First Nations Development Institute Seeks to Fill Three Positions

First Nations Development Institute (www.firstnations.org) is a Native-led nonprofit organization working to strengthen Native American economies to support healthy Native communities. For nearly 39 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of a wide range of assets they own – whether land, human potential, cultural heritage, natural resources, etc. – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities.

First Nations is now hiring for three positions -- a Lead Grants Officer, Senior Program Officer, and a Program Officer.

Lead Grants Officer

The Lead Grants Officer plays an essential role in all of First Nations’ grantmaking activities as well as assisting program officers with oversight of community grant partners. Primary responsibilities include overseeing the administration and implementation of First Nations’ grantmaking activities, managing First Nations’ grantmaking database, and working with program officers and others to ensure First Nations’ programs are following policies, procedures and best practices in all aspects of grantmaking.

Senior Program Officer

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) is responsible for the strategic planning and management of multi-year, complex projects.  The SPO will often direct the efforts of program officers and program associates to implement aspects of various projects.  The SPO is also responsible for the management and supervision of direct reports (i.e., consultants, grantees and fellows) providing direction, setting goals, giving feedback and coaching, and ensuring professional development and training.

The SPO will work in close collaboration with other First Nations staff, including the leadership team, senior program officers, program officers and coordinators; the finance department to ensure accurate accounting for grant-related income and expenditures; and First Nations’ development and communications staff members.  Overall, the SPO is responsible for ensuring timely, high-quality implementation of assigned programs, which meet budget parameters and evaluation expectations.

Program Officer

The Program Officer’s primary responsibility is to provide assistance and support to Senior Program Officers or Director of Programs in the administration and implementation of First Nations’ projects. In this capacity duties will include coordination of technical assistance and training, participation in onsite visits, grant management, monitoring consultant work that may include but not limited to developing consultant agreements, monitoring deliverables, and organizing files.

Program officer duties shall be performed in a timely manner, with documents, presentations and material developed in high quality in keeping with First Nations brand. Responsibilities also include organizing and maintaining program files; assist with grantee technical assistance needs and reporting, coordinate convenings, and work in close collaboration with First Nations’ Senior Program Officers and the finance department to ensure accurate accounting for grant related income and expenditures.

To learn more about these positions or to apply, please visit www.firstnations.org/our-values/jobs.

To apply, submit a cover letter, resume and three references via email to humanresources@firstnations.org. Please note either "Lead Grants Officer" “Senior Program Officer” or "Program Officer" in the email.

 

Governor Appoints New Director of Nevada Indian Commission

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) _ A former public relations officer for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony has been named the new executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the appointment this week of Stacey Montooth.

Montooth is a member of the Walker River Paiute Nation. She replaces longtime director Sherry Rupert, who resigned earlier this year to become director of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.

Sisolak says Montooth has extensive experience in tribal relations in Nevada and a thorough understanding of the issues facing Nevada's 27 tribes. She starts her new job Sept. 1.

Wisconsin Native Americans Granted Funds For Green Projects

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Two Native American tribes in Wisconsin are receiving federal grants for renewable energy projects that tribe members say will help reduce costs and lead to energy independence.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Odanah received a nearly $1 million grant, while the Forest County Potawatomi Community in Crandon got a grant for more than $1.5 million. The grants, announced last month, will be used to install solar panels at tribal buildings.

The Wisconsin tribes are among 12 nationwide that received a total of 14 grants from the federal Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs worth a total of $16 million, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

``These projects will unleash sovereign Native American and Alaska Native energy development however each tribe believes is best for their community,'' U.S. Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes said in a statement.

The Bad River Band will use the money, in addition to about $1 million in cost sharing, to install solar panels at the health and wellness center located in Ashland, the wastewater treatment plant in New Odanah and the Chief Blackbird Center in Odanah.

The federal Department of Energy said projections show the tribe will save about $841,000 in energy spending over the next 25 years.

Dylan Jennings is a tribal council member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a public information officer for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. He said going green is one way the tribe is preparing for the future, noting that the tribes aren't against oil or coal.

``We firmly realize that we need to be doing our part in adapting to better and more efficient ways of living that are healthy for the environment,'' Jennings said.

Daniel Wiggins Jr., an air quality technician with the Natural Resource Department for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said the tribe's plan is to reduce current energy costs by 10% by 2025 and generate 10% of the tribe's electricity with renewable technology by that year.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community's grant will be used to install solar panels at eight tribal facilities in Milwaukee, on the tribe's reservation lands in Crandon and on its community center. Annual savings at the community center are expected to be more than $100,000 over 30 years.

Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

 

Indian Community School Connects Students With Culture

By MARK DOREMUS of Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Mark Powless strolled the grounds of the Indian Community School in Franklin as its end-of-the-year powwow unfolded.

Drums pounded and dancers swirled in the afternoon light as parents, students, teachers and community supporters joined the festivities in June.

Powless is a member of the Oneida Nation and the director of Our Ways, the school's cultural curriculum.

``Powwows have come about over the years as a way of gathering, to understand each other even though we come from hundreds of different Native nations,'' he said. ``It's a celebration of all that's been accomplished and a look forward to what is coming up in the future in a social atmosphere.''

The powwow tradition is just a small but important part of the cultural programming at the Indian Community School, where the Our Ways initiative supports the school curriculum by connecting students with traditional practices and ways of life. The school, founded in 1969, serves 372 students from the greater Milwaukee American Indian community.

The nonprofit news outlet Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service provided this article to The Associated Press through a collaboration with Institute for Nonprofit News.

Our Ways focuses on Native American language, cultural values, history and sovereignty.

The powwow is not a formal part of the curriculum, but it does incorporate some of the same values, Powless said.

At a powwow, ``you should see people being brave, trying out something new, getting out there in front of their peers,'' Powless said. ``Always working on being humble. Trying to take the teachings of our elders that have been passed down to us about specific kinds of dances or how to maintain ourselves, being wise about those things, living an authentic life in the honest way that the Creator intended us to be.''

Audra Williams has two children enrolled in the school. She was an early advocate of the Our Ways initiative, which took several years to develop starting in 2015.

``It's amazing that it's happening now,'' Williams said. ``For those kids that are coming in, they're lucky. They're going to get so much, and that's who we need to get to, those younger minds where it'll set in and become their way of life.''

The Our Ways curriculum emerged from more than 800 interviews with Native people, Powless said.

The school's goal is to prepare students with an ``understanding of living in two worlds,'' said Head of School Jason Dropik. ``For us, it's just acknowledging the fact that both parts make up who they are, our students are not just Native, they come from many different cultures, and being urban that's a culture in and of itself, so that is also part of who they are.''

 

Senate Seat Passes To Granddaughter Of Navajo Code Talker

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ The granddaughter of the late World War II Navajo code talker and state legislator John Pinto will serve out the remainder of his term in the state Senate through 2020, New Mexico's governor announced.

Navajo Nation member and educator Shannon Pinto was appointed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to represent a district that extends from the Four Corners to Gallup.

John Pinto died in May at the age of 94 after serving over four decades in the Legislature.

He voted this year in favor of a successful bill to expand background checks on gun sales and was a supporter of abortion rights.

In a news release, Shannon Pinto said she will fight as a senator for common sense gun violence prevention measures and be ``a champion for efforts that support women and their personal health care decisions.''

New Mexico's Democrat-controlled Senate this year voted down legislation that would rescind the state's criminal ban on most abortion procedures. The law could be enforced if the Supreme Court were to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

Shannon Pinto has worked as a middle and high school math teacher in the town of Tohatchi.

 

Feds Missed 2nd Deadline for Congress' Tribal Safety Bills

By MARY HUDETZ
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ U.S. officials tasked with carrying out federal public safety policy for tribes missed a deadline to provide input on legislation to curb violence against Native American women for a second straight month.

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, had set a July 8 deadline for Interior and Justice Department officials to offer positions and guidance on a slate of bills that aim to stem domestic violence, homicides and disappearances of Native Americans on tribal lands.

Hoeven, who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, had set the deadline for both departments after criticizing officials for filing late testimony and saying they arrived at a hearing in June unprepared to fully discuss the merits of legislation.

A week after the new deadline passed, a spokesman for Sen. Tom Udall said that Justice officials had yet to provide positions on the legislation, while the Interior only provided ``partial comment.'' Udall, D-New Mexico, is a co-chairman of the committee with Hoeven.

An Indian Affairs committee spokeswoman said in response to inquiries from The Associated Press that the Interior's guidance on bills had been sent after the July 8 deadline, though she did not say which day. She and Interior officials would not release the documents that had been sent to the committee.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Justice Department told the AP that the department is working as quickly as possible to provide positions on the bills, and had provided a status update to the committee chairman's office.

``I was deeply frustrated when DOI and DOJ showed up completely unprepared to our committee's hearing on these critical bills,'' Udall said in an emailed statement. ``Weeks later, the administration still has not delivered on its promised `renewed commitment' to tribal public safety, failing to meet this deadline even after being granted an extension.''

Lawmakers need feedback from the Trump administration in their effort to take legislative action to address public safety for Native Americans, Udall said.

In recent months, a wave of bipartisan legislation in Congress has sought to boost coordination for crime-fighting among federal agencies and expand tribes' ability to prosecute non-Native Americans in sex assault cases and crimes against law enforcement and children.

The bills come in response to a national movement to build awareness of the deaths and disappearances of Native American women, who are victimized at alarming rates.

The most recent federal figures show more than half have encountered sexual and domestic violence at some point during their lives, with advocates saying the population is left vulnerable in part because their safety has been disregarded or ignored over the years.

In May, Attorney General William Barr visited Alaska, where tribal representatives told him about the lack of law enforcement in villages and slow response times to calls.

At last month's committee hearing, Tracy Toulou, director of the Justice Department's Office of Tribal Justice, said that visit had led the department's leadership to express a renewed commitment to public safety among tribes and Alaska Native villages.

Toulou also apologized to senators for the late testimony, explaining that the bills are complex and require wide review within the Justice Department. The review and clearance process can be lengthy and span multiple agencies.

Charles Addington, the director of the Office of Justice Services, which falls under the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs also apologized for the late filing of testimony at the hearing. He said at the time that his comments had been held up during a clearance process.

The Senate's Indian Affairs committee has been seeking immediate comment from federal officials on five specific bills, including Savanna's Act.

It proposes to increase tribal law enforcement's access to criminal databases, increase data collection on cases for missing people and set new guidelines for law enforcement's response to reports of missing Native Americans.

Associated Press writer Rachel D'Oro in Anchorage, Alaska, contributed to this report.

 

Nebraska Schools Could See New Debate Over Indian Mascots

By GRANT SCHULTE
Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska schools with Native American mascots could see a new debate over their team names and logos if some state officials have their way, but quick action on the issue seems unlikely.

Members of the Legislature's State-Tribal Relations Committee are looking into whether Nebraska should require schools to replace such mascots and may hold a hearing later this year. Some committee members said they don't see the need for statewide changes but would like school officials to discuss the issue.

Any proposed ban on Native American mascots would only apply to nontribal public schools, and the idea is certain to generate debate among the dozens that call themselves ``Braves,'' ``Warriors,'' ``Indians'' and ``Chiefs.'' The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs is looking into the issue, and the chairman of one of Nebraska's four recognized tribes said he'd support a state mandate.

``As much as people say it's meant as an honor, a lot of Native people see no honor in it,'' said Larry Wright Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. ``They're stereotypes. If you put other races of people into a mascot caricature, it wouldn't be acceptable.''

Several lawmakers on the State-Tribal Relations Committee said they would oppose any state mandate but want to encourage schools to talk about it. Sen. Anna Wishart, of Lincoln, said she'd support state assistance for schools that change their mascots to help cover the cost of new logos and letterhead.

``I think this is an issue best addressed in a grassroots way,'' Wishart said. ``I think it's important to make sure Nebraska is a welcoming place for everybody, especially in our schools.''

Sen. Robert Hilkemann, chairman of the State-Tribal Relations Committee, said he wouldn't mind a public debate but would rather leave the decision to individual schools, in part because the issue can divide people.

``If communities want to change their mascots, then that's fine. Let them do it,'' said Hilkemann, of Omaha. ``I don't want us a state to go in and start ordering schools to change the names.''

Matt Belka, a spokesman for the Nebraska Association of School Boards, also said name changes should be left to local districts.

Nebraska has more than 40 schools with Native American mascots. Although a few have retired them, none have done so recently. Omaha's Millard South High School switched from the Indians to the Patriots in 2000. In 1971, the University of Nebraska at Omaha changed its mascot from the Indians to the Mavericks.

In May, Maine became the first state to ban the use of Native American mascots in its public schools and colleges. The measure passed unanimously in the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills, but the debate was mostly moot because the last public school with a Native American mascot had already retired it a few months earlier.

Advocates who want to replace Nebraska's mascots say they perpetuate stereotypes about Native Americans and can hurt the self-esteem and academic performance of Native children.

``They weren't created to make Native Americans feel bad,'' said Jose Soto, a Lincoln activist and vice president for access, equity and diversity at Southeast Community College. ``I agree with that and would never argue that point. However, the important focus for me is the impact it has on those who are targeted. It's like, `You didn't mean to insult me, but you did.'''

Soto, who is Puerto Rican, said minorities who protest such depictions are often criticized for being too sensitive. Soto plans to present the issue to the Nebraska State Education Association, which represents public school teachers.

Left unchallenged, Soto said the stereotypes can lead to other actions, such as face-painting or wearing feathers and war whoops that Native Americans might view as mocking.

``It starts to feel very uncomfortable,'' he said.

But not all Native Americans agree.

Sen. Tom Brewer, of Gordon, the state's only Native American lawmaker, said none of Nebraska's school mascots offended him and he considered the issue a waste of time.

``When we go down rabbit holes on these little issues, we miss the opportunity to do things that could really help the Native population,'' said Brewer, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. ``A lot of the mascots in Nebraska represent a way of honoring the warrior spirit. If you're a school and you want a good mascot, you want to be the chiefs or the warriors. You don't want to be the fighting turtles.''

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Follow Grant Schulte at https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte

 

FCC Proposal Could Boost Broadband Internet on Tribal Lands

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ The Federal Communications Commission has proposed giving rural Native American tribes a priority filing window for licenses that could expand internet access on their land.

The FCC has been working to revamp the way it issues licenses for the 2.5 GHz-band Educational Broadband Services spectrum.

It recently proposed eliminating the educational use requirement and letting tribes apply for licenses before they're auctioned.

The FCC will vote on the proposal July 10.

The spectrum largely is unassigned in the U.S. West and is seen as key to expanding 5G access.

The FCC says granting licenses to rural, federally recognized tribes would help establish or boost broadband coverage in underserved areas. Tribally owned entities, including tribal colleges and universities, also would be given priority for licenses.

The proposal won't affect existing license holders.

 

Echo Park Hasn't Changed Much Since Expedition 150 Years Ago

By ELEANOR C. HASENBECK
Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ In the time since the members of John Wesley Powell's 1869 expedition yelled at the canyon walls of Echo Park, an untold number of people have heard their own voices echo off Steamboat Rock eight, 10 or 12 times.

And before Powell got there, perhaps Native Americans and trappers lobbed their own voices at the cliffs to hear the phenomena.

On a map, the Yampa River twists downstream from its headwaters in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, cross-country through Routt and Moffat counties, until its flows mix with the Green River at Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument.

Members of the 1869 Powell expedition were the first to make that map, and according to Powell's journal, they reached Echo Park on June 17, 1869 _ 150 years ago.

Powell and his men filled in one of the few remaining blank spots on the map of what is now the United States and, along the way, gave many landmarks their names, including Echo Park and the Gates of Lodore. At the time, the Colorado River was a line of best-guess drawn on maps of the West.

``They knew the Colorado River progressed down generally to Las Vegas, but the Grand Canyon north up to Moab _ most of that area was just blank on the map. They didn't have any real understanding of what was out there,'' said Ray Sumner, a Colorado River historian and anthropologist, who happens to be the great-great-grandson of Jack Sumner, the man who served as Powell's lead boatman on the 1869 expedition.

While maps were lost to whitewater on the 1869 expedition, Powell's later expeditions built upon what was learned in the first expedition to produce the first complete maps of the Colorado River.

After 150 years, Echo Park looks much the same as it did when Powell passed through. You can look out from a ledge above the confluence and watch the river wind around the ``foot of a rock about 700 feet high and a mile long,'' as Powell described the rock in his journal. And still, just as Powell wrote, ``willows border the river, clumps of box elder are seen and a few cottonwoods stand at the lower end.''

``These are words that were written 150 years ago, and we still have the ability to go back into very specific locations and see the direct inspiration for those words, and in many places, especially within Dinosaur National Monument, there are very little changes,'' said Sonya Popelka, a park ranger at Dinosaur.

``We can still experience the same experiences as well,'' she continued. ``Not just standing in the same place, but hearing the bird choruses. Seeing stars in the canyon. Hearing our words echo off those same rocks. Having that thrill and danger of rapids. That's something I think is really powerful. It's not just the words. It's the experiences of 150 years ago that have also been preserved here.''

For a thousand years, humans have passed through the cliffs of Echo Park, but that nearly wasn't the case.

Petroglyphs in the area point to the fact that humans were in Echo Park a thousand years ago. The first inhabitants were the Fremont people, who lived there 800 to 1,200 years ago. More recently, Ute and Shoshone tribes lived there. Many still live in the area today.

By the 1770s, Catholic priests passed through the area as they travelled to missions that had just been established in California. In the 1800s, the remote canyon lands attracted outlaws looking for places to lie low, while beavers and their pelts brought trappers and mountain men to the area. One group of them, trappers working for William Ashley's Rocky Mountain Fur Company, might've been the first Europeans to see Echo Park. Ranchers started trying to raise cattle on farms at the bottom of steep cliffs.

The National Monument was established in 1915, six years after fossil beds were discovered in what's now the western portion of the park, according to the National Parks Foundation. In 1938, the monument's boundaries expanded into the canyon lands it now occupies on the border of Colorado and Utah.

Echo Park also marked a turning point within the modern environmental movement.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation explored damming the Yampa and Green rivers just below Echo Park, which would've inundated the Yampa to its confluence with Little Snake River. Environmental groups fought the dam, arguing that placing a dam within the monument would violate the National Park Service Act of 1916.

The plan was abandoned in 1955, and the Bureau of Reclamation instead built a larger than originally planned reservoir on the Colorado River at Glen Canyon.

``Echo Park became that rallying cry for a lot of different conservation organizations that fought that proposal and got the dams removed out of the Colorado River Project, which protected that area in the way that we see it today,'' said Dan Johnson, chief of interpretation and visitor services at Dinosaur.

While it's easy to imagine Echo Park remaining the same for another 150 years, less water and changes to the habitat plants and animals use on the Yampa threatens that image.

Friends of the Yampa President Kent Vertrees explained that Echo Park serves as ``a living laboratory of modern river management,'' where the Green and Yampa meet. While there are reservoirs in the headwaters of the Yampa, the amount of water in the river still follows its natural ebbs and flows. Flows on much of the Green River are regulated by engineers releasing water out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

``Below this confluence and all the way down to Lake Powell, the Green River has this pulse of water at high water that is unmanaged and unregulated,'' Vertrees said. ``The Yampa is providing this level of wildness all the way down the Yampa itself and all the way down to Lake Powell.''

Johnson said this hybrid river, with its woody debris and sediment, ``restores the natural balance'' to the Green River below the confluence, which impacts everything from insects to endangered fish.

But those flows from the Yampa are seeing increased pressure, as more frequently, there just isn't as much water in the river. For a few days last year, the Yampa River dwindled down to a trickle in its sandy bed at Deerlodge Park.

Invasive species _ many of which take up more water than native plants _ are crowding riverbanks and spreading along the Yampa.

``We only manage this lower section of it,'' Johnson said. ``It's really going to take all of us who live along the entire river corridor and watershed working together if people feel this is something valuable to protect and preserve for the future.''

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Information from: Steamboat Pilot & Today, http://steamboatpilot.com/

 

New Lakota-Translated Children's Book Honors History

By SHELLY CONLON

Argus Leader

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) _ Garfield Elementary fifth-grader Jaeden Brugier has been learning to speak the Lakota language throughout the last year.

Yet for someone wanting to share the history and legends of his ancestors with his peers, he felt as though he's never had a true chance, he said.

The school library has less than five books translated in Lakota, and reading sessions often made him feel almost invisible, he said.

But a statewide effort by the South Dakota Humanities Council is about to change that by giving second graders copies of the 2019 Young Readers One Book "Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People,'' the first book in the history of the Young Readers program translated in both Lakota and English, the Argus Leader reported.

The initiative comes after legislators passed a law in March to officially recognize O'ceti Sakowin, which is comprised of the dialects of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota, as the official indigenous language of South Dakota starting July 1. The law comes almost 30 years after South Dakota chose to honor its Native American heritage by forgoing Columbus Day and renaming the holiday Native Americans' Day.

The state is one of only a handful to change the holiday, and the language law also made it first state in the contiguous United States. The book depicts three legends authored and illustrated by Oglala Sioux Tribe member and Rapid City resident Donald F. Montileaux.

Students received the book this spring to read during the summer, a press release from the council states.

In the Sioux Falls School District, however, the books will go to third graders this fall through school libraries, so it's fresh in the students' minds when the author speaks at the South Dakota Festival of Books from Oct. 4 to Oct. 6 in Deadwood, which hosted by the humanities council each year, said Ann Smith, the district's curriculum services program director.

Delaying the book's distribution also means getting it in the hands of more children, Garfield Elementary librarian Susan Thies said. She's been a librarian for two years and a classroom teacher for 19.

"We have such a transient population, they move (often) and have issues at home and food scarcity,'' Thies said. "So we always let the second graders know the (program) is coming up, that way in the fall this is ready to go for them.''

The book is a perfect way to give children insight into another language in a way that honors the Lakota history and connects with families who might not have a great relationship with public schools, including with those once prohibited and punished for speaking Lakota in schools years ago, Thies said.

Before this book, students who didn't feel connected to what they were reading often slumped in their chairs. Their faces drooped down or they wandered the library, not knowing what to pick out, she said. There was no emotion tied to the words they read, she said.

"This gives value to our history, to say, `I see you,''' Thies said. "When you walk into the libraries, you (often) see books about little white boys, little white girls and their dogs and cats. But do our African American students from Africa see themselves? Do our African American students from America see themselves? Our Lakota children will see themselves, they'll feel valued because the state has said this is important.''

Once she received one, Thies showed a copy of the new book to Bugier, who immediately spent time searching for the Lakota words he knew to match them with English words, she said. He immediately begged her to let him check the book out to bring it home to his family.

Unfortunately, the book wasn't ready to borrowed yet, Thies said. But that' didn't stop Bugier from being excited about the possibility, she said.

"Of course, we want children to be fluent in English, but at this age, (a book like this) opens the world,'' Thies said. "It's like a passport to different cultures and countries. And you get to know you're own country and culture better when you step out and learn about others.''

Bugier will be going to a new school next year, and though he isn't one of the third graders receiving the book, he knows the book will help bring awareness and understanding to part of his culture and current political issues in the state, he said.

And with a younger sister and cousin still on the campus, he also hopes his peers will use the books to continue a school club he started and wishes to carry it on to the middle school level, he said. Called the Circle of Courage Club, it's a club that allows anyone to teach anyone else about their culture and history, he said.

"I'm really hoping I see that book and other books that are Lakota and English, and if there is, I'll be really happy,'' Brugier said. "I'm hoping that when they learn everything, they'll be like me and try to research more and more about their Lakota history.''

For Thies, she hopes this will inspire more South Dakota authors to reach out to schools or to write and publish in indigenous languages now that the three languages are recognized, she said.

"When you read these books, the children sit up, and they sparkle,'' Thies said. "Our children who are sometimes so silent and never say anything, they can't stop praising their hand. And all of a sudden they're proud of their history. They're proud of the present.''

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

 

Native Veterans Get Another Chance to Receive Land

By ALEX DeMARBAN

Anchorage Daily News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ Nelson Angapak Sr. promised Sen. Ted Stevens to help Alaska Native veterans get another chance to apply for prized land allotments.

It took two decades, but the 74-year-old Yup'ik leader from Southwest Alaska has done it - with help from others, he points out.

Congress in March passed a major lands bill that opens the door for more Native veterans to apply for tracts of land of up to 160 acres. It follows a more limited application period in 1998, an opportunity that many veterans said wasn't enough.

The allotments were offered to Alaska Natives by the federal government beginning in 1906, after non-Native settlers and miners began arriving in the state and claiming Native lands.

The program's original restrictions prevented many from applying until the 1960s, as today's veterans were heading overseas during the Vietnam War era, said Kevin Illingworth, professor of tribal management at University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Nonprofit firms helped many Natives apply at the time. Applications surged. More than 13,000 allotments were awarded then, representing a tiny fraction of land in Alaska.

But the program ended in 1971, before many of the 3,000 or so Natives serving in the military returned to Alaska.

"The Native veterans never got that assistance, or they didn't know about this allotment push,'' Illingworth said.

Angapak planned to apply for the land-allotment program in his early 20s. But the U.S. Army drafted him in 1969, whisking him to Turkey to be a communications specialist for two years.

"As military personnel you get very engrossed and busy,'' he said recently. "I got drafted, and then I didn't even think about the allotments. The only contact we had back then with the village was mail, and we didn't apply.''

After he and others came home, they began advocating for a special application window for veterans.

But it wasn't until the mid-1990s that the issue got traction in Congress, after the Alaska Federation of Natives took up the issue, Angapak said. He'd risen through the ranks at the organization. He and fellow veterans began making regular pilgrimages to Washington, D.C., to testify on allotment bills submitted by the Alaska delegation.

"This has been very much a team effort, an AFN team effort,'' Angapak said.

It paid off in 1998, when Congress opened an 18-month application slot. It applied only to veterans in active duty between 1969 and 1971, a period of especially high service for Natives.

Angapak received his allotment after the 1998 law passed. It's near the village of Tuntutuliak where he was raised, not far from the land his father received around 1971. It connects him with generations to come.

"This is ours,'' he said.

Many Alaska Natives weren't so fortunate, like Bill Thomas, the former state lawmaker from Haines.

Thomas returned to Alaska from the war in 1968. A 21-year-old then, he thought only elders could apply.

"We came home and we self-medicated (with alcohol), we called it, for a while,'' said Thomas, 72 and also an advocate for the allotments. "We didn't think about filing for a Native allotment back then.''

About 250 veterans received allotments after the 1998 law passed, the Bureau of Land Management said.

The problems included the short application period and the need to prove occupancy of the land, Angapak said.

Realizing the provision's shortcomings, Angapak made his promise to Stevens, who later died in 2010.

"I told him as long as I have a little bit of breath, I'll keep working on it,'' Angapak said. "I told him we'll accept '69 to '71. And we'll keep working on '64 to '71.''

Angapak retired from AFN in 2013, a senior vice president. But with AFN's support, he joined other veterans in continuing to trek to D.C.

The efforts paid off in March, when the lands bill sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski passed. It included a version of a bill from Sullivan creating a new application round for those in the military from Aug. 5, 1964 - after President Lyndon B. Johnson sought congressional approval for direct involvement in Vietnam - to the end of 1971.

(Huge public lands bill signed into law will allow Alaska Native veterans to claim long-promised land, among other provisions)

Sullivan last month recognized Angapak's decades of "tireless'' advocacy, presenting him with a signed copy of the land legislation and a pen used by President Donald Trump to sign it.

"He's been one of our great Alaska Native leaders,'' Sullivan said.

The application period this time will be five years. The BLM must finalize the rules and begin accepting applications by September 2020.

Some federal lands will be off limits, including national forests and parks, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

But veterans won't need to prove occupancy of the land.

That will provide new opportunities for some, including Thomas. But there aren't expected to be many allotments available in Southeast, if any. The region is largely national forests.

Thomas will likely have to select a tract somewhere else in Alaska, he said. "A lot of people around here aren't happy about that,'' he said.

Conservation groups criticized this new round of allotments in a letter to Congress, saying it would privatize hundreds of thousands of acres for an issue that was addressed in 1998.

Angapak said he disagrees with the groups. But he supports their speaking out.

Freedom of speech is one of the liberties he and other veterans helped protect, he said.

___

Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

 

Vermont To Rename Columbus Day

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ Vermont has joined a handful of states in renaming Columbus Day to honor Native Americans.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill into law last week recognizing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Half a dozen states, including Vermont, and several cities, have made the change.

The governors of Maine and New Mexico signed similar measures last month.

Native American tribes and others say celebrating Italian explorer Christopher Columbus ignores the effect that the European arrival in the Americas had on the native peoples, who suffered violence, disease, enslavement, racism and exploitation at the hands of the settlers.

Vermont's law states that ``Vermont was founded and built upon lands whose original inhabitants were Abenaki people and honors them and their ancestors.''

The act takes effect July 1.

 

Meet the T. Rex Cousin Who You Could Literally Look Down On

BY SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Scientists have identified an early cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a pipsqueak that only reached the 3-foot height of a toddler.

The new dinosaur, found in New Mexico, is called Suskityrannus hazelae (SUE-ski-tie-ran-us HAY-zel-a), a name that uses a Native American word for coyote.

Sterling Nesbitt, a paleontologist at Virginia Tech, said this dinosaur lived about 92 million years ago _ millions of years before T. rex. It weighed up to 90 pounds, almost nothing compared to the nine-ton king of the dinosaurs.

Suskityrannus hazalae isn't the first or even smallest of the Tyrannosaurus family tree, but it provides the best example of how this family of modest-sized dinosaurs evolved into the towering horror of movies and nightmares.

The findings were announced Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

 

American Idol Contestant Hopeful of Future Career

By TOMEKA SINCLAIR, The Robesonian

PEMBROKE, N.C. (AP) _ Despite not making it to the live stage on the televised hit singing show ``American Idol,'' Lumbee Tribe member Alexis Jones is positive about the experience and the chance to show off her culture on a national stage.

``You can be from the swamps of Robeson County,'' Jones said. ``You can go outside of the Robeson County borders and do great things and still come home and represent your people.''

It's been a whirlwind of activity for the 23-year-old University of North Carolina at Wilmington student since she received her golden ticket to compete in Hollywood for a chance to make it as the reality show's top singing talents in the country. This was Jones' third season competing on the show, but her first time going to Hollywood.

She won the right after going through a series of auditions that led her to sing in front of celebrity judges Katie Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie in Idaho. She received three yes votes after singing ``Spotlight'' and ``All I Ask'' by Adele. The yes votes earned Jones a golden ticket to compete in the show's grueling weeding out process known as ``Hollywood Week,'' which aired March 24 and March 25 on ABC.

Jones didn't make the cut but was confident in her ability as an artist and excited about the doors that are now open.

``People were crying,'' Jones said about contestants who like her didn't survive the grueling week. ``I was like, `It's OK you guys. This is not the end of the road for me. It's just the beginning.'

``I was not upset because I knew no one in that building has what I had,'' she said. ``I knew I was the best and there was nothing that could make me think otherwise.''

One of the things that set her apart in the competition is her culture, Jones said. She was Miss Lumbee in 2015 so she has a strong cultural connection to the Lumbee tribe.

During her Idaho audition in front the celebrities, Jones had the chance to talk about heritage when Perry asked about the wampum squash blossom necklace she was wearing. The necklace is a traditional American Indian design centered by an upside down crescent and accented by large flowering silver beads or squash blossoms.

Jones said she was surprised Perry knew about the native jewelry, and was happy for the platform to teach all three judges about the Lumbee people.

``It gave me the opportunity to talk about my Native American culture,'' Jones said. ``I talked about the fact that it was made of wampum and not turquoise, and I showed off the East Coast factor of my native people. I took those three celebrities to school that day.''

Despite not making it further on the show, Jones has strong backup plans for her future.

She currently is in her final semester at UNCW and is studying Environmental Science and minoring in Geospatial Science. She is the only female intern on a Metcon site at the school and owns a makeup business. She will graduate in May and is balancing her final exam load with her newfound fame.

``Everything is getting really crazy right now but everything is going to be OK,'' Jones said. ``I'm not going to lie and say I have everything together, but I'm taking it one day at a time.''

She held an autograph-signing event in Lumberton on Friday. Jones said she hopes her success will encourage people with similar aspirations to chase their dreams.

``Whatever demographic you come from or whatever racial background you have, you can always incorporate that into whatever you want to do,'' Jones said.

___

Information from: The Robesonian, http://www.robesonian.com

 

EPA Seeks Bids to Clean Up Uranium Mines in Southwest

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) _ The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking proposals from small business to clean up abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation and in northwestern New Mexico.

About 140 people attended a workshop held this week in Window Rock to learn more about the $220 million project.

The EPA expects to award multiple contracts to businesses with less than 750 employees.

The funding comes from a roughly $1 billion settlement with the successor of a company that mined the region. Companies extracted nearly 30 million tons of uranium for Cold War weaponry.

The EPA says it has funding to assess and clean up about 220 of the more than 520 abandoned mines.

Contract proposals are due May 28 for work on the reservation and around Grants, New Mexico.

 

Art Institute Delays Native American Exhibit Amid Concerns

CHICAGO (AP) _ The Art Institute of Chicago has indefinitely postponed a major pottery exhibit just weeks before it was due to open, citing concerns that the culture and voices of indigenous peoples aren't adequately represented.

Native American scholars against the scheduled opening said that much of the Mimbres pottery pledged to the Art Institute by one Chicago collector had come from ancestral gravesites.

``It's not art,'' said Patty Loew, director of Northwestern University's Center for Native American and Indigenous Research. ``If someone dug up your great-grandmother's grave and pulled out a wedding ring or something that had been buried with her, would you feel comfortable having that item on display?''

``Worlds Within: Mimbres Pottery of the Ancient Southwest'' was scheduled to begin May 26. The exhibit displays roughly 70 pieces of pottery from the Mimbres people. The pottery was created around A.D. 1100 in present-day southwestern New Mexico.

James Rondeau, the Art Institute's president and director, said that as the show's opening neared, it became obvious that more work needed to be done to include native voices in the project.

``The principal thing that we have not accomplished is to have an aligned indigenous perspective, scholarly and curatorial, with the project,'' he said. ``And I think that ultimately for us has been the crucial realization that our ability to reflect back what we were learning needed to be done in multiple voices, not just our voice.''

Kati Murphy, the museum's executive director of public affairs, said the delay came after officials conducted a Native American scholar's day meeting in December. The scholars gave the museum feedback about the need to collaborate with ``Native American nations who hold connections to the Mimbres people, including Pueblo leadership,'' Murphy said. The present-day Pueblos are the people believed to include descendants of the Mimbres.

The meeting was the first official discussion that included the scholars and ``was part of (the) larger process that led to our decision,'' she said.

Heather Miller, Chicago's American Indian Center executive, said she advised the museum that this issue touches a nerve and that the museum's decision to delay the opening is wonderful.

``Members of the (scholar's day group) were very adamant that this was not a good idea for them to move forward with,'' said Miller, one of the scholars. ``Now I feel great that our concerns and our issues were actually addressed by this institution.''

The postponement of the exhibit comes after the museum revamped displays of African Art in February.

___

This story has been corrected to show that a Chicago collector was not personally involved in the removal of artifacts from ancestral gravesites.

 

New Exhibit Features Recently Donated Inuit Art Collection

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ A new exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art features a recently donated collection of Inuit art.

The museum in Ann Arbor is presenting ``Tillirnanngittuq'' (pronounced tid-ee-nang-ee-took), which showcases 58 works from the collection of Philip and Kathy Power that includes more than 200 stone sculptures and prints. The Powers gave the collection and $2 million to the museum last year.

The museum says the title of the exhibition translates from Inuktitut to ``unexpected.'' Most of the works on view are from the 1950s and 60s.

The term Inuit is used to characterize northern North America's native peoples.

UMMA Director Christina Olsen says in a statement that the exhibition marks ``an exciting new direction'' for the museum, which plans more Inuit art exhibitions, programs and research efforts.

 

Montana Tribes Renew Effort to Manage National Bison Range

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) _ The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have relaunched an effort to acquire a federal trust ownership agreement to manage National Bison Range in Montana.

The Flathead Beacon reports tribal leaders announced last week that they had notified the U.S. Department of the Interior and the state's congressional delegation of the plans to revisit a proposal to restore ownership of the 29-square-mile (76-square-kilometer) refuge.

The refuge operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is located completely within the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester says he is reviewing the proposal.

He says for the effort to be successful, it needs to guarantee public access and include local input as well as be supported by the entire congressional delegation.

___

Information from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com

 

State Bill Would Make November Alaska Native Heritage Month

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ November would be permanently declared Alaska Native Heritage Month under legislation previously in the state Senate.

The bill's sponsor, Anchorage Democratic Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, says introducing such bills is a way to show communities that lawmakers care. Gray-Jackson has also proposed permanently making February Black History Month in Alaska.

The Juneau Empire reports that former Gov. Bill Walker issued proclamations declaring November as Alaska Native Heritage Month, but those declarations weren't permanent.

Richard Peterson, president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, says Walker's actions were appreciated. But Peterson says a permanent, more formal recognition would be meaningful.

Gray-Jackson says it's a priority for her to get monthly recognitions such as this secured in state law.

___

Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

 

Art Competition Brings in Diverse Collection of Artists

By KENTON BROOKS
Muskogee Phoenix

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Lucille Brisson-Dickinson studies her work with a critical eye.

The 70-year-old Wagoner resident dabs a paintbrush into color and then applies it to the canvas. A fence takes shape to go along with hills, mountains and trees already on the painting. ``This fence didn't look good sitting by itself,'' she said. ``I wanted to extend it.''

Brisson-Dickinson was demonstrating her talent at the annual Veterans Affairs Art Competition, held at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. She also entered the competition.

``I'm having a lot of fun,'' the 28-year veteran of the US Army Nursing Corps said to the Muskogee Phoenix. ``If I wasn't painting, I'd be working on crochet or knitting.''

The art competition began in 2008 and has been under the direction of Deborah Moreno, the medical center's recreation therapist and creative art coordinator, since then. Entrants can submit their work in categories that include art, creative writing, dance, drama and music.

Their work is based on the criteria of creativity/originality, skill and total presentation. Anonymous judges do the judging, and the entrant who receives the most points qualifies for the national competition in Battle Creek, Michigan, in October.

``I'm very passionate about this,'' Moreno said. ``This offers veterans ways of dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and pain. We offer the materials to get them started and see if there might be an interest.''

The art work isn't limited to painting. Crochet work was recently on display at the entry of the VA Center, but one veteran _ Jack Stafford _ proudly displayed his work in making red cedar boxes. The eight-year veteran of the Air Force and member of the Creek Nation Honor Guard made a box that held material and feathers used for a gourd dance.

``I use Eastern Red Cedar (from Tennessee) because moths and mites don't like it. It's a natural insecticide,'' the Muskogee resident said. ``There are no nails and screws used except for the hinges or the clasps.

He also takes special care with each box he makes and uses velvet for the bottom of the box. He oils the outside but not the inside.

``It's really kind of an honor to make them as they're used by Native Americans. I just love making them,'' Stafford said.

___

Information from: Muskogee Phoenix, http://www.muskogeephoenix.com

 

Alaska Native Weaving Project Honors Survivors of Violence

By BEN HOHENSTATT
Capital City Weekly

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ Lily Hope and her family are continuing her mother's work for an important cause.

The daughter of late acclaimed Chilkat and Ravenstail weaver Clarissa Rizal, Hope is an award-winning Tlingit weaver and weaving teacher who is now leading a new project called the Giving Strength Robe.

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares to create one traditional indigenous robe, a blanket-like garment worn over the shoulders. Once completed, the robe will be given to Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE), Juneau's gender-inclusive shelter for survivors of gender-based violence.

``I think (my mother) would say, `Doesn't this speak to the generosity of spirit of the weaving community and the community as a whole?''' Hope said in a phone interview. ``We're all giving our time to make collaborative art with a purpose.''

The project is the first effort by Spirit Uprising, a new nonprofit pursuing 501(c)(3) status that Hope and her family started to perpetuate the ancient art of weaving.

Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving are complex art forms traditionally practiced by Northwest Coast Alaska Native peoples, and make use of hand-twined textiles.

Hope said she got the idea for this robe after she saw a Facebook post in a Ravenstail and Chilkat Weaving Facebook group about work dedicated to survivors of domestic violence. The purpose of the robe is to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence in Alaska, and hopefully inspire positive feelings in survivors.

``We're all touched by it,'' Hope said. ``It's in our villages and communities.''

She added, ``We want to be bringing healing to those who may put this (robe) on their shoulders.''

Hope enlisted the help of her sister Ursala Hudson and aunt Deanna Lampe to get the project going, and put the call out to artists. The response was great, she said. More than 60 weavers from all over Alaska (including artists in Juneau, Anchorage, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Klawock, Sitka, Yakutat, Kake) committed to participating. Responses came in from other states, provinces and territories, too. Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, New Mexico, British Columbia and Yukon will also be weaving squares.

Hope and her family sent out kits to the weavers that included materials, warp and west spun from merino wool. The effort was funded through contributions from weavers.

``Everybody donated or bought a kit for $50,'' Lampe said. ``We're hoping to crowdfund some kind of a booklet that could be published with every weaver's photograph and a short biography.''

So far about 16 squares have arrived in Juneau and several more are on their way to the capital city. All the squares will be in a teal, purple and white color palette.

``It's been cool to see them come in,'' Hope said.

Although this is the first project for their budding nonprofit Spirit Uprising, it's not the first time Hope and her family have done a collaborative weaving project. Hope's mother Rizal previously headed Weavers Across the Waters Community Robe project.

About 40 weavers contributed to that project, which was first used in a ceremony in August 2016 before Rizal's passing in December of that year. Hope led the completion of a bottom row and border for that robe, and it was finished in 2017.

Hope, Hudson and Lampe were all involved in that project that was

``I called my sister and said, `Isn't it about time we did another collaborative robe?'' Hope said, adding, ``We were all like, `I guess we're going to do this again.'''

She said her mother likely would have thought they were crazy for attempting such a stressful, involved undertaking again.

``I think that she would say, `Didn't you learn how much work that was last time? Ha ha ha,'' Hope said enunciating each laugh.

Weavers helping with the Giving Strength Robe were instructed by Hope to approach their work with thoughts of resilience, healing and compassion for survivors of domestic violence, rather than righteous anger directed at perpetrators of violence.

``It's important to come to weaving with grace, strength and positive thoughts,'' Hope said. ``When we are in a state of rage or coming at it with more anger than peace, we don't weave.''

Saralyn Tabachnick, Executive Director for AWARE, said she is moved by the project and its intentions.

``AWARE is deeply touched about this project, and honored to be the recipient of such generous, thoughtful and caring weavers,'' Tabachnick said. ``We are super grateful and fortunate to have Lily Hope in our community, building community and providing leadership. The depth and breadth of this project and the process is inspiring.''

Lampe said she didn't hesitate when her niece asked if she wanted to participate.

``It's for a good cause,'' Lampe said. ``We all know the stats of domestic violence. Plus, we all know somebody who knows somebody.''

An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S., according to statistics compiled by the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Nearly 30 percent of women and 10 percent of men have experienced one of those forms of domestic violence.

The robe is also meant to be a companion piece of sorts for Tlingit master carver Wayne Price's healing totem pole for AWARE, which is similarly intended to bring awareness to gender-based violence and healing to its survivors.

The pole is expected to be raised this spring, but the robe will be coming later this year.

``We wanted to have it done at the same time, but it's just not realistic,'' Hope said.

When the Giving Strength Robe is completed, Hope said there will be a reception and first dance for the garment, ``so it can come alive and have the spirit of dance put into it.''

 

Jicarilla Apache Nation President Resigns

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) _ The president of the Jicarilla Apache Nation has resigned.

The Farmington Daily Times report s the northwestern New Mexico tribe announced Levi Pesata resigned from office on Friday, citing personal reasons.

The tribe says Vice President Edward Velarde will serve as interim president until a new president takes office.

During a special meeting in Dulce on Friday, the Jicarilla Apache Nation Legislative Council passed a resolution to hold a special election within 60 days to fill the vacancy.

Council members also thanked Pesata for serving five terms in office and for his contributions to the tribe.

___

Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com

 

Taxidermists Busy Repairing Trophies Damaged by Alaska Quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ Some Alaska taxidermists have been busy repairing animal mounts that were damaged in the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck the state's south-central region.

Anchorage television station KTUU reports taxidermists also have repaired Alaska Native art and other artifacts that were damaged in the Nov. 30 quake.

Russell Knight, who owns Knight's Taxidermy in Anchorage, is among those being called to repair animal trophies.

He says his shop has taken in about 75 mounts. That includes 30 mounts that were brought in immediately after the quake.

Knight says damaged trophies included broken sheep necks and deer with horns knocked off.

He says the shop was able to repair all but two of the damaged mounts.

___

Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com

 

Oregon Governor: Feds Must Do More to Manage Fire-Prone Land

By ANDREW SELSKY
Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) _ The federal government needs to send more resources to do more forest thinning on public lands in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday as she searches for ways to stem wildfires that are getting bigger and more dangerous.

One possible option Brown said she would consider is allowing some fires to burn, but keeping them away from populated areas, as well as prescribed burns and increased thinning.

``Fire is an instrumental part of maintaining a landscape, a healthy landscape,'' Brown told reporters in a conference call. But she is being cautious about the approach, citing a megafire in 2017 that wasn't immediately snuffed out and that threatened the town of Brookings on the southern Oregon coast.

``I still feel the pain of the Chetco Bar fire,'' she said, referring to the blaze that scorched 190,000 acres over several months.

Wildfire experts like John Bailey, an Oregon State University professor of silviculture and fire management, say fires make forests more fire-resilient and healthy. They advocate using prescribed burns more aggressively.

As part of her efforts, Brown announced Wednesday an executive order establishing the Oregon Wildfire Response Council, tasked with evaluating the current response system to large fires.

``We have to re-examine how we fight fire,'' Brown said Thursday, noting the current model has been used for a century. She said federal public lands have been mismanaged for many years.

Since the 1970s, there has been little timber harvesting on federal lands, with a resulting increase of 57 percent more standing timber in the United States than existed in 1953, according to a study by Donald Healy, a forestry expert from Lynnwood, Washington, who formerly worked for wood products company Boise Cascade. He said the situation has ``set the stage for disastrous forest fires.''

The council Brown established is to make recommendations in September on the future of Oregon's wildfire response infrastructure. She said Democrats and Republicans will be members as well as Native Americans, and that it will ramp up quickly.

If its recommendations require changes in state law, legislation could be prepared for the Legislature in time for its 2020 session, Brown said. Some recommendations could be handled by executive order, though determining funding could take a year or two.

Council chairman Matt Donegan should also make sure federal partners are fully engaged, Brown said.

The U.S. Forest Service doesn't currently dedicate enough resources to properly thin national forests, Brown complained in the conference call. U.S. Forest Service land comprises about 14 million acres in Oregon, or roughly one-quarter of the state.

Brown and the governors of California and Washington state wrote President Donald Trump on Jan. 8 about the issue.

``The federal government is a major landowner and a critical partner in preventing, fighting, and recovering from wildfires,'' Brown, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told Trump.

They asked the president to double the investment for managing federal forests in the three states, noting that the federal forest management budgets have remained flat in recent years.

Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr., of Grants Pass, said he's encouraged by the governor's actions.

``This is a great first step, but we need to take a serious look at how we manage our forests, including creating a long term 100-year plan to prevent these massive fires from occurring in the first place,'' Baertschiger said.

___

Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

 

Tribal Land Known for Waterfalls Won't Allow Tour Guides

By FELICIA FONSECA
Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ The thousands of tourists who travel to a remote Native American reservation deep in the Grand Canyon each year to camp near a series of picturesque, blue-green waterfalls will have to do so without the benefit of professional guides.

The Havasupai Tribe has decided not to allow outfitters to escort visitors this year down the long, winding path that leads to its small, roadless reservation and on to its main tourist draw: towering waterfalls that cascade into swimming holes that are warm year-round.

Tourists can visit the waterfalls, either by reserving a room at the tribe's only lodge or by snapping up a coveted permit for one of its hundreds of camping spots scattered amid a creek. But starting in February, they'll have to find their own way to the reservation's waterfalls and caves, and carry their own food and gear.

Abbie Fink, a spokeswoman for the Havasupai Tribe, said the Tribal Council's decision isn't a reflection on the outfitters. Rather, she said the tribe wanted to manage all tourist traffic itself.

``It's not solving a problem. It's returning the enterprise to the control of the tribe,'' she told The Associated Press.

For years, the tribe has set aside spots for tour companies, which often bought permits in bulk. The outfitters paid a licensing fee of several thousand dollars, and some had elaborate setups with gourmet meals, inflatable couches and massage therapists. Most brought just the essentials.

Fink couldn't say exactly how much tour guides paid or how many licenses have been issued in the past. She said the Tribal Council would re-evaluate outfitter licenses for 2020.

The tribe relies heavily on tourism and estimates that between February and November, it gets 30,000 to 40,000 visitors per year to its reservation deep in a gorge west of Grand Canyon National Park that's accessible only by foot or helicopter, or by riding a horse or mule. The tribe does maintenance in the campground and on the trails in December and January.

The tribe doesn't allow day hikes, so visitors wanting to take in its waterfalls and other sights must reserve overnight trips in the campground or at the sole lodge.

Rooms in the lodge, which can be booked only by phone, are sold out for the rest of this year. Reservations for 2020 start June 1.

Permits for 2019 camping spots become available online Feb. 1 and are expected to sell out in minutes. People on social media have been strategizing for months about how to boost their chances, including by setting up an account early, recruiting friends and family to try to book a trip and repeatedly refreshing multiple internet browsers.

The permits are $100 per person per night Monday through Thursday, and $125 a night Friday through Sunday, slight increases over last year. The tribe grants about 300 camping permits a day, Fink has said.

Adam Henry, co-owner of Discovery Treks, books between 100 and 200 people on the Havasupai trip each year but has had to stick to offering trips in other spots of the Grand Canyon. He says that's not always welcome news for tourists intent on venturing to the waterfalls.

The hike takes tourists 8 miles (13 kilometers) down a winding trail through desert landscape before they reach the first waterfall. Then comes the village of Supai, where 600 tribal members live year-round. Another 2 miles (3 kilometers) down the trail is the campground with waterfalls on both ends.

``The blue-green water is what people want to see,'' Henry said. ``It's certainly a significant bummer for people who aren't going to be able to get out there on their own.''

Christine Miller, who works with the tour guide company Wildland Trekking, said tourists can find packing lists online and videos on Havasupai to help plan their trip. The advantage to having a tour guide is knowing how to reach the sights off the main trail, including other waterfalls, caves and swimming pools.

``There are not really any good maps out there to tell you when to cross, when not to cross'' the creek, she said.

The tribe temporarily suspended licenses for outfitters in 2016 in part to review the impact that supplies loaded onto pack animals had on the animals and the trail. Fink did not respond to questions about what came out of that review.

 

Pennington County Gets $300,000 Grant for Justice Overhaul Work

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ Pennington County has been given a $300,000 grant for a leadership circle to advise the county on criminal justice overhaul efforts.

The Rapid City Journal reports that Lis Hassett, coordinator for the county's overhaul efforts, says the funding will be used to compensate a very ``diverse, well-rounded, supported group of individuals.'' The grant is from the MacArthur Foundation.

The goal is to tackle the issues of overburdened leaders and the lack of Native Americans and other minorities in decision-making roles. The new funding comes after the county received $1.75 million in 2017 to start programs to cut the jail population.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

 

Davenport Museum Adds 'Really Cool' Works to Collection

By ALMA GAUL
Quad-City Times

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) _ Looking at the photo, one can hardly believe it's real. An abandoned farmhouse rises from the middle of a rutted expanse of land in which absolutely nothing is growing.

There's only the house and the land, both barren.

Titled ``Abandoned Farm, Tractored Out,'' the photo of a Texas farm in 1938 is one of hundreds taken by Dorthea Lange (1895-1965) when she worked for the Farm Security Administration. She captured landscapes and faces directly affected by the Dust Bowl and the economic Depression.

This photo is one of 63 works acquired by Figge Art Museum in 2018 as the Davenport cultural institution continues to build its collection in key and affordable areas.

The number isn't as big as in 2017 when 182 works were acquired, but there is ``really cool, important stuff, nonetheless,'' said Andrew Wallace, director of collections and exhibitions.

Key collecting areas include works by women _ because they are underrepresented _ as well as pieces by Midwesterners, photography in general and contemporary and Regionalist art, Wallace told the Quad-City Times .

The museum also added four hugely colorful Haitian paintings to complement the collection started by gifts from the late Dr. Walter Neiswanger and its first piece of street art.

About 40 works were donated and the remainder were purchased, Wallace said. Money for purchases comes from an acquisitions-only endowment fund set up nearly 90 years ago by the former Friends of Art.

Two of the new works are in display now, a 1936 photo of the Brooklyn Bridge and an oil painting, both by women.

The photo by German-born Ilse Bing (1899-1998) is in the gallery that contains Regionalist works of the 1930s. Her urban scene is considered a good counterpoint to the more agrarian-themed works by Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, Wallace explained.

While Wood was revolting against the city, ``the reality was that artists were flocking to New York because that's where you went to work and study,'' he said. It was a place of new ideas.

The painting titled ``High Wind, High Tide'' is in the space off the second-floor elevator. The oil by American Jane Wilson (1924-2015) consists of different shades of green with white highlights and is painted in such a way that it is difficult to tell where the sky ends and the water begins.

In addition to being a woman, Wilson gets bonus points for being born in Iowa.

Other highlights in the 2018 acquisitions:

_ A color photo called ``Main Street Laundromat'' taken in 2012 by Kathya Maria Landeros (1977 -). It is one in a series exploring Mexican-American identity and the immigrant experience. The laundromat is in the state of Washington where migrant workers come to pick apples and pears, Wallace said.

_ A 1936 picture of sand dunes by American photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958), whose works are known for their contrasts in texture and light. His work is found in most major American museums.

_ A picture of Half Dome in California's Yosemite Valley, taken by William E. Dassonville (1879-1957) in 1906, more than a decade before the more famous Ansel Adams began his work.

_ ``Wooden Indian,'' a painting by Native American artist Fritz Scholder (1937-2005) who broke new ground in the way Native Americans are portrayed in fine art. His goal was to ``paint the Indian real, not red.''

Scholder ``is extremely well-known in collections all over the world,'' Wallace said. ``He is an important American painter, important abstract painter, important figurative painter. We're happy to have this hugely important work by him.''

_ ``XOXOXO'' by Puerto Rican-American artist Dan Monteavaro (1975- ), aka Moncho 1929, is the Figge's first example of street art-inspired work.

Large red X's and O's are painted against a background that looks like a blown-up comic book page.

_ ``Great Wall of Poverty'' is a large work by African-American artist Michelangelo Lovelace (1960- ) who is being collected by museums throughout the country, Wallace said.

The painting shows a street scene with a large wall dividing the ``haves,'' represented by skyscrapers, from the ``have nots,'' represented by about 75 people engaged in drug dealing, pick pocketing and soliciting for prostitution.

A child carries a sign that asks ``Where's Daddy?'' and a billboard advises to ``Play the lottery, it's your only hope.''

The artist ``intentionally made his work look child-like, but his themes are weighty,'' Wallace said. ``We like it because you can show it to kids and you can talk about these things, but it's not so graphic as to be disturbing.''

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

 

Granddaughter Works to Save Barry Goldwater Photo Collection

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — In Alison Goldwater Ross’ earliest memories of her grandfather Barry Goldwater, there’s always a 35mm camera hanging from his neck.

The senator photographed more than 15,000 images of Arizona’s landscapes and Native Americans over his lifetime. Twenty years after Goldwater’s death, Ross wants to preserve the Republican icon’s photographs, with some newly digitized images showcased this month in Arizona Highways magazine and next month at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.

The project was launched after Ross discussed her grandfather’s work with her uncle Michael Goldwater, the family historian since the senator died in 1998 at the age of 89. Now 55 and living in Atlanta, Ross said she adored accompanying her “bigger than life” grandfather on the Arizona campaign trail and meeting celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor. Like his other grandchildren, she called him by the nickname “Paka.”

“I practically had an anxiety attack just thinking about what was happening to the images. They had been sitting around for so long,” said Ross, the daughter of Joanne, the oldest of the four Goldwater children.

After consulting with family members, Ross in January formed the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation, which holds the rights to the photographs. The project came together with funding from the Salt River Project, a water and power provider that supports local arts and culture.

All photographic film deteriorates as it’s exposed to moisture and heat, and Michael Goldwater said preserving the images had long been a concern.

“She’s really doing a great job getting interest in the project,” he said of his niece. “We totally support her. My father wanted his work saved for future historians and researchers.”

His father Barry was born in 1909 in Arizona Territory three years before statehood and took his first pictures as a boy with his mother’s Brownie, a popular box camera that introduced photography to the masses.

After his wife, Peggy, gave him a camera on their first Christmas together, Goldwater documented the diversity of Arizona’s tribes and landscapes, mostly in black and white with view cameras like the Graflex and Rolleiflex. Those images included the dramatic cliffs and sculpted mesas of places like the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, the deeply lined face of an elderly Navajo man, and two young Navajo girls tending their sheep in the snow.

Goldwater made color photos of his family with the 35mm and had a movie camera as well.

“You can go anyplace in that state,” Goldwater said in a 1985 interview about the best location in Arizona to take pictures. “Anyplace. From the Mexican border clear up to the Utah border, it’s all photogenic. In the south you have the desert. You have the biggest stand of pine trees in the world in the central part. ... You can literally spend your life out there and never quite get it all.”

Goldwater’s work earned him a lifetime membership in the Royal Photographic Society and the praise of noted landscape photographer Ansel Adams, who described the senator as a “fine and eager” amateur photographer who was as accomplished as any professional.

Another granddaughter, Anna Goldwater Alexander, the daughter of Michael and director of photography at Wired magazine, called the senator a “statesman who recorded Arizona history through the lens of a camera” in Arizona Highways’ December issue.

“When I go back through his archive today, I can’t help wondering whether he realized his beautiful photographs not only documented history, but also revealed the sensitive side of his dynamic personality,” Alexander wrote.

As a politician, Goldwater wrote the best-selling “Conscience of a Conservative” and in 1964 famously declared that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” when accepting the Republican nomination. The man known as “Mr. Conservative” lost the presidential race in a landslide to Democratic incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson.

Goldwater served five terms as a senator, from 1953 to 1965 and 1969 to 1987, and was succeeded by John McCain. The former Air Force pilot who served in WWII was also known as the elder party statesman who persuaded Richard Nixon to resign in 1974 when it became clear the president would not survive the Watergate investigation.

Arizona Highways regularly showcased Goldwater’s photographs over the decades, and this month’s special collector’s issue with 46 of his photographs quickly sold out.

“I never had the privilege of meeting the gentleman, but I feel like I know him,” said Arizona Highways Editor Robert Stieve. “He has been a big part of our history since 1938.”

Most of the photos showcased in the special edition also go on display Jan. 6 through June 23 at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West as Photographs by Barry M. Goldwater: The Arizona Highways Collection.

Although many images remain with the family, big parts of the collection are also housed in three institutions: the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Hayden Library at Arizona State University in Tempe and the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Ross said the family commissioned the first bit of digitization, but the photography center next year will also start digitizing the hundreds of large format images there, with repair of each negative taking from two to eight hours.

Goldwater also was an avid collector of kachina dolls, wood carvings of Hopi spirits. He donated 400 of them to the Heard Museum in 1969.

Tricia Loscher, the western museum’s assistant director and chief curator of the Goldwater exhibit, said that as a Heard intern in the 1990s she was tasked with cataloging his kachina dolls. With the photo show, “I feel like I’m coming full circle,” she said.

Like Goldwater, Loscher is a lifelong Arizona resident, and she said she appreciated his photographs of the Southwest, images she said “could never be replicated in the Midwest, Northwest or any other place in the world.”

The photographs, she said, “reflect his own brand of sensitivity and clarity, which came from being a native of Arizona, the time in which he lived and the love and respect he had for life.”

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Follow Anita Snow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/asnowreports

 

Woman Admits Embezzling from Blackfeet Head Start

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) _ A Montana woman has admitted her role in a scheme in which employees at the Blackfeet Tribe's Head Start program falsely claimed a combined 7,800 hours in overtime pay.

The admission by 60-year-old Denise Sharp of Browning in federal court in Great Falls comes after four other defendants previously pleaded guilty in the scheme involving $232,000 in unearned pay.

A sixth defendant died while her case was pending.

Sharp's guilty plea must be accepted by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris. Sentencing was set for March 20. She faces potential prison time and $38,711 in restitution.

Two defendants already sentenced in the case each received two years of probation and were ordered to pay restitution.

Prosecutors said the tribe repaid the federal government over $250,000 for disallowed overtime and other costs.

 

Oglala Sioux Tribe's New Police Chief Revamps Department

Robert Ecoffey. (Photo Credit: Rapid City Journal)

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) _ The Oglala Sioux Tribe's new police chief has revamped the department six months into the position, bringing new ideas and programming to the law enforcement agency that was lacking leadership and manpower.

The tribe's police chief Robert Ecoffey tells the Rapid City Journal that the biggest impact the last six months has been the number of officers the department has spread throughout Pine Ridge Reservation. He says the Oglala Sioux Tribe's police department now has 54 police officers, compared to 24 officers in April.

Ecoffey says he's assigned three full-time officers to work on enforcing the tribe's drug and alcohol laws on the reservation.

Many people thought illegal alcohol sales would decrease after the border town of Whiteclay, Nebraska, shuttered its beer stores, but Ecoffey says he's seen more bootlegging.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

 

400 Years Later, Natives Who Helped Pilgrims Gain a Voice

By WILLIAM J. KOLE
Associated Press

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) _ The seaside town where the Pilgrims came ashore in 1620 is gearing up for a 400th birthday bash, and everyone's invited _ especially the native people whose ancestors wound up losing their land and their lives.

Plymouth, Massachusetts, whose European settlers have come to symbolize American liberty and grit, marks its quadricentennial in 2020 with a trans-Atlantic commemoration that will put Native Americans' unvarnished side of the story on full display.

``It's history. It happened,'' said Michele Pecoraro, executive director of Plymouth 400, Inc., a nonprofit group organizing yearlong events. ``We're not going to solve every problem and make everyone feel better. We just need to move the needle.''

Organizers are understandably cautious this time around. When the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing was observed in 1970, state officials disinvited a leader of the Wampanoag Nation _ the Native American tribe that helped the haggard newcomers survive their first bitter winter _ after learning his speech would bemoan the disease, racism and oppression that followed the Pilgrims.

That triggered angry demonstrations from tribal members who staged a National Day of Mourning, a somber remembrance that indigenous New Englanders have observed on every Thanksgiving Day since.

This time, there's pressure to get it right, said Jim Peters, a Wampanoag who directs the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs.

``We'll be able to tell some stories of what happened to us _ to delve back into our history and talk about it,'' Peters said. ``Hopefully it will give us a chance to re-educate people and have a national discussion about how we should be treating each other.''

The commemoration known as Plymouth 400 will feature events throughout 2020, including a maritime salute in Plymouth Harbor in June, an embarkation festival in September, and a week of ceremonies around Thanksgiving.

The Mayflower II , a replica of the ship that carried the settlers from Europe to the New World four centuries ago, will sail to Boston in the spring. That autumn, it will head to Provincetown, at the outermost tip of Cape Cod, where the Pilgrims initially landed before continuing on to Plymouth.

Events also are planned in Britain and in the Netherlands, where the Pilgrims spent 11 years in exile before making their perilous sea crossing.

But the emphasis is on highlighting the often-ignored history of the Wampanoag and poking holes in the false narrative that Pilgrims and Indians coexisted in peace and harmony.

An interactive exhibit now making the rounds describes how the Wampanoag were cheated and enslaved, and in August 2020 tribal members will guide visitors on a walk through Plymouth to point out and consecrate spots where their ancestors once trod.

There are also plans to invite relatives of the late Wampanoag elder Wamsutta ``Frank'' James to publicly read that speech he wasn't allowed to deliver in 1970 _ an address that includes this passage: ``We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end.''

``The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans,'' the speech reads.

Dusty Rhodes, who chairs a separate state commission working to ensure the commemoration has a global profile, said she hopes it all helps make amends for centuries of ``mishandled and misrepresented'' history.

``The Pilgrims were the first immigrants,'' said Plymouth 400's Pecoraro. ``We're in a place in this country where we need solidarity. We need to come together. We need to be talking about immigration and indigenous people.''

Plymouth, nicknamed ``America's Hometown,'' is sure to draw a crush of 2020 presidential candidates who will use its monuments as campaign backdrops. With President Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II and other heads of state on the invitation list, state and federal authorities already are busy mapping out security plans.

Wampanoag tribal leader and activist Linda Coombs, who's helped plan the commemoration, is skeptical that anything meaningful will change for her people.

``It's a world stage, so we'll have more visibility than we've had in the past,'' she said. ``We'll see if it's enough. It'll be a measuring stick for all that has to come afterward.''

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Follow Bill Kole on Twitter at https://twitter.com/billkole

 

9/11 Museum Honors Mohawk Ironworkers with Exhibit

Skywalkers: A Portrait of Mohawk Ironworkers at the World Trade Center opened on Friday, November 16.

Generally unknown to the public, Mohawk ironworkers helped shape the New York City skyline, including the twin towers and the newly rebuilt World Trade Center. Because of their connection to the towers, some of these ironworkers volunteered in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks.

The exhibition revolves around Melissa Cacciola’s tintype portraits of Mohawk ironworkers, exploring the connection between these ironworkers and the World Trade Center site. It will help illuminate the immense contribution generations of these men have made to the city, especially in its darkest moment.

To accompany the portrait photography, the Museum team is also recording an audio guide in the Kahnawake and Akwesasne dialects of the Mohawk language. “We are very proud of this particular initiative to really engage the diverse, multi-faceted community of those impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” stated a Museum spokesperson.

To preview the exhibit, visit Melissa Cacciola’s website.

To attend a special informational event on December 16th with the artist, Kahanwake Council Chief Lindsay LeBorgne and Local 40 Business Manager Robert Walsh, visit 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

 

OSU Hopes to Attract Native American Students to Sciences

By K.S. MCNUTT
The Oklahoman

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A group of Native American high school students handled human bones and organs during a recent field trip designed to spark their interest in science and medicine.

Taking the students on a tour of the 206 bones in the body was Brandon Postoak, a first-year medical student at Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences.

Postoak is Chickasaw and Choctaw, which makes him an important role model, said Kent Smith, a paleontologist and anatomy professor.

The lack of Native mentors is the greatest barrier to recruiting Native American students to careers in science and medicine, said Smith, who is Comanche and Chickasaw.

``We're the overlooked minority, but the largest one in Oklahoma at 12 percent,'' he told The Oklahoman .

Smith _ associate dean in the Office for the Advancement of American Indians in Medicine and Science at OSU's Center for Health Sciences _ heads the Native Explorers program to introduce Native students to science.

Recently, about 40 high school students attending the national conference of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society at the Cox Convention Center took a field trip to OSU-OKC to hear Smith and others talk about careers in medicine.

Of the 30,000 students who graduated from medical school last spring, only about 100 were Native Americans, Smith told the students.

``There are just not many applying,'' he said.

OSU-OKC President Brad Williams, a member of the Choctaw Nation, said he invited the students to campus to promote health careers.

Williams asked them to think about ``your talents and skills, and how can you use the gifts you have for the greater good.''

Celine Cortes, an OSU graduate student in biomedical sciences, showed the students normal and diseased human organs.

``It looks like a pork chop,'' one student said when Cortes displayed a heart.

The brain drew the most interest.

``What's this?'' Cortes asked, pointing to the lower brain.

``It's the medulla oblongata,'' she said, warning the students to be careful not to injure theirs. ``It controls your breathing and heart rate.''

After her presentation, the students were invited to put on gloves and closely examine the organs.

``We have a keen interest in all of you,'' said Tom Anderson, a Cherokee who is executive director of the Association of American Indian Physicians.

``You have an inherit responsibility as a tribal citizen to make the world better for those coming after you,'' he said. ``Remember your heritage and your culture.''

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

 

Native American Graduation Rate Improves in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ The high school graduation rate for Native Americans in North Dakota is rising, but a significant disparity persists when compared to the overall student population.

Data recently released by the state's Department of Public Instruction show that the 2017 graduation rate for Native American students was 67.3 percent, up from 65.2 percent in 2016. Findings also show that dropout rates have decreased for Native American students, which represent about 10 percent of the K-12 student population in North Dakota.

But the report identified a 23 percent gap in 2017 graduation rates between Native American students and their white counterparts, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler called the Native American graduation rate increase a ``good start,'' but said that there's ``a lot of work ahead of us.''

North Dakota education officials identified the need to improve Native American graduations rates a few years ago, Baesler said. The state analyzed how instruction could be provided differently to Native American students both on and off the reservation, adding a cultural component to the K-12 curriculum called Native American Essential Understandings.

``Once you get past the idea of identifying there's a problem, you can start to begin to work on a solution,'' she said.

The Department of Public Instruction met twice with tribal leaders on all five of the state's reservations last year, Baesler said. The meetings were part of the state's compliance with federal education law Every Student Succeeds Act, which includes a section about tribal engagement.

Baesler said the meetings ``broke down some barriers'' between the department and tribal government.

The department will also continue to administer its Native American Needs Assessment Survey, said Lucy Fredericks, director of the department's Office of Indian/Multicultural Education. The agency will send out a survey next month.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

 

Ranchers, U.S. Square Off Over Fencing at National Preserve

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Miles of fencing separating a national preserve from forested grazing pastures in northern New Mexico have been compromised over the years by wildfire, falling trees and herds of elk.

Cattle have found their way through the porous border of Valles Caldera National Preserve, their numbers escalating over the dry summer months to what park managers described as ``critical mass'' despite attempts by some owners to herd the livestock out on horseback.

Park rangers initiated a roundup last week after getting complaints from visitors and anglers, prompting a showdown with ranchers who say cattle were held with little food or water and it's up to the federal government to mend the fences.

Chris Lovato said he spent much of the summer gathering cattle that had wandered out of his grazing allotment on the adjacent Santa Fe National Forest in search of grass and water in an area hit hard by drought.

``It became a revolving door because 80 percent of the fence is down,'' the 70-year-old rancher said.

Each time, he called park rangers and forest managers to let them know he would be riding in on horseback. He also asked whether the fence would be fixed.

The answer, he said, was no.

In New Mexico, state law puts the burden on landowners to erect fences if they want to keep out trespassing animals. Before Valles Caldera was turned over to the Park Service, the trust that managed the expansive property handled the maintenance, and forest officials say it's generally a shared effort among neighboring property owners.

But officials at Valles Caldera say federal courts have upheld the principal that state fence-out laws are generally pre-empted by U.S. regulations requiring livestock owners to keep their animals off certain federal lands.

``While we will continue to do our part to maintain our boundary fences, there's no obligation for the Park Service to fence out potential trespass livestock under state laws,'' preserve Superintendent Jorge Silva-Banuelos said. ``The adjacent livestock owners do have a role to play in the maintenance of their allotment fences that border the preserve.''

Rather than issuing citations or fines, preserve officials said they wanted to handle the trespassing cattle informally by rounding them up and calling a state brand inspector to identify the owners so they could be trucked out.

Ranchers argue that the preserve should have posted a notice of their intention to impound the animals. They say more than 300 cows, calves and some bulls were corralled without hay and with little water for days until they could make the 300-mile (483-kilometer) roundtrip to trailer the livestock home.

One cow died, and ranchers have reported that the animals were in bad shape.

Lovato made multiple trips last weekend to move eight loads of cattle after he was told he wouldn't be allowed to herd them by horseback less than 2 miles back to his allotment.

``The federal government, instead of helping us, they're just punishing us after what we faced this summer,'' he said, referring to the challenges of the drought.

Silva-Banuelos said trespassing livestock have long been a problem at the preserve and federal regulations spell out how it must be handled.

``It's a pretty routine activity, but as we start getting more and more complaints from visitors and anglers, it's something that we have to make sure that we're upholding our obligations to protect and preserve the resources that Congress established as a national park,'' he said.

Dubbed the ``Yellowstone of the Southwest,'' Valles Calderas is home to vast grasslands, the remnants of one of North America's few super volcanoes and one of New Mexico's most famous elk herds. The bear claw-shaped ring of mountain peaks that form the caldera is culturally significant to neighboring Native American tribes.

Gary Ziehe, who was the first executive director of Valles Caldera after the federal government bought it, said the fence has been difficult to maintain since some stretches cross remote and rugged territory.

Ranchers hope a solution can be found, and Silva-Banuelos said he plans to meet with some of them.

``We want to be good neighbors,'' Ziehe said.

 

Oil Company Facing Tribal Opposition Proposes More Wells

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ An oil company facing tribal opposition to drilling wells on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation close to Lake Sakakawea has proposed 23 more wells near the Missouri River reservoir.

The federal Bureau of Land Management is reviewing drilling permit applications from Slawson Exploration, some for wells less than 1,000 feet from the lake, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

A federal judge last year halted the drilling of proposed wells when the Three Affiliated Tribes argued they should be farther from the lake under tribal policy that requires a 1,000-foot setback and tribal approval for drilling within half a mile of the lake.

The lake is the tribe's primary source of drinking water, and also a tribal cultural and recreational resource.

The company challenged the order and the judge reversed it . The company is drilling on private land on the reservation in northwestern North Dakota and developing minerals under the lake that are not owned by American Indians. The company said those wells should be complete by late November.

``There's no application of that tribal law to these projects,'' said Eric Sundberg, Slawson's vice president of environmental and regulatory affairs.

The tribe continues to fight the earlier ruling, maintaining that tribal regulations should apply to all oil development within its reservation boundaries.

``If there's a contamination or impact to occur ... we're all going to be impacted one way or another,'' tribal Chairman Mark Fox said.

The BLM is accepting comments on the new drilling permit applications through Oct. 5.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

 

BIA Law Enforcement Seizes 17 Lbs. of Heroin & Methamphetamine on Pueblo Reservation

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke applauded the efforts of a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services (OJS) K-9 Police Officer who recently took more than 17 pounds of deadly drugs off the streets. The BIA officer was monitoring vehicle traffic on Interstate 25 on the San Felipe Pueblo Indian Reservation when he conducted a traffic stop resulting in the arrest of an individual, and the seizure of approximately 15.9 pounds of methamphetamine and 1.25 pounds of heroin.

A field test of the substances was conducted and returned positive results for the presence of methamphetamine from one of the fifteen packages and heroin from the one of packages. One package did test positive for heroin and had an approximate weight of 1.25 pounds (567.67 grams). On Thursday, August 30, 2018, a Criminal Complaint was filed in the District of New Mexico and the suspect was held for further court proceedings.

"Our Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers are the front line in America’s ongoing fight against opioids," said Secretary Zinke. "I applaud their fine efforts today and every day. Opioids have had a disproportionately negative effect on American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and as Secretary of the Interior, I understand how imperative our efforts are on this urgent issue. The DOI Opioid Task Force is doing a great job. I thank President Trump for his great leadership in helping us find creative ways to solve this crisis, and I look forward to a day when opioids no longer claim the lives of so many of our citizens."

"Thank you, Secretary Zinke and the hard working BIA-OJS officers on the ground, for helping to keep Indian Country safe," said Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney. "The President's Initiative is directly impacting the families within our tribal communities."

The Department of the Interior is committed to making available resources required to fight drug abuse, and earlier this year Secretary Zinke established the Department of the Interior’s drug fighting Joint Task Force to help achieve President Donald Trump's mission to end the opioid epidemic and make America safe. So far, the task force has made 155 arrests and confiscated approximately 1,155 pounds of illegal drugs. Secretary Zinke has continually worked with tribes to carry out President Trump’s directive to stop the drug and opioid crisis, conducting dozens of tribal visits to see the affected communities, while listening and learning about how to fight the crisis on the ground.

 

Wisconsin Commercial Fishing Operations Record Numbers

BAYFIELD, Wis. (AP) _ Commercial fishing operations near the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior are reporting record numbers of whitefish and a strong recovery of lake trout since a decline in the early 2000s.

Craig Hoopman of Lake Superior whitefish told the state's Natural Resources Board that he's seeing record numbers of young whitefish and a strong rebounding of lake trout numbers, Wisconsin Public Radio reported .

Fishing has been exceptional so far this year, said Hoopman, who chairs the state Department of Natural Resources Lake Superior Commercial Fishing Board.

``We're averaging between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds of whitefish per day in the traps right now and releasing thousands of sub-legal fish,'' said Hoopman. ``There's just multiple year classes of fish.''

White fish is the most sought-after species, but Hoopman said he's also seeing strong numbers of lake trout after a decades-long population decline that began in 1950s.

``There's around three year classes of lake trout that I'm seeing daily that are extremely large,'' he said. ``Very nice, beautiful-looking fish, healthy, the whitefish, the lake trout, all the species that I'm seeing every day, they are feeding well, there just healthy-looking fish.''

Lake trout populations crashed during the 1950s and 1960s due in part to the introduction of invasive sea lamprey, said DNR fisheries biologist Brad Ray.

The DNR, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission have worked for decades to reduce the numbers of lamprey to reduce, which has allowed the lake trout populations to recover, according to Ray.

Hoopman credited refuges near the Apostle Islands for letting the whitefish and trout populations boom.

``We have a fishery that is protected here,'' he said. ``It is of such utmost importance of our restricted use areas and the refuge that we have in place that have been there for a long time to protect these fish and also our closed season dates.''

If the younger whitefish and lake trout are able to grow to maturity, the Apostle Islands and South Shore region of Lake Superior could become a national sport fishing destination, Hoopman said.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

Groups to Discuss Vatican Edicts' Impact on Native Americans

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (AP) _ Members of the Six Nations of the Iroquois and experts in Native American legal and civil rights issues are hosting a conference in central New York for discussions on 500-year-old Vatican edicts whose impacts are still felt today.

The conference being held Saturday and Sunday at the Great Law of Peace Center outside Syracuse focuses on how Native American tribes were impacted by what's known as the Doctrine of Discovery.

The term refers to papal bulls issued by the Catholic Church in the 15th century as Europeans were setting out to explore the New World. The edicts gave explorers the right to claim lands for their Christian monarchs.

The Iroquois Confederacy has called on the Vatican to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery for having a negative impact on indigenous people.

Illinois Black Hawk Statue Secures Restoration Funding

OREGON, Ill. (AP) _ Efforts to restore a 107-year-old statue in northern Illinois have received financial backing this summer from the state and a local business.

The Rockford Register Star reports that heavy-duty trailer manufacturing company E.D. Etnyre & Co. donated $100,000 this week for the Eternal Indian statue, colloquially known as Black Hawk.

The project in Oregon, Illinois involves recreating the statue's original mix of concrete and red granite to keep it standing for many more years.

Company owner Edward D. Etnyre was starting the business in 1910 when he furnished artist Lorado Taft with supplies for the 48-foot-tall (15-meter tall) icon.

The state Department of Natural Resources received a $350,000 grant from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in May.

The Black Hawk Restoration Team is also raising funds for the restoration.

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

 

Car Dealership Removes Native American Statue After 50 Years

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ A North Carolina car dealership has taken down a 23-foot fiberglass statue of a Native American that has drawn complaints over its 50-year history.

The Asheville Citizen Times reports that Harry's On the Hill was prompted to take down the statue known as ``Chief Pontiac'' partly because of a bad experience by a female customer who's a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The newspaper said an employee was fired after sending an offensive text message to the customer in June. Even before that, some Native Americans had complained about the statue.

The statue was removed Friday with a crane. It's being donated to the Pontiac-Oakland Transportation Museum in Michigan.

Pat Grimes, owner of Harry's, said he received offers to buy the statue but felt that the museum was best for it.

WWII Navajo Code Talker Samuel Tom Holiday Dies at Age 94

GEORGE, Utah (AP) _ Samuel Tom Holiday, one of the last surviving Navajo Code Talkers, died in southern Utah Monday surrounded by family members who raised money through a crowdfunding campaign to be by his side.

He was 94.

Holiday was among hundreds of Navajos who used a code based on their native language to transmit messages in World War II. The Japanese never broke it.

He was 19 when he joined the Marine Corps and became a part of operations in several locations across the Pacific during the war, according to The Spectrum. A mortar explosion left him with hearing loss, but he would later tell family that he always felt safe during battle because of a pouch around his neck holding sacred stones and yellow corn pollen.

He received a Congressional Silver Medal, a Purple Heart and other recognition for his action during the conflict.

After the war, Holiday returned to the Navajo reservation and worked as a police officer, a ranger and later started his own equipment company. He married Lupita Mae Isaac and had eight children.

In 2013, Holiday co-wrote a book about his experience as a Code Talker called ``Under the Eagle.''

Fewer than 10 Code Talkers are believed to be alive today. The exact number is unknown because the program remained classified for several years following the war.

Holiday spent his later days living at the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins, Utah.

Shortly before his death, family members turned to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to raise $4,000 to be able to visit him in hospice care. The Navajo Nation said he was surrounded by friends and family when he died.

There will be a viewing at the Hughes Mortuary in St. George, Utah, on Thursday and funeral services in Monument Valley on Friday, according to the Navajo Nation Council.

Holiday will be buried at a veterans' cemetery in the Navajo community of Kayenta, Arizona, next to his wife.

The library at the Kayenta Middle School is named for Holiday.

He is survived by six children, 35 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

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This story has been corrected to say Holiday is survived by six children, not five.

Photo Credit: Samuel T. Holiday Facebook Page

Murkowski: Bill Would Create New Native Corporations

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) _ Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski says a proposed bill would give 100,000 acres of federal land in total to Native groups in five Southeast Alaska towns.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports the proposed legislation _ also called the ``Alaska Native Claims Improvement Act of 2017'' _ looks to mitigate issues with the original Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act that was passed almost a half century ago.

A major component of the legislation involves the formation of Native corporations in five Southeast Alaska communities _ Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Tenakee and Haines.

Murkowski says these five communities were never granted village or urban corporations.

The bill says upon incorporation, each of the five new corporations would receive ``one township of land (23,040 acres).''

Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com

 

School district votes to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day

 SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) _ A Long Island school district has voted to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day in place of Columbus Day for the coming academic year.

The six-member Southampton School Board voted 4-2 in favor of adopting next year's calendar which designates the new holiday on Monday, Oct. 8. Newsday reports the board had previously adopted a generic calendar for the past three years that didn't list holiday names.

Southampton students had asked the board to take Christopher Columbus' name off the holiday in 2016.

Board Member James McKenna, who voted no, says he feels the decision to change the name slights Italian-Americans.

Board Member Roberta Hunter, a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, says she disagrees with McKenna's reasoning on the vote.

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Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

 

 Navajo Prep students win $10K for Gold King Mine spill study

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) _ Students at Navajo Preparatory School researching the lasting impacts of the 2015 Gold King Mine spill have won $10,000 for their work.

The Farmington Daily Times reports seven sophomores and juniors in a gifted-and-talented program at the school entered the Lexus Eco Challenge with a project that involved testing green onion roots for iron and zine after they had been submerged into the Animas River. The work won them $8,000 in scholarships, and $2,000 for school equipment.

They now are competing in a second phase of the competition.

More than two years ago, the EPA accidently released 3 million gallons of mustard-colored water from southwestern Colorado's Gold King Mine into the Animas River. The spill tainted water in three states, as well as the Navajo Nation.

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Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com