, federal officials argued last year that a previous Obama-era rule imposed unnecessary burdens on property owners and businesses and that the change would bring regulatory certainty for farmers, homebuilders and landowners.

Since January, the Biden administration has been reviewing numerous rules adopted over the last four years and is expected to reverse many of them.

New Mexico was among the states that went to court last May seeking to prevent the rule from taking effect.

At the time, New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney warned that the rule would leave nearly 90% of the state's rivers and streams and about 40% of its wetlands without federal protection.

He predicted that would ``devastate New Mexico's scarce and limited water resources.''

The state in comments previously submitted to the federal government noted that New Mexico has no state protections to fall back on. New Mexico is one of three states that do not have delegated authority from the EPA to regulate discharges of pollution into rivers, streams, and lakes.

Laguna Pueblo relies on the federal government to implement nearly all of the Clean Water Act's pollution programs on its behalf and does not have the financial or administrative capacity to administer the programs itself.

According to the lawsuit, up to 97% of Laguna waterways are affected and the pueblo has concerns about contamination upstream from past uranium mining and milling.

Jemez Pueblo depends on federal authority under the act to protect waters outside its jurisdiction. About 94% of the Jemez watershed was affected by the rule change.

Disney Updates Jungle Cruise After Insensitivity Criticism

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Jungle Cruise, one of the original Disney parks' rides, is getting a 21st century remodel, criticized for its depiction of animatronic indigenous people as savages or headhunters.

It's the latest update to a legacy theme park ride criticized in years past as being racist.

The ride will updated by Disney ``imagineers`` at the Disneyland park in California and the Magic Kingdom park in Florida with a new storyline and characters that ``reflect and value the diversity of the world around us,`` Disney said in a blog post Monday.

``As Imagineers, it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives of the world around us,`` said Carmen Smith, a Disney executive, in the blog post.

The ride first opened at Disneyland in 1955.

Last summer, amid calls to change the Splash Mountain theme park ride over its ties to ``Song of the South,'' the 1946 movie many view as racist, Disney officials said it was recasting the ride so that it is based on ``The Princess and the Frog,'' a 2009 Disney film with an African American female lead.

Disney said at the time that the changes had been in the works since the previous year, but the announcement came as companies across the U.S. were renaming racially charged, decades-old brands amid worldwide protests for racial justice after the police custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Three years ago, Disney eliminated a ``Bride Auction`` scene, deemed offensive since it depicted women lining up for auction, from its Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Red Lake Nation Uses Crowdfunding to Bet Big on Solar Energy

By FRANK JOSSI of Energy News Network.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ The Red Lake Nation is betting big on solar energy.

The Chippewa Indian reservation in northern Minnesota will soon be home to one of the region's largest solar arrays, a 240-kilowatt installation atop a workforce training center that will generate about half the building's electricity needs.

The real power, though, could be in the emerging model to use solar, microgrids, and a tribal-run utility as a path to energy sovereignty.

``We have to prove that we can do this and we have to do this not only for ourselves but for other tribal nations,'' said Red Lake member Bob Blake, the founder and owner of Solar Bear installation company.

The workforce training center solar array is the second of 12 solar projects planned for the reservation. The first sits not far away atop the Red Lake Government Center, a building distinguished by incorporating a two-story face of an eagle with wings spread across the facade.

The projects are the first two solar installations in Minnesota to be financed through crowdfunding, in which dozens of small investors lend to businesses to support entrepreneurs and their products.

The nonprofit news outlet Energy News Network provided this article to The Associated Press through a collaboration with Institute for Nonprofit News.

The tribe has a separate initiative to construct a utility-scale 13-megawatt solar farm in partnership with Allete, one of the region's primary electricity providers.

Ralph Jacobson, founder and chief equity officer of Impact Power Solutions (IPS) in the Twin Cities, developed the Red Lake Nation crowdfunding approach. Still, even he's not confident it will continue to pay for all tribal projects even as new potential lenders seem willing to hear his pitch.

The dream of establishing a tribal utility in Minnesota will take years, requiring regulatory approval and careful negotiations with the tribe's incumbent utility, a small cooperative. But Blake figures good things always take time. This will eventually pay off in energy self-sufficiency, higher-paying jobs and a healthier psychological and physical environment.

Located in northwest Minnesota 160 miles from the Canadian border, Red Lake Reservation sprawls over 1,259 square miles and is home to about half of the tribe's 14,000 members. According to a 2015 report by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 90% of Red Lake's members qualified as low income _ 65% lived on less than $12,000 a year _ and half of the tribe's working-age population was unemployed.

Red Lake retained sovereignty over its original land and links that status to its pursuit of energy sovereignty. Tribal Council Chair Darrell Seki has said he sees a future where members receive free energy and the danger of being disconnected no longer exists. Blake believes the solar program will create jobs with livable wages and educate a workforce capable of succeeding in a growing industry.

The tribe's casino has been a significant economic driver. But tribal leaders four years ago tapped Jacobson to conduct a solar feasibility study to reduce Red Lake's energy bill and create jobs. He developed a plan to spread 4 megawatts of panels over several tribal-owned buildings. He established a vision statement calling on the solar initiative to ``vault the Red Lake Nation into the forefront of the movement to modernize the national power grid'' through energy storage, microgrids and information technology.

Jacobson, 68, is one of Minnesota's solar pioneers. He started his solar installation company in 1991 and barely made a living at it in the beginning. As the state's solar economy has boomed over the past several years, Impact Power Solutions blossomed through commercial and community solar garden projects, leading to recognition as one of Minnesota's fastest-growing companies. In his career's twilight, Jacobson's role as the company's chief innovation officer allows him the freedom to nurture a new generation of minority entrepreneurs and target clean energy projects in Indian Country.

In working with the Red Lake Nation, Jacobson discovered nonprofit organizations trying to finance solar usually turn to outside investors because they cannot use tax credits generated by projects. They work to attract outside investors who help pay for the project in return for the tax credits and accelerated depreciation of panels.

When corporate money failed to materialize for the government center project, Jacobson recalled what he had learned at a conference in St. Paul about crowdfunding. The word describes a process common to many entrepreneurs who reach out to family and friends to invest in their startups, with the promise of someday receiving interest on their loans or at least payback on their principal. Crowdfunding web platforms offer venues for people worldwide to fund the creations of artists and entrepreneurs, but Jacobson preferred reaching out personally to friends and family capable of lending small amounts of capital.

He had more than 50 conversations, meeting with people, mainly fellow Quakers, who lent at least $1,000, driven in part by the desire to help a struggling reservation. Based on those discussions, Jacobson raised $115,000 and added $15,000 of his own money.

``In order to pull all the little pieces of capital from unsophisticated investors in the community who want to see some cool things happen _ and when nobody has a lot of money, but everybody's got a little _ you got to be the community organizer,'' he said.

No other Minnesota solar project has ever used crowdfunding, said David Shaffer, executive director of Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association. He believes solar micro-lenders investing in Native American initiatives worry less about earning interest and more about their impact. ``You might see the benefit here if what you're trying to do is help out with and make good on some of the past challenges that Indian people face in this country,'' Shaffer said.

Before the first project, Jacobson met Blake and they both agreed Red Lake Nation could use the solar investments to hire local workers and train future ones. Blake hired tribal members with construction skills to work on the first project and heard later that several sought more solar energy training to expand their skills.

``Workers came to me and said, `Bob, this makes me feel good because we're doing it for the community, but it also has a purpose that goes along with native values and protecting the environment and the earth,''' he said. ``I'm so proud of them because it showed me that this could be a kind of an entryway into other things for them.''

Jacobson has found financing the second project as challenging as the first. Five fruitless meetings with banks led him back to crowdfunding. This time Jacobson used MnVest, a nonprofit allowing companies to raise to $10,000 from individual private investors. Created by the Legislature and managed by the Department of Commerce, MnVest gives startups a secure web-based platform for collecting money from individuals, family members, friends, and others.

Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light helped introduce Jacobson and his pitch to churchgoers and faith groups interested in supporting solar that benefits low-income communities. Jacobson raised $250,000 from religiously inclined microlenders and plans to add $50,000 of his own money to finish the project. Solar projects depreciate over six years, a point at which their owners often sell or donate them. Jacobson plans to transfer to the tribe ownership of the projects for low prices after they fully depreciate.

The workforce center solar system will annually generate about half the building's electricity needs, he said. After hearing that the local utility had no interest in buying excess electricity, Jacobson added large scale storage and microgrids for the workforce center and other Red Lake projects. ``Probably anywhere from half to two-thirds of that power that comes in the middle of the day would have to be curtailed if we didn't store it,'' he said.

After the workforce center project is finished, Jacobson hopes to have raised enough money to continue installation throughout next year on two of the four schools slated to receive solar installations. Who the lenders are for those projects remains unclear. However, he hopes to tap the religious community again and entertain offers from other tribes interested in lending cash for clean energy. Some tribal members receive payments from fossil fuel companies who do business on their land and want to use part of the proceeds to reduce carbon.

Corporations have also reached out to learn more about supporting the tribe's solar program. ``More resources are starting to percolate because this will be a model for other tribes,'' Jacobson said.

A separate project came about after Allete subsidiary Minnesota Power studied land assessments with the tribe for a section of a 224-mile, high-voltage transmission line from Roseau to Grand Rapids. The transmission line began carrying power in 2019 from Manitoba Hydro into Minnesota Power's territory.

The company established ``great rapport'' with the tribe and learned its interest in clean energy and economic development opportunities, said Al Rudeck, Jr., Allete Clean Energy's president. The two parties formed a partnership to build and market the solar farm, with an anticipated start date next year. ``We have some interesting prospects on our list,'' Rudeck said. ``We're pretty excited about it. It's really a chance to help the band with some of their longer-term goals.''

As Jacobson works behind the scenes on financing, Blake, of Solar Bear, has become the spokesperson for the Red Lake Nation's solar enterprise. A Red Lake tribal member, he lives in St. Paul, where he has nurtured a career in various fields ranging from entertainment to energy. Blake traveled with the pop star Prince as a security detail member and later worked for a financial firm before being let go during the 2008 recession.

A handful of jobs followed as he sought a new career. Van Jones's book ``The Green Collar Economy'' led him to pursue a new career in clean energy that began with a brief stint selling solar garden subscriptions before joining Interfaith Power & Light as an organizer of its ``Just Solar'' program. During his time at the interfaith group, Blake, 45, kept hearing about the lack of non-white representation in the solar industry, which led him to do something about it.

Three years ago, he founded Solar Bear and began hiring Native Americans to work in the industry. This year Blake created another nonprofit to educate and train people for jobs in renewable energy. He found his calling as an advocate for the environment and as a job creator who opens doors to clean energy opportunities for tribal members.

A gregarious personality, Blake has become an in-demand speaker as other tribes seek to learn about his effort to build a native workforce in a growing field. He continues educating himself while pursuing advanced degrees in policy and economics at the University of Minnesota.

At Red Lake, he wants to direct his energy to produce job opportunities and work with Red Lake on energy independence projects. A future where tribes own their power generation and no longer rely on ``the colonial capitalism'' of extractive industries remains his goal. ``I'm fortunate to be along for the ride,'' he said, ``and I want to be a service to my community to help them in any way I can.''

Tribal leaders back bill on teaching Native American history

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Leaders of American Indian tribes in Connecticut voiced their support Monday for proposed state legislation that would require the teaching of Native American history in public schools.

The tribal leaders issued a statement with state Sen. Cathy Osten, a Sprague Democrat, in support of the bill she plans to introduce within the next several weeks. The legislation would require all public schools to include Native American studies in their social studies curricula, with a focus on the tribes that lived in what is now Connecticut.

``We fully support this bill, which will assist in public re-education that includes an accurate portrayal of the First Nations People in Connecticut,`` said Katherine Sebastian Dring, chairwoman of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation. ``The Pequots were not destroyed, we survived. Truth may lead to positive change if we work together for a good life for all nations.''

Joining Dring in the statement were leaders of the other four state-recognized tribes: Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; Beth Regan, vice chair of the Mohegan Tribal Nation's council of elders; Leon Brown of the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation; and Richard Velky, chief of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.

Osten and other lawmakers introduced a similar bill earlier this year that drew concerns from state Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, teachers' unions and municipal leaders. The bill died as the coronavirus shut down much of the legislative session.

Cardona said in March that while it is important to teach about Native Americans, the bill would be an unfunded mandate for school districts that are still working to implement other courses lawmakers and the governor have required them to teach.

New state laws passed in the past two years require schools to teach African American and Latino studies, as well as courses on the Holocaust and other genocides. Many schools have had curriculum on these subjects already in place, but the laws solidify their teachings.

Mississippi Choctaws to Install Wireless Internet in Two Areas

CHOCTAW, Miss. (AP) _ The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians says it will install fixed broadband internet service in two communities after winning federal licenses.

The 11,000-member tribe announced that it won licenses to install the services in the Bogue Chitto and Conehatta communities. Bogue Chitto is a part of the Choctaw reservation northeast of Philadelphia, while Conehatta is a part of the reservation northwest of Newton.

The tribe says it applied for telecommunications spectrum licenses in all eight of its communities, but could only win the two because all the spectrum was already licensed in the six other areas, including the largest community of Choctaw, just west of Philadelphia.

Choctaw Economic Development Director John Hendrix said connectivity is a ``primary consideration'' for the tribe. He said better broadband service will help keep people connected to schooling and health care during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and also make the areas more attractive to businesses.

The tribe said it's looking for ways to expand internet connections in its six other communities through business partnerships and other wireless technologies.


New Mexico Tribe Transforms Old Casino into Movie Studio


Associated Press

TESUQUE PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) _ A small northern New Mexico Native American tribe has opened a movie studio in a former casino that it hopes will lure big productions.

The Tesuque Pueblo recently converted the building near Santa Fe into a movie studio campus called Camel Rock Studios with more than 25,000 square feet (2,323 square meters) of filming space.

The tribe's lands feature stunning desert and the iconic Camel Rock formation in the red-brown foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and tribal officials said outdoor filming can take place on 27 square miles (70 square kilometers) of the reservation.

The tribe with about 800 members decided to open the studio after scenes from the Universal Pictures western movie ``News of the World'' starring Tom Hanks were filmed last year in the Camel Rock Casino, which closed in 2018.

Universal's use of the casino for filming helped convince tribal officials to transform the empty building into studio space, said Timothy Brown, president and CEO of the Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corporation. Also influencing the decision were investments in New Mexico movie studios by Netflix and NBCUniversal in recent years, said Tunte Vigil, Tesuque Pueblo's business development associate.

``The Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corporation wants to bring different businesses to the pueblo and the market is really open,'' Vigil said. ``So this is a good opportunity.''

No productions are happening now and none are planned for the immediate future because the pueblo and most of the state remains under strict COVID-19 business restrictions. But Brown said that that hasn't stopped potential productions from contacting the pueblo and asking to reserve studio time.

Cheyenne and Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre, a Santa Fe resident and an advisor to Camel Rock Studio, said the studio's unique aspect is that its former makeup as a casino provides the site with pre-made infrastructure that can be used for filming different types of movie scenes

``It's a museum. It's an opulent hotel lobby. It's a capitol building,'' said Eyer, who directed the 1998 film ``Smoke Signals'' about two Coeur d'Alene tribal members who travel from Idaho to Arizona to retrieve the remains of their father after he died alone. ``There are sorts of interesting standing sets that can be creatively (crafted) for all sorts of scenes.''

The site also has a set workshop called a mill that can be used by crews to build sets for use inside the casino or on the tribe's land, Eyer said, adding that he could envision movies filmed there that are set in the Middle East or the U.S. Southwest.

Older movies filmed on the Tesuque Pueblo include the 1955 western ``The Man from Laramie'' starring James Stewart and the 1988 ``Young Guns'' with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland.

But Eyer said previous productions had stereotypes about Indigenous people and limited Native American input and that tribal officials hope future productions don't follow in their footsteps.

The studio is being established at a time when Native American writers including Pulitzer Prize-winning Cheyenne and Arapaho author Tommy Orange and Inupiaq American poet Joan Naviyuk Kane are transforming American Literature _ and putting pressure on Hollywood to incorporate more Native American stories.

Tribal officials plan to create internships and movie training programs for Tesuque Pueblo members and hope that the studio will foster a new storytelling movement, Eyer said.

``Native Americans are natural storytellers,'' he said. ``What better place to do it?''


Associated Press writer Russell Contreras is a member of the AP's Race and Ethnicity team. Follow Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

String of 27 Fires on Crow Reservation Chalked up to Arson

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ Firefighters extinguished more than two dozen small fires on the Crow Indian Reservation in southeast Montana that were believed to be started by an arsonist, officials said.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs said the first of the fires was reported north of Crow Agency. About 17 fires were ignited between Crow Agency and Hardin, and 10 more were ignited south of Crow Agency.

The blazes were stamped out before they grew large, officials said.

But Fire Management Officer Bob Jones says the alleged arsonist put property owners and firefighters in jeopardy and interrupted operations along a BNSF railway line.

Fire managers and Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers were seeking a vehicle thought to be linked to the fires, but no details on the vehicle or any suspects were provided.


Ronan Native Uses Photojournalism to Reveal Native Stories



MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) _ When Tailyr Irvine applied for funding to tell a story her community on the Flathead Reservation, and Native communities across the country, had been living with for more than a century, she thought she'd maybe get one response to get her project off the ground.

Instead, she heard back from both global media titans she pitched to, National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute, who wanted her work.

The first installment of Irvine's project on blood quantum requirements for tribal enrollment was recently published by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian through its ``Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field'' series, reaching an international audience and garnering attention on social media.

``Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America,'' a photo essay, tells the story of how the blood quantum system affects everything from dating to health care to who you choose to marry and have children with. A blood quantum is a fraction that Native Americans get assigned at birth showing how much Native blood from a specific tribe they have. The fraction is used to determine enrollment, and many tribes require a certain amount of blood to be a member.

``This story has been in my brain for a really long time,'' Irvine told the Missoulian in a recent interview in Missoula. The University of Montana graduate has been working on the project for a year and a half and said she's proud to have a story Native Americans have been grappling with for decades reach a wider audience.

``It shows the complexities of Native life outside of the stereotypes you see, and I think that's what I really am excited about with this project,'' she said. ``It lines up with my goal to show Native Americans in a contemporary sense.''

Irvine grew up in Ronan on the Flathead Reservation surrounded by her extended family.

``It's a small community, so I really liked growing up the way I did, where everyone knows everyone and everyone kind of raises each other,'' she said.

It wasn't until she left the reservation to attend Washington State University that she realized her people were often misrepresented.

``I was the only Native on my dorm room floor, I was the only Native some people had ever met in their life, and it was just a really big culture shock for me,'' she said. ``It wasn't until I left for college that I realized, oh wow, no one thinks Natives exist, and that's because no one sees them, and when they do, it's like poor and alcohol addicted . that's not really what I grew up around, and so it's kind of pushed me to how I cover tribal communities and why I cover them.''

After a tough semester, she returned to the reservation and eventually decided to go to UM.

She applied to the journalism program, where she realized she could actually effect change for her community and fill a gap in storytelling with her real-world perspective.

In September 2016, after seeing Native friends on social media posting rumblings around growing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation, she questioned why it wasn't getting more widespread attention outside the Native community.

``I'd been hearing about this thing, and I hadn't seen a lot in the media about it yet, so I just wanted to check it out,'' she said, adding she visited three times to report and photograph, each time the media presence growing.

``That was the first time I really felt like a journalist I think, and I felt like my viewpoint mattered and that it mattered maybe more than other journalists there.''

While most of the nation was getting fed reports of violence and protest, Irvine spent her time telling a different story.

``(It was) less about the protest and the dog biting and all the violence that you've seen a lot, and it was more about, what does life look like in a camp that you've been staying at for six months? What did the schools look like?'' she said.

Through college and after graduating in 2018, Irvine spent time at daily newspapers, including the Flathead Reservation's Char-Koosta News, where she said she was able to ``cut her teeth'' in her own community, The Billings Gazette, the Dallas Morning News and finally the Tampa Bay Times.

Last year, after layoffs decimated the photo staff in Tampa Bay, she decided to take what many would consider a giant leap early in her career and go freelance.

``Daily jobs at newspapers don't really feel that safe anymore, so it wasn't super hard to leave. When I started, there were 20-something photographers, and when I left they were in the single digits,'' she said, adding the daily grind also didn't allow her to do the bigger, in-depth projects she got a glimpse of at Standing Rock. ``I really wanted to tell my own stories.''

It also didn't hurt that ESPN had been in contact with her about taking photos for a story on the Blackfeet Reservation. Her images appeared in an article about the sports network's documentary, ``Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible,'' which screened at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

During the same period, she met Daniella Zalcman, founder of Women Photograph and co-founder of Natives Photograph, organizations that create databases of women, nonbinary and Native American photographers.

``She really created a pipeline for me to come from Montana and go into the national scene with photography and editors,'' Irvine said.

Zalcman said the Natives Photograph database is an effort to help elevate voices of Native storytellers working in their own communities. It's also a response to editors claiming they want to hire Native photographers, but don't know who or where they are.

``Photojournalism is a tricky business to get into, it's a tricky business to sustain once you're in it,'' Zalcman said. ``It's still a very privileged, classist industry where so much of success is predicated on who you know.''

Irvine said Zalcman has since been a mentor, helping her navigate the beginnings of a freelance career _ reading fine print contracts from big-wig corporate lawyers and filing taxes.

Introducing the issue of blood quantum to people outside of Native communities would be difficult without a direct understanding like Irvine has, Zalcman said.

``It's a complicated thing with roots in colonialism and ramifications that we're seeing still today. There's so many levels, it requires such a degree of care, nuance and context,'' she said. ``Tailyr is perfect for it because she deeply understands the system, she can tackle all aspects, and she's also telling it from such a personal perspective as well.''

With the first chapter published, Irvine is now working on a second chapter with funding from National Geographic.

Her decision to go freelance has paid off. Her work has been published with HuffPost, Buzzfeed, High Country News, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

She's also currently reporting a Nat Geo-funded project that's taken her across the country, photographing Native Americans participating in a nationwide ``Social Distance Powwow,'' and another article about COVID-19 in the national parks is also in the works.

She also loves shooting sports and sprinkles in those assignments when she has time. She understandably doesn't want to get pigeon-holed into only getting calls for Native assignments, but said she hopes she can continue to cover Native issues and culture so she can start to shift the narrative around her people.

``How I grew up and what that looked like for me looks really different in the media,'' she said. ``It's my story, but it's not really my story. It's their story.''


Endangered Trout Species Thriving in Remote Nevada Lake

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ A half-century after being added to the endangered species list, Lahontan cutthroat trout are thriving with help from a Native American tribe at a remote lake in northern Nevada.

For nearly a decade, members of the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe and scientists at the Global Water Center at the University of Nevada, Reno have studied the robust Lahontan cutthroat trout population at Summit Lake, a small high-desert lake into which water flows in but not out.

The lake ecosystem has little human impact and could provide a model for recovery efforts in other lakes ``that are less fortunate and that have lost their trout like the Walker and Tahoe,'' university researcher Sudeep Chandra told the Reno Gazette Journal.

The Lahontan cutthroat is Nevada's state fish and North America's largest freshwater native trout species. It was listed as endangered in 1970 and upgraded to threatened in 1975, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The fish has crimson red-orange slash marks on the throat under the jaw and black spots over steel gray to olive green scales. It holds cultural significance for the Summit Lake tribe, whose name _ ``lake trout eaters'' in the indigenous language _ reflects the importance of the fish, said Rachael Youmans, tribal natural resources director.

The species is found in cold-water habitats in parts of Nevada, Oregon and California, including terminal lakes such as Pyramid and Walker; alpine lakes such as Tahoe; rivers such as the Humboldt, Carson, Walker and Truckee; and tributary streams.

The fish can grow to 50 inches (1.27 meters) and live for up to 14 years in lakes. River dwellers grow to about 10 inches (25 centimetres) and live less than five years. The species spawns between February and July, depending on stream flow, elevation and water temperature.

In 1844, there were 11 lake-dwelling populations of the trout, and 400 to 600 stream-dwelling populations that spanned more than 3,600 miles of waterways, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Today, the fish are found in just five lakes and fewer than 130 streams in the Lahontan Basin in the northeast corner of Nevada, and several dozen streams outside the basin. Their habitat now covers less than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of waterways.

Declines have occurred due to water diversions, changing habitat and invasive species, Chandra said.

Summit Lake, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Reno, is closed to non-tribal members, and fish catches are limited for members. The tribe erected grazing enclosures that prevent trampling from livestock and stopped diverting freshwater in streams for the reservation. Mahogany Creek flows into the lake unimpeded.

``It's a very healthy riparian corridor here now,'' Youmans told the Gazette Journal.

Summit Lake is mildly saline, and healthier than other terminal lakes in the huge Great Basin watershed of central Nevada, scientists say. Many terminal lakes have higher dissolved salt levels than lakes that flow to the sea.

Walker Lake in Nevada, also a terminal lake, has a salinity level of about 20 parts per thousand and is too saline for most fish, Chandra said. Summit Lake has less than 2 parts per thousand.


Archaeologists Unearth Artifacts From Abenaki Village

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) _ A team of archaeologists has unearthed artifacts from the 17th century Abenaki village along the Sandy River.

Archaeologists from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission are leading an effort that has been underway since the summer of 2018, when the Maine Department of Transportation deemed the bridge connecting Chesterville and Farmington Falls in need of replacement.

The team has been surveying the land around the Farmington Falls and Chesterville bridge on Routes 41 and 156 ever since, the Sun Journal reported.

Finding the Abenaki glass trade and shell beads was the most memorable feature of his team's dig, project archaeologist John Mosher said.

Because of the location at falls, he knew there could be artifacts associated with American Indians. He said he thinks the dig site is near a native village.


Denver Group Delivers 500 Homemade Masks to Navajo Nation

DENVER (AP) _ A couple from Colorado has traveled to Arizona to deliver 500 homemade face masks to the Navajo Nation intended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A group of volunteer sewers, all from the Denver area, originally started making masks for frontline workers but have since delivered to about 100 different organizations, KCNC-TV reported.

The Denver Mask Task Force organized in March and has since ``grown to over 1,500 volunteers on our Facebook page. We've donated over 11,000 masks,'' co-group organizer Amanda Glenn said.

Task force volunteer Lloyd Chavez recently suggested the group make masks for the Navajo Nation, which spans three states and is home to about 170,000 people.

``There's not a lot resources that make it to reservations around the country,'' Chavez said. ``They're kind of put on the back burner.''

The Navajo Nation would have one of the highest per capita rates of coronavirus in the country if it was a state. Tribal leaders have imposed strict curfews and preventive measures.

Chavez and his wife Cindy drove nine hours to Chinle, Arizona, to drop of the package. They arrived Wednesday.

``I'm just so incredibly inspired by the generosity of so many strangers. It's been this incredibly magic experience where everything we ask for just shows up,'' Glenn said.

Glenn told KCNC-TV that the delivery to the Navajo Nation is just the first of several donations of its kind and the ``stitch ninjas'' are working on filling mask orders for tribes in other states.


Alaska Villages Implement Travel Restrictions Amid Pandemic

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ About 70 Alaska tribes have implemented travel restrictions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, limiting incoming air, land and water traffic in remote villages scattered across the state.

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has given communities regulation leeway through their councils and other governmental entities, so travel restrictions vary throughout the state, Indian Country Today reported.

Essential workers and their necessary travel are still permitted.

``But the less mixing we have going on at this point, the more we slow the virus down,'' Dunleavy said. ``Right now they are (helping out), but if there are issues or incidences where folks, let's say go overboard, then we can have that discussion with them.''

Residents of the Northwest Alaska Inupiat village of Kivalina, population 379, who want to leave must notify the tribal administrator of departure and return dates, the reason for the trip and must self-quarantine for 14 days upon return, community leaders said.

Those rules apply to travel by flights and snow-machine from neighboring communities, since the village is not connected by road to any other community, leaders said.

Alaska had reported about 250 known cases of COVID-19 and seven related deaths as of Friday. Most are in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and other communities connected by road, but there no confirmed cases in any small off-road villages.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Elders are cautious because some experienced the aftermath of the 1918 influenza epidemic in Alaska when villages were wiped out and others lost more than half of their population, said tribal administrator Millie Hawley, Inupiaq.

``Everyone's doing their part . just staying home, hunkering down, they call it,'' Hawley said.

Others are not as willing to listen to direction.

``You have certain people that are attracted to living out in remote Alaska'' because ``they can live their life without being told by outsiders how to do that,'' said Natasha Singh, Athabaskan, general counsel for the regional nonprofit tribal entity Tanana Chiefs Conference.

Sharing information from outsiders and medical experts ``can be a difficult education process,'' she said.

The pandemic also heightens the ``extreme needs and disparities'' between urban and rural Alaska, with gaps in the high cost of living and of transportation, access to medical care, and public safety, Singh said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized tribes' inherent authority to protect the health of its members, and tribes have taken appropriate steps within their legal authority and tailored to their specific needs, she said.

Navajo Poet Jake Skeets Wins Whiting Award

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) - Navajo poet Jake Skeets has been named one of the winners of this year's Whiting Award.

The Gallup Independent reports the Giles Whiting Foundation recently announced Skeets as one of the 10 writers to receive the honor.

Last year, he was named the winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, one of the most honored literary prizes in America.

Skeets says he writes from personal experiences and focuses on Native American issues and challenges.

"I write a lot of poetry, and poetry isn't always a bestseller, but this is really affirming," said the Vanderwagen, New Mexico, writer. "I hope to continue to write about things that I have experienced growing up near Gallup."

Skeets holds a master of fine arts in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts and teaches English at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.

In his book, "Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers," Skeets focuses on stereotypical depictions of Gallup through his mind's eye.

New App Can Teach Math to Children in the Lakota Language

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ A new app is helping American Indian youth learn math that can be taught in their native Lakota language.

The bilingual English and Lakota math video game was created by the Thunder Valley Community Development Corp., a South Dakota nonprofit that promotes Native American issues.

The ``Making Camp: Lakota'' app is free and can be downloaded on mobile devices and computer desktops, KOTA-TV reported. It is meant mainly to help fourth- and fifth-grade students.

A historical video introduces each section of the game explaining cultural symbols like eagle feathers, buffalo and horses.

Mary Bowman, an Oceti Sakhalin teacher with the Rapid City Area School District, said it's a key part of the curriculum. Culturally responsive teaching increases children's achievement levels because the children are more engaged and learn more, she said.

``It's so important because, you know, Lakota people have lived here for centuries. And the influence that the culture has is here and great. It's good not just for Native students to learn but all kids to learn,`` Bowman said.

Lakota is part of the Dakota language group and is one of the most commonly spoken Native American dialects in the country. Most of its speakers live in the Dakotas.

Vandals Cover Plymouth Rock in Red Graffiti

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) _ The iconic Plymouth Rock and other sites were covered in red graffiti during a vandalism spree discovered at the site marking the landing of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts 400 years ago.

Officials in Plymouth discovered the vandalism early in the morning. Workers had removed the red spray paint, which included the letters MOF and the numbers 508, from the rock before noon.

Authorities say no arrests have been made and the site was open to tourists.

The rock has come to symbolize the spot where William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims disembarked before founding Plymouth Colony in December 1620.

Police said the vandals also targeted a seashell-shaped sign celebrating the upcoming 400th anniversary of the 1620 Mayflower landing, the Pilgrim Maiden statue and the National Monument To The Forefathers.

It was not immediately clear if this graffiti incident had any connection to the anniversary celebration, but Plymouth Rock has been the site of political demonstrations before.

United American Indians of New England holds the solemn remembrance on every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 there to recall what organizers describe as ``the genocide of millions of native people, the theft of native lands and the relentless assault on native culture.''

Fiscal Reports Show Revenue Declines at Connecticut Casinos

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Revenue at Connecticut's two casinos declined in fiscal 2019 amid new regional competition, according to new fiscal reports.

Mohegan Sun's net revenues for the fiscal year were $992 million, down about 7% from the nearly $1.1 billion it took in the previous fiscal year, though revenue for parent company Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment increased, The day reported.

Net revenues at Foxwoods Resort Casino were $787.8 million, down 5% from $828.9 million in fiscal 2018.

The annual fiscal reports, filed in late December, both attribute the decline to lower gaming revenues. The workforce at both casinos continues to shrink, according to the reports.

The casinos, owned by Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes, face competition from the new MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor casino, and from Rhode Island's two casinos that launched sports betting a year ago.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont tried to reach a wide-ranging gambling agreement with the tribes last year that would've included sports betting, but did not succeed.

Bighorn Sheep Coming to MHA Reservation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ A new agreement between the state and Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation means bighorn sheep could be roaming the reservation in the next couple weeks.

North Dakota Game and Fish director Terry Steinwand says 30 to 40 bighorns will be brought to North Dakota once they are captured on a Montana reservation. They'll be released in the Mandaree and Twin Buttes areas.

The Bismarck Tribune says the state-tribal agreement includes a provision for a ram hunting season. Williams says that will depend on how well the animals to in their new habitat.

``If the population does well enough and to where there's mature rams out there, that's something that our agency and Three Affiliated Tribes will be in discussion about, and then we're going to be sharing those licenses for that opportunity,`` Williams said.

The pact is the third such agreement between the state and tribal nation.

The others are twin agreements with MHA Nation in 2008 related to hunting and fishing access issues and a 2017 pact with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for an elk hunting season.

New Mexico Has Goal to Boost Rural Art, Culture Partnerships

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ One of the top priorities for officials who oversee New Mexico's system of museums and cultural offerings will be forming more partnerships with rural communities and Native American tribes over the next year.

State Cultural Affairs Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego testified before a legislative committee that oversees crafting of the state budget. She told the panel that expanding access to arts and culture beyond New Mexico's metropolitan areas will be critical.

``We all know that arts and culture can be incredibly important to a community's quality of life but also its economic well being. This is particularly true for our rural communities,'' she said.

Garcia y Griego shared statistics that showed how many people were visiting museums, historic sites and libraries. She also said the agency relies heavily on the support of volunteers and private foundations. In the last fiscal year, such groups contributed nearly $5 million in support of special exhibitions and educational programs at state museums and historic sites.

Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Democrat who chairs the Legislative Finance Committee, said during the meeting that many of the prominent families from New Mexico's oil and gas patches are among those who support the arts. He pointed to a 1952 Peter Hurd mural that was rescued from a building in Texas that was slated for demolition. An anonymous patron paid for the mural and its costly transportation to Artesia, New Mexico, where it was installed at the public library.

He acknowledged the criticisms environmentalists and some Democratic politicians have of the industry. But Smith said ``oil and gas and sources of revenue shouldn't be dividing us. We have a lot of common respect and appreciation for the arts.''

Revenues from the oil boom have helped the state's general fund budget overall, but Smith and others are warning about expanding spending.

``The puzzling question is we don't know how long that's going to last _ and that presents a real challenge for this committee ... to still be responsible and fend off the charges that we're not spending enough. We're a little apprehensive,'' he said.

Garcia y Griego is asking for a budget increase of more than 13 percent, saying much of that would go to basic operating costs as the state runs dozens of sites that are open to public almost every DAY of the year.

The Cultural Affairs Department is responsible for 191 structures, 100 of which are designated as state cultural properties or on the National Register of Historic Places, according to agency officials.

Historic structures are more expensive to maintain and renovate, officials said.

Garcia y Griego told lawmakers there's currently more than $9.25 million worth of construction underway on historic buildings using state and federal tax credits. Department officials are looking for ways to boost the amount of recurring money that can be dedicated to the maintenance effort.

Research Team to Take Fresh Look at Delicate Artifacts

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Sandals and baskets that have withstood the ravages of time will be among the perishable artifacts analyzed by a team of scientists looking to learn more about a corner of the southwestern United States that was first excavated decades ago.

Depending on what they uncover, officials are hopeful that the $200,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will lead to more research opportunities in the Guadalupe Mountains, which straddle the New Mexico-Texas line and are situated within one of the nation's busiest oil and gas basins.

The University of New Mexico is partnering with the Lincoln National Forest, the University of Pennsylvania, the Western Archaeological and Conservation Center, the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center.

The team plans to use existing museum collections to build a time line of basket and sandal styles used by those who once inhabited the area. They also will take a new look at two rock shelter sites using new technologies, including a drone and photogrammetric mapping.

The project is spearheaded by Robert Dello-Russo and Alexander Kurota of the University of New Mexico's Office of Contract Archaeology.

``This study will ensure meaningful consultation with, and self-determination for, the Native American tribes who claim ancestry with the Guadalupe Mountain region,'' Dello-Russo said in a statement.

No ceremonial artifacts will be subjected to any kind of analysis as part of the project, officials said.

The Guadalupe Mountains still represent an important spiritual sanctuary for the Mescalero Apache, a once nomadic Native American tribe now based in south-central New Mexico.

The Mescalero Apache harvested plants such as agave, sotol and bear grass. The agave's fibers were used for ropes, blankets and sandals.

According to the Bureau of Land Management, excavations of Burnet's Cave and Hermit's Cave during the 1930s uncovered artifacts made of fiber, wood and feathers. They included sandals, baskets, ropes, fiber bundles and grass rings that are now part of museum collections.

Officials say most of the artifacts have not been examined since their excavation some 80 years ago, before the development of radiocarbon dating. The new analysis will allow the artifacts to be placed into more precise time periods.

The research will determine whether the perishable artifacts can be linked to farmers of the Formative era, which dates from 1000 BC to 500 A.D., or to hunter-gatherer communities stretching back thousands of years.

The researchers say the preservation of such perishable items is of utmost importance as they can provide invaluable knowledge about the daily lives of those who lived on the land long ago.

They're hoping to answer questions about what native plants were used and whether certain weaving or construction techniques were favored at certain times.

Elsewhere across the Permian Basin, contracts have been awarded for other archaeological work, including surveys and limited excavation at 36 sites located in Salado Draw in southeastern New Mexico.

Officials say a number of prehistoric sites were found there _ all discovered while surveying for oil and gas wells or pipelines. They believe human activity in the draw dates as far back as 12,000 B.C.

That work will include looking at pollen and charred plant materials found in hearths or roasting pits.

University in New Mexico Proposes Cultural Resources Degree

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Highlands University says it’s developing a special anthropology master’s degree program focused on cultural resource management.

If approved by higher education officials, the program would be delivered through distance learning.

Highlands professor Orit Tamir developed the proposal with the goal of preparing people to work in the private sector or with tribal, state and federal agencies.

In New Mexico, Tamir says a master’s degree in anthropology is needed to be a principal or lead investigator on a cultural resources project or other forms of professional anthropology analysis.

University Provost Roxanne Gonzales says offering the program through distance learning will allow working professionals to bolster their skills and make themselves more marketable.

The program could begin as soon as fall 2020 once it gets final approval.

Grand Canyon to Make Second Run at Corralling Bison Herd

By Felicia Fonseca 

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — In the two years since Grand Canyon officials approved a plan to reduce the number of bison roaming in the national park, the herd has only grown in size.

No one is sure exactly how many of the giant animals call northern Arizona home because they’re hard to count amid the Ponderosa pine trees, but it’s in the hundreds. Left unchecked, the herd could reach 1,500 in several years, severely damaging the landscape and water resources, the park says.

The reduction plan has been hampered by weather and disagreements over how to kill some of the bison if shipping them off isn’t enough. The Grand Canyon tried to round up some animals last year, but wintry weather set in and the bison headed farther north on a plateau.

The park is taking a second run at capturing this month.

“We’re getting a little late start,” said Jan Balsom, a senior adviser at the park.

The Grand Canyon bison are descendants of those introduced to northern Arizona in the early 1900s as part of a ranching operation to crossbreed them with cattle. The state of Arizona now owns them and has an annual draw for tags on the neighboring Kaibab National Forest.

The National Park Service released a plan in September 2017 that called for a mix of corralling the animals near the highway that leads to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, and for skilled volunteers to shoot a certain number of bison inside and outside the park.

It has made no significant progress on guidelines for lethal options.

The Park Service fenced off watering holes on the North Rim to try to force the bison into the national forest, where they legally can be hunted. But it didn’t keep the bison out.

The 25 hunters who drew tags in a state hunt earlier this year came up nearly empty-handed, bagging just two animals. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission recently amended the spring hunts for 2020 and 2021 to give hunters more time overall to kill bison.

Meanwhile, the animals’ population is growing.

The park hopes to corral dozens of the animals at the North Rim, where the bison breed exclusively after hunting pressure forced them out of the forest about a decade ago. It uses thumb-size pellets to lure the bison into eight-foot-high corrals that can hold up to 100 animals.

Balsom said the park plans to sort animals that are captured in September and give them to Native American tribes across the United States that request them through the Intertribal Buffalo Council. The agreement with the Park Service says none of the animals can be slaughtered within the first year, she said.

The goal is to reduce the bison herd to 200 within five years, Balsom said.

The lethal option is contentious. A recording on a Grand Canyon hotline for information on the bison has said for more than a year that the park is still developing plans to allow skilled volunteers to legally kill the animals.

The state wildlife commission ordered the Arizona Game and Fish Department to cut off talks with the Park Service in January 2018 because it prefers hunters do the work and keep their prey, regional Game and Fish Supervisor Scott Poppenberger said.

“That would be a substantial game-changer in moving the ball forward,” he said.

It’s a conflict that has played out in other national parks where hunting is banned.

In Montana, former governor Brian Schweitzer and state legislators over the years have urged Yellowstone National Park to allow bison hunting to keep a rare but contagious bacterial infection in check. The idea was met with stiff resistance from park administrators and has gone nowhere.

Under a 2001 agreement between federal and state officials, thousands of bison attempting to migrate to winter feeding grounds outside Yellowstone have been captured and sent to slaughter. Others are killed by state-licensed hunters or Native Americans who hold treaty rights to harvest the animals.

The hunts have stirred controversy, with bison often shot immediately after stepping beyond the park boundary. They have also failed to significantly reduce Yellowstone’s herds, which had roughly 4,500 animals at last count.

Fish Farmer, Government, Tribe Partner on Salmon Stocking Program

CUTLER, Maine (AP) _ A fish farming company says it's working with government agencies and a tribal group to raise salmon to be released into a Maine river.

Cooke Aquaculture says it's working on the project with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the federal government and the Penobscot Indian Nation. The company says the project involves growing juvenile Atlantic salmon to adult size in aquaculture pens near Cutler and releasing them into the Penobscot River's East Branch.

Salmon were once plentiful in Maine's rivers, but the fish are now listed under the U.S.'s Endangered Species Act. Cooke says about 5,000 adult salmon will be taken to the East Branch and tributaries in fall 2021 or 2022. It says that will result in the most spawning adults in the Penobscot River in decades.

Corps: No More Dakota Access Pipeline Study Needed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ An attorney for the Army Corps of Engineers is asking a judge to sign off on the Corps' conclusion that the Dakota Access oil pipeline doesn't harm American Indian tribes.

The Corps wants U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to rule in favor of its August 2018 finding that no more environmental study is needed on the $3.8 billion pipeline. The pipeline has been moving North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois for more than two years.

The Standing Rock Sioux want the pipeline shut down and more study done. The tribe fears an oil spill could contaminate the Missouri River.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that a Justice Department attorney argues that the Corps ``carefully and reasonably considered the environmental impacts'' before it permitted the pipeline.

Pipeline developer Texas-based Energy Transfer says the line is safe.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Opening Behavioral Health Center

TOWAOC (AP) – The night she lost her teenage cousin to suicide, a boy she considered her brother, Cheyenne Hayes thought her mind was going crazy.

As the Ute Mountain Ute tribal community mourned the deaths of two middle school boys – Andrew William Cuch Jr., 14, and Jeit Redrock Height, 15 – on the same January night, Hayes and her friends grieved.

She could hear her friends’ pain as they spoke about their own lives. Hayes found her own mind traveling down a similarly dark road.

“I told myself I couldn’t go down the same path my brother went down,” Hayes said. “Because that wouldn’t solve anything.”

But as the 17-year-old counseled her struggling friends, she scoffed at the idea of seeing a therapist. Most of her friends felt the same way. And the few who did seek help said the professional didn’t understand what they were going through.

“I already know what to do on my own,” Hayes said.

The deaths of two middle school boys have forced the Ute Mountain Ute tribe to confront long-held stigmas surrounding suicide and mental health, which plague Native Americans at a higher rate than any other population in the United States.

This fall, a new behavioral health building five years in the making will open on the reservation. Tribal leaders have touted its potential to bring much-needed help to the Ute people: trained clinicians on site, specialists to help clients navigate the world of behavioral health and a culturally relevant program designed for a population saddled with hundreds of years of historical trauma, high rates of substance abuse and domestic violence.

The new resources come as communities across the state confront a troubling rise in youth suicides.

But as the Ute Mountain Ute tribe prepares to cut the ribbon on its new facility, it must convince members young and old to open up about an immensely painful topic that hits everyone close to home.

‘Subject that nobody wants to talk about’

Colorado leaders, community residents and teenagers have sounded the alarm over the recent surge in youth suicides, which have risen to become the leading cause of death for people between 10 and 24. Between 2015 and 2017, there were 533 suicides by teens and children, up from 340 such deaths between 2003 and 2005, according to a report by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

While suicide affects all populations, Native Americans and Alaska Natives have the highest rates of any racial/ethnic group in the United States, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the rates of suicide in Native American populations have been increasing since 2003.

Montezuma County, where the Ute Mountain Ute reservation lies, has the fourth-highest suicide rate in Colorado at 42 deaths per 100,000 people – more than double the statewide average.

And on a Native American reservation of fewer than 2,200 people, tragedy reaches everybody.

From teens up through elders, the entire tribe had some connection or relation to the two middle schoolers who died by suicide on that January night.

The Ute Mountain reservation has seen suicide before. Since 2004, there were at least 13 suicides among Native Americans in Montezuma County, according to state data. Suicide among Native American populations, however, is notoriously underreported, health officials say.

But the most recent deaths shocked the community, given the age of the boys. “It’s really opened a lot of people’s eyes,” said tribal councilwoman DeAnne House.

The sheer number of tragedies have made it hard for people to move on.

“Grief has cycles,” House said. “And we don’t get to see the full cycle because people lose someone the next week and it just keeps going. We don’t ever get that chance to take a breath and relax and accept what’s happening with our people.”

Prisllena Nightstarr, the tribe’s treasurer, has been through the grieving cycle with her own daughter, who killed herself at age 24.

Nightstarr now talks to schools, adults and other groups about suicide, about opening up, about forgiveness and acceptance.

“This is a subject that nobody wants to talk about because it’s embarrassing, it’s belittling,” Nightstarr said. “But you know what the bottom line is? It’s a reality of what our people are going through.”

She has encouraged people to talk, to share their emotions.

“When you share your experience, it heals and mends the soul,” Nightstarr said.

'Confronting stigmas'

Despite prodding from those such as Nightstarr, the stigma surrounding mental health discourages many Native Americans from seeking help.

“It’s still seen as shameful and deficient of moral character to be depressed,” said Dr. Spero Manson, director for the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado.

There used to be similar stigmas in Native American communities surrounding alcohol abuse, Manson said, but through years of discussions and prominent role models, those stigmas have largely abated.

“We have much less of that with depression, anxiety and suicide,” Manson said.

Kamea Clark, 18, has seen friends go to therapy, only for their families to find out and share a big laugh.

“Everyone knows where to go for help,” Clark said, “but they’re too scared and intimidated by family members because on reservation, everyone’s tough.”

Teenagers going through a hard time often don’t want to talk to their parents because they might just tell them to toughen up, she said. Instead, if teens choose to open up, it’s with each other.

“I feel like my friends are more accepting,” Clark said. “They understand mental health is a big problem all over the world, but parents think it’s more of a phase.”

“‘Oh, she’s just a teenager,’” Clark said, quoting a phrase she’s heard from parents. “‘She’s upset; she’ll get over it.’”

The tribe has worked to fight this sentiment and raise awareness of mental health issues. The Ute Mountain Utes were one of four tribes nationwide to be included in the Tiwahe program, an Obama-era initiative that provides additional resources to Native American communities for health, housing, culture and public safety.

One of the Tiwahe projects included a series of short films shot and produced by teenagers, including Clark and Hayes.

In the 2015 short film “Escape,” Clark plays a 14-year-old girl named Rachel who’s constantly bullied by her sister and other classmates. The film follows Rachel and her best friend, Adam, 17, who has been shunned by his alcoholic stepfather after coming out of the closet. Feeling rejected by their peers and family, Rachel and Adam make a suicide pact, but decide in the end to live.

“Once we got to the point where we were going to do it, it just didn’t seem like a good solution,” Rachel tells the camera.

At the end of the film, a transformed Rachel chastises Adam’s father for being drunk before confronting the group of girls who had previously tortured her, a smile crossing her face as the screen fades to black.

The themes depicted in the film – alcoholism, sexuality, suicide and bullying – are ones that Clark sees every day on the reservation.

“I wanted to send the message that it’s OK to ask for help,” Clark said about the film. “It’s OK to talk to people. If you’re having mental issues or not feeling OK, you can make a change and get the help you need.”

DeAnne House said she’s seen an awakening from young people when it comes to the recent suicides.

“There are things happening with our youth that they have always kept covered,” she said. “They’re finally speaking and saying, ‘This is what’s wrong. This is where our disparities are, this is how we feel, and these are our needs.’”

‘Story of a transformed heart’

When House won a seat on the tribal council, she made it her mission to get behavioral health services to the reservation.

After all, House has seen the need in her own family: She lost all but one of her uncles to substance abuse issues.

Her niece has struggled with addiction.

As a trained addictions counselor, House has worked with countless people in need of help. She knew the tribe needed more resources.

After five years of discussions, planning sessions and grant-writing, House learned they would receive funding for the new behavioral health center.

“It was a very emotional day,” House said, looking out the window at the excavated lot that will soon house the new facility. “We will finally have something that we can actually see and feel out there.”

The behavioral health center, which is scheduled to open in October, will be called Mógúán – “my heart” in the Ute dialect.

“The building is the story of a transformed heart,” said Todd Giesen, the health center’s project director. “When a young person comes in, they’ve got a broken heart. But when they walk out, they’ve got a transformed heart.”

Mógúán will include two new clinicians, two staff members to help people navigate the behavioral health system, and one nurse, Giesen said. One clinician, who specializes in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, has already provided nearly 50 hours of clinical services, he said.

“It’s amazing to see how people have responded to her,” Giesen said.

Mógúán will be centered around trauma-informed care that takes into account the history of Native American people, he said. It aims to be restorative and holistic, with particular focus on the behavioral health needs of those younger than 24.

As Giesen worked to develop concepts and plans for the new facility, he struggled with the same problem encountered by reservations across the country: finding Native American mental health clinicians.

It is the most underrepresented minority group in psychology, Greywolf said.

There are about 400 doctorally trained Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian psychologists in the United States, said Dr. Joseph Gone, a Harvard professor who focuses on psychology in indigenous communities.

But the majority of the highly skilled practitioners – more than 75%, Gone estimated – do not work on reservations or with Native American populations.

Experts say there’s a laundry list of reasons why it’s hard to recruit and retain trained professionals to work on reservations: lower pay; steep learning curves, especially for non-Native American providers; fewer resources and a lack of colleagues doing similar work, leading to high burnout rates.

“It’s hard to get people,” Giesen said. “The pond is definitely smaller.”

As the tribal council looks forward to the new facility and Giesen assembles his staff, some members of the tribe remain skeptical.

“They’re wasting their money,” said Hayes, the 17-year-old. “None of these kids are gonna go. I wouldn’t.”

Teens on the reservation don’t want to express their feelings to a random person, she said.

Even though the stigma of mental health remains prevalent, Clark sees the new center as a positive.

“I think it’ll be a great thing,” she said. “I think people will actually go down and get the help they need.”


Tribal Flags on Permanent Display at North Dakota Capitol

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ The flags of North Dakota's five tribal nations will be on permanent display outside the governor's office at the state Capitol.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum announced the decision to display the flags during his State of the State address in January.

The bipartisan Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee approved making the display permanent.

They represent the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation; the Standing Rock Sioux; the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate; and the Spirit Lake Nation.

The relationship between North Dakota officials and tribes has been strained in the past, especially during protests three years ago against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Burgum says the tribal flag display was done ``in the spirit of mutual respect.''

Suspicious Fires on Navajo Nation Spark Investigation

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) _ Investigators are asking for help from the public in connection with a string of suspicious fires on the Navajo Nation.

The Farmington Daily Times reports the Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire Management Navajo Region is offering a reward to anyone with information about fires that have occurred since July at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.

An alert was posted on Sept. 4 on the agency's Facebook page, stating that a series of fires have occurred at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry in areas south and east of Ojo Amarillo.

Authorities say there have been at least four fires since July 26.

Johnson Benallie, regional assistant fire management officer for the Navajo Region of the BIA Fire and Aviation Management, says the investigation remains open.

Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com

Native Council Announces Opposition To Alaska Gold Mine

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) _ An Alaska Native council has announced its opposition to a proposed gold mine project, a report said.

The Quinhagak Native Tribal Council has issued a resolution opposing the Donlin Gold mine project, KYUK-AM reported.

Council members are concerned residents will leave Quinhagak for work at the mine site 280 miles (451 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Many younger men may leave and take entire families, while women and elders would need to hunt and fish for the community, said Council President Darren Cleveland.

``We feel that if it becomes real, that instead of slow trickle of people moving out, all of a sudden a group of people just moving and it would be a culture shock for families,'' Cleveland said.

A mining accident could contaminate the main food source for the village near a Kuskokwim River tributary, Cleveland said, although Quinhagak is almost 200 miles (322 kilometers) away.

``That could be devastating for our way of life that has always been, and we don't want to add on risks that are already being done,'' Cleveland said.

The declaration is meant to show support for tribes closer to the mine that have passed resolutions against Donlin Gold, he said.

The 12 other tribes with opposition resolutions in the past year include Chefornak, Chevak, Chuloonawick, Eek, Emmonak, Kasigluk, Kongiginak, Kwigillingok, Napakiak, Nunapitchuk, Tuluksak, and Tununak.

``If there was mining here in our area, we'd want the support of other tribes to help us out to be against it,'' Cleveland said.

Donlin Gold did not immediately respond to KYUK's request for comment.


Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org


Famed French Explorer Jean Nicolet Gets Historical Revision

Wisconsin State Journal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Patrick Jung was in fourth grade at 81st Street School in Milwaukee when he learned of the travels of Jean Nicolet, the famed French explorer.

According to Jung's social studies book, Nicolet traversed the Great Lakes in 1634 seeking a passage to China but ended up just northeast of what is now the city of Green Bay. That is where Nicolet, dressed in a colorful Chinese robe, came ashore and met members of a local Native American tribe and fired his two pistols into the air to celebrate his arrival.

Only now, more than 45 years after his grade school history lessons, Jung has a very different take on Nicolet's journey. And it's one that is likely to bring change to textbooks, roadside markers, plaques beneath bronze statues and websites.

Jung, a historian and researcher at Milwaukee School of Engineering, has spent years studying Nicolet and believes Nicolet wore a cape, not a Chinese robe. Had Nicolet pointed his pistols into the air, gun powder would have fallen from the trays and the guns would not have fired. Jung said with a ``good degree of probability'' that Nicolet landed in a large Native American village in what is now Marinette, not at Red Banks on the bay of Green Bay's southeastern shore.

And that trip to find a passage to China is also incorrect, Jung writes in his new book, ``The Misunderstood Mission of Jean Nicolet,'' published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Jung contends Nicolet wasn't an explorer but a diplomat sent by Samuel de Champlain to negotiate peace with the Puan Indian Tribe, ancestors of the Winnebago who are now known in Wisconsin as the Ho-Chunk. Jung's book builds upon the research of the late scholar Nancy Oestrich Lurie, a longtime anthropologist at the Milwaukee Public Museum who specialized in the study of North American Indian history and culture. She also recruited Jung to help her write part of a 2009 book on Nicolet.

``She was right about a lot of things, but if she were alive today, I think she would agree with me,'' Jung told a gathering in May at the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum. ``The human past often gives up its secrets very grudgingly. There's a lot of things that we know very, very well and there are some things we don't know very well. Part of the problem is how well something is documented. In the case of Nicolet, there's a total of four printed pages that describe his mission into Wisconsin.''

And it's those four pages that through the years have led to assumptions, speculation and the continuation of historical errors, the Wisconsin State Journal reported .

Nicolet's name is all over Wisconsin. It has been used to name paper mills, banks, a northern Wisconsin forest, roads, schools and even bottled water.

Jung, who in 2007 published a book on the Black Hawk War of 1832, is not debating the importance of Nicolet in Wisconsin's history. He's just trying to ensure that an accurate story is told after more than a century of images that are inaccurate.

Paintings of Nicolet's historic moment were based on the research of historians between the 1850s and 1880s. Those works of art include Hugo Ballin's 1912 painting that hangs in the Governor's Conference Room in the state Capitol. A mural painted by Franz Rohrback was installed in 1910 in the rotunda of the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay.

But the most recognized image is from Edwin Willard Deming, who spent a lifetime using a brush to document Native American history around the country. In 1907, Deming painted his own colorful version of Nicolet's historic moment that appeared in Jung's grade school textbook and in textbooks read by perhaps millions of other students through the years. In 1935, the U.S. Post Office issued a 3-cent stamp that included Deming's painting.

``Part of the problem is the indelible images that have been burned into our minds since we were children,'' Jung said. ``I've seen this as a kid and Nancy (Lurie) has seen this as a kid. Historical errors often have a way of perpetuating themselves.''

It was Lurie, who died in 2017, who uncovered one of the inaccuracies in the Nicolet story. The early writings of Nicolet's trip by Jesuit missionaries were brief and lacked detail, which allowed, through the years, scholars to insert ``any number of factual conclusions, poorly supported conclusions and even outright fabrications into their analysis,'' Jung wrote in his book's introduction.

A perfect example involves Nicolet's clothing when he arrived in Wisconsin. Lurie said Nicolet was actually wearing a cape of China de masque, a silk popular and prevalent at the time. It had nothing to do with China but was mentioned in the four pages written by the Jesuits and was misinterpreted by early scholars.

``I don't mean to criticize the early historians, but they didn't really understand what they read when they read `China de masque,''' Jung said. ``A cape like this would have been worn by somebody who was in the upper classes and Nicolet came from the upper classes and it would have been made of silk.''

Jung supports his theory on Nicolet's landing spot in Marinette because of the large Menominee village that was there and evidence that shows Nicolet had met with the Menominee, while the Puan, a tribe of an estimated 20,000 people, lived further to the south and west. Jung said the claim that Nicolet was an explorer also doesn't match what was happening politically in the region, as de Champlain would have been more worried about security than finding a route to China, something he himself had tried to find years earlier without success.

But while changing textbooks, murals and other historical interpretations are difficult, and in many cases unlikely, the Wisconsin Historical Society is in the process of reviewing historical signage for all of its markers throughout the state. The brown, wooden sign about Nicolet along Highway 57 at Wequiock Falls County Park would be prime contender for a major edit.

A bronze statue of Nicolet, paid for by contributions from school children, was erected in 1951 along with a wooden marker at Red Banks overlooking the bay of Green Bay. The wooden marker was replaced with an aluminum sign in 1957, but both the sign and the statue of Nicolet were moved in 2009 to Wequiock Falls, a mile to the east, after the reconstruction of Highway 57. That's when the brown wooden historical marker was added.

``It is possible to replace the existing marker with a new version that reflects current knowledge of Nicolet,'' said Kristin Gilpatrick, sales and marketing manager for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. ``The Patrick Jung book documents a great deal of outdated information about Jean Nicolet.''

But Brown County isn't the only community that claims to be the home of Nicolet's landing. Another historical marker is located in the city of Neenah where some believe Nicolet first came ashore on Doty Island after paddling up the north-flowing Fox River from Green Bay. Jung, however, would like to see more research and recognition of the tribes that were already living in the region when Nicolet arrived.

``The fact that we have two historical markers that say exactly the same thing, separated by a span of about 50 miles _ that's a problem,'' Jung said. ``We worry too much about historical markers and bronze statues. We have to go for the deeper, deeper questions. Who was already there? That's a much more important question.''


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Oglala Sioux Tribe Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) _ The Oglala Sioux say they are the first tribe in South Dakota to legalize same-sex marriage.

The tribal council last week approved a same-gender marriage ordinance in a 12-3 vote with one abstention. The new marriage ordinance amends marital and domestic law that has not changed on the Pine Ridge reservation since 1935.

Monique ``Muffie'' Mousseau and Felipa De Leon grew up on the reservation, but found they could not be married there in 2015. The couple received a license in Pennington County and wed at a group ceremony at Mount Rushmore.

The two women began petitioning for changes in the reservation's law, resulting in the passage of same-sex marriage.

``We are looking out for future generations, for protections and for equality,'' Mousseau told the Rapid City Journal . ``These foundations of laws have to be in place because we have grandkids. And that next generation coming up, we don't want them experiencing the same (gay) bashing, we don't want them to get to a point where somebody says a bad word to them because they like somebody of the same sex and they hang themselves. We don't want that.''

Mousseau and De Leon live in Rapid City, but three of their five children and four of their five grandchildren live on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, but not for the 573 federally recognized tribes.

``Tribes have the right to make the decision themselves,'' said Marcia Zug, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law who specializes in family and federal Indian law.

In 2016, the Cherokee Nation's attorney general legalized gay marriage for the tribe, which at the time was among a handful of federal recognized tribes that had explicit bans on gay marriage. After a two-year legal battle, a tribal court cleared the way in 2017 for gay couples to marry on an American Indian reservation in the Phoenix area. The court ruled that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry under the constitution of the Ak-Chin community and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Mousseau said she was happy to see the tribe approve of same-sex marriage through its own sovereign process even if meant waiting longer.

``We're doing this for all the children, everybody's grandchildren, everybody's great-grandchildren. Not just ours. But all the whole next generation,'' De Leon added.


Exhibit Shares History of Native American Veterans

FORT CALHOUN, Neb. (AP) _ A traveling Smithsonian exhibit about the history of Native Americans in the U.S. military is on display at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in eastern Nebraska.

``Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation's Armed Forces'' tells the story of the American Indian and Alaska Native men and women who served the country in every major U.S. military encounter since the Revolutionary War.

``Patriot Nations'' will be on display through Sept. 2 in the Harold W. Andersen Visitor Center, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Fort Atkinson sits on the east side of Fort Calhoun, which is situated 15 miles north of Omaha. A park entry permit is required for all vehicles and can be purchased at the park.


Benched: Chief Wahoo Not All-Star This Time in Cleveland

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) _ An hour before the first pitch of a series opener against Kansas City, a steady flow of fans stream into the Indians' team shop at Progressive Field to buy new All-Star merchandise and other Cleveland gear _ some bearing his unmistakable smiling face.

Chief Wahoo still plays here.

The Indians' fiercely debated logo and longtime mascot _ a shameful racist figure to some, source of civic joy to others _ is no longer on the field, but he hasn't completely gone away. He appears to be as visible as ever.

While Major League Baseball and the Indians mutually agreed in 2018 to completely remove him from the team's jerseys and caps as well as banners and signage in the ballpark starting this season, when Cleveland hosts the All-Star Game for the sixth time, the red-faced, toothy caricature remains omnipresent across town.

Look on the concourses and in the seats and Wahoo is on caps, jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, jackets and even baby clothing. For just $10, a red foam Wahoo finger can be yours.

In some ways, he seems more popular.

``We can only hope,'' said Richard Stevens of Rochester, New York, who did a little pregame shopping with sons Jesse and Zac.

``I was very sorry to see it go,'' Jesse said.

Not everyone shares that view .

There are Native Americans who have fought for decades to eliminate Chief Wahoo and wish the Indians would change a nickname they feel mocks their proud culture.

``The team still doesn't understand,'' said Philip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio. ``They're still profiting off of us by being racists.''

But unlike in 1997, when Cleveland last hosted Major League Baseball's best players and Indians catcher Sandy Alomar became a hometown favorite with a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning while wearing a grinning Wahoo on his left shirt sleeve, the contentious symbol won't be on display to the world.

Not between the lines at least.

Wahoo may no longer be a symbol on the field, but he's still got status.

``I miss him,'' said John Adams, who has given the Indians their baseball heartbeat by pounding a bass drum for the past 45 seasons from high in the outfield bleachers. ``It's an emblem that we take pride in _ pride in Cleveland. And the fact that wherever you saw him, you didn't even have to ask. People would look at Chief Wahoo, and they would go, `Cleveland.' And that's anywhere in the world.''

Adams' stance is shared by many Clevelanders who felt MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's push to eliminate the contentious chief following the 2016 postseason was heavy-handed.

Manfred and Indians owner Paul Dolan agreed something needed to be done, when Wahoo's likeness, which appeared on the All-Star logo when the game was previously held in Cleveland, led to a court battle in Canada and a glaring national spotlight in the World Series.

On the eve of Game 3 of the AL Championship Series, an indigenous group asked the Supreme Court of Justice in Toronto to block the Indians from using its nickname or Chief Wahoo on Canadian TV, arguing they were offensive and discriminatory. The court rejected the request and dismissed the case, but the sensitive situation induced the need for action.

Then, during Cleveland's appearance in the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Manfred went further than any previous MLB official by acknowledging the Wahoo logo was ``offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why.''

Manfred's comment led to substantive discussions with Dolan and a joint announcement in January 2018 that the cartoonish figure was ``no longer appropriate for on-field use.'' The Indians said their decision to keep selling Wahoo gear was to protect the club from losing ownership of the trademark.

The agreement to strip Wahoo from the team's caps and jerseys _ but still allow his likeness to be manufactured and sold on merchandise _ was seen by critics as a concession by the Indians, who were perhaps afraid of losing their All-Star bid by being defiant.

Both sides claimed the decision had no impact on Cleveland's choice to host the event, but it would be hard to imagine the Indians keeping it if they had refused Manfred's request.

There are still fans angry the Indians buckled. They feel part of their past has been stolen.

``I miss him because he was an icon,'' said Kristi Upperman of Lake Milton, Ohio, sporting a blue ``Wahoo True `Til The day I'm Through'' T-shirt while waiting in a concession line. ``I think the world is too sensitive. It's not derogatory to any race or any nation or any ethnic group. It's a baseball mascot. And I think that nowadays everybody is too sensitive and taking things a little bit too far. Everything is too politically correct and it's driving me crazy.''

She's not alone.

``It's just the way society is,'' said Jesse Stevens, a red-billed Wahoo cap perched on his head. ``Wahoo's still out there. But MLB forcing it out, I think is stupid.''

That kind of talk pains Yenyo.

For the past 25 years, he and other protesters have gathered on opening day outside Progressive Field, demanding the team change a logo and nickname they find demoralizing.

Yenyo said the move to take Wahoo away was a ``positive step, but not enough.''

``We're still hoping for more,'' said Yenyo, adding protesters have been subjected to more hostility the past two years. ``People feel like we've taken away part of their childhood, part of their memories. But if your memories are wrapped around a racist symbol, what kind of memories are those?''

An Indians spokesman said the organization is not considering a change of the team's nickname.

There will not be any protests during All-Star events next week because Yenyo and others in his movement will be out of town taking part in various American Indian ceremonies across the country.

One day, he hopes to meet Manfred, who he said hasn't returned any calls or emails.

``I just hope I could sit down with him and talk about this like adults,'' he said. ``We can resolve this.''


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

New Mexico Mural Focuses on Missing Native American Women

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) _ A new mural in southern New Mexico seeks to honor missing and slain Native Americans amid a nationwide push to bring more attention to the issue.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports artist Sebastian ``Vela'' Velazquez recently erected the mural in Las Cruces in conjunction with the city's eighth annual ``Illegal'' graffiti art show.

The work is part of a large-scale mural wrapping around the entirety of the Cruces Creatives building. In the mural, a Native American woman stands in front with her fist raised. She's screaming and the words below say: ``NO MORE STOLEN SISTERS!''

``The news gets turned off and Facebook gets put down and turned off, and those issues kind of disappear, and everything that comes with it,'' Velazquez said. ``Having that piece up there, and why we sponsored it, is because you can't really turn off a mural. It's there every day and every night.''

Last month, federal lawmakers re-introduced legislation that calls for the Justice Department to review how law enforcement agencies respond to cases of missing and killed Native Americans.

The legislation is named Savanna's Act for 22-year-old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, whose body was found in a North Dakota river in 2017.

The bill was unanimously approved in the U.S. Senate last year but died in the House.

Velazquez said the mural also honors missing indigenous Mexican women. ``Art is medicine to people of color. I think aerosol art is a healing method, rather than a criminalizing method,'' he said.

Earlier this year, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill to develop a task force to investigate the issue of missing and slain indigenous women in the state.


Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com

Navajo Code Talker Has Died; William Tully Brown Was 96

William Tully Brown, October 30, 1922 - June 3, 2019

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) _ The Navajo Nation has announced that World War II-era Navajo Code Talker William Tully Brown has died at age 96.

He's the third Navajo Code Talker to die since May 10.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says Brown died Monday, June 3rd, in Winslow, Arizona. The cause of death wasn't disclosed.

Brown was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the Marine Corps, using a code based on their native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II.

Brown enlisted in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1946.

He received the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Honorable Service Label Button.

Brown's funeral is scheduled at Fort Defiance Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fort Defiance, Arizona.


South Dakota Project Fights Financial Crimes Against Tribes

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ The U.S. Attorney's Office in South Dakota says a project has uncovered dozens of people and organizations that collectively stole millions of dollars from nine Native American reservations.

The office's spokeswoman, Aileen Crawford, tells the Rapid City Journal that the Guardians Project has led to 42 convictions on federal charges including fraud, theft and embezzlement from tribes and tribal organizations.

The project, which launched in 2015, brings together local and federal agencies to investigate allegations of corruption and financial crimes against the state's Native American communities. Many of the convictions have involved tribal employees, tribal executives and out-of-state business owners.

A former cashier for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's bingo operations was most recently charged with embezzlement and larceny after being accused of stealing more than $1,000 from the business.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com


Tribes Across Country Push For Better Internet Access

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ In a remote, roadless Arizona canyon that is home to a small Native American tribe, there's a natural skepticism toward the internet.

The telemedicine equipment that health care officials promised would work gathers dust. School children who have online homework struggle to get online. And streaming a web-based conference or taking classes remotely? Well, ``that's a lot of luck you'd have to get,'' said Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, who sits on the Havasupai Tribal Council.

Things started to change after a small company approached the tribe with a plan to broaden coverage for educational use. It's now using the experience to help push the federal government to give tribes priority for broadband spectrum largely unassigned across the western United States.

The Federal Communications Commission has not issued any new permanent licenses for the Educational Broadband Services spectrum in more than 20 years. It asked the public a year ago to weigh in on possible changes to the licensing system to better define geographic areas, build in flexibility, create priorities for tribes and educational institutions, and possibly auction off the 2.5 GHz-band spectrum. It's not clear when the FCC will act.

The agency estimates that about one-third of the people living on tribal lands don't have access to high-speed internet, but others say the figure is twice as high. That's partly because homes on remote reservations are spread far apart.

And tribes say large telecommunications companies are unwilling to expand to tribal lands because of the cost.

The internet on the Havasupai reservation has been a mixed bag. Tribal employees could sign on to their email and do internet searches but not much else. Public access for 450 residents was centered on the community building in the village of Supai. Thousands of tourists who trek 10 miles (16 kilometers) down a winding trail to see the reservation's famed blue-green waterfalls have no internet access at their campsites away from the village.

The tribe began working with a company called MuralNet in 2017 to get teachers and students better access. They successfully sought temporary authority from the FCC to use the Educational Broadband Services spectrum _ a sort of channel of electromagnetic waves _ that wasn't being used. Flagstaff-based Niles Radio Communications helped build the network.

``We're really putting our chips on EBS,'' said Mariel Triggs, chief executive of MuralNet. ``It works in extreme cases. It's cheap; it's reliable.''

Jacqueline Siyuja now has a wireless router to take online classes for her job at the tribe's Head Start program. A few years ago, she and her colleagues had to fly out of the canyon and drive more than two hours to a community college in Flagstaff for classes. She also had to take her young daughter with her.

``It was really challenging for us,'' she said.

Jordan Manakaja eventually wants to get her bachelor's degree and become a therapist in the community. She prefers online classes at home where she can interact with an instructor.

``We have the opportunity to wind down and get comfortable before we're in a classroom,'' she said. ``That was more beneficial to us mentally.''

The tribe won't know whether it can make other plans for the spectrum, like using telemedicine, transmitting medical records electronically or starting an online high school, until the FCC decides whether to grant the tribe's application for a permanent license.

Nearly 2,190 licenses that generally cover a 35-mile radius have been granted to 1,300 licensees, according to the FCC. The agency has asked for public comment on realigning the boundaries of the licenses, eliminating the educational use requirement, and allowing tribes, current licensees or new educational entities to access unassigned spectrum before a possible auction.

Despite its name, the spectrum isn't used solely for educational purposes. Licensees can lease it to commercial providers. Sprint is among the largest users.

Tribes in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho and others in Arizona also are pressing the FCC for a priority filing window.

On the Havasupai Tribal Council, Watahomigie-Corliss is dubbed the telecommunications member and she's the youngest at 33. When she presented the project to colleagues, she was well aware of their doubts.

``It was my job to prove to them it could possibly work, and that comes with the territory of so many people trying to make things work at Supai that work on the outside,'' she said.

Freedmen Citizenship Lawsuit Against Oklahoma Tribe Rejected

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A lawsuit from the descendants of black slaves who were once owned by members of the Muscogee Creek Nation and who are seeking citizenship in the tribe has been dismissed, with a federal judge ruling that they should go through the tribe's own legal process first.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., dismissed the Muscogee Creek freedmen descendants' lawsuit this week seeking citizenship in the Creek Nation, the Tulsa World reported. The Okmulgee-based tribe is the fourth largest in the country, with over 86,000 enrolled citizens.

The descendants filed a lawsuit last July against the Creek Nation and the U.S. Department of the Interior seeking full tribal citizenship and to have the tribe's constitution declared in violation of the Treaty of 1866, which guaranteed tribal citizenship to the tribe's freed slaves and their descendants, as well as black Creeks.

In 1979, the department approved a law in the tribe's constitution that restricts citizenship eligibility to those with proof of Creek lineage.

Kollar-Kotelly stated in her decision that the descendants' court filings did not include specific accusations or records that showed they had applied for tribal citizenship and were denied within the last decade.

``Failed attempts to obtain a grant of citizenship from the MCN Citizenship Board as well as refusals by the tribal courts to reconsider adverse determinations may show that tribal exhaustion may be futile,'' Kollar-Kotelly wrote. ``But, plaintiffs have failed to produce sufficient evidence that a remedy through the tribal process would be illusory in this case.''

Kollar-Kotelly also granted Creek Nation Principal Chief James Floyd's motion to dismiss the case without prejudice. As a result, the descendants could re-file their suit in federal court if the tribe rejects their citizenship requests and after they go through the appeals process in the Creek Nation judicial system.

Damario Solomon-Simmons, a Tulsa attorney representing the descendants, said the group hasn't made a decision on whether to appeal, submit extra documentation and ask for reconsideration or adhere to Kollar-Kotelly's ruling and pursue citizenship through the Creek Nation's citizenship board and court system.

The Cherokee Nation faced a similar lawsuit that was resolved in 2017 after a federal court ruled that the Cherokee Freedmen have a right to tribal citizenship.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

One of the Last Monolingual Cherokee Speakers is Dead at 88

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) _ Mack Vann, among the last members of the Cherokee Nation who spoke and understand the Cherokee language and only the Cherokee language, has died at the age of 88.

Nephew Gary Vann says his uncle died Monday in a Tahlequah, Oklahoma, hospital of pneumonia while undergoing treatment of an ongoing heart condition.

Mack Vann would great visitors with the word ``osiyo,'' the Cherokee word for ``hello.'' He was a descendant of Andrew Ross, brother of Cherokee Chief John Ross who led the tribe down the ``Trail of Tears'' from its ancestral home in Georgia to eastern Oklahoma.

He told The Associated Press in 2014 that he learned some English in school but quit after the fourth grade to help with the family farm and slowly forgot how to speak it.


Choctaw Historian to Release New Book on Food Sovereignty

Lawrence Journal-World

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The published works of Devon Mihesuah fill a wide space between two bookends in her office at the University of Kansas.

The prolific author juggles her time between being a professor, writing (both fiction and nonfiction), and advocating for healthy eating in the Native American community, among many other interests.

Mihesuah, a Choctaw historian, is KU's Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding. Her 17th book, ``Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health,'' co-edited with Elizabeth Hoover, is due out this summer.

Mihesuah recently spoke to the Lawrence Journal-World in her office at Bailey Hall, surrounded by her books, photos, Native American artwork and a basket of Indian corn similar to what she grows in her own garden.

Her membership in the Choctaw Nation is at her core, she said, and it drives her life's work. She has been featured as one of the Choctaw success stories.

Earlier this year she was interviewed on Gastropod for an episode called ``Pick a Pawpaw: America's forgotten fruit.'' She talked about growing up eating pawpaws at her grandparents' home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She explained how Native American tribes also used the pawpaw tree bark for ropes and string, and ground up seeds to use to combat head lice.

Mihesuah, who has a doctorate from Texas Christian University, arrived at KU in 2005 from Northern Arizona University, where she had been a full professor. That same year, her book ``Recovering Our Ancestors' Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness'' was published.

A year later, she launched the American Indian Health and Diet Project. The website has a mission to address the health problems faced by indigenous peoples.

``You will find no fry bread recipes here,'' Mihesuah wrote in the introduction on the website. Instead, those visiting the site can expect to learn about growing nutritious food, healthy eating habits and exercise. On her Facebook page ``Indigenous eating,'' she annually sponsors the ``Week of Indigenous eating challenge.''

``Everything I write has personal meaning for me,'' Mihesuah said, as she pulled out her first book, published in 1992: ``Cultivating the Rosebuds: The Education of Women at the Cherokee Female Seminary, 1851-1909.''

The seminary building on the book cover has a physical connection to one of her most recent books, ``Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and the Cherokee Hero.''

Ned Christie, a Cherokee statesman, was accused of killing U.S. Deputy Marshal Daniel Maples across the street from the seminary. The seminary building still stands on the campus of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

``I get emotional about everything I write,'' she said.

And that's including her fiction. She drew upon her family's way of life and their gardens in her first novel, ``The Roads of My Relations,'' which covers more than two centuries in the lives of a Choctaw family.

Every generation of her family has had a garden, she said, all the way back to the 1830s. Every time the Native American families were forced by the government to relocate, they would re-create the garden they had before. At the centerpiece of her first novel is a family trying to re-create its culture, history and homeland _ all in the garden.

During her time at KU, Mihesuah has bonded with other Native American professors in Lawrence, including Elizabeth Kronk Warner, who teaches law, and Sarah Deer, who teaches in women, gender and sexuality studies and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

``We try to get together for lunch as stress relief,'' Mihesuah said.

Kronk Warner, director of KU's Tribal Law & Government Center, was recently appointed as the first female dean at the University of Utah law school, and she has an essay in Mihesuah's ``Indigenous Food Sovereignty'' book.

``What I like about her new book is there are chapters from academics and a section for short essays by indigenous people who work with food and sustainability, and they wrote what they knew,'' Kronk Warner said.

When Kronk Warner first arrived at KU, she was told that Mihesuah was a good person on campus to get to know.

``She was at the top of the list as someone who was doing very good work,'' Kronk Warner said. ``She is amazing _ a prolific writer and a fantastic leader in her field. She is a role model in terms of what she accomplished in her career.''

Deer, who will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in September, knew of Mihesuah's work before arriving at KU in the fall of 2017.

``Before I knew her, I read her book `Indigenous American Women' a hundred times, and it has been useful in my teaching,'' Deer said. ``Her books have a rigorous scholarship, but they are very readable.''

Mihesuah said that when they catch up, they are usually asking one another where they have been or where they are going next.

For Mihesuah, it will be a very busy spring finishing up the two online classes she is currently teaching. Plus, she will be heading to Oklahoma City where her Ned Christie book is a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. In mid-May, she's heading to Phoenix for the Southwest Intertribal Food Summit, where she'll speak about food sovereignty. Then there is a trip to New Zealand, where she'll talk about indigenous gardens.

But she is never gone for long, especially in the growing season, because it's her turn to tend the family's garden.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com


UW System to Create Tribal Consultation Policy

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ University of Wisconsin System officials say they're starting to craft a new policy governing consultations with Wisconsin's American Indian tribes.

UW System officials said in a news release Monday announcing the effort that they hope to foster greater American Indian enrollment and improve graduation rates.

System officials say the policy will mirror a similar plan the Arizona Board of Regents adopted in 2016 that guides interactions between Arizona's public universities and that state's tribal American Indian nations on issues such as land use, education policy and research.

A dozen American Indian nations are located within Wisconsin. In the fall of 2017, the most recent data available on the UW System website, 628 American Indian students were enrolled at system institutions. They made up 0.4% of the system's total enrollment.

South Dakota Cake Decorator Creates Native American Designs

Aberdeen American News

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. (AP) _ When Leah Red Bird put her decorating tip to an ice cream cake nearly three years ago, she had no idea what was about to happen.

But as each colorful diamond met the next, her star quilt design took shape. Rave reviews followed.

It was her 19th year at the Dairy Queen in Eagle Butte. She started in 1997, and she's now been decorating cakes for about 15 years.

A May 9, 2016, post on the Eagle Butte Dairy Queen Facebook page celebrating Leah and her unique designs has been seen by 250,000 people. It also garnered more than 4,000 shares, 4,500 reactions and 300 comments.

Some of those comments inquired about shipping the cakes, but no one has followed through on that, Dairy Queen manager Barb Jensen, told the Aberdeen American News.

Jensen ``came with the building,'' Jensen said. The Eagle Butte store will celebrate its 29th year in business come April.

Red Bird creates about 30 cakes a week, Jensen said.

``And our store isn't even a big cake store,'' she said.

As far as she knows, Red Bird, 52, is the only decorator in the area who does the Native American designs.

They don't last long.

``The minute we put the cakes out, they are gone within a day or two,'' Jensen said

The Native American art is perfect for the area the Dairy Queen serves, she said.

Red Bird's newest design is an intricate web of lines that form each strand of a dream catcher.

Traditionally, dream catchers are hung above beds to sift dreams and visions or so that bad ideas get trapped in the web, according to information from the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center in Chamberlain.

Red Bird needs 24 hours notice for a custom cake. An ``easy'' cake might only take her an hour to decorate, but a sheet cake will take an entire day, depending on the design, she said.

Next, Red Bird said, she'd like to create something with a horse.

She said she gets her ideas from other cakes, artwork and things she sees.

Her favorite part of the cake-decorating gig is how her designs look when they are completed.

``I just have to think about it first, and then I put it together,'' she said.

``She's being modest,'' Jensen said. ``She's very creative.''


Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

Wild Onion Dinner benefits Indian Women's Pocahontas Club

By John Klein
Tulsa World

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) _ Ollie Starr can't recall her first taste of wild onions or drink of sassafras tea.

``We grew up gathering, preparing and eating those foods,'' said Starr, former president of the Indian Women's Pocahontas Club. ``So I don't remember the first time I ever had wild onions or grape dumplings.

``That's just the way it always was. We didn't know any different.''

The Tulsa World reports the Indian Women's Pocahontas Club, the oldest chartered club in Oklahoma, will celebrate one of its oldest traditions with its Wild Onion Dinner, open to the public, on March 23.

``One of the most important things we do is preserve the history and culture of the Cherokee people,'' said Debra West, another former president of the Indian Women's Pocahontas Club. ``So preparing this meal every spring is one of the ways we preserve and educate people about Cherokee culture.

``It is great for us, too. We prepare this meal as a family. We have generations of our family involved. We are passing along knowledge to a new generation.''

The Indian Women's Pocahontas Club has been preserving Cherokee Nation culture and history for 120 years.

``When the club was formed, and for many years after, one of the most important things we did was preserve our history through documents,'' said Starr. ``We have a treasure trove of historical documents of the Cherokee people because we were the only group preserving the documents.

``Recently, through an agreement with Rogers State University, we now have a facility on their campus where we can store documents and preserve them.''

The Pocahontas Club has about 200 members. A monthly meeting is hosted in Claremore, but Pocahontas Club has members across the country.

``We have members from California and Arizona and Florida and Texas _ they live in all areas of the country,'' said West. ``There are major pockets of Cherokees in most of the major cities in the U.S. As a result, we have Pocahontas Club members from most major cities.

``The Indian Women's Pocahontas Club was formed as an important part of the Cherokee people. Although Pocahontas was not Cherokee, she was the most well-known Native American woman of her time. The stories about her at the time said she was a strong, brave and smart woman. The name will never change. It is the first thing in our charter.''

Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker, writing in the Tulsa World last summer, said club members ``serve as valuable caretakers of our culture, our heritage and our communities.''

The club formed on June 29, 1899, in Oowala, in the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation. That's present-day Rogers County.

The club is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance. The average age of Pocahontas Club members is increasing, prompting a push to recruit younger members. Of the 200 members, 40 are at least 80 years old; 14 members in their 90s, and one member is 103 years old.

``Obviously, we want to work on getting a new, younger generation interested in what we do,'' said Clarice Doyle, another active member of the club. ``Our history has to be kept and preserved. That will take a new generation of Cherokee women.''

A grandmother-granddaughter event is among recruitment activities.

``We have to pass on this history and culture by teaching it to younger women,'' Starr said. ``They live in a far different world than the one we grew up in.''

Although it is now a women's club, it counts famed actor and storyteller Will Rogers as a former member. The Indian Women's Pocahontas Club hosts an annual picnic at the Dog Iron Ranch _ birthplace and home of Rogers _ and members lay a memorial wreath at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum during the Will Rogers Days annual celebration in November.

``That is an important part of preserving Cherokee history,'' said West. ``We also are very interested in education. We give out scholarships and are very involved in promoting education. Education was a very important part of Cherokee culture.''

The club is planning a major celebration June 29 for the 120th anniversary of the founding of the club.

In 1899, members came from all over and attended Indian boarding schools across the state.

``So we were a very diverse group of women and we still are,'' said Starr.

Members of the modern Pocahontas Club must be Cherokee women who can trace their ancestry back to the Dawes Roll, a federal census of those living in the Cherokee Nation that was used to allot Cherokee land to citizens in preparation for Oklahoma statehood. The rolls were closed in 1907.

``The best thing we do every year is the Wild Onion Dinner because it is such a family event,'' said Starr.

The Wild Onion Dinner was a Cherokee spring tradition.

``When the wild onions would start coming up, and the sassafras trees had the green bark, which is perfect to make the tea, you knew it was spring,'' said Starr. ``It was always such an exciting time of the year for us as young girls.

``I still get very excited for the Wild Onion Dinner every year. It signals the start of spring. It is about taking from the earth and giving back to the earth.''


Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com


Demand Rising for Diversity Training in St. Paul

St. Paul Pioneer Press

PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Someone has been teasing Samantha.

``Samantha lives with her aunt because her mom is in jail,'' teacher Mary Ross said to her St. Paul kindergarten class. ``Someone said to her, `You don't have a mom! She doesn't love you!' ``

It didn't matter that Samantha was a doll on the teacher's lap. Cries of outrage filled the room: ``Stop saying that!'' ``No way!'' ``Don't worry _ your mom loves you!''

Ross smiled and put the doll aside. It had performed its duties well _ teaching a rudimentary lesson to a receptive audience, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The dolls were provided by St. Paul-based Amaze consultants, where the business of diversity training is booming. In fact, a spot check of metro-area diversity consultants shows that demand has as much as doubled in the past two years.

It's a response to, among other things, shootings of unarmed black men by police, the Black Lives Matter movement and white supremacist rallies.

The training is usually focused on race, but can be used to address other forms of discrimination, said Victoria Amaris, owner of Putting Change in Motion and a former manager of cultural dynamics for the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

She said diversity consultants offer a grab-bag of awareness-building programs involving Native Americans and Hispanic immigrants, along with groups such as women, bullying victims, gay people and transgender people.

``Don't forget disabilities. I want to be inclusive of everybody,'' said Amaris, who has even given a workshop on obesity discrimination.

All kinds of discrimination are increasing, she said, with racial discrimination leading the way.

``Minnesota Nice has kind of disappeared,'' said Amaris.

The website of the nonprofit Minnesota Compass lists 55 groups that are, not surprisingly, extremely diverse. They sometimes consist of a single person, and sometimes represent international corporations. Fees vary from free to thousands of dollars for multi-month classes.

The results vary, and there are no industry standards to make sure it works.

Indeed, diversity training does not always go smoothly. From 2010-13, the St. Paul school district paid $1.2 million to a San Francisco firm with the goal of running all 6,000 employees through the diversity training.

Results were mixed. Suspensions of minority children dropped, but no evidence emerged that the achievement gap between black and white students was closing. Several teachers said they felt alienated, saying they were expected to ignore student misbehavior because of cultural differences.

The St. Paul district frequently uses outside consultants, according to Hans Ott, assistant superintendent for the Office of Teaching and Learning. He said the outside consultants train teachers more efficiently than the district can do it internally. They also help the district follow its own policies regarding student inclusion.

Although there is no known way to measure the impact of the training sessions, officials say it's worth the money. The cost is often shared by grants, which come from nonprofits or businesses to address issues of discrimination. ``This is good value,'' said Ott.

He has been through training and endorses it. ``I had a positive experience,'' said Ott.

In the 1990s, said Amaris, consultants like her were asked to address discrimination against black people, and little else.

``Today, it's not so much focused on that,'' she said. ``Now, it's diversity and inclusion.''

The change hit Amaris when she got a contract with a chain of beauty salons. If that small business was worried about diversity, she said, the concern was trickling down. She has given workshops for police and dental school students, and got an inquiry recently from a bee-pollinators group.

``People are motivated now,'' said Amaris.

The approaches of the consultants vary.

Often, they are called to act as cultural firefighters, putting out flare-ups of discrimination. Sometimes consultants are expected to fix problems that may have been building for years.

Non-emergency calls happen when a group simply wants to do the right thing, and counter prejudice in any form. For them, consultants prefer to schedule a series of meetings, giving people time to think about the sessions.

That can be effective, said Amaze director Michael _ but the clients should be able to show they are open to change.

Businesses, for example, call when they want to hire more employees of color. ``That's a great thing to strive for,'' said Michael. ``But if you do that, will they be welcome? Will they fit into the culture you have?''

She tries to make individuals aware of bias _ even unconscious bias. All group members should take the training, she said. ``I ask that the maintenance staff be included,'' said Amaris.

Many do not understand the issue. ``They say, `Why can't we just get along with each other?' We have no idea why we are not getting along with each other.''

Interest in the Antiracism Study Dialogue Circles Partnership, based in St. Paul, spiked about three years ago, according to the single-named director, Okogyeamon.

``Not just for us, but across the board,'' he said.

He has taught sessions at the University of Minnesota and Carleton College, and is hosting workshops for officials in the state Department of Human Services.

Only recently, he said, have elements of society realized that racism is their problem _ not the problem of some distant ``other.''

``What is new is the recognition that this truly is an issue, and that it is pervasive,'' said Okogyeamon. ``Racism is playing itself out in life all around them.''

In the kindergarten class at Expo Elementary School recently, the different threads of discrimination were woven together _ with the help of dolls.

Ahlaam, a 5-year-old girl in a black hijab, carried a doll named Sitra to the teacher. The doll, too, wore a hijab. Instead of making the girl an example, the teacher looked at the doll.

``If someone teased her about that, what words would you use?'' teacher Ross asked the class.

``Knock it off!'' shouted one student.

The teacher pointed to another doll, clutched by 5-year-old Finnian. The doll, named Nick, had long curly hair. ``What if someone said to Nick, `You have long hair like a girl'?'' said the teacher.

Finnian clutched the doll defensively. ``Leave him alone!'' he said.

After the class, the teacher said the dolls allow kids to model compassionate behavior, without embarrassing anyone. ``It's easier for kids to talk about someone like them,'' said Ross.

The dolls came in handy when one student announced recently that his mom was in jail.

Soon after, the teacher revealed that the doll Samantha had a secret _ her mom had been locked up. She asked the class how they might respond. ``You could say, `You aren't the only one with a mom in jail,' `` suggested Ross.

Immediately, the sympathetic class practiced what they would say to the doll _ or to anyone facing a similar situation.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

Grand Canyon Looking into Possible Radiation Exposure

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ Grand Canyon National Park officials say they are investigating whether anyone was exposed to radiation at unsafe levels while samples of uranium ore sat in plastic buckets in a park research building.

Three 5-gallon (18.93-liter) buckets have been removed from a building about a half mile (8 kilometers) from the South Rim that houses the park's archives and artifacts. About 550 people tour the collections each year, mostly by appointment.

The National Park Service is working with Arizona health and workplace safety officials on the investigation. The agency also plans to set up a hotline for anyone concerned about potential radiation exposure, said spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo.

``One of the important pieces is looking and determining the level of exposure and risk,'' she said.

The Arizona Republic cited the Grand Canyon's safety director, Elston ``Swede'' Stephenson, in saying the park failed to warn workers or the public of the potential harm that existed for years. Stephenson did not return messages left by The Associated Press at his work email and on social media. A call to a number listed for him in a park directory went unanswered.

Uranium is naturally occurring in northern Arizona and was mined for decades, including at the Orphan Mine on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that ceased operations in 1969. A temporary ban prohibits the filing of new mining claims within 1 million acres (0.405 million hectares) outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. The Navajo Nation no longer allows uranium mining after it left a legacy of death and disease on the reservation.

Still, companies have active claims that weren't affected by the ban and could resume mining.

Lacayo said the area where the plastic buckets were stored was not a part of the tour of the building known as the Museum Collection, though people did walk past the area.

Stephenson told the Arizona Republic the buckets were near a taxidermy exhibit where children sometimes stopped for presentations, and the lid on one bucket wasn't sealed.

Jani Ingram, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Northern Arizona University, said it's not uncommon for uranium ore to be used in research. But, she said, it's typically sealed in a metal container so that radon gas and dust aren't released into the air.

Uranium can be harmful to people's health depending on the amount and grade of ore, how people interact with it and the exposure time, she said. Geiger counters can be a good, initial indication of the presence of radiation but further study would be needed to determine the risk.

``You can't say, `oh my gosh, all those kids are going to develop cancer in five years' because you just don't know how close they were, how long they were there,'' she said. ``But that open bucket was probably the most concerning. It seemed that maybe whoever it was didn't understand what they had.''


Calista Corp. Shareholders Protest Western Alaska Gold Mine

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) _ More than 130 shareholders of Calista Corp. are protesting a massive open-pit gold mine proposed in western Alaska.

KYUK-AM reports the group of shareholders, all women, sent a letter to the Alaska Native corporation, citing concerns about how the Donlin Gold Mine would affect the salmon-spawning Kuskokwim River.

Calista owns the subsurface rights to the mine planned for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.

Bev Hoffman, a long-time protester of the mine, led the effort to draft the letter and gather signatures.

She says Calista signed the lease two decades ago without shareholder input, so this letter shows the corporation that not all shareholders support the mine.

Calista defended its support for the mine in a statement, saying its staff members have the same stake in the environmental health of the region.


Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

Kansas Woman Donates Part of Farm Sale Profits back to Tribe

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas woman who sold land that was farmed by her family for five generations has donated a portion of the profits to help preserve the heritage of the Kaw Nation, the Native American tribe that claimed the land as its territory more than a century ago.

Florence Schloneger, a retired Mennonite minister in North Newton, told the Wichita Eagle that she gifted $10,000 to the nonprofit Kanza Heritage Society to acknowledge that her family's ownership of the McPherson County land ``came at a great cost'' to the Kaw, or Kanza, people.

Schloneger's family owned 320 acres (130 hectares) of prairie that was historically Kaw hunting grounds before several treaties with the federal government reduced the tribe's holdings. The tribe was forcibly removed from Kansas to Oklahoma in 1873, and their population declined drastically over the years.

Schloneger's great-great grandfather, Henrich Gronemann, settled on the homestead in 1879. The land was available for settlement because of the passage of the Homestead Act in 1862, which gave away public land under the terms that individuals would live on the land for at least five years and improve it through cultivation.

``As my eyes have been opened, I have experienced great sorrow,'' Schloneger wrote in her donation letter to the nonprofit. ``Not only were your hunting grounds appropriated, but your rich culture and language was nearly lost through assimilation. My hope is that this small gift can help build and restore the strength of Kanza traditions for coming generations.''

Jim Pepper Henry, the nonprofit's board president, said Schloneger's donation is a first for the tribe. Henry believes many are starting to understand the lands their families acquired over the years were swindled, coerced and forcibly taken from the Kaw people.

``Our intent is that this could set an example for others who want to help with the preservation of Kansas history, especially with the Kaw Nation,'' Henry said.

The Kaw Nation currently has about 3,500 members and its reservation is located in Kaw City, Oklahoma.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com


Diocese Finds Kentucky students didn't start confrontation

VINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Investigators hired by a Kentucky diocese have found that Catholic school boys didn't instigate a confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial that went viral on social media.

Covington Bishop Roger Foys initially condemned the students' behavior after a video showed a teenage boy face-to-face with a Native American man. Days later, Foys apologized for ``making a statement prematurely.''

The students were in Washington for an anti-abortion rally last month when they encountered a group of black street preachers who were shouting insults at both them and a group of Native Americans. The bishop now says the students ``were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening.''

``The immediate world-wide reaction to the initial video led almost everyone to believe that our students had initiated the incident and the perception of those few minutes of video became reality,'' Foys wrote this week in a letter to parents.

Both the Native American man, Nathan Phillips, and the Covington student facing Phillips have said they were attempting to defuse the situation.

The four-page report on the investigation said a group of investigators from a firm called Greater Cincinnati Investigation interviewed 43 students and more than a dozen chaperones who were on the trip to Washington. Investigators reviewed social media videos, tried to contact Phillips and traveled to Michigan to attempt to speak to him, but he was not interviewed.

The videos show Phillips surrounded by students. Many interviewed students told investigators that they felt Phillips was coming into their group to join their own cheers, which were meant to drown out insults from the street preachers, who referred to themselves as the Black Hebrew Israelites. Many students reported that they were confused but did not feel threatened by Phillips, the report said.

``We found no evidence of racist statements to Mr. Phillips or members of his group,'' the report said. ``Some students performed a `tomahawk chop' to the beat of Mr. Phillips' drumming and some joined in Mr. Phillips' chant.''

The investigators also reviewed related videos, including one made the same day in which a young person says, ``It's not rape if you enjoy it.'' The investigators say they concluded that person was not a Covington Catholic student.

The investigators were hired by a law firm that represents the school and the Catholic diocese, the report said.

Oklahoma Governor Taps Chickasaw Nation Official for Cabinet

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has named Chickasaw Nation lawmaker and former state Rep. Lisa Billy as secretary of Native American Affairs.

Billy has served in the Chickasaw Nation Legislature since 2016 and served previously in the tribal Legislature between 1996 and 2002. She served in the Oklahoma House between 2004 and 2016 and held various leadership roles in the chamber, including majority Floor Leader from 2014 to 2016 and vice chair of the House's Republican Caucus from 2006 to 2008.

Billy formed the Oklahoma Legislature's Native America Caucus in 2006 and has been recognized for her work in the Legislature on prison reform policies.

Billy's appointment to the cabinet-level position requires Senate confirmation. She will replace former House Speaker Chris Benge, Native American Affairs secretary under former Gov. Mary Fallin.

Bill to Legalize Casinos in Virginia Advances, Fate Unclear

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Legislation to legalize casinos in Virginia is advancing in the General Assembly, but the odds of passage are still unknown.

A pro-casino bill was approved with bipartisan support Monday by the General Laws and Technology Committee in the state Senate.

The legislation would allow developers to build casinos in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth if residents approved local referendums. The legislation now also lets the Pamunkey Indian Tribe build casinos in Richmond and Norfolk with local approval.

Supporters of casinos said Monday's vote was a good first step. But hurdles remain.

It's unknown if Republican leaders of the General Assembly will let the measure advance much further. And Gov. Ralph Northam has voiced concerns about casino legalization being rushed through without proper study.

New Mexico to Focus on College Affordability, Financial Aid

ALBUQUERQUE — The former leader of the Taos campus for the University of New Mexico was named Wednesday by Democratic Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham to lead the state's higher education department when she takes office next week.

Kate O'Neill will oversee the state's network of community colleges and public universities. She will be inheriting the agency at a time when many schools around the state are grappling with funding cuts and enrollment declines.

O'Neill most recently served as CEO of the University of New Mexico at Taos, a position she held for years. She started at the campus as an adjunct faculty member in 1994 and worked her way up. During her leadership tenure, she developed a nationally accredited nursing program and increased the campus' budget.

O'Neill and Lujan Grisham said affordability for students will be among the priorities for the new administration. They discussed the importance of the state's lottery-funded scholarship program while acknowledging that it's not currently sustainable because revenue from ticket sales has declined and tuition costs have increased.

O'Neill called the scholarships essential, noting that many students depend on the financial aid and that the program needs to be maintained.

Some things will have to be done differently to make higher education more affordable, Lujan Grisham said, indicating that an all-of-the-above approach is needed. It possibly could be a combination of new revenue sources or eligibility changes. "I'm hoping that with some of the economic ideas that we put before the Legislature and their own ideas that we're going to have a variety of options to sustain a scholarship formula and system that's meaningful to New Mexicans," the incoming governor said.

Lujan Grisham also announced appointments for the departments of transportation, cultural affairs and information technology.

Still pending are decisions on other key agencies that oversee public safety, public education, health and the environment.

Debra Garcia y Griego, the director of the city of Santa Fe Arts Commission, was named as the cultural affairs secretary. During her time working in Santa Fe, she developed the nation's first municipal ordinance addressing the forgery of Native American arts and crafts and led the development of the city's first cultural plan.

Michael Sandoval was appointed as transportation secretary. He has worked for the agency for more than 20 years, most recently overseeing hundreds of contracts, the state's 12 ports of entry and programs including the Rail Runner Express commuter train.

A former state lawmaker, Vincent Martinez was named head of the state's information technology department. He's currently the managing director of cloud and communications at the department. Martinez has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Delaware Tribe Ends Plans for Heritage Center Near Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The Delaware Tribe has abandoned plans to develop an agricultural heritage center northeast of Lawrence.

Chief Chester Brooks said the tribe's council decided the proposed center would not produce enough revenue to cover the estimated $500,000 cost of developing it.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the tribe, based in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is now trying to lease the 92-acre site to another agricultural user. The property is just northeast of the Kansas Turnpike's interchange in North Lawrence.

Brooks says the Delaware Tribe would prefer to sell the land.

The tribe bought the property in 2013 with plans to open a casino. The casino plan stalled because most of the site is within the Kansas River flood plain. Brooks says the state also was unwilling to expand gaming to out-of-state tribes.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

Lakota Nation Invitational Features Voices of Young Poets

Tyra Akers, a junior at Pine Ridge High School, said she's only been writing poems for a year. Her literary hero?

"Tupac," she says, smiling after a short pause.

In the first round of the poetry slam at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Akers with her dark hair in a double French braid, denim, and tall boots walked to the mic at the front of the room. DJ Micah Prairie Chicken's turntable stopped — and 70 people stared at her, the Rapid City Journal reported.

"Get it, poet!" yelled a spectator.

And she began.

"I poison my body because my mind was racing," recites Akers. "You want to yell because you love me."

The 12 readers in the Dances with Words poetry slam, sponsored by First Peoples Fund, a women-run nonprofit, and run in conjunction with the Lakota Nation Invitational, ran the gamut from teenage fears to suicide and alcoholism. The first poet opened by reading a poem from her smartphone about the murder of her aunt on Skyline Drive in 1981.

"No more stolen sisters," she ended.

The competition — though emcee Marcus Red Shirt repeatedly wanted to de-emphasize the "competition" and followed up many poets' performances by saying, "You're brave, poet" — had a few rules: no hate speech, three rounds with dwindling time limits, and there were to be content warnings.

"Self-harm." ''Addiction." ''Lust." Red Shirt presaged one poem saying, "This poem contains intense emotions."

One by one, the poets spoke — on learning to ride a horse from a cousin, on seasonal depression, on heartbreak.

"I see a warrior in the battlefield of self-infliction," said one student.

"I want to drown myself in liquor and bury myself in smoke," said Akers.

A child in the audience played with a Rubik's cube as parents, teachers and loved ones watched. One mother, wiping eyes with Kleenex, met her son on the sidelines, after he said it was poetry that kept him from "living in some other person's poem."

"Here's some advice from ourselves," read one student. "It's OK to change directions because in the end we're all picture perfect reflections of imperfection."

"I must speak my truth as if I'm running," read another.

"I can't trust nostaliga," said another young woman. "Because nostalgia isn't honest about how much I've grown."

"It's their own words," said Autumn White Eyes, wearing a T-shirt that read "de-colonize." White Eyes is a writer and an alum of the poetry slam who now lives in New Jersey but works remotely for First Peoples Fund.

"So often, indigenous people are used to others telling their story. But here, we get to share our stories in our own words," she said.

Recently — as many poets do monthly at open mics hosted by Dances with Words — young, indigenous writers had the floor.

When Akers finished her second poem, the lightning round, she left a warning: "You'll be looking up at me looking down on you."

She walked back, a shy smile coming over her face, as her family stood in applause for her.

"I want to keep writing poems," said Akers, afterward, wearing the medal she'd won for a top performer around her neck, her family smiling on. "I like the feeling of my own words, to get them out of me."

In the hallway, basketball teams prepared to enter the separate arenas for the next game. Children rode the escalators up and down as the young poets mingled, sharing stories and listening to a flute player practicing in the hallway.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com


Justices Debate Indian Control of Land in Oklahoma

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court grappled Tuesday with whether an Indian tribe retains control over a vast swath of eastern Oklahoma in a case involving a Native American who was sentenced to death for murder.

Some justices said they fear a ruling for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation could have big consequences for criminal cases, but also tax and other regulatory issues on more than 3 million acres of Creek Nation territory, including most of Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city.

The issue is before the high court in the case of Patrick Murphy, who was convicted of killing a fellow tribe member in 1999. A federal appeals court threw out his conviction because it found the state lacked authority to prosecute Murphy. The appeals court ruled that the crime occurred on land assigned to the tribe before Oklahoma became a state and Congress never clearly eliminated the Creek Nation reservation it created in 1866.

Lawyers for the state and Trump administration, supporting Oklahoma, told the justices that the practical effects of ruling for Murphy would be dramatic, after more than 100 years of state control over the area. Violent criminals could go free and the state would lose its ability to tax a chunk of the population, the lawyers said. Other Native American prisoners and defendants in Oklahoma have asked to have their convictions overturned or their cases thrown out as a result

With so much potentially at stake, maybe the court should ``leave well enough alone here,'' and side with Oklahoma, said Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that 1.8 million who live in the affected area have built their lives on a long-accepted understanding of local regulations and state law. "What happens to all those people?'' he asked.

Lawyers for Murphy and the Creek Nation said fears of chaos that would result from a ruling for Murphy are overstated. The Creek Nation already has agreements with 40 local governments that allow its police to work collaboratively with other law enforcement agencies, said Riyaz Kanji, representing the tribe.

No one has a greater interest than the tribe ``in law enforcement and security within the Creek reservation,'' Kanji said.

The court's liberal justices seemed generally more sympathetic to the tribe, while the conservatives appeared likely to side with the state. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a unanimous opinion in 2016 in favor of a different tribe's claim to a reservation, asked no questions, as is his custom.

One potential wrinkle is that Justice Neil Gorsuch stepped aside from the case because he participated in it at an earlier stage when he was a judge on the federal appeals court in Denver. A 4-4 tie would affirm the appellate ruling in favor of Murphy, but leave the larger issue of tribal sovereignty unresolved.

If he wins at the Supreme Court, Murphy could potentially be retried in federal court. But he would not face the death penalty for a crime in which prosecutors said he mutilated the victim and left him to bleed to death on the side of a country road about 80 miles southeast of Tulsa.

A decision in Carpenter v. Murphy, 17-1107, is expected by late spring.

Trump OKs Disaster Declaration for Tohono O'odham Nation

SELLS, Ariz. (AP) _ President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for a southern Arizona tribe affected by severe flooding.

Heavy rainfall had threatened an earthen dam on the Tohono O'odham reservation in early October, forcing people from their homes.

The declaration announced Friday allows the use of federal funding for emergency work, and to repair or replace facilities damaged by the flooding. The tribe must share in the cost.

Tribal officials say the remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa had damaged 64 homes, and impacted roadways, public buildings and utility systems.

Crews had to pump the lake behind Menager's Dam to ease the threat it would overtop. More than 1,000 sandbags were placed at the dam's crest.

Justices Debate Indian Control of Land in Oklahoma

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court grappled Tuesday with whether an Indian tribe retains control over a vast swath of eastern Oklahoma in a case involving a Native American who was sentenced to death for murder.

Some justices said they fear a ruling for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation could have big consequences for criminal cases, but also tax and other regulatory issues on more than 3 million acres of Creek Nation territory, including most of Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city.

The issue is before the high court in the case of Patrick Murphy, who was convicted of killing a fellow tribe member in 1999. A federal appeals court threw out his conviction because it found the state lacked authority to prosecute Murphy. The appeals court ruled that the crime occurred on land assigned to the tribe before Oklahoma became a state and Congress never clearly eliminated the Creek Nation reservation it created in 1866.

Lawyers for the state and Trump administration, supporting Oklahoma, told the justices that the practical effects of ruling for Murphy would be dramatic, after more than 100 years of state control over the area. Violent criminals could go free and the state would lose its ability to tax a chunk of the population, the lawyers said. Other Native American prisoners and defendants in Oklahoma have asked to have their convictions overturned or their cases thrown out as a result

With so much potentially at stake, maybe the court should ``leave well enough alone here,'' and side with Oklahoma, said Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that 1.8 million who live in the affected area have built their lives on a long-accepted understanding of local regulations and state law. "What happens to all those people?'' he asked.

Lawyers for Murphy and the Creek Nation said fears of chaos that would result from a ruling for Murphy are overstated. The Creek Nation already has agreements with 40 local governments that allow its police to work collaboratively with other law enforcement agencies, said Riyaz Kanji, representing the tribe.

No one has a greater interest than the tribe ``in law enforcement and security within the Creek reservation,'' Kanji said.

The court's liberal justices seemed generally more sympathetic to the tribe, while the conservatives appeared likely to side with the state. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a unanimous opinion in 2016 in favor of a different tribe's claim to a reservation, asked no questions, as is his custom.

One potential wrinkle is that Justice Neil Gorsuch stepped aside from the case because he participated in it at an earlier stage when he was a judge on the federal appeals court in Denver. A 4-4 tie would affirm the appellate ruling in favor of Murphy, but leave the larger issue of tribal sovereignty unresolved.

If he wins at the Supreme Court, Murphy could potentially be retried in federal court. But he would not face the death penalty for a crime in which prosecutors said he mutilated the victim and left him to bleed to death on the side of a country road about 80 miles southeast of Tulsa.

A decision in Carpenter v. Murphy, 17-1107, is expected by late spring.

New Jersey Settles Suit Over Status of Native American Group

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ New Jersey's attorney general on Thursday announced a legal settlement that gives official status to a Native American tribe.

Under terms of the settlement, the state also will pay the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation $2.4 million. The state admits no wrongdoing or liability.

Both sides have also agreed that the settlement doesn't give the Lenape federal casino gambling rights.

The Lenape sued the state in 2015 and alleged it was given official status as a tribe through a 1982 state resolution but that when it tried to reaffirm the designation, it found the attorney general's office had decided not to recognize it in 2012.

A lower court ruled the tribe was never established as an official entity because the resolution was not a law submitted to the governor. It said that although there were legal measures taken in the years following 1982, none actually granted the nation official recognition.

Last year, an appeals court reversed the lower court's decision and ruled the lawsuit could go forward.

The southern New Jersey-based nation, which numbers approximately 3,000 members, has said the lack of official status has meant it can't say artwork is American Indian-made without being fined, and that it has been ineligible for federal scholarships and grant funding.

Language App Adds Navajo Courses

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ A popular language-learning app is adding Navajo to its portfolio.

KOB-TV reports that Duolingo has begun offering Navajo, or Dine (dih-NEH'), as a language option for learning on the mobile app.

Clayton Long, who is the head of the bilingual education for San Juan School District in Utah, tells the station that he and his students collaborated to develop the language lessons on the app.

The first of the courses were unveiled last week.

Long says a total of nine lessons he and others developed will be released in the coming months as part of the ongoing Duolingo project.


Information from: KOB-TV, http://www.kob.com

Obama, 2 Native Americans Top 'Minority Trailblazers' List

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ The nation's first black president has topped the list of ``minority trailblazers'' chosen in the Illinois Top 200 project as part of the state's bicentennial.

Barack Obama was a community organizer in Chicago and served as state senator and U.S. senator before winning the White House in 2008.

The online voters' choices were announced Monday as part of Illinois' 200th birthday on Dec. 3.

Obama was followed by two Native Americans. Black Hawk was a Sauk warrior who fought white America's expansion into Illinois. Chief Keokuk was a rival who gave up land to settlers to avoid bloodshed.

Harold Washington and Patricia Roberts Harris followed. Washington was Chicago's first black mayor and Harris was the first black woman to serve as ambassador and cabinet member under President Jimmy Carter.


PBS’ KCET and Link TV Announce Series TENDING NATURE

Mussel harvesting in Protecting the Coast (Tolowa) episode.

KCET and Link TV, providing acclaimed culturally diverse programming, announced the debut of a new KCET original television series called TENDING NATURE, produced in partnership with the Autry Museum of the American West. The series shines a light on the environmental knowledge of indigenous peoples across California by exploring how the state's Native peoples have actively shaped and tended the land for millennia, in the process developing a deep understanding of plant and animal life.

KCET will premiere four, 30-minute episodes of TENDING NATURE starting Wed., November 7 at 8:30 p.m. on KCET in Southern California. The series will also air on nationally independent satellite network Link TV on Tues., November 13 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT (DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410).

The unique partnership between KCET and the Autry has turned into a three-year commitment to explore California’s Native stories (and histories) and allows viewers to hear first-hand from Native communities engaged in contemporary projects that revive their culture and inform western sciences. California is home to more Native Americans than any other state, and these communities have continued to maintain traditional knowledge against all odds.

The Autry Museum of the American West is dedicated to bringing together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire a shared future. The series connects to their Human Nature galleries and garden spaces dedicated to the California environment, making for a multiplatform museum-media partnership—and one that furthers critical conversations related to the future of California.

The first two episodes of the series will be screened at the Autry on Nov. 10 as part of the museum’s annual American Indian Arts Marketplace.

TENDING NATURE will be telecast as follows (subject to change):

“Protecting The Coast with the Tolowa Dee-ni'”- Wed., Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET / Tues., Nov. 13 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV Coastal ecosystems are under threat from human caused toxification but the Tolowa Dee-Ni are reviving traditional harvesting of shellfish and redefining the human role in managing marine protected areas.

“Decolonizing Cuisine with Mak-’amham”- Wed., Nov. 14 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET / Tues., Nov. 20 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV Two Ohlone chefs are revitalizing their language and food practices and adapting them for a modernist palate.

“Tribal Hunting with the Pit River Peoples” - Wed., Nov. 21 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET / Tues., Nov. 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV The Pit River Tribe in Northeast California are reviving traditional hunting practices, and embracing initiatives to preserve wild elk and deer populations as well as developing statewide intertribal trading networks for the distribution of humanely sourced and sustainable Native foods.

“Healing the Body with United Indian Health Services”- Wed., Nov. 28 at 8:30 PT on KCET / Tues., Dec. 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV Native peoples in rural areas often lack easy access to healthy, affordable food. Younger generations are witnessing the effects of health issues in their community and as a result have started several food sovereignty programs across California.

Join the conversation on social media using #TendingNature

KCET is a flagship PBS channel of the newly formed PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

PBS Docuseries 'Native America' Recreates Cultures Pre-1492

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ The story of Native America taught in U.S. public schools usually begins at contact with European explorers. Children then get lessons about Thanksgiving, maybe the Trail of Tears or the 19th century wars over the removal of tribes in the American West. Rarely discussed is life in the Americas before Columbus' 1492 voyage.

A new four_part PBS docuseries entitled ``Native America'' seeks to recreate a world in the Americas generations prior to the arrival of Europeans. Using archaeology, Native American oral traditions, even high_tech 3D renditions, viewers are presented images of busy cities connected by networks that span from the present_day United States to South America.

The docuseries shows how Chaco Canyon in New Mexico became a busy spiritual and commercial center that stood five stories high in the desert sky, centuries before skyscrapers went up in New York.

They also discuss the tunnel under a pyramid in Teotihuacán, Mexico, that revealed an intricate belief system that was also found elsewhere. And outside present_day St. Louis, Missouri, 10,000 people helped erect massive earthwork pyramids into a city now known as Cahokia around the time the real_life Macbeth ruled Scotland.

Series executive producer and director Gary Glassman said the project took more than a year to plan because producers wanted to make sure they had buy_in from Native American communities the documentaries sought to cover. Filmmakers wanted to include animated pieces of sacred art and stories to illustrate the importance of the site and wanted to be sensitive, Glassman said.

``We wanted to give them ownership to their own stories,'' Glassman said. ``It was about building trust.''

That's how producers convinced Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office of the Arizona tribe Hopi, to allow directors to briefly film a group of elders conducting a smoking ceremony at Chaco.

In one episode, Kuwanwisiwma explains the religious significance of the Kiva and how elders used the smoking ceremony to contemplate the power of the universe. ``The bird world, the reptilian world, the animal world, the insect world...they are all part of who we are as Hopi people,'' Kuwanwisiwma tells viewers.

The docuseries then takes viewers to the rock art of the Amazons and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of New York to show how similar spiritual theologies through diverse practices linked people thousands of miles apart from the pyramids of Mississippi to the Andes in present_day Peru.

The first episode of ``Native America'' is scheduled to air on most PBS stations on Tuesday. Other episodes will air on following Tuesdays until November 13.

Episodes will be streamed for free for a limited time after airings.


Associated Press writer Russell Contreras is a member of the AP's race and ethnicity team. Follow Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

Native American Leader Takes Aim at Cuomo's Statue Plans

NEW YORK (AP) _ The head of the American Indian Law Alliance is taking aim at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plans to nominate New York City's statue of Christopher Columbus to the National Register of Historic Places.

Betty Lyons said on Tuesday that the 1892 statue represents genocide, enslavement, exploitation of children and land grabs.

She says the Democratic governor is insensitive to the concerns of 100,000 indigenous peoples living in New York state.

Cuomo says many historical figures, including Columbus, did bad things as well as great things and that's ``part of the lesson.''

A city commission appointed to review historical statues decided to keep the Columbus Circle monument, which Italian-American groups view as a source of ethnic pride.

The city is adding markers to contextualize the figures such statues depict.


Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs Director Leaves Job

CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) _ The executive director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs is leaving the position after 11 years in the job.

The Cortez Journal reports Ernest House Jr. has resigned to take a job with the Keystone Policy Center.

House was the first member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to work as the commission's director, which serves as the liaison between native American tribes and the state.

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne says House has played a major role in making sure tribal communities have a seat at the table and a strong voice.

House says he will continue to advocate for tribes in his new job as senior policy director with the Keystone Policy Group.


Information from: Cortez Journal, http://www.cortezjournal.com/

Hopis Asking Feds to Explore Other Options for Power Plant

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. (AP) _ Hopi tribal officials are calling on the federal government to explore other options for the Navajo Generating Station near Page.

Two companies that were negotiating to take over a coal-fired power plant on the Arizona-Utah line ended the effort last week, saying the challenges were too great.

The 2,250-megawatt plant could close at the end of 2019.

That would be a huge blow to the economies of the Navajo and Hopi tribes: The Hopis rely on coal revenue for about 85 percent of their budget and the Navajos 20 percent.

Hopi Vice Chairman Clark Tenakhongva says the U.S. government must either continue to buy power from the generating station or provide the tribe with support necessary to avoid an economic catastrophe. He's asking the government to act without delay.


Group Marks Potawatomi Trail of Death from Indiana to Kansas


LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) _ This month marks 180 years since over 850 Potawatomi Native Americans were forcibly removed from their homeland in northern Indiana.

Many walked the 660-mile, two-month journey. Over 40 died _ mostly babies, children and elderly.

It's known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Every five years since 1988, a group of Potawatomi, historians and other interested persons take a week to travel the trail that starts south of Plymouth, Indiana, and ends in Kansas.

The commemorative caravan recently passed through Logansport, where they visited a marker recognizing part of the trail at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Fulton Street.

In 1838, Indiana Gov. David Wallace appointed Gen. John Tipton of Logansport to lead the removal of Potawatomi from the area, according to information from the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association.

Tipton planned the capture in a trading post on the Tippecanoe River north of Rochester. He rode to Twin Lakes near Plymouth on Aug. 30 to meet with Potawatomi Chief Menominee to inform him of the removal and take him prisoner. Tipton then sent soldiers out in all directions within about a 30-to-50-mile radius to collect Potawatomi.

The march began on Sept. 4, 1838. They went down through Indiana, then across Illinois and Missouri before arriving in what later became Kansas, stopping in what is now known as Osawatomie on Nov. 4. Those who died on the march were buried in unmarked graves along the trail.

The Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan has set out every five years for the past three decades during the third week of September after the annual Trail of Courage Living History Festival in Rochester. Participants start at a Chief Menominee monument south of Plymouth and end at St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park south of Mound City, Kansas, which is south of Osawatomie. The park is named after a French nun who ministered to the Potawatomi upon their arrival.

Fulton County Historian Shirley Willard started the caravan in 1988 after learning that the Potawatomi were marched at gunpoint through Rochester.

``I thought that was pretty terrible and most people didn't know that it had even happened,'' Willard said.

About 35 to 40 people will be making the entire journey this year, Willard said, adding others take part in stretches of the trek along the way.

Janet Pearl of Parma Heights, Ohio, is part of the 2018 caravan. She's participated in several over the decades with her father, who has been a part of all of them. Both are members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Pearl's Potawatomi name is Wichap Gishek, which means Blue Sky.

Pearl's Potawatomi great-great-grandmother was about 10 or 11 when she was forced along the Trail of Death. Her name was Equa-ke-sec, which means Rising Sun. After surviving the ordeal and arriving in Kansas, she was baptized with the name Theresa Living.

Pearl and her father regularly attend Potawatomi functions across the U.S. and Canada.

``It's really important to us to renew our culture connections and stay abreast of everything that's going on,'' she said.

She called the Potawatomi Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan a unique experience. People often come out to greet her and her fellow participants in the various towns along the trail, she went on to recall.

``They show a lot of compassion and concern for what happened to the Potawatomi way back when,'' Pearl said.

She finds it encouraging.

``It's really a positive experience,'' she said. ``It's spiritual too because you just feel so uplifted by this outpouring of concern and caring. People are just really nice about it.''

Pearl said her grandmother taught her father and his siblings not to focus feelings of bitterness toward the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Instead she encouraged them to be forgiving and concentrate on how their ancestor survived and that they were able to come into being because of that survival.

Pearl said much of that forgiving attitude can be credited to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, who ministered to the Potawatomi after they arrived in what later became Kansas. While Duchesne couldn't speak Potawatomi, Pearl said she showed kindness by example.

``We felt our ancestors were influenced by her spiritual guidance,'' Pearl said.

According to historical information from the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association, Duchesne was a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart and prayed so often that the Potawatomi called her ``She Who Prays Always.''

Duchesne was canonized in 1988, the same year the Potawatomi Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan started. This year also marks two centuries since she came to the U.S. from France.

Pearl said she is looking forward to having several nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart on the caravan this year.

She also seconded Willard's desire for the caravan to serve an educational purpose.

``What we hope today is that people will learn a lesson from hearing about this event and that it won't happen again,'' she said.

While the Potawatomi Trail of Death occurred 180 years ago, the feelings that spurred it still exist today, Pearl said, offering immigration issues as an example.

``There's a lot going on where people are persecuted and we're just hoping that people will let a little more love come into their life and try to respect everybody and get along with people,'' Pearl said.


Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune


Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com


Tribes Want Feds to Explain Controversial Land Decision

MASHPEE, Mass. (AP) _ The country's largest Native American organization is calling on the Trump administration to explain its decision not to recognize the reservation of a Massachusetts' tribe.

The National Congress of American Indians said Tuesday it ``disagrees strongly'' with the U.S. Department of the Interior's decision to reverse an Obama-era ruling placing land in trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag (MASH'-pee WAHM'-puh-nawg) tribe.

The organization wants the agency to explain what the decision signifies for Indian land policy going forward.

The Interior Department took 321 acres into trust for the Mashpee in 2015, but a federal judge ordered the agency to reconsider the decision after local residents sued.

Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman Nedra Darling declined to comment, citing pending litigation. She confirmed the Mashpee land, for now, remains in trust pending a final court order.

OSU to Start Tribal Finance Certificate Program


The Journal Record

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — In the last year, Victor Flores has focused on bringing tribal accounting and finance training inside the state. He organized the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium, which has met twice this year.

But one of the main goals of the consortium will start in November, when Oklahoma State University will hold the Introductory Tribal Finance and Accounting Certificate four-day pilot program, with the full kickoff scheduled for May.

Flores, who is the Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s chief financial officer, told The Journal Record that he plans to take about 15 people from his office to the conference in November. The introductory level is ideal for people who do not have a finance or business background, such as elected officials or directors of different entities within the tribe.

There are intermediate and advanced-level programs being developed as well. The intermediate program will launch in summer 2019, and the advanced level doesn’t have a launch date yet, said Lindsey Kirksey, program director at the OSU Spears School of Business’ Center for Executive and Professional Development.

The center has also developed a tribal leadership certificate program, which can be completed over a two-year period.

The accounting and finance classes will be taught by different industry professionals, such as BKD Managing Director Joel Haaser, based in Tulsa. The University of Oklahoma College of Law is helping to provide legal professionals as well.

Haaser said tribal accounting operations vary from state and local government, so this type of training is needed. Tribes tend to get more federal grants than cities, and that money can be used for housing or even road construction. At the same time, tribes operate for-profit businesses, such as casinos.

“That puts tribes in between a government and a commercial organization, which is really the difference (between tribes and state and local governments),” Haaser said. “It creates a lot of unique accounting challenges.”

Flores said it’s especially important to have these programs in Oklahoma because the tribes’ histories are different than in other states. With the Native Americans being forced to settle here, they’re not on reservations like in other states.

“We’re vastly different (from other states),” he said. “We have our own idiosyncrasies. When (my office) goes to training, we have to tell our employees that what they learned may not apply in Oklahoma. We’re talking apples and oranges. That’s why we’re trying to create our own training.”

The November program has about 10 people enrolled so far, but Center for Executive and Professional Development Director Julie Weathers said she expects that to double. The November class is being offered to tribal members on the advisory board, who are expected to give feedback after the pilot program. The May class is already opened for registration.

The center offers professional development training for several industries, such as energy and municipal governments.

Tribal leaders from Texas and Kansas have been invited to the May conference, Flores said. Since there are four tribes in Kansas and three nations in Texas, they often send representatives to events in Oklahoma.

Weathers said the center is excited to work with the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium on the training.

“As a land-grant university, we feel it’s our duty to offer this type of education in business, so we’re certainly glad to be a part of it,” she said. “Kudos to the tribes for coming together and voicing their concerns to all work together and offer a solution to the challenges in the accounting and finance area.”


Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com


Archaeologists Dig Native American Fort Found in Connecticut

Associated Press

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) _ Archaeologists are marveling at the site of a 1600s Native American fort in Connecticut that was uncovered as part of a rail bridge replacement project.

About 20 of them gathered for a tour of the site in Norwalk on Tuesday. They said it is one of the most important finds in the Northeast in terms of Native American history and shines some light on Native Americans' first dealings with Europeans.

Not only did experts find the remains of the 17th century fort, they discovered some artifacts including arrow and spear tips that date back an estimated 3,000 years, indicating Native Americans were active at the site for generations. No evidence of human remains has been found.

``It's one of the earliest historic period sites that has been found so far,'' said archaeologist Ross Harper. ``And it's very rich in artifacts including Native American pottery and stone tools, as well as trade goods such as glass beads, wampum, hatchets and knives. It's definitely one of the more important sites, not just for the area but New England in general.''

Harper said it appears the Norwalk Indians, a tribe that historians know little about, had a fort at the site from about 1615 to 1640 and used it to trade goods with early Dutch settlers. The site is on a small sliver of land next to railroad tracks that carry Amtrak and Metro-North commuter trains. A 19th century history of Norwalk mentions an old Native American fort, and a road near the site is still named Fort Point Street.

The site was found during preliminary archaeological surveys ordered as part of the state's upcoming replacement of the 122-year-old Walk Bridge, which spans the Norwalk River and swings open to allow boats to pass. The bridge has gotten stuck in the open position several times and caused massive rail service delays. Construction is set to begin next year.

Harper works for Archaeological & Historical Services Inc., a Storrs, Connecticut-based firm that is painstakingly removing artifacts from the site and taking them back to its offices for cleaning and further study. Some of the artifacts may be headed to museums. The firm will write a lengthy report on the artifacts and its findings.

The firm, which plans to completely remove all artifacts from the site by the fall, has been working in consultation with the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans _ the two federally recognized tribes in the state. There is no known opposition to the removal of the artifacts.

The two tribes issued a joint statement on the project this week.

``Any time a Native American site or artifacts are found, the utmost sensitivity should be used,'' the statement said. ``While the Walk Bridge construction site in Norwalk may or may not have direct ties to the Mohegan or Mashantucket Pequot tribes ... we take the matter seriously. In fact, Tribal Preservation Officers from both tribes have actively been working with people on the ground there for over a year to offer their expertise.''

The site is one of only about a half-dozen in the Northeast known to have contained evidence of Native Americans' first encounters with Europeans, and most of the sites have been destroyed or removed during development of the lands, Harper said.

The rare find is what drew archaeologists from the region to Tuesday's tour in oppressively hot weather.

``For me, it's like a gold mine,'' said Kevin McBride, an anthropology professor at the University of Connecticut and research director at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. ``I think the reason the site is so important is that there's a lot of material here. It's definitely one of the most important sites we've found in a long time.''

McBride said items found at the site provide some insight into Native Americans' first interactions with Europeans and show how they incorporated European products such as iron tools and knives into their culture.

SC County Evaluating Archaeological Site Under Construction

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A project to build a parking lot alongside South Carolina's Saluda River may have wrecked an archaeological site where Native Americans lived for thousands of years.

The State reports that arrowheads and other artifacts were found in June after bulldozers went to work at the Saluda Riverwalk project, which Richland County is developing in conjunction with the Riverbanks Zoo.

State archaeologist Jonathan Leader says the site's was considered to be too ``scattered'' to be officially protected. He planned to witness a private archaeology firm's inspection of the damage on Wednesday.

Alexis Norris of Columbia collected boxes of arrowheads and other artifacts during construction, and has agreed give them to the zoo.


Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com

New Mexico City near Navajo Nation Sees Tourism Jump

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) _ A western New Mexico city surrounded by Navajo culture and Native arts and crafts is experiencing a tourism boom not seen since the 1970s.

The Gallup Independent reports officials in Gallup, New Mexico, says the city has seen an increase of around 7 to 10 percent in visitors thanks to foreign tourists.

Officials believe a favorable exchange rate and increased interest by the media in anything to do with Native culture and crafts led to millions of foreigners vacationing in the United States each summer.

Gallup-McKinley County Chamber of Commerce director Bill Lee says the area is seeing visitors from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and Belgium.

Gallup is located on the edge of the Navajo Nation and sits along the historic Route 66.


Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com


Montana Officials Work to Boost Tribal Tourism

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) _ Montana officials are working to inform tourists of the state's Native American tribal history.

The Missoulian reports the Montana Office of Tourism and Development and the state Tribal Economic Development Commission are pushing to promote tourism to the state's reservations and tribal nations.

Carla Lott, the state tribal tourism officer and a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, and Heather Sobrepena, a member of the Crow Tribe and the state's Indian Country economic development program manager, are leading the charge.

Lott says the goal is for tribal tourism to benefit underserved, rural areas of the state while promoting a greater understanding of modern Native American culture.

In 2017, the state conducted a national survey of potential visitors and found that 82 percent of leisure travelers express interest in exploring sites related to Native American culture.

Supreme Court Sends Land Dispute back to Wash. Top Court

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court is asking Washington state's highest court to take another look at a land dispute between a Native American tribe and its neighbors.

The dispute concerns a roughly 40-acre plot of land purchased by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe in 2013. A land survey convinced the tribe that a barbed wire fence between its land and land owned by Sharline and Ray Lundgren is in the wrong place. The tribe wanted to tear down the fence and build a new one in the right spot. The Lundgrens sued, but the tribe argued it was immune from suit.

The Washington Supreme Court sided with the Lundgrens. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday the court's reasoning was flawed and asked the court to take another look at the dispute.

Illinois group needs $500K to restore Black Hawk statue

OREGON, Ill. (AP) _ A group needs to raise $500,000 to complete the restoration of a century-old landmark in northern Illinois known as the Black Hawk statue.

Restoration efforts began five years ago on the 48-foot-tall, 270-ton landmark in Lowden State Park, but the project stalled in 2016 amid a lack of state funding and a dispute on the restoration team, the Rockford Register Star reported . The statue's been covered in black protective sheets since work stopped.

``People were bewildered when it came to a screeching halt. People were confused about what happened and what will happen,'' said Jan Stilson, a historian who's leading the 20 volunteers on the Black Hawk Team.

Lorado Taft sculpted the statue to pay homage to the region's American Indians. The work, which is also known as the Eternal Indian Statue or the Rock River Colossus, was dedicated in 1911 in the Ogle County seat of Oregon.

The Black Hawk Team has gathered volunteers to begin fundraising efforts to continue the restoration project. That team is part of Oregon Together, an organization that aims to improve quality of life in the area.

Work on the statue could resume this summer if fundraising goes well. That work would continue through October and then pause for the winter.

The restoration project will include recreating the statue's original mix of concrete, cement and red granite, Stilson said. The statue will still require annual upkeep.

Money raised for the effort would be monitored by the Illinois Conservation Fund, a nonprofit that supports programs by the Department of Natural Resources.

Stilson said she hopes the state will approve a $350,000 grant for the state Department of Natural Resources for restoration. The statue sits on property owned by the state agency.


Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

Study: Decline of salmon also impacts salmon genetics

The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ As Chinook salmon populations declined across the Pacific Northwest, scientists suspected the fish lost a great deal of genetic diversity, too.

But until recently, the theory hadn't been tested. Ancient salmon bones are hard to come by, and it's even harder to extract workable DNA samples from them.

``Science finally caught up with what we already believed and allowed us to test it,'' said Bobbi Johnson, the lead author of a new Washington State University study that raises concerns about the Chinooks' ability to respond to environmental change.

Starting in 2010, Johnson's team collected hundreds of salmon bones from Native American archaeological sites some more than twice as old as the first Egyptian pyramid and compared their DNA with modern samples from the same areas.

The researchers found that Chinook in the upper Columbia River, where the Grand Coulee Dam cut off about 40 percent of the species' historic habitat, have lost about two-thirds of their genetic diversity. In the Snake River, they lost about one-third, a difference that surprised the researchers.

That basically supports the longstanding assumption that the Chinook gene pool was much larger before European settlement in the Pacific Northwest.

The researchers also analyzed ancient samples from Spokane River Chinook, finding that population had a large gene pool and at least six lineages. They had no modern samples for comparison. The Little Falls Dam has blocked salmon migration on the Spokane River since it was built in 1911.

Genetic variation is critical for the survival of any species. It would enable salmon to pass on needed traits if disease strikes, water levels drop or temperatures rise.

``You want there to be differences between individuals, so that when change does happen, there's room for adaptation and natural selection,'' Johnson said.

In a population with low genetic diversity, she added, ``If something comes in that's bad for anybody, that's bad for everybody.''

The study, part of Johnson's doctoral dissertation, was published this week in the journal PLOS One. Her co-authors are Gary Thorgaard, a WSU emeritus professor of biological sciences, and Brian Kemp, a former WSU molecular anthropologist now at the University of Oklahoma.

They wrote that Chinook research and management practices have mostly focused on ``the four H's'' habitat, harvest, hatcheries and hydropower.

Johnson said they have now considered a fifth H, history. The study reflects millennia of dramatic changes to the Chinook's habitat, both natural and man-made, from glacial floods to commercial fishing to the construction of giant dams.

The ancient bone samples, Johnson said, ``just track that story so nicely.''

The 346 vertebrae samples were part of collections held by the Spokane and Colville tribes and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, among other entities. Johnson said many of the bones were retrieved from ancient Native American garbage heaps, called middens, in archaeological digs beginning in the 1940s.

Some of the samples dated back about 7,000 years. Many were about 3,000 years old. The youngest ancient sample came from a Chinook caught 150 years ago near Fort Colville.

Johnson said the samples were immensely challenging to work with, and she credited Kemp, an ancient DNA expert, for overseeing the extraction process. Researchers wore face masks, hairnets and double sets of latex gloves to avoid contamination, and they were able to tease out sequences of mitochondrial DNA, the kind passed down only from mothers.

Johnson said the Colville Tribe ``definitely took a risk'' by providing the first samples for preliminary testing. Samples are largely destroyed in the process, and there's no guarantee it will yield useful data.

``They gave us samples before we could prove that we could do something like this,'' Johnson said.

Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest have caught Chinook for more than 9,000 years, often near waterfalls and other natural bottlenecks along the region's river network.

Europeans introduced commercial fisheries after arriving in the 1860s, and, from 1889 to 1922, they harvested more than 24 million pounds of Chinook each year, according to the researchers. That fell to about 15 million pounds a year by the late 1950s, and annual harvests now stand at less than 5 million pounds.

The first dam on the main stem of the Columbia, the Rock Island Dam in Chelan County, was built in 1933. The Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams were built in 1941, blocking ocean-going salmon from more than 1,000 miles of the upper part of the river. Dams on the Snake came more than a decade later.

Today there are more than 400 dams in the Columbia River Basin, blocking more than half of the river system's spawning habitat, according to the researchers.

Johnson said her team can't conclude if commercial fishing or the dams are to blame for the declining genetic diversity of the Chinook. To make that connection, the researchers would need samples from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The researchers did acquire some tissue samples from that period from the University of Washington, but they were stored in formaldehyde, Johnson said.

``Formaldehyde is like cement for DNA,'' she said. ``You just can't get DNA after that.''

Johnson said her team's findings have few applications on their own, but she hopes they will inform future discussions about Chinook conservation as the effects of climate change come into focus.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com



Thousands of Native American artifacts found at Camden sites

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Archaeologists have found nearly 10,000 Native American artifacts at two sites in Camden, New Jersey.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the items include a rectangular ceramic vessel, tool fragments, arrowheads, and hearthstones as well as animal bones and remains of plants likely used for food, medicine and fuel.

RGA Inc. conducted the excavations for the Holtec International campus project at the former New York Shipbuilding Co. site.

Senior archaeologist Ilene Grossman-Bailey says the intact remains of Native American activity on the site can help researchers understand the lives of people who camped along the Delaware River as early as 4,000 years ago.

Some of the objects will be donated to the Camden County Historical Society and may be displayed in the museum. Executive director Jack O'Byrne calls the discovery ``mind-blowing.''


Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

Ancient burial site found submerged off Florida

VENICE, Fla. (AP) _ State officials say archaeologists have located a 7,000-year-old Native American ancestral burial site submerged in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced Wednesday that the Manasota Key Offshore archaeological site is on the continental shelf near Venice, preserved in what appears to have been a peat-bottomed freshwater pond.

Reports of the site began in June 2016 when divers identified possible human skeletal material. Archaeologists have since confirmed that it dates from the Early Archaic period.

Officials say offshore prehistoric burial sites are rare, with others located in Israel and Denmark.

The site is protected by law, and it is illegal for anyone not authorized by the state to excavate or remove anything.


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