Fish Farmer, Government, Tribe Partner on Salmon Stocking Program

CUTLER, Maine (AP) _ A fish farming company says it's working with government agencies and a tribal group to raise salmon to be released into a Maine river.

Cooke Aquaculture says it's working on the project with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the federal government and the Penobscot Indian Nation. The company says the project involves growing juvenile Atlantic salmon to adult size in aquaculture pens near Cutler and releasing them into the Penobscot River's East Branch.

Salmon were once plentiful in Maine's rivers, but the fish are now listed under the U.S.'s Endangered Species Act. Cooke says about 5,000 adult salmon will be taken to the East Branch and tributaries in fall 2021 or 2022. It says that will result in the most spawning adults in the Penobscot River in decades.

 

Corps: No More Dakota Access Pipeline Study Needed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ An attorney for the Army Corps of Engineers is asking a judge to sign off on the Corps' conclusion that the Dakota Access oil pipeline doesn't harm American Indian tribes.

The Corps wants U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to rule in favor of its August 2018 finding that no more environmental study is needed on the $3.8 billion pipeline. The pipeline has been moving North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois for more than two years.

The Standing Rock Sioux want the pipeline shut down and more study done. The tribe fears an oil spill could contaminate the Missouri River.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that a Justice Department attorney argues that the Corps ``carefully and reasonably considered the environmental impacts'' before it permitted the pipeline.

Pipeline developer Texas-based Energy Transfer says the line is safe.

___

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

 

 

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Opening Behavioral Health Center

TOWAOC (AP) – The night she lost her teenage cousin to suicide, a boy she considered her brother, Cheyenne Hayes thought her mind was going crazy.

As the Ute Mountain Ute tribal community mourned the deaths of two middle school boys – Andrew William Cuch Jr., 14, and Jeit Redrock Height, 15 – on the same January night, Hayes and her friends grieved.

She could hear her friends’ pain as they spoke about their own lives. Hayes found her own mind traveling down a similarly dark road.

“I told myself I couldn’t go down the same path my brother went down,” Hayes said. “Because that wouldn’t solve anything.”

But as the 17-year-old counseled her struggling friends, she scoffed at the idea of seeing a therapist. Most of her friends felt the same way. And the few who did seek help said the professional didn’t understand what they were going through.

“I already know what to do on my own,” Hayes said.

The deaths of two middle school boys have forced the Ute Mountain Ute tribe to confront long-held stigmas surrounding suicide and mental health, which plague Native Americans at a higher rate than any other population in the United States.

This fall, a new behavioral health building five years in the making will open on the reservation. Tribal leaders have touted its potential to bring much-needed help to the Ute people: trained clinicians on site, specialists to help clients navigate the world of behavioral health and a culturally relevant program designed for a population saddled with hundreds of years of historical trauma, high rates of substance abuse and domestic violence.

The new resources come as communities across the state confront a troubling rise in youth suicides.

But as the Ute Mountain Ute tribe prepares to cut the ribbon on its new facility, it must convince members young and old to open up about an immensely painful topic that hits everyone close to home.

‘Subject that nobody wants to talk about’

Colorado leaders, community residents and teenagers have sounded the alarm over the recent surge in youth suicides, which have risen to become the leading cause of death for people between 10 and 24. Between 2015 and 2017, there were 533 suicides by teens and children, up from 340 such deaths between 2003 and 2005, according to a report by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

While suicide affects all populations, Native Americans and Alaska Natives have the highest rates of any racial/ethnic group in the United States, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the rates of suicide in Native American populations have been increasing since 2003.

Montezuma County, where the Ute Mountain Ute reservation lies, has the fourth-highest suicide rate in Colorado at 42 deaths per 100,000 people – more than double the statewide average.

And on a Native American reservation of fewer than 2,200 people, tragedy reaches everybody.

From teens up through elders, the entire tribe had some connection or relation to the two middle schoolers who died by suicide on that January night.

The Ute Mountain reservation has seen suicide before. Since 2004, there were at least 13 suicides among Native Americans in Montezuma County, according to state data. Suicide among Native American populations, however, is notoriously underreported, health officials say.

But the most recent deaths shocked the community, given the age of the boys. “It’s really opened a lot of people’s eyes,” said tribal councilwoman DeAnne House.

The sheer number of tragedies have made it hard for people to move on.

“Grief has cycles,” House said. “And we don’t get to see the full cycle because people lose someone the next week and it just keeps going. We don’t ever get that chance to take a breath and relax and accept what’s happening with our people.”

Prisllena Nightstarr, the tribe’s treasurer, has been through the grieving cycle with her own daughter, who killed herself at age 24.

Nightstarr now talks to schools, adults and other groups about suicide, about opening up, about forgiveness and acceptance.

“This is a subject that nobody wants to talk about because it’s embarrassing, it’s belittling,” Nightstarr said. “But you know what the bottom line is? It’s a reality of what our people are going through.”

She has encouraged people to talk, to share their emotions.

“When you share your experience, it heals and mends the soul,” Nightstarr said.

'Confronting stigmas'

Despite prodding from those such as Nightstarr, the stigma surrounding mental health discourages many Native Americans from seeking help.

“It’s still seen as shameful and deficient of moral character to be depressed,” said Dr. Spero Manson, director for the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado.

There used to be similar stigmas in Native American communities surrounding alcohol abuse, Manson said, but through years of discussions and prominent role models, those stigmas have largely abated.

“We have much less of that with depression, anxiety and suicide,” Manson said.

Kamea Clark, 18, has seen friends go to therapy, only for their families to find out and share a big laugh.

“Everyone knows where to go for help,” Clark said, “but they’re too scared and intimidated by family members because on reservation, everyone’s tough.”

Teenagers going through a hard time often don’t want to talk to their parents because they might just tell them to toughen up, she said. Instead, if teens choose to open up, it’s with each other.

“I feel like my friends are more accepting,” Clark said. “They understand mental health is a big problem all over the world, but parents think it’s more of a phase.”

“‘Oh, she’s just a teenager,’” Clark said, quoting a phrase she’s heard from parents. “‘She’s upset; she’ll get over it.’”

The tribe has worked to fight this sentiment and raise awareness of mental health issues. The Ute Mountain Utes were one of four tribes nationwide to be included in the Tiwahe program, an Obama-era initiative that provides additional resources to Native American communities for health, housing, culture and public safety.

One of the Tiwahe projects included a series of short films shot and produced by teenagers, including Clark and Hayes.

In the 2015 short film “Escape,” Clark plays a 14-year-old girl named Rachel who’s constantly bullied by her sister and other classmates. The film follows Rachel and her best friend, Adam, 17, who has been shunned by his alcoholic stepfather after coming out of the closet. Feeling rejected by their peers and family, Rachel and Adam make a suicide pact, but decide in the end to live.

“Once we got to the point where we were going to do it, it just didn’t seem like a good solution,” Rachel tells the camera.

At the end of the film, a transformed Rachel chastises Adam’s father for being drunk before confronting the group of girls who had previously tortured her, a smile crossing her face as the screen fades to black.

The themes depicted in the film – alcoholism, sexuality, suicide and bullying – are ones that Clark sees every day on the reservation.

“I wanted to send the message that it’s OK to ask for help,” Clark said about the film. “It’s OK to talk to people. If you’re having mental issues or not feeling OK, you can make a change and get the help you need.”

DeAnne House said she’s seen an awakening from young people when it comes to the recent suicides.

“There are things happening with our youth that they have always kept covered,” she said. “They’re finally speaking and saying, ‘This is what’s wrong. This is where our disparities are, this is how we feel, and these are our needs.’”

‘Story of a transformed heart’

When House won a seat on the tribal council, she made it her mission to get behavioral health services to the reservation.

After all, House has seen the need in her own family: She lost all but one of her uncles to substance abuse issues.

Her niece has struggled with addiction.

As a trained addictions counselor, House has worked with countless people in need of help. She knew the tribe needed more resources.

After five years of discussions, planning sessions and grant-writing, House learned they would receive funding for the new behavioral health center.

“It was a very emotional day,” House said, looking out the window at the excavated lot that will soon house the new facility. “We will finally have something that we can actually see and feel out there.”

The behavioral health center, which is scheduled to open in October, will be called Mógúán – “my heart” in the Ute dialect.

“The building is the story of a transformed heart,” said Todd Giesen, the health center’s project director. “When a young person comes in, they’ve got a broken heart. But when they walk out, they’ve got a transformed heart.”

Mógúán will include two new clinicians, two staff members to help people navigate the behavioral health system, and one nurse, Giesen said. One clinician, who specializes in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, has already provided nearly 50 hours of clinical services, he said.

“It’s amazing to see how people have responded to her,” Giesen said.

Mógúán will be centered around trauma-informed care that takes into account the history of Native American people, he said. It aims to be restorative and holistic, with particular focus on the behavioral health needs of those younger than 24.

As Giesen worked to develop concepts and plans for the new facility, he struggled with the same problem encountered by reservations across the country: finding Native American mental health clinicians.

It is the most underrepresented minority group in psychology, Greywolf said.

There are about 400 doctorally trained Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian psychologists in the United States, said Dr. Joseph Gone, a Harvard professor who focuses on psychology in indigenous communities.

But the majority of the highly skilled practitioners – more than 75%, Gone estimated – do not work on reservations or with Native American populations.

Experts say there’s a laundry list of reasons why it’s hard to recruit and retain trained professionals to work on reservations: lower pay; steep learning curves, especially for non-Native American providers; fewer resources and a lack of colleagues doing similar work, leading to high burnout rates.

“It’s hard to get people,” Giesen said. “The pond is definitely smaller.”

As the tribal council looks forward to the new facility and Giesen assembles his staff, some members of the tribe remain skeptical.

“They’re wasting their money,” said Hayes, the 17-year-old. “None of these kids are gonna go. I wouldn’t.”

Teens on the reservation don’t want to express their feelings to a random person, she said.

Even though the stigma of mental health remains prevalent, Clark sees the new center as a positive.

“I think it’ll be a great thing,” she said. “I think people will actually go down and get the help they need.”

 

Tribal Flags on Permanent Display at North Dakota Capitol

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ The flags of North Dakota's five tribal nations will be on permanent display outside the governor's office at the state Capitol.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum announced the decision to display the flags during his State of the State address in January.

The bipartisan Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee approved making the display permanent.

They represent the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation; the Standing Rock Sioux; the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate; and the Spirit Lake Nation.

The relationship between North Dakota officials and tribes has been strained in the past, especially during protests three years ago against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Burgum says the tribal flag display was done ``in the spirit of mutual respect.''

 

Suspicious Fires on Navajo Nation Spark Investigation

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) _ Investigators are asking for help from the public in connection with a string of suspicious fires on the Navajo Nation.

The Farmington Daily Times reports the Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire Management Navajo Region is offering a reward to anyone with information about fires that have occurred since July at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.

An alert was posted on Sept. 4 on the agency's Facebook page, stating that a series of fires have occurred at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry in areas south and east of Ojo Amarillo.

Authorities say there have been at least four fires since July 26.

Johnson Benallie, regional assistant fire management officer for the Navajo Region of the BIA Fire and Aviation Management, says the investigation remains open.

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

Native Council Announces Opposition To Alaska Gold Mine

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) _ An Alaska Native council has announced its opposition to a proposed gold mine project, a report said.

The Quinhagak Native Tribal Council has issued a resolution opposing the Donlin Gold mine project, KYUK-AM reported.

Council members are concerned residents will leave Quinhagak for work at the mine site 280 miles (451 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Many younger men may leave and take entire families, while women and elders would need to hunt and fish for the community, said Council President Darren Cleveland.

``We feel that if it becomes real, that instead of slow trickle of people moving out, all of a sudden a group of people just moving and it would be a culture shock for families,'' Cleveland said.

A mining accident could contaminate the main food source for the village near a Kuskokwim River tributary, Cleveland said, although Quinhagak is almost 200 miles (322 kilometers) away.

``That could be devastating for our way of life that has always been, and we don't want to add on risks that are already being done,'' Cleveland said.

The declaration is meant to show support for tribes closer to the mine that have passed resolutions against Donlin Gold, he said.

The 12 other tribes with opposition resolutions in the past year include Chefornak, Chevak, Chuloonawick, Eek, Emmonak, Kasigluk, Kongiginak, Kwigillingok, Napakiak, Nunapitchuk, Tuluksak, and Tununak.

``If there was mining here in our area, we'd want the support of other tribes to help us out to be against it,'' Cleveland said.

Donlin Gold did not immediately respond to KYUK's request for comment.

 

Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

 

Famed French Explorer Jean Nicolet Gets Historical Revision

By BARRY ADAMS
Wisconsin State Journal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Patrick Jung was in fourth grade at 81st Street School in Milwaukee when he learned of the travels of Jean Nicolet, the famed French explorer.

According to Jung's social studies book, Nicolet traversed the Great Lakes in 1634 seeking a passage to China but ended up just northeast of what is now the city of Green Bay. That is where Nicolet, dressed in a colorful Chinese robe, came ashore and met members of a local Native American tribe and fired his two pistols into the air to celebrate his arrival.

Only now, more than 45 years after his grade school history lessons, Jung has a very different take on Nicolet's journey. And it's one that is likely to bring change to textbooks, roadside markers, plaques beneath bronze statues and websites.

Jung, a historian and researcher at Milwaukee School of Engineering, has spent years studying Nicolet and believes Nicolet wore a cape, not a Chinese robe. Had Nicolet pointed his pistols into the air, gun powder would have fallen from the trays and the guns would not have fired. Jung said with a ``good degree of probability'' that Nicolet landed in a large Native American village in what is now Marinette, not at Red Banks on the bay of Green Bay's southeastern shore.

And that trip to find a passage to China is also incorrect, Jung writes in his new book, ``The Misunderstood Mission of Jean Nicolet,'' published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Jung contends Nicolet wasn't an explorer but a diplomat sent by Samuel de Champlain to negotiate peace with the Puan Indian Tribe, ancestors of the Winnebago who are now known in Wisconsin as the Ho-Chunk. Jung's book builds upon the research of the late scholar Nancy Oestrich Lurie, a longtime anthropologist at the Milwaukee Public Museum who specialized in the study of North American Indian history and culture. She also recruited Jung to help her write part of a 2009 book on Nicolet.

``She was right about a lot of things, but if she were alive today, I think she would agree with me,'' Jung told a gathering in May at the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum. ``The human past often gives up its secrets very grudgingly. There's a lot of things that we know very, very well and there are some things we don't know very well. Part of the problem is how well something is documented. In the case of Nicolet, there's a total of four printed pages that describe his mission into Wisconsin.''

And it's those four pages that through the years have led to assumptions, speculation and the continuation of historical errors, the Wisconsin State Journal reported .

Nicolet's name is all over Wisconsin. It has been used to name paper mills, banks, a northern Wisconsin forest, roads, schools and even bottled water.

Jung, who in 2007 published a book on the Black Hawk War of 1832, is not debating the importance of Nicolet in Wisconsin's history. He's just trying to ensure that an accurate story is told after more than a century of images that are inaccurate.

Paintings of Nicolet's historic moment were based on the research of historians between the 1850s and 1880s. Those works of art include Hugo Ballin's 1912 painting that hangs in the Governor's Conference Room in the state Capitol. A mural painted by Franz Rohrback was installed in 1910 in the rotunda of the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay.

But the most recognized image is from Edwin Willard Deming, who spent a lifetime using a brush to document Native American history around the country. In 1907, Deming painted his own colorful version of Nicolet's historic moment that appeared in Jung's grade school textbook and in textbooks read by perhaps millions of other students through the years. In 1935, the U.S. Post Office issued a 3-cent stamp that included Deming's painting.

``Part of the problem is the indelible images that have been burned into our minds since we were children,'' Jung said. ``I've seen this as a kid and Nancy (Lurie) has seen this as a kid. Historical errors often have a way of perpetuating themselves.''

It was Lurie, who died in 2017, who uncovered one of the inaccuracies in the Nicolet story. The early writings of Nicolet's trip by Jesuit missionaries were brief and lacked detail, which allowed, through the years, scholars to insert ``any number of factual conclusions, poorly supported conclusions and even outright fabrications into their analysis,'' Jung wrote in his book's introduction.

A perfect example involves Nicolet's clothing when he arrived in Wisconsin. Lurie said Nicolet was actually wearing a cape of China de masque, a silk popular and prevalent at the time. It had nothing to do with China but was mentioned in the four pages written by the Jesuits and was misinterpreted by early scholars.

``I don't mean to criticize the early historians, but they didn't really understand what they read when they read `China de masque,''' Jung said. ``A cape like this would have been worn by somebody who was in the upper classes and Nicolet came from the upper classes and it would have been made of silk.''

Jung supports his theory on Nicolet's landing spot in Marinette because of the large Menominee village that was there and evidence that shows Nicolet had met with the Menominee, while the Puan, a tribe of an estimated 20,000 people, lived further to the south and west. Jung said the claim that Nicolet was an explorer also doesn't match what was happening politically in the region, as de Champlain would have been more worried about security than finding a route to China, something he himself had tried to find years earlier without success.

But while changing textbooks, murals and other historical interpretations are difficult, and in many cases unlikely, the Wisconsin Historical Society is in the process of reviewing historical signage for all of its markers throughout the state. The brown, wooden sign about Nicolet along Highway 57 at Wequiock Falls County Park would be prime contender for a major edit.

A bronze statue of Nicolet, paid for by contributions from school children, was erected in 1951 along with a wooden marker at Red Banks overlooking the bay of Green Bay. The wooden marker was replaced with an aluminum sign in 1957, but both the sign and the statue of Nicolet were moved in 2009 to Wequiock Falls, a mile to the east, after the reconstruction of Highway 57. That's when the brown wooden historical marker was added.

``It is possible to replace the existing marker with a new version that reflects current knowledge of Nicolet,'' said Kristin Gilpatrick, sales and marketing manager for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. ``The Patrick Jung book documents a great deal of outdated information about Jean Nicolet.''

But Brown County isn't the only community that claims to be the home of Nicolet's landing. Another historical marker is located in the city of Neenah where some believe Nicolet first came ashore on Doty Island after paddling up the north-flowing Fox River from Green Bay. Jung, however, would like to see more research and recognition of the tribes that were already living in the region when Nicolet arrived.

``The fact that we have two historical markers that say exactly the same thing, separated by a span of about 50 miles _ that's a problem,'' Jung said. ``We worry too much about historical markers and bronze statues. We have to go for the deeper, deeper questions. Who was already there? That's a much more important question.''

 

Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

 

Oglala Sioux Tribe Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) _ The Oglala Sioux say they are the first tribe in South Dakota to legalize same-sex marriage.

The tribal council last week approved a same-gender marriage ordinance in a 12-3 vote with one abstention. The new marriage ordinance amends marital and domestic law that has not changed on the Pine Ridge reservation since 1935.

Monique ``Muffie'' Mousseau and Felipa De Leon grew up on the reservation, but found they could not be married there in 2015. The couple received a license in Pennington County and wed at a group ceremony at Mount Rushmore.

The two women began petitioning for changes in the reservation's law, resulting in the passage of same-sex marriage.

``We are looking out for future generations, for protections and for equality,'' Mousseau told the Rapid City Journal . ``These foundations of laws have to be in place because we have grandkids. And that next generation coming up, we don't want them experiencing the same (gay) bashing, we don't want them to get to a point where somebody says a bad word to them because they like somebody of the same sex and they hang themselves. We don't want that.''

Mousseau and De Leon live in Rapid City, but three of their five children and four of their five grandchildren live on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, but not for the 573 federally recognized tribes.

``Tribes have the right to make the decision themselves,'' said Marcia Zug, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law who specializes in family and federal Indian law.

In 2016, the Cherokee Nation's attorney general legalized gay marriage for the tribe, which at the time was among a handful of federal recognized tribes that had explicit bans on gay marriage. After a two-year legal battle, a tribal court cleared the way in 2017 for gay couples to marry on an American Indian reservation in the Phoenix area. The court ruled that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry under the constitution of the Ak-Chin community and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Mousseau said she was happy to see the tribe approve of same-sex marriage through its own sovereign process even if meant waiting longer.

``We're doing this for all the children, everybody's grandchildren, everybody's great-grandchildren. Not just ours. But all the whole next generation,'' De Leon added.

 

Exhibit Shares History of Native American Veterans

FORT CALHOUN, Neb. (AP) _ A traveling Smithsonian exhibit about the history of Native Americans in the U.S. military is on display at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in eastern Nebraska.

``Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation's Armed Forces'' tells the story of the American Indian and Alaska Native men and women who served the country in every major U.S. military encounter since the Revolutionary War.

``Patriot Nations'' will be on display through Sept. 2 in the Harold W. Andersen Visitor Center, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Fort Atkinson sits on the east side of Fort Calhoun, which is situated 15 miles north of Omaha. A park entry permit is required for all vehicles and can be purchased at the park.

 

Benched: Chief Wahoo Not All-Star This Time in Cleveland

By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) _ An hour before the first pitch of a series opener against Kansas City, a steady flow of fans stream into the Indians' team shop at Progressive Field to buy new All-Star merchandise and other Cleveland gear _ some bearing his unmistakable smiling face.

Chief Wahoo still plays here.

The Indians' fiercely debated logo and longtime mascot _ a shameful racist figure to some, source of civic joy to others _ is no longer on the field, but he hasn't completely gone away. He appears to be as visible as ever.

While Major League Baseball and the Indians mutually agreed in 2018 to completely remove him from the team's jerseys and caps as well as banners and signage in the ballpark starting this season, when Cleveland hosts the All-Star Game for the sixth time, the red-faced, toothy caricature remains omnipresent across town.

Look on the concourses and in the seats and Wahoo is on caps, jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, jackets and even baby clothing. For just $10, a red foam Wahoo finger can be yours.

In some ways, he seems more popular.

``We can only hope,'' said Richard Stevens of Rochester, New York, who did a little pregame shopping with sons Jesse and Zac.

``I was very sorry to see it go,'' Jesse said.

Not everyone shares that view .

There are Native Americans who have fought for decades to eliminate Chief Wahoo and wish the Indians would change a nickname they feel mocks their proud culture.

``The team still doesn't understand,'' said Philip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio. ``They're still profiting off of us by being racists.''

But unlike in 1997, when Cleveland last hosted Major League Baseball's best players and Indians catcher Sandy Alomar became a hometown favorite with a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning while wearing a grinning Wahoo on his left shirt sleeve, the contentious symbol won't be on display to the world.

Not between the lines at least.

Wahoo may no longer be a symbol on the field, but he's still got status.

``I miss him,'' said John Adams, who has given the Indians their baseball heartbeat by pounding a bass drum for the past 45 seasons from high in the outfield bleachers. ``It's an emblem that we take pride in _ pride in Cleveland. And the fact that wherever you saw him, you didn't even have to ask. People would look at Chief Wahoo, and they would go, `Cleveland.' And that's anywhere in the world.''

Adams' stance is shared by many Clevelanders who felt MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's push to eliminate the contentious chief following the 2016 postseason was heavy-handed.

Manfred and Indians owner Paul Dolan agreed something needed to be done, when Wahoo's likeness, which appeared on the All-Star logo when the game was previously held in Cleveland, led to a court battle in Canada and a glaring national spotlight in the World Series.

On the eve of Game 3 of the AL Championship Series, an indigenous group asked the Supreme Court of Justice in Toronto to block the Indians from using its nickname or Chief Wahoo on Canadian TV, arguing they were offensive and discriminatory. The court rejected the request and dismissed the case, but the sensitive situation induced the need for action.

Then, during Cleveland's appearance in the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Manfred went further than any previous MLB official by acknowledging the Wahoo logo was ``offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why.''

Manfred's comment led to substantive discussions with Dolan and a joint announcement in January 2018 that the cartoonish figure was ``no longer appropriate for on-field use.'' The Indians said their decision to keep selling Wahoo gear was to protect the club from losing ownership of the trademark.

The agreement to strip Wahoo from the team's caps and jerseys _ but still allow his likeness to be manufactured and sold on merchandise _ was seen by critics as a concession by the Indians, who were perhaps afraid of losing their All-Star bid by being defiant.

Both sides claimed the decision had no impact on Cleveland's choice to host the event, but it would be hard to imagine the Indians keeping it if they had refused Manfred's request.

There are still fans angry the Indians buckled. They feel part of their past has been stolen.

``I miss him because he was an icon,'' said Kristi Upperman of Lake Milton, Ohio, sporting a blue ``Wahoo True `Til The day I'm Through'' T-shirt while waiting in a concession line. ``I think the world is too sensitive. It's not derogatory to any race or any nation or any ethnic group. It's a baseball mascot. And I think that nowadays everybody is too sensitive and taking things a little bit too far. Everything is too politically correct and it's driving me crazy.''

She's not alone.

``It's just the way society is,'' said Jesse Stevens, a red-billed Wahoo cap perched on his head. ``Wahoo's still out there. But MLB forcing it out, I think is stupid.''

That kind of talk pains Yenyo.

For the past 25 years, he and other protesters have gathered on opening day outside Progressive Field, demanding the team change a logo and nickname they find demoralizing.

Yenyo said the move to take Wahoo away was a ``positive step, but not enough.''

``We're still hoping for more,'' said Yenyo, adding protesters have been subjected to more hostility the past two years. ``People feel like we've taken away part of their childhood, part of their memories. But if your memories are wrapped around a racist symbol, what kind of memories are those?''

An Indians spokesman said the organization is not considering a change of the team's nickname.

There will not be any protests during All-Star events next week because Yenyo and others in his movement will be out of town taking part in various American Indian ceremonies across the country.

One day, he hopes to meet Manfred, who he said hasn't returned any calls or emails.

``I just hope I could sit down with him and talk about this like adults,'' he said. ``We can resolve this.''

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

 

New Mexico Mural Focuses on Missing Native American Women

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) _ A new mural in southern New Mexico seeks to honor missing and slain Native Americans amid a nationwide push to bring more attention to the issue.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports artist Sebastian ``Vela'' Velazquez recently erected the mural in Las Cruces in conjunction with the city's eighth annual ``Illegal'' graffiti art show.

The work is part of a large-scale mural wrapping around the entirety of the Cruces Creatives building. In the mural, a Native American woman stands in front with her fist raised. She's screaming and the words below say: ``NO MORE STOLEN SISTERS!''

``The news gets turned off and Facebook gets put down and turned off, and those issues kind of disappear, and everything that comes with it,'' Velazquez said. ``Having that piece up there, and why we sponsored it, is because you can't really turn off a mural. It's there every day and every night.''

Last month, federal lawmakers re-introduced legislation that calls for the Justice Department to review how law enforcement agencies respond to cases of missing and killed Native Americans.

The legislation is named Savanna's Act for 22-year-old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, whose body was found in a North Dakota river in 2017.

The bill was unanimously approved in the U.S. Senate last year but died in the House.

Velazquez said the mural also honors missing indigenous Mexican women. ``Art is medicine to people of color. I think aerosol art is a healing method, rather than a criminalizing method,'' he said.

Earlier this year, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill to develop a task force to investigate the issue of missing and slain indigenous women in the state.

___

Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com

 

Navajo Code Talker Has Died; William Tully Brown Was 96

William Tully Brown, October 30, 1922 - June 3, 2019

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) _ The Navajo Nation has announced that World War II-era Navajo Code Talker William Tully Brown has died at age 96.

He's the third Navajo Code Talker to die since May 10.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says Brown died Monday, June 3rd, in Winslow, Arizona. The cause of death wasn't disclosed.

Brown was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the Marine Corps, using a code based on their native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II.

Brown enlisted in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1946.

He received the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Honorable Service Label Button.

Brown's funeral is scheduled at Fort Defiance Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

 

South Dakota Project Fights Financial Crimes Against Tribes

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ The U.S. Attorney's Office in South Dakota says a project has uncovered dozens of people and organizations that collectively stole millions of dollars from nine Native American reservations.

The office's spokeswoman, Aileen Crawford, tells the Rapid City Journal that the Guardians Project has led to 42 convictions on federal charges including fraud, theft and embezzlement from tribes and tribal organizations.

The project, which launched in 2015, brings together local and federal agencies to investigate allegations of corruption and financial crimes against the state's Native American communities. Many of the convictions have involved tribal employees, tribal executives and out-of-state business owners.

A former cashier for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's bingo operations was most recently charged with embezzlement and larceny after being accused of stealing more than $1,000 from the business.

___

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

 

Tribes Across Country Push For Better Internet Access

By FELICIA FONSECA
Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ In a remote, roadless Arizona canyon that is home to a small Native American tribe, there's a natural skepticism toward the internet.

The telemedicine equipment that health care officials promised would work gathers dust. School children who have online homework struggle to get online. And streaming a web-based conference or taking classes remotely? Well, ``that's a lot of luck you'd have to get,'' said Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, who sits on the Havasupai Tribal Council.

Things started to change after a small company approached the tribe with a plan to broaden coverage for educational use. It's now using the experience to help push the federal government to give tribes priority for broadband spectrum largely unassigned across the western United States.

The Federal Communications Commission has not issued any new permanent licenses for the Educational Broadband Services spectrum in more than 20 years. It asked the public a year ago to weigh in on possible changes to the licensing system to better define geographic areas, build in flexibility, create priorities for tribes and educational institutions, and possibly auction off the 2.5 GHz-band spectrum. It's not clear when the FCC will act.

The agency estimates that about one-third of the people living on tribal lands don't have access to high-speed internet, but others say the figure is twice as high. That's partly because homes on remote reservations are spread far apart.

And tribes say large telecommunications companies are unwilling to expand to tribal lands because of the cost.

The internet on the Havasupai reservation has been a mixed bag. Tribal employees could sign on to their email and do internet searches but not much else. Public access for 450 residents was centered on the community building in the village of Supai. Thousands of tourists who trek 10 miles (16 kilometers) down a winding trail to see the reservation's famed blue-green waterfalls have no internet access at their campsites away from the village.

The tribe began working with a company called MuralNet in 2017 to get teachers and students better access. They successfully sought temporary authority from the FCC to use the Educational Broadband Services spectrum _ a sort of channel of electromagnetic waves _ that wasn't being used. Flagstaff-based Niles Radio Communications helped build the network.

``We're really putting our chips on EBS,'' said Mariel Triggs, chief executive of MuralNet. ``It works in extreme cases. It's cheap; it's reliable.''

Jacqueline Siyuja now has a wireless router to take online classes for her job at the tribe's Head Start program. A few years ago, she and her colleagues had to fly out of the canyon and drive more than two hours to a community college in Flagstaff for classes. She also had to take her young daughter with her.

``It was really challenging for us,'' she said.

Jordan Manakaja eventually wants to get her bachelor's degree and become a therapist in the community. She prefers online classes at home where she can interact with an instructor.

``We have the opportunity to wind down and get comfortable before we're in a classroom,'' she said. ``That was more beneficial to us mentally.''

The tribe won't know whether it can make other plans for the spectrum, like using telemedicine, transmitting medical records electronically or starting an online high school, until the FCC decides whether to grant the tribe's application for a permanent license.

Nearly 2,190 licenses that generally cover a 35-mile radius have been granted to 1,300 licensees, according to the FCC. The agency has asked for public comment on realigning the boundaries of the licenses, eliminating the educational use requirement, and allowing tribes, current licensees or new educational entities to access unassigned spectrum before a possible auction.

Despite its name, the spectrum isn't used solely for educational purposes. Licensees can lease it to commercial providers. Sprint is among the largest users.

Tribes in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho and others in Arizona also are pressing the FCC for a priority filing window.

On the Havasupai Tribal Council, Watahomigie-Corliss is dubbed the telecommunications member and she's the youngest at 33. When she presented the project to colleagues, she was well aware of their doubts.

``It was my job to prove to them it could possibly work, and that comes with the territory of so many people trying to make things work at Supai that work on the outside,'' she said.

 

Freedmen Citizenship Lawsuit Against Oklahoma Tribe Rejected

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A lawsuit from the descendants of black slaves who were once owned by members of the Muscogee Creek Nation and who are seeking citizenship in the tribe has been dismissed, with a federal judge ruling that they should go through the tribe's own legal process first.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., dismissed the Muscogee Creek freedmen descendants' lawsuit this week seeking citizenship in the Creek Nation, the Tulsa World reported. The Okmulgee-based tribe is the fourth largest in the country, with over 86,000 enrolled citizens.

The descendants filed a lawsuit last July against the Creek Nation and the U.S. Department of the Interior seeking full tribal citizenship and to have the tribe's constitution declared in violation of the Treaty of 1866, which guaranteed tribal citizenship to the tribe's freed slaves and their descendants, as well as black Creeks.

In 1979, the department approved a law in the tribe's constitution that restricts citizenship eligibility to those with proof of Creek lineage.

Kollar-Kotelly stated in her decision that the descendants' court filings did not include specific accusations or records that showed they had applied for tribal citizenship and were denied within the last decade.

``Failed attempts to obtain a grant of citizenship from the MCN Citizenship Board as well as refusals by the tribal courts to reconsider adverse determinations may show that tribal exhaustion may be futile,'' Kollar-Kotelly wrote. ``But, plaintiffs have failed to produce sufficient evidence that a remedy through the tribal process would be illusory in this case.''

Kollar-Kotelly also granted Creek Nation Principal Chief James Floyd's motion to dismiss the case without prejudice. As a result, the descendants could re-file their suit in federal court if the tribe rejects their citizenship requests and after they go through the appeals process in the Creek Nation judicial system.

Damario Solomon-Simmons, a Tulsa attorney representing the descendants, said the group hasn't made a decision on whether to appeal, submit extra documentation and ask for reconsideration or adhere to Kollar-Kotelly's ruling and pursue citizenship through the Creek Nation's citizenship board and court system.

The Cherokee Nation faced a similar lawsuit that was resolved in 2017 after a federal court ruled that the Cherokee Freedmen have a right to tribal citizenship.

___

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

 

One of the Last Monolingual Cherokee Speakers is Dead at 88

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) _ Mack Vann, among the last members of the Cherokee Nation who spoke and understand the Cherokee language and only the Cherokee language, has died at the age of 88.

Nephew Gary Vann says his uncle died Monday in a Tahlequah, Oklahoma, hospital of pneumonia while undergoing treatment of an ongoing heart condition.

Mack Vann would great visitors with the word ``osiyo,'' the Cherokee word for ``hello.'' He was a descendant of Andrew Ross, brother of Cherokee Chief John Ross who led the tribe down the ``Trail of Tears'' from its ancestral home in Georgia to eastern Oklahoma.

He told The Associated Press in 2014 that he learned some English in school but quit after the fourth grade to help with the family farm and slowly forgot how to speak it.

 

Choctaw Historian to Release New Book on Food Sovereignty

By KATHY HANKS
Lawrence Journal-World

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The published works of Devon Mihesuah fill a wide space between two bookends in her office at the University of Kansas.

The prolific author juggles her time between being a professor, writing (both fiction and nonfiction), and advocating for healthy eating in the Native American community, among many other interests.

Mihesuah, a Choctaw historian, is KU's Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding. Her 17th book, ``Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health,'' co-edited with Elizabeth Hoover, is due out this summer.

Mihesuah recently spoke to the Lawrence Journal-World in her office at Bailey Hall, surrounded by her books, photos, Native American artwork and a basket of Indian corn similar to what she grows in her own garden.

Her membership in the Choctaw Nation is at her core, she said, and it drives her life's work. She has been featured as one of the Choctaw success stories.

Earlier this year she was interviewed on Gastropod for an episode called ``Pick a Pawpaw: America's forgotten fruit.'' She talked about growing up eating pawpaws at her grandparents' home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She explained how Native American tribes also used the pawpaw tree bark for ropes and string, and ground up seeds to use to combat head lice.

Mihesuah, who has a doctorate from Texas Christian University, arrived at KU in 2005 from Northern Arizona University, where she had been a full professor. That same year, her book ``Recovering Our Ancestors' Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness'' was published.

A year later, she launched the American Indian Health and Diet Project. The website has a mission to address the health problems faced by indigenous peoples.

``You will find no fry bread recipes here,'' Mihesuah wrote in the introduction on the website. Instead, those visiting the site can expect to learn about growing nutritious food, healthy eating habits and exercise. On her Facebook page ``Indigenous eating,'' she annually sponsors the ``Week of Indigenous eating challenge.''

``Everything I write has personal meaning for me,'' Mihesuah said, as she pulled out her first book, published in 1992: ``Cultivating the Rosebuds: The Education of Women at the Cherokee Female Seminary, 1851-1909.''

The seminary building on the book cover has a physical connection to one of her most recent books, ``Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and the Cherokee Hero.''

Ned Christie, a Cherokee statesman, was accused of killing U.S. Deputy Marshal Daniel Maples across the street from the seminary. The seminary building still stands on the campus of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

``I get emotional about everything I write,'' she said.

And that's including her fiction. She drew upon her family's way of life and their gardens in her first novel, ``The Roads of My Relations,'' which covers more than two centuries in the lives of a Choctaw family.

Every generation of her family has had a garden, she said, all the way back to the 1830s. Every time the Native American families were forced by the government to relocate, they would re-create the garden they had before. At the centerpiece of her first novel is a family trying to re-create its culture, history and homeland _ all in the garden.

During her time at KU, Mihesuah has bonded with other Native American professors in Lawrence, including Elizabeth Kronk Warner, who teaches law, and Sarah Deer, who teaches in women, gender and sexuality studies and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

``We try to get together for lunch as stress relief,'' Mihesuah said.

Kronk Warner, director of KU's Tribal Law & Government Center, was recently appointed as the first female dean at the University of Utah law school, and she has an essay in Mihesuah's ``Indigenous Food Sovereignty'' book.

``What I like about her new book is there are chapters from academics and a section for short essays by indigenous people who work with food and sustainability, and they wrote what they knew,'' Kronk Warner said.

When Kronk Warner first arrived at KU, she was told that Mihesuah was a good person on campus to get to know.

``She was at the top of the list as someone who was doing very good work,'' Kronk Warner said. ``She is amazing _ a prolific writer and a fantastic leader in her field. She is a role model in terms of what she accomplished in her career.''

Deer, who will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in September, knew of Mihesuah's work before arriving at KU in the fall of 2017.

``Before I knew her, I read her book `Indigenous American Women' a hundred times, and it has been useful in my teaching,'' Deer said. ``Her books have a rigorous scholarship, but they are very readable.''

Mihesuah said that when they catch up, they are usually asking one another where they have been or where they are going next.

For Mihesuah, it will be a very busy spring finishing up the two online classes she is currently teaching. Plus, she will be heading to Oklahoma City where her Ned Christie book is a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. In mid-May, she's heading to Phoenix for the Southwest Intertribal Food Summit, where she'll speak about food sovereignty. Then there is a trip to New Zealand, where she'll talk about indigenous gardens.

But she is never gone for long, especially in the growing season, because it's her turn to tend the family's garden.

___

Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

 

UW System to Create Tribal Consultation Policy

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ University of Wisconsin System officials say they're starting to craft a new policy governing consultations with Wisconsin's American Indian tribes.

UW System officials said in a news release Monday announcing the effort that they hope to foster greater American Indian enrollment and improve graduation rates.

System officials say the policy will mirror a similar plan the Arizona Board of Regents adopted in 2016 that guides interactions between Arizona's public universities and that state's tribal American Indian nations on issues such as land use, education policy and research.

A dozen American Indian nations are located within Wisconsin. In the fall of 2017, the most recent data available on the UW System website, 628 American Indian students were enrolled at system institutions. They made up 0.4% of the system's total enrollment.

 

South Dakota Cake Decorator Creates Native American Designs

By VICTORIA LUSK
Aberdeen American News

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. (AP) _ When Leah Red Bird put her decorating tip to an ice cream cake nearly three years ago, she had no idea what was about to happen.

But as each colorful diamond met the next, her star quilt design took shape. Rave reviews followed.

It was her 19th year at the Dairy Queen in Eagle Butte. She started in 1997, and she's now been decorating cakes for about 15 years.

A May 9, 2016, post on the Eagle Butte Dairy Queen Facebook page celebrating Leah and her unique designs has been seen by 250,000 people. It also garnered more than 4,000 shares, 4,500 reactions and 300 comments.

Some of those comments inquired about shipping the cakes, but no one has followed through on that, Dairy Queen manager Barb Jensen, told the Aberdeen American News.

Jensen ``came with the building,'' Jensen said. The Eagle Butte store will celebrate its 29th year in business come April.

Red Bird creates about 30 cakes a week, Jensen said.

``And our store isn't even a big cake store,'' she said.

As far as she knows, Red Bird, 52, is the only decorator in the area who does the Native American designs.

They don't last long.

``The minute we put the cakes out, they are gone within a day or two,'' Jensen said

The Native American art is perfect for the area the Dairy Queen serves, she said.

Red Bird's newest design is an intricate web of lines that form each strand of a dream catcher.

Traditionally, dream catchers are hung above beds to sift dreams and visions or so that bad ideas get trapped in the web, according to information from the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center in Chamberlain.

Red Bird needs 24 hours notice for a custom cake. An ``easy'' cake might only take her an hour to decorate, but a sheet cake will take an entire day, depending on the design, she said.

Next, Red Bird said, she'd like to create something with a horse.

She said she gets her ideas from other cakes, artwork and things she sees.

Her favorite part of the cake-decorating gig is how her designs look when they are completed.

``I just have to think about it first, and then I put it together,'' she said.

``She's being modest,'' Jensen said. ``She's very creative.''

___

Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

 

Wild Onion Dinner benefits Indian Women's Pocahontas Club

By John Klein
Tulsa World

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) _ Ollie Starr can't recall her first taste of wild onions or drink of sassafras tea.

``We grew up gathering, preparing and eating those foods,'' said Starr, former president of the Indian Women's Pocahontas Club. ``So I don't remember the first time I ever had wild onions or grape dumplings.

``That's just the way it always was. We didn't know any different.''

The Tulsa World reports the Indian Women's Pocahontas Club, the oldest chartered club in Oklahoma, will celebrate one of its oldest traditions with its Wild Onion Dinner, open to the public, on March 23.

``One of the most important things we do is preserve the history and culture of the Cherokee people,'' said Debra West, another former president of the Indian Women's Pocahontas Club. ``So preparing this meal every spring is one of the ways we preserve and educate people about Cherokee culture.

``It is great for us, too. We prepare this meal as a family. We have generations of our family involved. We are passing along knowledge to a new generation.''

The Indian Women's Pocahontas Club has been preserving Cherokee Nation culture and history for 120 years.

``When the club was formed, and for many years after, one of the most important things we did was preserve our history through documents,'' said Starr. ``We have a treasure trove of historical documents of the Cherokee people because we were the only group preserving the documents.

``Recently, through an agreement with Rogers State University, we now have a facility on their campus where we can store documents and preserve them.''

The Pocahontas Club has about 200 members. A monthly meeting is hosted in Claremore, but Pocahontas Club has members across the country.

``We have members from California and Arizona and Florida and Texas _ they live in all areas of the country,'' said West. ``There are major pockets of Cherokees in most of the major cities in the U.S. As a result, we have Pocahontas Club members from most major cities.

``The Indian Women's Pocahontas Club was formed as an important part of the Cherokee people. Although Pocahontas was not Cherokee, she was the most well-known Native American woman of her time. The stories about her at the time said she was a strong, brave and smart woman. The name will never change. It is the first thing in our charter.''

Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker, writing in the Tulsa World last summer, said club members ``serve as valuable caretakers of our culture, our heritage and our communities.''

The club formed on June 29, 1899, in Oowala, in the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation. That's present-day Rogers County.

The club is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance. The average age of Pocahontas Club members is increasing, prompting a push to recruit younger members. Of the 200 members, 40 are at least 80 years old; 14 members in their 90s, and one member is 103 years old.

``Obviously, we want to work on getting a new, younger generation interested in what we do,'' said Clarice Doyle, another active member of the club. ``Our history has to be kept and preserved. That will take a new generation of Cherokee women.''

A grandmother-granddaughter event is among recruitment activities.

``We have to pass on this history and culture by teaching it to younger women,'' Starr said. ``They live in a far different world than the one we grew up in.''

Although it is now a women's club, it counts famed actor and storyteller Will Rogers as a former member. The Indian Women's Pocahontas Club hosts an annual picnic at the Dog Iron Ranch _ birthplace and home of Rogers _ and members lay a memorial wreath at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum during the Will Rogers Days annual celebration in November.

``That is an important part of preserving Cherokee history,'' said West. ``We also are very interested in education. We give out scholarships and are very involved in promoting education. Education was a very important part of Cherokee culture.''

The club is planning a major celebration June 29 for the 120th anniversary of the founding of the club.

In 1899, members came from all over and attended Indian boarding schools across the state.

``So we were a very diverse group of women and we still are,'' said Starr.

Members of the modern Pocahontas Club must be Cherokee women who can trace their ancestry back to the Dawes Roll, a federal census of those living in the Cherokee Nation that was used to allot Cherokee land to citizens in preparation for Oklahoma statehood. The rolls were closed in 1907.

``The best thing we do every year is the Wild Onion Dinner because it is such a family event,'' said Starr.

The Wild Onion Dinner was a Cherokee spring tradition.

``When the wild onions would start coming up, and the sassafras trees had the green bark, which is perfect to make the tea, you knew it was spring,'' said Starr. ``It was always such an exciting time of the year for us as young girls.

``I still get very excited for the Wild Onion Dinner every year. It signals the start of spring. It is about taking from the earth and giving back to the earth.''

___

Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

 

Demand Rising for Diversity Training in St. Paul

By BOB SHAW
St. Paul Pioneer Press

PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Someone has been teasing Samantha.

``Samantha lives with her aunt because her mom is in jail,'' teacher Mary Ross said to her St. Paul kindergarten class. ``Someone said to her, `You don't have a mom! She doesn't love you!' ``

It didn't matter that Samantha was a doll on the teacher's lap. Cries of outrage filled the room: ``Stop saying that!'' ``No way!'' ``Don't worry _ your mom loves you!''

Ross smiled and put the doll aside. It had performed its duties well _ teaching a rudimentary lesson to a receptive audience, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The dolls were provided by St. Paul-based Amaze consultants, where the business of diversity training is booming. In fact, a spot check of metro-area diversity consultants shows that demand has as much as doubled in the past two years.

It's a response to, among other things, shootings of unarmed black men by police, the Black Lives Matter movement and white supremacist rallies.

The training is usually focused on race, but can be used to address other forms of discrimination, said Victoria Amaris, owner of Putting Change in Motion and a former manager of cultural dynamics for the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

She said diversity consultants offer a grab-bag of awareness-building programs involving Native Americans and Hispanic immigrants, along with groups such as women, bullying victims, gay people and transgender people.

``Don't forget disabilities. I want to be inclusive of everybody,'' said Amaris, who has even given a workshop on obesity discrimination.

All kinds of discrimination are increasing, she said, with racial discrimination leading the way.

``Minnesota Nice has kind of disappeared,'' said Amaris.

The website of the nonprofit Minnesota Compass lists 55 groups that are, not surprisingly, extremely diverse. They sometimes consist of a single person, and sometimes represent international corporations. Fees vary from free to thousands of dollars for multi-month classes.

The results vary, and there are no industry standards to make sure it works.

Indeed, diversity training does not always go smoothly. From 2010-13, the St. Paul school district paid $1.2 million to a San Francisco firm with the goal of running all 6,000 employees through the diversity training.

Results were mixed. Suspensions of minority children dropped, but no evidence emerged that the achievement gap between black and white students was closing. Several teachers said they felt alienated, saying they were expected to ignore student misbehavior because of cultural differences.

The St. Paul district frequently uses outside consultants, according to Hans Ott, assistant superintendent for the Office of Teaching and Learning. He said the outside consultants train teachers more efficiently than the district can do it internally. They also help the district follow its own policies regarding student inclusion.

Although there is no known way to measure the impact of the training sessions, officials say it's worth the money. The cost is often shared by grants, which come from nonprofits or businesses to address issues of discrimination. ``This is good value,'' said Ott.

He has been through training and endorses it. ``I had a positive experience,'' said Ott.

In the 1990s, said Amaris, consultants like her were asked to address discrimination against black people, and little else.

``Today, it's not so much focused on that,'' she said. ``Now, it's diversity and inclusion.''

The change hit Amaris when she got a contract with a chain of beauty salons. If that small business was worried about diversity, she said, the concern was trickling down. She has given workshops for police and dental school students, and got an inquiry recently from a bee-pollinators group.

``People are motivated now,'' said Amaris.

The approaches of the consultants vary.

Often, they are called to act as cultural firefighters, putting out flare-ups of discrimination. Sometimes consultants are expected to fix problems that may have been building for years.

Non-emergency calls happen when a group simply wants to do the right thing, and counter prejudice in any form. For them, consultants prefer to schedule a series of meetings, giving people time to think about the sessions.

That can be effective, said Amaze director Michael _ but the clients should be able to show they are open to change.

Businesses, for example, call when they want to hire more employees of color. ``That's a great thing to strive for,'' said Michael. ``But if you do that, will they be welcome? Will they fit into the culture you have?''

She tries to make individuals aware of bias _ even unconscious bias. All group members should take the training, she said. ``I ask that the maintenance staff be included,'' said Amaris.

Many do not understand the issue. ``They say, `Why can't we just get along with each other?' We have no idea why we are not getting along with each other.''

Interest in the Antiracism Study Dialogue Circles Partnership, based in St. Paul, spiked about three years ago, according to the single-named director, Okogyeamon.

``Not just for us, but across the board,'' he said.

He has taught sessions at the University of Minnesota and Carleton College, and is hosting workshops for officials in the state Department of Human Services.

Only recently, he said, have elements of society realized that racism is their problem _ not the problem of some distant ``other.''

``What is new is the recognition that this truly is an issue, and that it is pervasive,'' said Okogyeamon. ``Racism is playing itself out in life all around them.''

In the kindergarten class at Expo Elementary School recently, the different threads of discrimination were woven together _ with the help of dolls.

Ahlaam, a 5-year-old girl in a black hijab, carried a doll named Sitra to the teacher. The doll, too, wore a hijab. Instead of making the girl an example, the teacher looked at the doll.

``If someone teased her about that, what words would you use?'' teacher Ross asked the class.

``Knock it off!'' shouted one student.

The teacher pointed to another doll, clutched by 5-year-old Finnian. The doll, named Nick, had long curly hair. ``What if someone said to Nick, `You have long hair like a girl'?'' said the teacher.

Finnian clutched the doll defensively. ``Leave him alone!'' he said.

After the class, the teacher said the dolls allow kids to model compassionate behavior, without embarrassing anyone. ``It's easier for kids to talk about someone like them,'' said Ross.

The dolls came in handy when one student announced recently that his mom was in jail.

Soon after, the teacher revealed that the doll Samantha had a secret _ her mom had been locked up. She asked the class how they might respond. ``You could say, `You aren't the only one with a mom in jail,' `` suggested Ross.

Immediately, the sympathetic class practiced what they would say to the doll _ or to anyone facing a similar situation.

___

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

 

Grand Canyon Looking into Possible Radiation Exposure

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ Grand Canyon National Park officials say they are investigating whether anyone was exposed to radiation at unsafe levels while samples of uranium ore sat in plastic buckets in a park research building.

Three 5-gallon (18.93-liter) buckets have been removed from a building about a half mile (8 kilometers) from the South Rim that houses the park's archives and artifacts. About 550 people tour the collections each year, mostly by appointment.

The National Park Service is working with Arizona health and workplace safety officials on the investigation. The agency also plans to set up a hotline for anyone concerned about potential radiation exposure, said spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo.

``One of the important pieces is looking and determining the level of exposure and risk,'' she said.

The Arizona Republic cited the Grand Canyon's safety director, Elston ``Swede'' Stephenson, in saying the park failed to warn workers or the public of the potential harm that existed for years. Stephenson did not return messages left by The Associated Press at his work email and on social media. A call to a number listed for him in a park directory went unanswered.

Uranium is naturally occurring in northern Arizona and was mined for decades, including at the Orphan Mine on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that ceased operations in 1969. A temporary ban prohibits the filing of new mining claims within 1 million acres (0.405 million hectares) outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. The Navajo Nation no longer allows uranium mining after it left a legacy of death and disease on the reservation.

Still, companies have active claims that weren't affected by the ban and could resume mining.

Lacayo said the area where the plastic buckets were stored was not a part of the tour of the building known as the Museum Collection, though people did walk past the area.

Stephenson told the Arizona Republic the buckets were near a taxidermy exhibit where children sometimes stopped for presentations, and the lid on one bucket wasn't sealed.

Jani Ingram, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Northern Arizona University, said it's not uncommon for uranium ore to be used in research. But, she said, it's typically sealed in a metal container so that radon gas and dust aren't released into the air.

Uranium can be harmful to people's health depending on the amount and grade of ore, how people interact with it and the exposure time, she said. Geiger counters can be a good, initial indication of the presence of radiation but further study would be needed to determine the risk.

``You can't say, `oh my gosh, all those kids are going to develop cancer in five years' because you just don't know how close they were, how long they were there,'' she said. ``But that open bucket was probably the most concerning. It seemed that maybe whoever it was didn't understand what they had.''

 

Calista Corp. Shareholders Protest Western Alaska Gold Mine

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) _ More than 130 shareholders of Calista Corp. are protesting a massive open-pit gold mine proposed in western Alaska.

KYUK-AM reports the group of shareholders, all women, sent a letter to the Alaska Native corporation, citing concerns about how the Donlin Gold Mine would affect the salmon-spawning Kuskokwim River.

Calista owns the subsurface rights to the mine planned for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.

Bev Hoffman, a long-time protester of the mine, led the effort to draft the letter and gather signatures.

She says Calista signed the lease two decades ago without shareholder input, so this letter shows the corporation that not all shareholders support the mine.

Calista defended its support for the mine in a statement, saying its staff members have the same stake in the environmental health of the region.

___

Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

 

Kansas Woman Donates Part of Farm Sale Profits back to Tribe

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas woman who sold land that was farmed by her family for five generations has donated a portion of the profits to help preserve the heritage of the Kaw Nation, the Native American tribe that claimed the land as its territory more than a century ago.

Florence Schloneger, a retired Mennonite minister in North Newton, told the Wichita Eagle that she gifted $10,000 to the nonprofit Kanza Heritage Society to acknowledge that her family's ownership of the McPherson County land ``came at a great cost'' to the Kaw, or Kanza, people.

Schloneger's family owned 320 acres (130 hectares) of prairie that was historically Kaw hunting grounds before several treaties with the federal government reduced the tribe's holdings. The tribe was forcibly removed from Kansas to Oklahoma in 1873, and their population declined drastically over the years.

Schloneger's great-great grandfather, Henrich Gronemann, settled on the homestead in 1879. The land was available for settlement because of the passage of the Homestead Act in 1862, which gave away public land under the terms that individuals would live on the land for at least five years and improve it through cultivation.

``As my eyes have been opened, I have experienced great sorrow,'' Schloneger wrote in her donation letter to the nonprofit. ``Not only were your hunting grounds appropriated, but your rich culture and language was nearly lost through assimilation. My hope is that this small gift can help build and restore the strength of Kanza traditions for coming generations.''

Jim Pepper Henry, the nonprofit's board president, said Schloneger's donation is a first for the tribe. Henry believes many are starting to understand the lands their families acquired over the years were swindled, coerced and forcibly taken from the Kaw people.

``Our intent is that this could set an example for others who want to help with the preservation of Kansas history, especially with the Kaw Nation,'' Henry said.

The Kaw Nation currently has about 3,500 members and its reservation is located in Kaw City, Oklahoma.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

 

Diocese Finds Kentucky students didn't start confrontation

VINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Investigators hired by a Kentucky diocese have found that Catholic school boys didn't instigate a confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial that went viral on social media.

Covington Bishop Roger Foys initially condemned the students' behavior after a video showed a teenage boy face-to-face with a Native American man. Days later, Foys apologized for ``making a statement prematurely.''

The students were in Washington for an anti-abortion rally last month when they encountered a group of black street preachers who were shouting insults at both them and a group of Native Americans. The bishop now says the students ``were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening.''

``The immediate world-wide reaction to the initial video led almost everyone to believe that our students had initiated the incident and the perception of those few minutes of video became reality,'' Foys wrote this week in a letter to parents.

Both the Native American man, Nathan Phillips, and the Covington student facing Phillips have said they were attempting to defuse the situation.

The four-page report on the investigation said a group of investigators from a firm called Greater Cincinnati Investigation interviewed 43 students and more than a dozen chaperones who were on the trip to Washington. Investigators reviewed social media videos, tried to contact Phillips and traveled to Michigan to attempt to speak to him, but he was not interviewed.

The videos show Phillips surrounded by students. Many interviewed students told investigators that they felt Phillips was coming into their group to join their own cheers, which were meant to drown out insults from the street preachers, who referred to themselves as the Black Hebrew Israelites. Many students reported that they were confused but did not feel threatened by Phillips, the report said.

``We found no evidence of racist statements to Mr. Phillips or members of his group,'' the report said. ``Some students performed a `tomahawk chop' to the beat of Mr. Phillips' drumming and some joined in Mr. Phillips' chant.''

The investigators also reviewed related videos, including one made the same day in which a young person says, ``It's not rape if you enjoy it.'' The investigators say they concluded that person was not a Covington Catholic student.

The investigators were hired by a law firm that represents the school and the Catholic diocese, the report said.

 

Oklahoma Governor Taps Chickasaw Nation Official for Cabinet

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has named Chickasaw Nation lawmaker and former state Rep. Lisa Billy as secretary of Native American Affairs.

Billy has served in the Chickasaw Nation Legislature since 2016 and served previously in the tribal Legislature between 1996 and 2002. She served in the Oklahoma House between 2004 and 2016 and held various leadership roles in the chamber, including majority Floor Leader from 2014 to 2016 and vice chair of the House's Republican Caucus from 2006 to 2008.

Billy formed the Oklahoma Legislature's Native America Caucus in 2006 and has been recognized for her work in the Legislature on prison reform policies.

Billy's appointment to the cabinet-level position requires Senate confirmation. She will replace former House Speaker Chris Benge, Native American Affairs secretary under former Gov. Mary Fallin.

 

Bill to Legalize Casinos in Virginia Advances, Fate Unclear

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Legislation to legalize casinos in Virginia is advancing in the General Assembly, but the odds of passage are still unknown.

A pro-casino bill was approved with bipartisan support Monday by the General Laws and Technology Committee in the state Senate.

The legislation would allow developers to build casinos in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth if residents approved local referendums. The legislation now also lets the Pamunkey Indian Tribe build casinos in Richmond and Norfolk with local approval.

Supporters of casinos said Monday's vote was a good first step. But hurdles remain.

It's unknown if Republican leaders of the General Assembly will let the measure advance much further. And Gov. Ralph Northam has voiced concerns about casino legalization being rushed through without proper study.

 

New Mexico to Focus on College Affordability, Financial Aid

ALBUQUERQUE — The former leader of the Taos campus for the University of New Mexico was named Wednesday by Democratic Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham to lead the state's higher education department when she takes office next week.

Kate O'Neill will oversee the state's network of community colleges and public universities. She will be inheriting the agency at a time when many schools around the state are grappling with funding cuts and enrollment declines.

O'Neill most recently served as CEO of the University of New Mexico at Taos, a position she held for years. She started at the campus as an adjunct faculty member in 1994 and worked her way up. During her leadership tenure, she developed a nationally accredited nursing program and increased the campus' budget.

O'Neill and Lujan Grisham said affordability for students will be among the priorities for the new administration. They discussed the importance of the state's lottery-funded scholarship program while acknowledging that it's not currently sustainable because revenue from ticket sales has declined and tuition costs have increased.

O'Neill called the scholarships essential, noting that many students depend on the financial aid and that the program needs to be maintained.

Some things will have to be done differently to make higher education more affordable, Lujan Grisham said, indicating that an all-of-the-above approach is needed. It possibly could be a combination of new revenue sources or eligibility changes. "I'm hoping that with some of the economic ideas that we put before the Legislature and their own ideas that we're going to have a variety of options to sustain a scholarship formula and system that's meaningful to New Mexicans," the incoming governor said.

Lujan Grisham also announced appointments for the departments of transportation, cultural affairs and information technology.

Still pending are decisions on other key agencies that oversee public safety, public education, health and the environment.

Debra Garcia y Griego, the director of the city of Santa Fe Arts Commission, was named as the cultural affairs secretary. During her time working in Santa Fe, she developed the nation's first municipal ordinance addressing the forgery of Native American arts and crafts and led the development of the city's first cultural plan.

Michael Sandoval was appointed as transportation secretary. He has worked for the agency for more than 20 years, most recently overseeing hundreds of contracts, the state's 12 ports of entry and programs including the Rail Runner Express commuter train.

A former state lawmaker, Vincent Martinez was named head of the state's information technology department. He's currently the managing director of cloud and communications at the department. Martinez has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

 

Delaware Tribe Ends Plans for Heritage Center Near Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The Delaware Tribe has abandoned plans to develop an agricultural heritage center northeast of Lawrence.

Chief Chester Brooks said the tribe's council decided the proposed center would not produce enough revenue to cover the estimated $500,000 cost of developing it.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the tribe, based in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is now trying to lease the 92-acre site to another agricultural user. The property is just northeast of the Kansas Turnpike's interchange in North Lawrence.

Brooks says the Delaware Tribe would prefer to sell the land.

The tribe bought the property in 2013 with plans to open a casino. The casino plan stalled because most of the site is within the Kansas River flood plain. Brooks says the state also was unwilling to expand gaming to out-of-state tribes.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

 

Lakota Nation Invitational Features Voices of Young Poets

Tyra Akers, a junior at Pine Ridge High School, said she's only been writing poems for a year. Her literary hero?

"Tupac," she says, smiling after a short pause.

In the first round of the poetry slam at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Akers with her dark hair in a double French braid, denim, and tall boots walked to the mic at the front of the room. DJ Micah Prairie Chicken's turntable stopped — and 70 people stared at her, the Rapid City Journal reported.

"Get it, poet!" yelled a spectator.

And she began.

"I poison my body because my mind was racing," recites Akers. "You want to yell because you love me."

The 12 readers in the Dances with Words poetry slam, sponsored by First Peoples Fund, a women-run nonprofit, and run in conjunction with the Lakota Nation Invitational, ran the gamut from teenage fears to suicide and alcoholism. The first poet opened by reading a poem from her smartphone about the murder of her aunt on Skyline Drive in 1981.

"No more stolen sisters," she ended.

The competition — though emcee Marcus Red Shirt repeatedly wanted to de-emphasize the "competition" and followed up many poets' performances by saying, "You're brave, poet" — had a few rules: no hate speech, three rounds with dwindling time limits, and there were to be content warnings.

"Self-harm." ''Addiction." ''Lust." Red Shirt presaged one poem saying, "This poem contains intense emotions."

One by one, the poets spoke — on learning to ride a horse from a cousin, on seasonal depression, on heartbreak.

"I see a warrior in the battlefield of self-infliction," said one student.

"I want to drown myself in liquor and bury myself in smoke," said Akers.

A child in the audience played with a Rubik's cube as parents, teachers and loved ones watched. One mother, wiping eyes with Kleenex, met her son on the sidelines, after he said it was poetry that kept him from "living in some other person's poem."

"Here's some advice from ourselves," read one student. "It's OK to change directions because in the end we're all picture perfect reflections of imperfection."

"I must speak my truth as if I'm running," read another.

"I can't trust nostaliga," said another young woman. "Because nostalgia isn't honest about how much I've grown."

"It's their own words," said Autumn White Eyes, wearing a T-shirt that read "de-colonize." White Eyes is a writer and an alum of the poetry slam who now lives in New Jersey but works remotely for First Peoples Fund.

"So often, indigenous people are used to others telling their story. But here, we get to share our stories in our own words," she said.

Recently — as many poets do monthly at open mics hosted by Dances with Words — young, indigenous writers had the floor.

When Akers finished her second poem, the lightning round, she left a warning: "You'll be looking up at me looking down on you."

She walked back, a shy smile coming over her face, as her family stood in applause for her.

"I want to keep writing poems," said Akers, afterward, wearing the medal she'd won for a top performer around her neck, her family smiling on. "I like the feeling of my own words, to get them out of me."

In the hallway, basketball teams prepared to enter the separate arenas for the next game. Children rode the escalators up and down as the young poets mingled, sharing stories and listening to a flute player practicing in the hallway.

___

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

 

Justices Debate Indian Control of Land in Oklahoma

By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court grappled Tuesday with whether an Indian tribe retains control over a vast swath of eastern Oklahoma in a case involving a Native American who was sentenced to death for murder.

Some justices said they fear a ruling for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation could have big consequences for criminal cases, but also tax and other regulatory issues on more than 3 million acres of Creek Nation territory, including most of Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city.

The issue is before the high court in the case of Patrick Murphy, who was convicted of killing a fellow tribe member in 1999. A federal appeals court threw out his conviction because it found the state lacked authority to prosecute Murphy. The appeals court ruled that the crime occurred on land assigned to the tribe before Oklahoma became a state and Congress never clearly eliminated the Creek Nation reservation it created in 1866.

Lawyers for the state and Trump administration, supporting Oklahoma, told the justices that the practical effects of ruling for Murphy would be dramatic, after more than 100 years of state control over the area. Violent criminals could go free and the state would lose its ability to tax a chunk of the population, the lawyers said. Other Native American prisoners and defendants in Oklahoma have asked to have their convictions overturned or their cases thrown out as a result

With so much potentially at stake, maybe the court should ``leave well enough alone here,'' and side with Oklahoma, said Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that 1.8 million who live in the affected area have built their lives on a long-accepted understanding of local regulations and state law. "What happens to all those people?'' he asked.

Lawyers for Murphy and the Creek Nation said fears of chaos that would result from a ruling for Murphy are overstated. The Creek Nation already has agreements with 40 local governments that allow its police to work collaboratively with other law enforcement agencies, said Riyaz Kanji, representing the tribe.

No one has a greater interest than the tribe ``in law enforcement and security within the Creek reservation,'' Kanji said.

The court's liberal justices seemed generally more sympathetic to the tribe, while the conservatives appeared likely to side with the state. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a unanimous opinion in 2016 in favor of a different tribe's claim to a reservation, asked no questions, as is his custom.

One potential wrinkle is that Justice Neil Gorsuch stepped aside from the case because he participated in it at an earlier stage when he was a judge on the federal appeals court in Denver. A 4-4 tie would affirm the appellate ruling in favor of Murphy, but leave the larger issue of tribal sovereignty unresolved.

If he wins at the Supreme Court, Murphy could potentially be retried in federal court. But he would not face the death penalty for a crime in which prosecutors said he mutilated the victim and left him to bleed to death on the side of a country road about 80 miles southeast of Tulsa.

A decision in Carpenter v. Murphy, 17-1107, is expected by late spring.

 

Trump OKs Disaster Declaration for Tohono O'odham Nation

SELLS, Ariz. (AP) _ President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for a southern Arizona tribe affected by severe flooding.

Heavy rainfall had threatened an earthen dam on the Tohono O'odham reservation in early October, forcing people from their homes.

The declaration announced Friday allows the use of federal funding for emergency work, and to repair or replace facilities damaged by the flooding. The tribe must share in the cost.

Tribal officials say the remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa had damaged 64 homes, and impacted roadways, public buildings and utility systems.

Crews had to pump the lake behind Menager's Dam to ease the threat it would overtop. More than 1,000 sandbags were placed at the dam's crest.

 

Justices Debate Indian Control of Land in Oklahoma

By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court grappled Tuesday with whether an Indian tribe retains control over a vast swath of eastern Oklahoma in a case involving a Native American who was sentenced to death for murder.

Some justices said they fear a ruling for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation could have big consequences for criminal cases, but also tax and other regulatory issues on more than 3 million acres of Creek Nation territory, including most of Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city.

The issue is before the high court in the case of Patrick Murphy, who was convicted of killing a fellow tribe member in 1999. A federal appeals court threw out his conviction because it found the state lacked authority to prosecute Murphy. The appeals court ruled that the crime occurred on land assigned to the tribe before Oklahoma became a state and Congress never clearly eliminated the Creek Nation reservation it created in 1866.

Lawyers for the state and Trump administration, supporting Oklahoma, told the justices that the practical effects of ruling for Murphy would be dramatic, after more than 100 years of state control over the area. Violent criminals could go free and the state would lose its ability to tax a chunk of the population, the lawyers said. Other Native American prisoners and defendants in Oklahoma have asked to have their convictions overturned or their cases thrown out as a result

With so much potentially at stake, maybe the court should ``leave well enough alone here,'' and side with Oklahoma, said Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that 1.8 million who live in the affected area have built their lives on a long-accepted understanding of local regulations and state law. "What happens to all those people?'' he asked.

Lawyers for Murphy and the Creek Nation said fears of chaos that would result from a ruling for Murphy are overstated. The Creek Nation already has agreements with 40 local governments that allow its police to work collaboratively with other law enforcement agencies, said Riyaz Kanji, representing the tribe.

No one has a greater interest than the tribe ``in law enforcement and security within the Creek reservation,'' Kanji said.

The court's liberal justices seemed generally more sympathetic to the tribe, while the conservatives appeared likely to side with the state. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a unanimous opinion in 2016 in favor of a different tribe's claim to a reservation, asked no questions, as is his custom.

One potential wrinkle is that Justice Neil Gorsuch stepped aside from the case because he participated in it at an earlier stage when he was a judge on the federal appeals court in Denver. A 4-4 tie would affirm the appellate ruling in favor of Murphy, but leave the larger issue of tribal sovereignty unresolved.

If he wins at the Supreme Court, Murphy could potentially be retried in federal court. But he would not face the death penalty for a crime in which prosecutors said he mutilated the victim and left him to bleed to death on the side of a country road about 80 miles southeast of Tulsa.

A decision in Carpenter v. Murphy, 17-1107, is expected by late spring.

 

New Jersey Settles Suit Over Status of Native American Group

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ New Jersey's attorney general on Thursday announced a legal settlement that gives official status to a Native American tribe.

Under terms of the settlement, the state also will pay the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation $2.4 million. The state admits no wrongdoing or liability.

Both sides have also agreed that the settlement doesn't give the Lenape federal casino gambling rights.

The Lenape sued the state in 2015 and alleged it was given official status as a tribe through a 1982 state resolution but that when it tried to reaffirm the designation, it found the attorney general's office had decided not to recognize it in 2012.

A lower court ruled the tribe was never established as an official entity because the resolution was not a law submitted to the governor. It said that although there were legal measures taken in the years following 1982, none actually granted the nation official recognition.

Last year, an appeals court reversed the lower court's decision and ruled the lawsuit could go forward.

The southern New Jersey-based nation, which numbers approximately 3,000 members, has said the lack of official status has meant it can't say artwork is American Indian-made without being fined, and that it has been ineligible for federal scholarships and grant funding.

 

Language App Adds Navajo Courses

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ A popular language-learning app is adding Navajo to its portfolio.

KOB-TV reports that Duolingo has begun offering Navajo, or Dine (dih-NEH'), as a language option for learning on the mobile app.

Clayton Long, who is the head of the bilingual education for San Juan School District in Utah, tells the station that he and his students collaborated to develop the language lessons on the app.

The first of the courses were unveiled last week.

Long says a total of nine lessons he and others developed will be released in the coming months as part of the ongoing Duolingo project.

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Information from: KOB-TV, http://www.kob.com

 

Obama, 2 Native Americans Top 'Minority Trailblazers' List

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ The nation's first black president has topped the list of ``minority trailblazers'' chosen in the Illinois Top 200 project as part of the state's bicentennial.

Barack Obama was a community organizer in Chicago and served as state senator and U.S. senator before winning the White House in 2008.

The online voters' choices were announced Monday as part of Illinois' 200th birthday on Dec. 3.

Obama was followed by two Native Americans. Black Hawk was a Sauk warrior who fought white America's expansion into Illinois. Chief Keokuk was a rival who gave up land to settlers to avoid bloodshed.

Harold Washington and Patricia Roberts Harris followed. Washington was Chicago's first black mayor and Harris was the first black woman to serve as ambassador and cabinet member under President Jimmy Carter.

PBS’ KCET and Link TV Announce Series TENDING NATURE

Mussel harvesting in Protecting the Coast (Tolowa) episode.

KCET and Link TV, providing acclaimed culturally diverse programming, announced the debut of a new KCET original television series called TENDING NATURE, produced in partnership with the Autry Museum of the American West. The series shines a light on the environmental knowledge of indigenous peoples across California by exploring how the state's Native peoples have actively shaped and tended the land for millennia, in the process developing a deep understanding of plant and animal life.

KCET will premiere four, 30-minute episodes of TENDING NATURE starting Wed., November 7 at 8:30 p.m. on KCET in Southern California. The series will also air on nationally independent satellite network Link TV on Tues., November 13 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT (DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410).

The unique partnership between KCET and the Autry has turned into a three-year commitment to explore California’s Native stories (and histories) and allows viewers to hear first-hand from Native communities engaged in contemporary projects that revive their culture and inform western sciences. California is home to more Native Americans than any other state, and these communities have continued to maintain traditional knowledge against all odds.

The Autry Museum of the American West is dedicated to bringing together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire a shared future. The series connects to their Human Nature galleries and garden spaces dedicated to the California environment, making for a multiplatform museum-media partnership—and one that furthers critical conversations related to the future of California.

The first two episodes of the series will be screened at the Autry on Nov. 10 as part of the museum’s annual American Indian Arts Marketplace.

TENDING NATURE will be telecast as follows (subject to change):

“Protecting The Coast with the Tolowa Dee-ni'”- Wed., Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET / Tues., Nov. 13 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV Coastal ecosystems are under threat from human caused toxification but the Tolowa Dee-Ni are reviving traditional harvesting of shellfish and redefining the human role in managing marine protected areas.

“Decolonizing Cuisine with Mak-’amham”- Wed., Nov. 14 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET / Tues., Nov. 20 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV Two Ohlone chefs are revitalizing their language and food practices and adapting them for a modernist palate.

“Tribal Hunting with the Pit River Peoples” - Wed., Nov. 21 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET / Tues., Nov. 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV The Pit River Tribe in Northeast California are reviving traditional hunting practices, and embracing initiatives to preserve wild elk and deer populations as well as developing statewide intertribal trading networks for the distribution of humanely sourced and sustainable Native foods.

“Healing the Body with United Indian Health Services”- Wed., Nov. 28 at 8:30 PT on KCET / Tues., Dec. 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV Native peoples in rural areas often lack easy access to healthy, affordable food. Younger generations are witnessing the effects of health issues in their community and as a result have started several food sovereignty programs across California.

Join the conversation on social media using #TendingNature

KCET is a flagship PBS channel of the newly formed PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

 

PBS Docuseries 'Native America' Recreates Cultures Pre-1492

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ The story of Native America taught in U.S. public schools usually begins at contact with European explorers. Children then get lessons about Thanksgiving, maybe the Trail of Tears or the 19th century wars over the removal of tribes in the American West. Rarely discussed is life in the Americas before Columbus' 1492 voyage.

A new four_part PBS docuseries entitled ``Native America'' seeks to recreate a world in the Americas generations prior to the arrival of Europeans. Using archaeology, Native American oral traditions, even high_tech 3D renditions, viewers are presented images of busy cities connected by networks that span from the present_day United States to South America.

The docuseries shows how Chaco Canyon in New Mexico became a busy spiritual and commercial center that stood five stories high in the desert sky, centuries before skyscrapers went up in New York.

They also discuss the tunnel under a pyramid in Teotihuacán, Mexico, that revealed an intricate belief system that was also found elsewhere. And outside present_day St. Louis, Missouri, 10,000 people helped erect massive earthwork pyramids into a city now known as Cahokia around the time the real_life Macbeth ruled Scotland.

Series executive producer and director Gary Glassman said the project took more than a year to plan because producers wanted to make sure they had buy_in from Native American communities the documentaries sought to cover. Filmmakers wanted to include animated pieces of sacred art and stories to illustrate the importance of the site and wanted to be sensitive, Glassman said.

``We wanted to give them ownership to their own stories,'' Glassman said. ``It was about building trust.''

That's how producers convinced Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office of the Arizona tribe Hopi, to allow directors to briefly film a group of elders conducting a smoking ceremony at Chaco.

In one episode, Kuwanwisiwma explains the religious significance of the Kiva and how elders used the smoking ceremony to contemplate the power of the universe. ``The bird world, the reptilian world, the animal world, the insect world...they are all part of who we are as Hopi people,'' Kuwanwisiwma tells viewers.

The docuseries then takes viewers to the rock art of the Amazons and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of New York to show how similar spiritual theologies through diverse practices linked people thousands of miles apart from the pyramids of Mississippi to the Andes in present_day Peru.

The first episode of ``Native America'' is scheduled to air on most PBS stations on Tuesday. Other episodes will air on following Tuesdays until November 13.

Episodes will be streamed for free for a limited time after airings.

___

Associated Press writer Russell Contreras is a member of the AP's race and ethnicity team. Follow Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

 

Native American Leader Takes Aim at Cuomo's Statue Plans

NEW YORK (AP) _ The head of the American Indian Law Alliance is taking aim at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plans to nominate New York City's statue of Christopher Columbus to the National Register of Historic Places.

Betty Lyons said on Tuesday that the 1892 statue represents genocide, enslavement, exploitation of children and land grabs.

She says the Democratic governor is insensitive to the concerns of 100,000 indigenous peoples living in New York state.

Cuomo says many historical figures, including Columbus, did bad things as well as great things and that's ``part of the lesson.''

A city commission appointed to review historical statues decided to keep the Columbus Circle monument, which Italian-American groups view as a source of ethnic pride.

The city is adding markers to contextualize the figures such statues depict.

 

Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs Director Leaves Job

CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) _ The executive director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs is leaving the position after 11 years in the job.

The Cortez Journal reports Ernest House Jr. has resigned to take a job with the Keystone Policy Center.

House was the first member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to work as the commission's director, which serves as the liaison between native American tribes and the state.

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne says House has played a major role in making sure tribal communities have a seat at the table and a strong voice.

House says he will continue to advocate for tribes in his new job as senior policy director with the Keystone Policy Group.

___

Information from: Cortez Journal, http://www.cortezjournal.com/

 

Hopis Asking Feds to Explore Other Options for Power Plant

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. (AP) _ Hopi tribal officials are calling on the federal government to explore other options for the Navajo Generating Station near Page.

Two companies that were negotiating to take over a coal-fired power plant on the Arizona-Utah line ended the effort last week, saying the challenges were too great.

The 2,250-megawatt plant could close at the end of 2019.

That would be a huge blow to the economies of the Navajo and Hopi tribes: The Hopis rely on coal revenue for about 85 percent of their budget and the Navajos 20 percent.

Hopi Vice Chairman Clark Tenakhongva says the U.S. government must either continue to buy power from the generating station or provide the tribe with support necessary to avoid an economic catastrophe. He's asking the government to act without delay.

 

Group Marks Potawatomi Trail of Death from Indiana to Kansas

By MITCHELL KIRK
Pharos-Tribune

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) _ This month marks 180 years since over 850 Potawatomi Native Americans were forcibly removed from their homeland in northern Indiana.

Many walked the 660-mile, two-month journey. Over 40 died _ mostly babies, children and elderly.

It's known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Every five years since 1988, a group of Potawatomi, historians and other interested persons take a week to travel the trail that starts south of Plymouth, Indiana, and ends in Kansas.

The commemorative caravan recently passed through Logansport, where they visited a marker recognizing part of the trail at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Fulton Street.

In 1838, Indiana Gov. David Wallace appointed Gen. John Tipton of Logansport to lead the removal of Potawatomi from the area, according to information from the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association.

Tipton planned the capture in a trading post on the Tippecanoe River north of Rochester. He rode to Twin Lakes near Plymouth on Aug. 30 to meet with Potawatomi Chief Menominee to inform him of the removal and take him prisoner. Tipton then sent soldiers out in all directions within about a 30-to-50-mile radius to collect Potawatomi.

The march began on Sept. 4, 1838. They went down through Indiana, then across Illinois and Missouri before arriving in what later became Kansas, stopping in what is now known as Osawatomie on Nov. 4. Those who died on the march were buried in unmarked graves along the trail.

The Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan has set out every five years for the past three decades during the third week of September after the annual Trail of Courage Living History Festival in Rochester. Participants start at a Chief Menominee monument south of Plymouth and end at St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park south of Mound City, Kansas, which is south of Osawatomie. The park is named after a French nun who ministered to the Potawatomi upon their arrival.

Fulton County Historian Shirley Willard started the caravan in 1988 after learning that the Potawatomi were marched at gunpoint through Rochester.

``I thought that was pretty terrible and most people didn't know that it had even happened,'' Willard said.

About 35 to 40 people will be making the entire journey this year, Willard said, adding others take part in stretches of the trek along the way.

Janet Pearl of Parma Heights, Ohio, is part of the 2018 caravan. She's participated in several over the decades with her father, who has been a part of all of them. Both are members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Pearl's Potawatomi name is Wichap Gishek, which means Blue Sky.

Pearl's Potawatomi great-great-grandmother was about 10 or 11 when she was forced along the Trail of Death. Her name was Equa-ke-sec, which means Rising Sun. After surviving the ordeal and arriving in Kansas, she was baptized with the name Theresa Living.

Pearl and her father regularly attend Potawatomi functions across the U.S. and Canada.

``It's really important to us to renew our culture connections and stay abreast of everything that's going on,'' she said.

She called the Potawatomi Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan a unique experience. People often come out to greet her and her fellow participants in the various towns along the trail, she went on to recall.

``They show a lot of compassion and concern for what happened to the Potawatomi way back when,'' Pearl said.

She finds it encouraging.

``It's really a positive experience,'' she said. ``It's spiritual too because you just feel so uplifted by this outpouring of concern and caring. People are just really nice about it.''

Pearl said her grandmother taught her father and his siblings not to focus feelings of bitterness toward the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Instead she encouraged them to be forgiving and concentrate on how their ancestor survived and that they were able to come into being because of that survival.

Pearl said much of that forgiving attitude can be credited to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, who ministered to the Potawatomi after they arrived in what later became Kansas. While Duchesne couldn't speak Potawatomi, Pearl said she showed kindness by example.

``We felt our ancestors were influenced by her spiritual guidance,'' Pearl said.

According to historical information from the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association, Duchesne was a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart and prayed so often that the Potawatomi called her ``She Who Prays Always.''

Duchesne was canonized in 1988, the same year the Potawatomi Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan started. This year also marks two centuries since she came to the U.S. from France.

Pearl said she is looking forward to having several nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart on the caravan this year.

She also seconded Willard's desire for the caravan to serve an educational purpose.

``What we hope today is that people will learn a lesson from hearing about this event and that it won't happen again,'' she said.

While the Potawatomi Trail of Death occurred 180 years ago, the feelings that spurred it still exist today, Pearl said, offering immigration issues as an example.

``There's a lot going on where people are persecuted and we're just hoping that people will let a little more love come into their life and try to respect everybody and get along with people,'' Pearl said.

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com

 

Tribes Want Feds to Explain Controversial Land Decision

MASHPEE, Mass. (AP) _ The country's largest Native American organization is calling on the Trump administration to explain its decision not to recognize the reservation of a Massachusetts' tribe.

The National Congress of American Indians said Tuesday it ``disagrees strongly'' with the U.S. Department of the Interior's decision to reverse an Obama-era ruling placing land in trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag (MASH'-pee WAHM'-puh-nawg) tribe.

The organization wants the agency to explain what the decision signifies for Indian land policy going forward.

The Interior Department took 321 acres into trust for the Mashpee in 2015, but a federal judge ordered the agency to reconsider the decision after local residents sued.

Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman Nedra Darling declined to comment, citing pending litigation. She confirmed the Mashpee land, for now, remains in trust pending a final court order.

 

OSU to Start Tribal Finance Certificate Program

By MOLLY M. FLEMING

The Journal Record

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — In the last year, Victor Flores has focused on bringing tribal accounting and finance training inside the state. He organized the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium, which has met twice this year.

But one of the main goals of the consortium will start in November, when Oklahoma State University will hold the Introductory Tribal Finance and Accounting Certificate four-day pilot program, with the full kickoff scheduled for May.

Flores, who is the Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s chief financial officer, told The Journal Record that he plans to take about 15 people from his office to the conference in November. The introductory level is ideal for people who do not have a finance or business background, such as elected officials or directors of different entities within the tribe.

There are intermediate and advanced-level programs being developed as well. The intermediate program will launch in summer 2019, and the advanced level doesn’t have a launch date yet, said Lindsey Kirksey, program director at the OSU Spears School of Business’ Center for Executive and Professional Development.

The center has also developed a tribal leadership certificate program, which can be completed over a two-year period.

The accounting and finance classes will be taught by different industry professionals, such as BKD Managing Director Joel Haaser, based in Tulsa. The University of Oklahoma College of Law is helping to provide legal professionals as well.

Haaser said tribal accounting operations vary from state and local government, so this type of training is needed. Tribes tend to get more federal grants than cities, and that money can be used for housing or even road construction. At the same time, tribes operate for-profit businesses, such as casinos.

“That puts tribes in between a government and a commercial organization, which is really the difference (between tribes and state and local governments),” Haaser said. “It creates a lot of unique accounting challenges.”

Flores said it’s especially important to have these programs in Oklahoma because the tribes’ histories are different than in other states. With the Native Americans being forced to settle here, they’re not on reservations like in other states.

“We’re vastly different (from other states),” he said. “We have our own idiosyncrasies. When (my office) goes to training, we have to tell our employees that what they learned may not apply in Oklahoma. We’re talking apples and oranges. That’s why we’re trying to create our own training.”

The November program has about 10 people enrolled so far, but Center for Executive and Professional Development Director Julie Weathers said she expects that to double. The November class is being offered to tribal members on the advisory board, who are expected to give feedback after the pilot program. The May class is already opened for registration.

The center offers professional development training for several industries, such as energy and municipal governments.

Tribal leaders from Texas and Kansas have been invited to the May conference, Flores said. Since there are four tribes in Kansas and three nations in Texas, they often send representatives to events in Oklahoma.

Weathers said the center is excited to work with the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium on the training.

“As a land-grant university, we feel it’s our duty to offer this type of education in business, so we’re certainly glad to be a part of it,” she said. “Kudos to the tribes for coming together and voicing their concerns to all work together and offer a solution to the challenges in the accounting and finance area.”

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Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com

 

Archaeologists Dig Native American Fort Found in Connecticut

By DAVE COLLINS
Associated Press

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) _ Archaeologists are marveling at the site of a 1600s Native American fort in Connecticut that was uncovered as part of a rail bridge replacement project.

About 20 of them gathered for a tour of the site in Norwalk on Tuesday. They said it is one of the most important finds in the Northeast in terms of Native American history and shines some light on Native Americans' first dealings with Europeans.

Not only did experts find the remains of the 17th century fort, they discovered some artifacts including arrow and spear tips that date back an estimated 3,000 years, indicating Native Americans were active at the site for generations. No evidence of human remains has been found.

``It's one of the earliest historic period sites that has been found so far,'' said archaeologist Ross Harper. ``And it's very rich in artifacts including Native American pottery and stone tools, as well as trade goods such as glass beads, wampum, hatchets and knives. It's definitely one of the more important sites, not just for the area but New England in general.''

Harper said it appears the Norwalk Indians, a tribe that historians know little about, had a fort at the site from about 1615 to 1640 and used it to trade goods with early Dutch settlers. The site is on a small sliver of land next to railroad tracks that carry Amtrak and Metro-North commuter trains. A 19th century history of Norwalk mentions an old Native American fort, and a road near the site is still named Fort Point Street.

The site was found during preliminary archaeological surveys ordered as part of the state's upcoming replacement of the 122-year-old Walk Bridge, which spans the Norwalk River and swings open to allow boats to pass. The bridge has gotten stuck in the open position several times and caused massive rail service delays. Construction is set to begin next year.

Harper works for Archaeological & Historical Services Inc., a Storrs, Connecticut-based firm that is painstakingly removing artifacts from the site and taking them back to its offices for cleaning and further study. Some of the artifacts may be headed to museums. The firm will write a lengthy report on the artifacts and its findings.

The firm, which plans to completely remove all artifacts from the site by the fall, has been working in consultation with the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans _ the two federally recognized tribes in the state. There is no known opposition to the removal of the artifacts.

The two tribes issued a joint statement on the project this week.

``Any time a Native American site or artifacts are found, the utmost sensitivity should be used,'' the statement said. ``While the Walk Bridge construction site in Norwalk may or may not have direct ties to the Mohegan or Mashantucket Pequot tribes ... we take the matter seriously. In fact, Tribal Preservation Officers from both tribes have actively been working with people on the ground there for over a year to offer their expertise.''

The site is one of only about a half-dozen in the Northeast known to have contained evidence of Native Americans' first encounters with Europeans, and most of the sites have been destroyed or removed during development of the lands, Harper said.

The rare find is what drew archaeologists from the region to Tuesday's tour in oppressively hot weather.

``For me, it's like a gold mine,'' said Kevin McBride, an anthropology professor at the University of Connecticut and research director at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. ``I think the reason the site is so important is that there's a lot of material here. It's definitely one of the most important sites we've found in a long time.''

McBride said items found at the site provide some insight into Native Americans' first interactions with Europeans and show how they incorporated European products such as iron tools and knives into their culture.

SC County Evaluating Archaeological Site Under Construction

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A project to build a parking lot alongside South Carolina's Saluda River may have wrecked an archaeological site where Native Americans lived for thousands of years.

The State reports that arrowheads and other artifacts were found in June after bulldozers went to work at the Saluda Riverwalk project, which Richland County is developing in conjunction with the Riverbanks Zoo.

State archaeologist Jonathan Leader says the site's was considered to be too ``scattered'' to be officially protected. He planned to witness a private archaeology firm's inspection of the damage on Wednesday.

Alexis Norris of Columbia collected boxes of arrowheads and other artifacts during construction, and has agreed give them to the zoo.

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Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com

New Mexico City near Navajo Nation Sees Tourism Jump

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) _ A western New Mexico city surrounded by Navajo culture and Native arts and crafts is experiencing a tourism boom not seen since the 1970s.

The Gallup Independent reports officials in Gallup, New Mexico, says the city has seen an increase of around 7 to 10 percent in visitors thanks to foreign tourists.

Officials believe a favorable exchange rate and increased interest by the media in anything to do with Native culture and crafts led to millions of foreigners vacationing in the United States each summer.

Gallup-McKinley County Chamber of Commerce director Bill Lee says the area is seeing visitors from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and Belgium.

Gallup is located on the edge of the Navajo Nation and sits along the historic Route 66.

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Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com

Montana Officials Work to Boost Tribal Tourism

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) _ Montana officials are working to inform tourists of the state's Native American tribal history.

The Missoulian reports the Montana Office of Tourism and Development and the state Tribal Economic Development Commission are pushing to promote tourism to the state's reservations and tribal nations.

Carla Lott, the state tribal tourism officer and a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, and Heather Sobrepena, a member of the Crow Tribe and the state's Indian Country economic development program manager, are leading the charge.

Lott says the goal is for tribal tourism to benefit underserved, rural areas of the state while promoting a greater understanding of modern Native American culture.

In 2017, the state conducted a national survey of potential visitors and found that 82 percent of leisure travelers express interest in exploring sites related to Native American culture.

Supreme Court Sends Land Dispute back to Wash. Top Court

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court is asking Washington state's highest court to take another look at a land dispute between a Native American tribe and its neighbors.

The dispute concerns a roughly 40-acre plot of land purchased by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe in 2013. A land survey convinced the tribe that a barbed wire fence between its land and land owned by Sharline and Ray Lundgren is in the wrong place. The tribe wanted to tear down the fence and build a new one in the right spot. The Lundgrens sued, but the tribe argued it was immune from suit.

The Washington Supreme Court sided with the Lundgrens. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday the court's reasoning was flawed and asked the court to take another look at the dispute.

Illinois group needs $500K to restore Black Hawk statue

OREGON, Ill. (AP) _ A group needs to raise $500,000 to complete the restoration of a century-old landmark in northern Illinois known as the Black Hawk statue.

Restoration efforts began five years ago on the 48-foot-tall, 270-ton landmark in Lowden State Park, but the project stalled in 2016 amid a lack of state funding and a dispute on the restoration team, the Rockford Register Star reported . The statue's been covered in black protective sheets since work stopped.

``People were bewildered when it came to a screeching halt. People were confused about what happened and what will happen,'' said Jan Stilson, a historian who's leading the 20 volunteers on the Black Hawk Team.

Lorado Taft sculpted the statue to pay homage to the region's American Indians. The work, which is also known as the Eternal Indian Statue or the Rock River Colossus, was dedicated in 1911 in the Ogle County seat of Oregon.

The Black Hawk Team has gathered volunteers to begin fundraising efforts to continue the restoration project. That team is part of Oregon Together, an organization that aims to improve quality of life in the area.

Work on the statue could resume this summer if fundraising goes well. That work would continue through October and then pause for the winter.

The restoration project will include recreating the statue's original mix of concrete, cement and red granite, Stilson said. The statue will still require annual upkeep.

Money raised for the effort would be monitored by the Illinois Conservation Fund, a nonprofit that supports programs by the Department of Natural Resources.

Stilson said she hopes the state will approve a $350,000 grant for the state Department of Natural Resources for restoration. The statue sits on property owned by the state agency.

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

Study: Decline of salmon also impacts salmon genetics

By CHAD SOKOL
The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ As Chinook salmon populations declined across the Pacific Northwest, scientists suspected the fish lost a great deal of genetic diversity, too.

But until recently, the theory hadn't been tested. Ancient salmon bones are hard to come by, and it's even harder to extract workable DNA samples from them.

``Science finally caught up with what we already believed and allowed us to test it,'' said Bobbi Johnson, the lead author of a new Washington State University study that raises concerns about the Chinooks' ability to respond to environmental change.

Starting in 2010, Johnson's team collected hundreds of salmon bones from Native American archaeological sites some more than twice as old as the first Egyptian pyramid and compared their DNA with modern samples from the same areas.

The researchers found that Chinook in the upper Columbia River, where the Grand Coulee Dam cut off about 40 percent of the species' historic habitat, have lost about two-thirds of their genetic diversity. In the Snake River, they lost about one-third, a difference that surprised the researchers.

That basically supports the longstanding assumption that the Chinook gene pool was much larger before European settlement in the Pacific Northwest.

The researchers also analyzed ancient samples from Spokane River Chinook, finding that population had a large gene pool and at least six lineages. They had no modern samples for comparison. The Little Falls Dam has blocked salmon migration on the Spokane River since it was built in 1911.

Genetic variation is critical for the survival of any species. It would enable salmon to pass on needed traits if disease strikes, water levels drop or temperatures rise.

``You want there to be differences between individuals, so that when change does happen, there's room for adaptation and natural selection,'' Johnson said.

In a population with low genetic diversity, she added, ``If something comes in that's bad for anybody, that's bad for everybody.''

The study, part of Johnson's doctoral dissertation, was published this week in the journal PLOS One. Her co-authors are Gary Thorgaard, a WSU emeritus professor of biological sciences, and Brian Kemp, a former WSU molecular anthropologist now at the University of Oklahoma.

They wrote that Chinook research and management practices have mostly focused on ``the four H's'' habitat, harvest, hatcheries and hydropower.

Johnson said they have now considered a fifth H, history. The study reflects millennia of dramatic changes to the Chinook's habitat, both natural and man-made, from glacial floods to commercial fishing to the construction of giant dams.

The ancient bone samples, Johnson said, ``just track that story so nicely.''

The 346 vertebrae samples were part of collections held by the Spokane and Colville tribes and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, among other entities. Johnson said many of the bones were retrieved from ancient Native American garbage heaps, called middens, in archaeological digs beginning in the 1940s.

Some of the samples dated back about 7,000 years. Many were about 3,000 years old. The youngest ancient sample came from a Chinook caught 150 years ago near Fort Colville.

Johnson said the samples were immensely challenging to work with, and she credited Kemp, an ancient DNA expert, for overseeing the extraction process. Researchers wore face masks, hairnets and double sets of latex gloves to avoid contamination, and they were able to tease out sequences of mitochondrial DNA, the kind passed down only from mothers.

Johnson said the Colville Tribe ``definitely took a risk'' by providing the first samples for preliminary testing. Samples are largely destroyed in the process, and there's no guarantee it will yield useful data.

``They gave us samples before we could prove that we could do something like this,'' Johnson said.

Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest have caught Chinook for more than 9,000 years, often near waterfalls and other natural bottlenecks along the region's river network.

Europeans introduced commercial fisheries after arriving in the 1860s, and, from 1889 to 1922, they harvested more than 24 million pounds of Chinook each year, according to the researchers. That fell to about 15 million pounds a year by the late 1950s, and annual harvests now stand at less than 5 million pounds.

The first dam on the main stem of the Columbia, the Rock Island Dam in Chelan County, was built in 1933. The Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams were built in 1941, blocking ocean-going salmon from more than 1,000 miles of the upper part of the river. Dams on the Snake came more than a decade later.

Today there are more than 400 dams in the Columbia River Basin, blocking more than half of the river system's spawning habitat, according to the researchers.

Johnson said her team can't conclude if commercial fishing or the dams are to blame for the declining genetic diversity of the Chinook. To make that connection, the researchers would need samples from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The researchers did acquire some tissue samples from that period from the University of Washington, but they were stored in formaldehyde, Johnson said.

``Formaldehyde is like cement for DNA,'' she said. ``You just can't get DNA after that.''

Johnson said her team's findings have few applications on their own, but she hopes they will inform future discussions about Chinook conservation as the effects of climate change come into focus.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

Thousands of Native American artifacts found at Camden sites

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Archaeologists have found nearly 10,000 Native American artifacts at two sites in Camden, New Jersey.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the items include a rectangular ceramic vessel, tool fragments, arrowheads, and hearthstones as well as animal bones and remains of plants likely used for food, medicine and fuel.

RGA Inc. conducted the excavations for the Holtec International campus project at the former New York Shipbuilding Co. site.

Senior archaeologist Ilene Grossman-Bailey says the intact remains of Native American activity on the site can help researchers understand the lives of people who camped along the Delaware River as early as 4,000 years ago.

Some of the objects will be donated to the Camden County Historical Society and may be displayed in the museum. Executive director Jack O'Byrne calls the discovery ``mind-blowing.''

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

Ancient burial site found submerged off Florida

VENICE, Fla. (AP) _ State officials say archaeologists have located a 7,000-year-old Native American ancestral burial site submerged in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced Wednesday that the Manasota Key Offshore archaeological site is on the continental shelf near Venice, preserved in what appears to have been a peat-bottomed freshwater pond.

Reports of the site began in June 2016 when divers identified possible human skeletal material. Archaeologists have since confirmed that it dates from the Early Archaic period.

Officials say offshore prehistoric burial sites are rare, with others located in Israel and Denmark.

The site is protected by law, and it is illegal for anyone not authorized by the state to excavate or remove anything.