California Tribe That Lost 90% of Land During Gold Rush to Get Site to Serve as Gateway to Redwoods

By JULIE WATSON Associated Press

California's Yurok Tribe, which had 90% of its territory taken from it during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, will be getting a slice of its land back to serve as a new gateway to Redwood National and State Parks visited by 1 million people a year.

The Yurok will be the first Native people to manage tribal land with the National Park Service under a historic memorandum of understanding signed Tuesday by the tribe, Redwood National and State Parks and the nonprofit Save the Redwoods League.

The agreement “starts the process of changing the narrative about how, by whom and for whom we steward natural lands,” Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, said in a statement.

The tribe will take ownership in 2026 of 125 acres (50 hectares) near the tiny Northern California community of Orick in Humboldt County after restoration of a local tributary, Prairie Creek, is complete under the deal. The site will introduce visitors to Yurok customs, culture and history, the tribe said.

The area is home to the world’s tallest trees — some reaching more than 350 feet (105 meters). It's about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the Pacific coast and adjacent to the Redwood National and State Parks, which includes one national park and three California state parks totaling nearly 132,000 acres (53,400 hectares).

The return of the land — named ’O Rew in the Yurok Language — more than a century after it was stolen from California's largest tribe — is proof of the “sheer will and perseverance of the Yurok people," said Rosie Clayburn, the tribe's cultural resources director. "We kind of don’t give up.”

For the tribe, redwoods are considered living beings and traditionally only fallen trees have been used to build their homes and canoes.

“As the original stewards of this land, we look forward to working together with the Redwood National and State Parks to manage it,” Clayburn said. “This is work that we’ve always done, and continued to fight for, but I feel like the rest of world is catching up right now and starting to see that Native people know how to manage this land the best.”

The property is at the heart of the tribe's ancestral land and was taken in the 1800s to exploit its old-growth redwoods and other natural resources, the tribe said. Save the Redwoods League bought the property in 2013 and began working with the tribe and others to restore it.

Much of the property was paved over by a lumber operation that worked there for 50 years and also buried Prairie Creek, where salmon would swim upstream from the Pacific to spawn.

A growing Land Back movement has been returning Indigenous homelands to the descendants of those who lived there for millennia before European settlers arrived. That has seen Native American tribes taking a greater role in restoring rivers and lands to how they were before they were expropriated.

Last week, a 2.2-acre (.9-hectare) parking lot was returned to the Ohlone people where they established the first human settlement beside San Francisco Bay 5,700 years ago. In 2022, more than 500 acres (200 hectares) of redwood forest on the Lost Coast were returned the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, a group of 10 tribes.

The ’O Rew property represents just a tiny fraction of the more than 500,000 acres of the ancestral land of the Yurok, whose reservation straddles the lower 44 miles (70 kilometers) of the Klamath River. The Yurok tribe is also helping lead efforts in the largest dam removal project in U.S. history along the California-Oregon border to restore the Klamath and boost the salmon population.

Plans for 'O Rew include a traditional Yurok village of redwood plank houses and a sweat house. There also will be a new visitor and cultural center displaying scores of sacred artefacts from deerskins to baskets that have been returned to the tribe from university and museum collections, Clayburn said.

The center, which will include information on the redwoods and forest restoration, also will serve as a hub for the tribe to carry out their traditions, she said.

It will add more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) of new trails, including a new segment of the California Coastal Trail, with interpretive exhibits. The trails will connect to many of the existing trails inside the parks, including to popular old-growth redwood groves.

The tribe had already been restoring salmon habitat for three years on the property, building a meandering stream channel, two connected ponds and about 20 acres (8 hectares) of floodplain while dismantling a defunct mill site. Crews also planted more than 50,000 native plants, including grass-like slough sedge, black cottonwood and coast redwood trees.

Coordinating stewardship throughout the entire watershed with the National Park Service and California State Parks is key to restoring these fish runs, the tribe said.

Salmon were once abundant in rivers and streams running through these redwood forests, But dams, logging, development and drought — due in part to climate change — have destroyed the waterways and threatened many of these species. Last year recreational and commercial king salmon fishing seasons were closed along much of the West Coast due to near-record low numbers of the iconic fish returning to their spawning grounds.

Thousands of juvenile coho and chinook salmon and steelhead have already returned to Prairie Creek along with red-legged frogs, northwestern salamanders, waterfowl and other species.

Redwoods National Park Superintendent Steve Mietz praised the restoration of the area and its return to the tribe, saying it is “healing the land while healing the relationships among all the people who inhabit this magnificent forest.”

New Mexico, the No. 2 Oil-Producing US State, Braces for Possible End to Income Bonanza

Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) __ A windfall in government income from petroleum production is slowing down but far from over in New Mexico as the nation`s No. 2 oil- producing state grapples with how much it can effectively spend __ and how to set aside billions of dollars for the future in case the world`s thirst for oil falters.

The state is headed for a $3.5 billion general fund surplus for the year running through June 2025, according to a new forecast Monday. New Mexico's annual state government income has swelled by nearly 50% over the past three years, driven largely by oil an natural gas production in the Permian Basin, the most prolific shale-oil producing region in the country that extends across southeastern New Mexico and portions of western Texas.

The state will draw in a record-setting $13 billion __ exceeding annual spending obligations by one-third, economists from four state agencies said in a presentation to a legislative panel. Monday`s forecast anticipates 2.2% growth in state government income, on top of 10.2% growth during the current budget year.

The estimate of government income sets a baseline for budget negotiations when the Democratic-led Legislature convenes in January, and could extend efforts to set aside money to ensure critical programs endure when oil income falters. The forecast cautions that slowing oil production and lower prices are expected to generate significantly less federal payments next year and beyond.

By the end of the decade, oil income is likely to begin a long, steady decline, "becoming a drag on revenue growth as global demand wanes," the report states.

Permian Basin production and revenue would be lower in the future if countries "make good" on their promises as part of the Paris Agreement, said Daniel Raimi, a fellow at the Washington-based nonpartisan economics group Resources for the Future, which does not advocate on energy policies. In 2015, countries at the United Nations climate conference signed onto the agreement to limit the average warming across the globe to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) and pursue efforts to cap warming to 1.5 degrees (2.7 F).

"It really hinges a lot on the different policies that governments around the world implement," Raimi said.

About half of the New Mexico's general fund revenue can be traced to the oil and natural gas sector through an array of taxes and royalties on petroleum production that takes place largely on public lands __ and distributions that flow from the state's $28 billion land grant permanent fund for education, which is nurtured by oil income and investment earnings.

New Mexico's largest source of income is tethered to decisions across the globe about renewable energy production, adoption of electric vehicles, and new applications for nuclear power that could reduce fossil fuel use.

The state is looking for new revenue streams that shift the state`s dependence on oil, including New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's proposal last week to help preserve freshwater aquifers with a $500 million initiative to underwrite the treatment of fracking wastewater. Early critics fear the plan might only spur more drilling for petroleum.

"We put a ton of money into funds," Lujan Grisham said from the U.N. climate conference in the United Arab Emirates, where calls to phase-out the use of fossil fuels have been on prominent display. "But you also have to create revenue streams that go into those funds that are reliable."

Meanwhile, the growth in government income has allowed the state to expand agency budgets, scale back taxes, and offer new support to families, while bolstering spending on public education and colleges that account for roughly 58% of annual state general fund spending.

It's more money in many instances than school districts and state agencies can effectively spend, as lawmakers push to bring average high school graduation rates and academic attainment up to national averages.

"All the resources have been there to pay the teachers more, to do the afterschool programing to provide the tutoring and support," said Charles Sallee, director of the Legislature's budget and accountability office, at a recent community presentation. "It's the ability of the bureaucracy to organize and use those resources. In many cases it's strained at capacity."

Frustration boiled over at a recent legislative hearing that examined state spending on public education and stagnant average student performance at public schools.

Statewide, the share of students who can read at their grade level is 38%. Math proficiency is at 24%. The state's high school graduation rate hovers at 76% __ well below the national average of 87%.

Funding is increasing while the student population is declining, said Democratic state Sen. George Muñoz of Gallup, chairman of the lead state budget-writing committee at a November hearing.

"So we're paying more for kids and we're still not getting there," Muñoz said. "What are we going to do to move the needle?"

New Mexico's early childhood education trust, created in 2020, already holds roughly $6 billion. It`s designed to safeguard an ambitious expansion of public preschool, no-cost child care and home nurse visits for infants.

Last year, legislators agreed to set aside $150 million in a new land and water conservation fund and agreed to channeled more money from oil and natural gas into a savings account for construction projects __ devoting $3 billion by 2027.

Legislators still are pushing to open new savings accounts. An emerging proposal would devote $100 million to a trust for Native American education including Indigenous language instruction among 23 tribal communities in New Mexico, including the Navajo Nation.

8th Circuit Ruling Backs Tribes' Effort to Force Lawmakers to Redraw Boundaries

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) __ A federal appeals court denied a request on Friday to delay a judge`s decision that North Dakota`s legislative map violates the Voting Rights Act in diluting the voting strength of two Native American tribes.

The denial by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes a week before the deadline set by the judge for the state to adopt a new map of legislative districts.

Last month, U.S. District Chief Judge Peter Welte ruled that the map violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in that it "prevents Native American voters from having an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice." He gave North Dakota Republican Secretary of State Michael Howe and the GOP-controlled Legislature until Dec. 22 "to adopt a plan to remedy the violation."

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and the Spirit Lake Tribe brought the lawsuit early last year. They alleged the 2021 redistricting map "simultaneously packs Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians members into one house district, and cracks Spirit Lake Tribe members out of any majority Native house district."

Days after Welte`s Nov. 17 ruling, Howe announced his plans to appeal, citing a recent 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that private individuals and groups such as the NAACP can't sue under a major section of the landmark civil rights law.

Plaintiffs` attorney Tim Purdon welcomed the Friday decision as a "swift denial" and "good news" for the two tribes and the Voting Rights Act. However, Howe`s appeal remains pending before the 8th Circuit.

"Given that the Secretary of State's motion to stay did not argue that the current North Dakota map is legal under the VRA, we are hopeful that the Legislature will reconsider its position here, adopt the Voting Rights Act compliant map that has been proposed by the Tribes and approved by the Court, and stop the spend of taxpayer dollars on this litigation," Purdon said by email.

Welte`s Dec. 22 deadline for a new map remains in effect, he said.

Republican House Majority Leader Mike Lefor said the Legislature won`t be able to satisfy the judge`s deadline, given the time that would be needed to craft a map.

"If we did everything today ... no, there`s no way," Lefor said.

What happens after Dec. 22 with no new map is up to the judge, Lefor and Purdon said.

The Legislature this week restarted its redistricting panel to begin to address Welte`s ruling in the lawsuit. The Redistricting Committee met Wednesday and plans to meet again soon.

The two tribes sought a joint district and unsuccessfully proposed to the Legislature a single legislative district encompassing the two reservations, which are roughly 60 miles (97 kilometers) apart.

North Dakota has 47 legislative districts, each with one senator and two representatives. Republicans control the House of Representatives 82-12 and the Senate 43-4. At least two lawmakers, both House Democrats, are members of tribes.

The Legislature created four subdistricts in the state House, including one each for the Fort Berthold and Turtle Mountain Indian reservations.

Lawmakers who were involved in the 2021 redistricting process have previously cited 2020 census numbers meeting population requirements of the Voting Rights Act for creating those subdistricts.

Kansas School Forced 8-Year-Old Native American Boy to Cut His Hair, ACLU Says

Associated Press

MISSION, Kan. (AP) __ A Kansas grade school forced an 8-year-old Native American boy to cut off his hair after he grew it out for cultural reasons, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

In a letter sent Friday, the ACLU demanded that the Girard School District rescind a policy at the elementary school that bars long hair for boys, alleging it violates state and federal laws.

The boy, who is member of the Wyandotte Nation, attended an annual tribal gathering geared toward children over the summer. He saw many men with long hair and was inspired to adopt the common cultural practice of cutting hair only when mourning the loss of a loved one, according to the ACLU.

But in August, school officials told him that he needed to cut his hair to comply with the dress code, the ACLU said. His mother went to the school in September and explained that he grew out his hair for cultural reasons and offered to show documentation of his tribal affiliation. The ACLU said she was told there were no exemptions.

The assistant principal then emailed the mother on a Friday, telling her she had until the following Monday to get her son`s hair cut or he would be sent home.

Unable to reach the superintendent, she cut her son`s hair over that September weekend, convinced it was the only way to keep him in school. But she said it caused him distress because it violated his spiritual tradition.

The superintendent, Todd Ferguson, said in an email that he can't discuss individual students, families or employees because of confidentiality laws. But he added that the board of education would review the dress code policy during a December meeting.

"Nothing matters more than creating a safe, respectful and caring school for every student,`` he said.

The ACLU`s letter said the nation`s history of ``multifaceted efforts to separate Native American children from their families and tribes and to deny them their rights of cultural and religious expression" makes this particularly problematic.

It noted that Native American children often had their hair cut when they were placed in boarding schools, which systematically abused students to assimilate them into white society.

The letter said there is no legitimate reason for imposing the requirement, noting that girls are allowed to have long hair. The policy also promotes "rigid views of gender norms and roles," the letter said.

Girard has a population of around 2,500 and is located about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south of Kansas City.

Automaker Tesla is Opening More Showrooms on Tribal Lands to Avoid State Laws Barring Direct Sales


Associated Press

Tesla is ramping up efforts to open showrooms on tribal lands where it can sell directly to consumers, circumventing laws in states that bar vehicle manufacturers from also being retailers in favor of the dealership model.

Mohegan Sun, a casino and entertainment complex in Connecticut owned by the federally recognized Mohegan Tribe, announced this week that the California-based electric automaker will open a showroom with a sales and delivery center this fall on its sovereign property where the state`s law doesn`t apply.

The news comes after another new Tesla showroom was announced in June, set to open in 2025 on lands of the Oneida Indian Nation in upstate New York.

"I think it was a move that made complete sense," said Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, which has lobbied for years to change Connecticut`s law.

"It is just surprising that it took this long, because Tesla had really tried, along with Lucid and Rivian,`` she said, referring to two other electric carmakers. "Anything that puts more electric vehicles on the road is a good thing for the public."

Brown noted that lawmakers with car dealerships that are active in their districts, no matter their political affiliation, have traditionally opposed bills allowing direct-to-consumer sales.

The Connecticut Automotive Retail Association, which has opposed such bills for years, says there needs to be a balance between respecting tribal sovereignty and "maintaining a level playing field" for all car dealerships in the state.

"We respect the Mohegan Tribe's sovereignty and the unique circumstance in which they operate their businesses on Tribal land but we strongly believe that this does not change the discussion about Tesla and other EV manufacturers with direct-to-consumer sales, and we continue to oppose that model,`` Hayden Reynolds, the association's chairperson, said in a statement. "Connecticut's dealer franchise laws benefit consumers and provide a competitive marketplace.``

Over the years in numerous states, Tesla has sought and been denied dealership licenses, pushed for law changes and challenged decisions in courts. The company scored a victory earlier this year when Delaware's Supreme Court overturned a ruling upholding a decision by state officials to prohibit Tesla from selling its cars to directly customers.

At least 16 states have effectively changed their laws to allow Tesla and other direct-to-consumer manufacturers to sell there, said Jeff Aiosa, executive director of the Connecticut dealers association. He doesn`t foresee Connecticut changing its law, noting that 32 "original equipment manufacturers," a list that includes major car companies like Toyota and Ford, currently abide by it.

"It`s not fair to have an unlevel playing field when all the other manufacturers abide by the state franchise laws and Tesla wants this exception to go around the law," he said. "I would suggest their pivoting to the sovereign nation is representative of them not wanting to abide by the law."

Tesla opened its first store as well as a repair shop on Native American land in 2021 in New Mexico. The facility, built in Nambé Pueblo, north of Santa Fe, marked the first time the company partnered with a tribe to get around state laws, though the idea had been in the works for years.

Brian Dear, president of the Tesla Owners Club of New Mexico, predicted at the time that states that are home to tribal nations and also have laws banning direct car sales by manufacturers would likely follow New Mexico`s lead.

"I don't believe at all that this will be the last," he said.

Tesla`s facility at Mohegan Sun, dubbed the Tesla Sales & Delivery Center, will be located at a shopping and dining pavilion within the sprawling casino complex. Customers will be able to test drive models around the resort. and gamblers will be able to use their loyalty rewards toward Tesla purchases.

Tesla also plans to exhibit its solar and storage products at the location.

Archaeologists in Louisiana Save Artifacts 12,000 Years Old from Natural Disasters and Looters

Associated Press

Long buried under the woods of west central Louisiana, stone tools, spearpoints and other evidence of people living in the area as long as 12,000 years ago have become more exposed and vulnerable, due to hurricanes, flooding and looters.

This summer, archaeologists have been gingerly digging up the ground at the Vernon Parish site in the Kisatchie National Forest. They have been sifting through dirt to unearth and preserve the evidence of prehistoric occupation of the area.

"The site appears to have been continuously occupied throughout prehistory, as evidenced by a wide range of stone tools and pottery dating to each Native American cultural era up to European contact," the U.S. Forest Service said in an news release.

The site was found by surveyors in 2003, according to the Forest Service. After hurricanes Laura and Delta uprooted trees, disturbing and exposing some of the artifacts, Kisatchie National Forest officials used hurricane relief money to begin salvage excavations to learn more about the site, and to preserve it.

"Between the looting and the hurricane damage we were really in danger of losing this site over time," Forest Service archaeologist Matthew Helmer said during a media tour of the site in June.

Helmer, walked amid areas already excavated, pointing to changes in soil color and texture that, like the crude artifacts being excavated, can give clues as researchers work to determine facts about the people who occupied the area at different times over the millennia.

"We`re really writing the history of these peoples that lived prior to 1492, all the way back 10,000-plus years," said Helmer.

It`s a welcome opportunity for Mark Rees, a professor of archaeology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and director of the Louisiana Public Archaeology Lab.

Still, Rees laments that the work is hampered by people who have made unauthorized digs and made off with material from the site.

"It`s like walking into the archive and finding a book that`s so rare it`s one of a kind and it predates writing itself, it`s like tearing a page out of that book and walking off with it," said Rees.

The salvaged artifacts will be sorted, catalogued and examined as researchers at the archaeology lab seek to make determinations about past cultures at the site.

Indian Land Capital Company Reports Record Funding

Little Canada, Minn. – The Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) today reported a 40 percent increase in funding for 2023 from a variety of sources, major investments that will lead directly to more economic development opportunities for tribal communities across Indian Country. The $5.2 million in funding received is the most the organization has garnered in a single year since its inception in 2005.

ILCC is a Certified Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing alternative loan options to Native Nations for tribal land acquisition projects. Its goal is to help restore land within reservation boundaries to Native American ownership and control. ILCC is owned by the nonprofit Indian Land Tenure Foundation. Recent funding awards came from several sources, including:

  • $1,000,000 from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s fund for CDFIs
  • $300,000 from U.S. Department of Treasury’s Persistent Poverty County program
  • $3,602,000 from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Equitable Response program
  • $300,000 from the Opportunity Finance Network

“We are excited about what this means for Indian Country,” said Rjay Brunkow, Chief Executive Officer of ILCC and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. “The money will be used to fund a land purchase for Oglala Sioux in South Dakota and a land acquisition for the Buena Vista tribe in California that is developing an RV park.”

As a Native-owned and operated business, ILCC understands the unique needs of Native Nations and creates customized, flexible loan packages. ILCC takes a unique approach to tribal financing that has made the organization the premier lender in Indian Country. By lending on a “full faith and credit” basis, ILCC recognizes the sovereign status and business acumen of tribes.

“We have more than $50 million in shovel-ready projects in our pipeline,” said Brunkow. “These investments will help more of these come to fruition. In the bigger picture, we plan to leverage this $5 million investment into $20 million of borrowed funds to do even more projects in Indian Country.”

Benefits of Federal Law to Remain Out of Maine Tribes' Reach

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Congress has halted a bill that would have allowed Native American tribes in Maine to get the same benefits of future federal laws that tribes across the rest of the U.S. do.

Native American leaders in Maine blamed independent Sen. Angus King for blocking the proposal, which would have applied to tribes bound by terms of a Maine land claims settlement.

``There is no legitimate policy justification for the Wabanaki Nations to be treated differently from all other 570 federally recognized Tribal Nations, yet that is what this outcome will perpetuate,'' said Chief William Nicholas Sr. of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, known as Motahkmikuk.

The U.S. House approved the bill in July but congressional negotiators did not include the provision in the $1.7 trillion spending bill that must be approved before midnight Friday, when Congress is scheduled to adjourn.

In a statement, King said he's committed to working with tribes, but had ``serious concerns about the legislation in its current form and the unintended consequences it poses for the state of Maine.'' He said previously in a letter to constituents that changes must be negotiated by all parties, ``and not be unilaterally imposed by Congress.''

It was unclear if Republican Sen. Susan Collins took a position but her spokesperson said she'd ``consider it carefully'' if the bill advanced through the regular Senate process.

It was the second major defeat for tribes in Maine this year.

A proposal to grant sovereignty that was taken away under a 1980 land claims settlement was tabled by the Maine Legislature under threat of veto by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. The settlement treats tribes in Maine like municipalities, subject to state law, instead of sovereign nations like other federally recognized tribes.

``The Wabanaki Nations have never been closer to amending the poorly designed and intentionally one-sided Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and our inability to be included in this year-end legislation really stings,'' said Chief Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, also known as Pleasant Point.

Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, who sponsored the federal bill with fellow Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, said he was disappointed but insisted that the ``issue is not settled.''

``Ensuring the Wabanaki tribes have the same access to future beneficial federal laws and programs as nearly every other federally recognized tribe in the nation would have a meaningful impact on both tribal members and the surrounding communities in our state,'' he said in a statement.

The future of both the federal bill and the state sovereignty proposal are uncertain. Both could be reintroduced in their respective legislative bodies in the new year.


Follow David Sharp on Twitter @David_Sharp_AP

Nevada Lithium Mine Wins Ruling; Green Energy Fights Rage On

Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ A U.S. judge has ordered the government to revisit part of its environmental review of a lithium mine planned in Nevada, but denied opponents' efforts to block it in a ruling the developer says clears the way for construction at the nation's largest known deposit of the rare metal widely used in rechargeable batteries.

The ruling marks a significant victory for Canada-based Lithium Americas Corp. at its subsidiary's project near Nevada's border with Oregon, and a setback _ at least for now _ for conservationists, tribes and a Nevada rancher who have all been fighting it for two years. The opponents said they are considering an appeal based in part on growing questions raised about the reach of an 150-year-old mining law.

It's the latest development in a series of high-stakes legal battles that pit environmentalists and others against so-called ``green energy'' projects President Joe Biden's administration is pushing to help speed the nation's transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The White House says the mine on the Nevada-Oregon line is critical to ramped up efforts to producing raw materials for electric vehicle batteries.

Critics argue digging for lithium poses the same ecological threats as mining for any other mineral or metal in the biggest gold-mining state in the U.S. They say efforts to downplay potential environmental and cultural impacts amount to ``greenwashing,''

``We need truly just and sustainable solutions for the climate crisis, and not be digging ourselves deeper into the biodiversity crisis,'' said Greta Anderson, deputy director of the Western Watersheds Project, one of the plaintiffs considering an appeal.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno concluded late Monday that the opponents had failed to prove the project the U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved in January 2021 would harm wildlife habitat, degrade groundwater or pollute the air.

She also denied _ for the third time _ relief sought by Native American tribes who argued it could destroy a nearby sacred site where their ancestors were massacred in 1865.

In her 49-page ruling, Du emphasized deference to a federal agency's approval of such projects. But she also acknowledged the complexity of laws regulating energy exploration under a recent U.S. appellate court ruling she adopted that could pose new challenges for those staking claims under the Mining Law of 1872.

``While this case encapsulates the tensions among competing interests and policy goals, this order does not somehow pick a winner based on policy considerations,`` Du warned in the introduction of her verdict.

Other projects that face legal challenges in U.S. court in Nevada include a proposed lithium mine where a desert wildflower has been declared endangered, and a proposed geothermal power plant on federal land near habitat for an endangered toad.

Last week, General Motors Co. announced it had conditionally agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas in a deal that will give GM exclusive access to the first phase of the Thacker Pass mine 200 miles (321 kilometers) northeast of Reno. The equity investment is contingent on the project clearing the final environmental and legal challenges it faces in federal court.

``The favorable ruling leaves in place the final regulatory approval needed in moving Thacker Pass into construction,'' Jonathan Evans, Lithium Americas' president and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday. The company expects production to begin in the second half of 2026.

Du handed a partial victory to environmentalists in agreeing that the Bureau of Land Management had failed to determine whether the company had valid mining rights on 1,300 acres (526 hectares) adjacent to the mine site where Lithium Nevada intends to bury waste rock.

But she denied the opponents' request to vacate the agency's approval of the overall project's Record of Decision, which would have prohibited any construction from beginning until a new record of decision was issued.

Environmentalists clung to the lone part of her decision favorable to them. That part incorporates a recent ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a fight over the Mining Law of 1872 in a case in Arizona that could prove more onerous to mining companies that want to dispose of their waste on neighboring federal lands.

The San Francisco-based appellate court upheld an Arizona ruling that the Forest Service lacked authority to approve Rosemont Copper's plans to dispose of waste rock on land adjacent to the mine it wanted to dig on a national forest southeast of Tucson. The service and the Bureau of Land Management long have interpreted the mining law to convey the same mineral rights to such lands.

``It's disappointing that the BLM and the Biden Administration can't see through the greenwashing,`` Wildland Defense's Katie Fite said Tuesday.

Haaland Defends Willow, Says US Won't End Oil Drilling

Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Interior Secretary Deb Haaland defended her department's approval of the contentious Willow oil project on Friday, saying that despite President Joe Biden's campaign promise to end new drilling on federal lands, ''We're not going to turn the faucet off and say we're not drilling anymore.''

Speaking to the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Haaland said the Biden administration is ''following the science and the law when it comes to everything we do, and that includes gas and oil'' leases considered by her agency, which oversees U.S. public lands and waters.

Despite Biden's pledge, ''We're not going to say we're not going to use gas and oil. That's not reality,'' Haaland said. ''So we are doing the best we absolutely can.''

Haaland's comments came after the administration faced sharp criticism from some of its strongest supporters - especially young climate activists - after Interior approved the $8 billion Willow project on March 13. The massive drilling plan by oil giant ConocoPhillips could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day on Alaska's petroleum-rich North Slope.

Leaders of major environmental organizations and Indigenous groups had pleaded with Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet member, to use her authority to block the drilling project, which they say contradicts Biden's agenda to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Environmental groups call Willow a "carbon bomb" and have mounted a social media #StopWillow campaign that has been seen hundreds of millions of times.

Haaland, who opposed Willow when she served in Congress, joked Friday that as Interior secretary, ''often I don't have personal feelings.'' Still, Haaland's views seemed apparent. She did not sign the secretarial order approving the project, leaving that to her deputy, Tommy Beaudreau, and declined multiple opportunities to say she personally supported the decision.

In response to questions from hundreds of assembled journalists, Haaland said the Willow decision was countered by approval of a host of clean-energy projects, including a recent plan to produce ''solar power from the deserts of Arizona to communities all over the West.''

''We're in a climate crisis everyone, and so we are taking that part very seriously,'' she said.

In an online video released 10 hours after the March 13 decision was made public, Haaland said she and Biden, both Democrats, believe the climate crisis "is the most urgent issue of our lifetime.?

On Friday, Haaland called Willow "a very long and complicated and difficult decision to make,'' and noted that ConocoPhillips has long held leases to drill for oil on the site, in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

"You know, legal, existing rights are a thing in this country. And so we have to honor those in some respects. What we did really try to do is make it smaller, right, to protect the stakeholders and do whatever we could to help the situation to be more amenable to the wildlife and the ecosystems in Alaska.''

The final approval reflects a substantially smaller project than ConocoPhillips originally proposed and includes a pledge by the Houston-based oil company to relinquish nearly 70,000 acres (28,000 hectares) of leased land that will no longer be developed.

Biden said last month he ha d "a strong inclination to disapprove" Willow, b ut was given legal advice that the oil company could win in court. Instead, his team forced concessions that included conservation of millions of acres in Alaska and the Arctic Ocean.

"And so I thought the better gamble - and a hell of a tradeoff - to have the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea and so many other places off limits (from oil drilling) forever now,'' he said March 24 during a visit to Canada. "What I really want to do ... is conserve significant amounts of Alaskan sea and land forever.''

Asked if she wished Biden had spoken out more on Willow Haaland said, "Of course that is a question for President Biden.''

Activists said Friday they were not satisfied with Haaland's response.

"The Biden administration depends on voters under 30. That's just a fact. And if they continue to greenlight disastrous fossil fuel projects and unnecessary lease sales, then they risk losing a key constituency in 2024," said Cassidy DiPaola, spokesperson for Fossil Free Media, a group that opposes oil and other fossil fuels.

Native Americans and Feeding America Team Up

More than 70 natural disasters have occurred on tribal lands in the last decade due to climate change and human activities, and food insecurity impacts one in four Native families – the highest rate in the U.S. As part of its Natives Prepared Project, Feeding America turned to Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), a Native-led nonprofit, to lend its expertise in providing services for both emergency preparedness and food sovereignty.

The Natives Prepared Project will develop and deploy a multi-level, community-based training program to enhance community resilience in the face of large-scale disruptions such as natural and human-caused disasters, climate change and severe economic downturns. The project includes five pre-selected pilot sites, each comprised of Feeding America food banks and Native nation partners. As the lead partner for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and the Hualapai Tribe pilot sites, PWNA will address capacity and resource gaps in emergency preparedness and food sovereignty using their training models that have proven effective in other Tribal communities.

“For nearly a decade, PWNA has conducted Native-led training on emergency preparedness and response team certification, as well as ancestral foods and food sovereignty,” said Joshua Arce, president and CEO of PWNA. “We are proud to support Feeding America in their Natives Prepared Project, and we look forward to seeing the impact it makes on the selected tribes and nations.”

“Feeding America is delighted to collaborate with PWNA on this incredibly important project that merges disaster preparedness with food access and food sovereignty,” said Mark Ford, Director of Native and Tribal Partnerships for Feeding America. “PWNA and Feeding America have shared an essential role in providing disaster relief and emergency food to Native communities impacted by disaster. The Natives Prepared project allows tribes to create a disaster preparedness plan with their local food bank to respond to the needs of their communities before, during and after any disaster. PWNA is an experienced first responder with a strong track record in helping tribes create their own disaster plans. We look forward to the technical expertise PWNA will bring to build capacity of Native nations to respond to disasters and partner with local food banks.”

Participants of the Natives Prepared Project will be provided with the resources and training necessary to achieve a clear, sustainable path toward disaster preparedness and food sovereignty. The project is underway and will conclude by year end.

About Partnership With Native Americans

Partnership With Native Americans is a national, Native-led nonprofit championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans living on remote, geographically isolated reservations. Established in 1990, PWNA collaborates with tribal programs to address immediate relief and long-term solutions such as education, emergency preparedness and food security, improving the lives of 250,000 tribal citizens annually. Follow PWNA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit

About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 5.2 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.  To learn more, visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Rights to 'Crying Indian' Ad to go to Native American Group

Associated Press

Since its debut in 1971, an anti-pollution ad showing a man in Native American attire shed a single tear at the sight of smokestacks and litter taking over a once unblemished landscape has become an indelible piece of TV pop culture.

It's been referenced over the decades since on shows like ``The Simpsons'' and ``South Park'' and in internet memes. But now a Native American advocacy group that was given the rights to the long-parodied public service announcement is retiring it, saying it has always been inappropriate.

The so-called ``Crying Indian'' with his buckskins and long braids made the late actor Iron Eyes Cody a recognizable face in households nationwide. But to many Native Americans, the public service announcement has been a painful reminder of the enduring stereotypes they face.

The nonprofit that originally commissioned the advertisement, Keep America Beautiful, had long been considering how to retire the ad and announced this week that it's doing so by transferring ownership of the rights to the National Congress of American Indians.

``Keep America Beautiful wanted to be careful and deliberate about how we transitioned this iconic advertisement/public service announcement to appropriate owners,'' Noah Ullman, a spokesperson for the nonprofit, said via e-mail. ``We spoke to several Indigenous peoples' organizations and were pleased to identify the National Congress of American Indians as a potential caretaker.''

NCAI plans to end the use of the ad and watch for any unauthorized use.

``NCAI is proud to assume the role of monitoring the use of this advertisement and ensure it is only used for historical context; this advertisement was inappropriate then and remains inappropriate today,'' said NCAI Executive Director Larry Wright, Jr. ``NCAI looks forward to putting this advertisement to bed for good.''

When it premiered in the 1970s, the ad was a sensation. It led to Iron Eyes Cody filming three follow-up PSAs. He spent more than 25 years making public appearances and visits to schools on behalf of the anti-litter campaign, according to an Associated Press obituary.

From there, Cody, who was Italian American but claimed to have Cherokee heritage through his father, was typecast as a stock Native American character, appearing in over 80 films. Most of the time, his character was simply ``Indian,'' ``Indian Chief'' or ``Indian Joe.''

His movie credits from the 1950s-1980s included ``Sitting Bull,'' The Great Sioux Massacre,`` Nevada Smith, ``A Man Called Horse'' and ``Ernest Goes to Camp.`` On television, he appeared in ``Bonanza,'' ``Gunsmoke'' and ``Rawhide'' among others. He also was a technical adviser on Native American matters on film sets.

Dr. Jennifer J. Folsom, a journalism and media communication professor at Colorado State University and a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, remembers watching the public service announcement as a child.

``At that point, every single person who showed up with braids and buckskins, on TV or anywhere in the movies, I glommed on to that because it was such a rare thing to see,'' said Folsom, whose areas of study include Native American pop culture. ``I did see how people littered, and I did see how the creeks and the rivers were getting polluted.''

But as she grew up, Folsom noticed how media devoted little coverage to Native American environmental activists.

``There's no agency for that sad so-called Indian guy sitting in a canoe, crying,'' Folsom said. ``I think it has done damage to public perception and support for actual Native people doing things to protect the land and protect the environment.''

She applauded Keep America Beautiful's decision as an ``appropriate move.'' It will mean a trusted group can help control the narrative the ad has promoted for over 50 years, she said.

The ad's power has arguably already faded as Native and Indigenous youths come of age with a greater consciousness about stereotypes and cultural appropriation. TikTok has plenty of examples of Native people parodying or doing a takedown of the advertisement, Folsom said.

Robert ``Tree'' Cody, the adopted son of Iron Eyes Cody, said the advertisement had ``good intent and good heart'' at its core.

``It was one of the top 100 commercials,'' said Robert Cody, an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona.

And, it reminded him of time spent with his father, said Cody, who lives at Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico.

``I remember a lot, even when he went on a movie set to finish his movies and stuff,'' Cody said. ``I remember going out to Universal (Studios), Disney, places like that.''

His wife, Rachel Kee-Cody, can't help but feel somewhat sad that an ad that means so much to their family will be shelved. But she is resigned to the decision.

``You know, times are changing as well. You keep going no matter how much it changes,'' she said. ``Disappointment. ... It'll pass.''

US Renames 5 Places That Used Racist Slur for a Native Woman

Associated Press/Report for America

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Thursday that it has given new names to five places that previously included a racist term for a Native American woman.

The renamed sites are in California, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, completing a yearlong process to remove the historically offensive word ``squaw'' from geographic names across the country.

``Words matter, particularly in our work to ensure our nation's public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,'' Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. She called the word ``harmful.''

Haaland, who took office in 2021, is the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.

In September, the Interior Department announced its final vote on proposals to change the names of nearly 650 sites that contained the word. The agency conducted an additional review of seven locations, all of which were considered unincorporated populated places. Five of those were changed in Thursday's announcement.

In western North Dakota, the new name Homesteaders Gap was selected by members of a small community as a nod to their local history.

Mark Fox, tribal chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, welcomed the change, telling The Bismarck Tribune that the slur ``really causes serious and strong emotions and resistance to that term.'' In a statement to The Associated Press, he said it was long overdue, and ``we are pleased that the racially insensitive and offensive name has been removed.''

But Joel Brown, a member of the McKenzie County Board of Commissioners, said many residents in the area ``felt very strongly'' in opposition to the switch. Brown, who is white, said he and others prefer as little interference from the federal government as possible because ``generally we find they're disconnected from what the culture and economy are out here.''

Two other newly named places are the California Central Valley communities of Loybas Hill, which translates to ``Young Lady,'' proposed by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians; and Yokuts Valley.

The others are Partridgeberry, Tennessee, and Lynn Creek, Texas.

The decision has long precedent. The Interior Department ordered the renaming of places with derogatory terms for Black and Japanese people in 1962 and 1974, respectively.

Last year alone, authorities renamed 28 Wisconsin sites to remove a racist word, a panel recommended the name change of a Colorado mountain tied to a massacre, and the federal government renamed hundreds of peaks, lakes, streams and other geographical features with racist and misogynistic terms.


Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter: (at)TrishaAhmed15

Revered Lakota Horses Offer Tranquility in Treatment Program

South Dakota Public Broadcasting

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) _ The Healing with Horses program under the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board Opioid Response Program offers equine-assisted healing events for Native American youth, adults and families in the Rapid City area.

Leadership of the Tribal Opioid Response Program were looking into evidence-based practices in healing from trauma. They started working with Red Horse Healing because the group already had a background in Lakota equine therapy.

Staci Eagle Elk is the Tribal Opioid Response Program manager. She said the first event proved to be very popular.

``We know that the history, and the Lakota, and the ties to the horses is, there's a strong tie there, right?'' Eagle Elk said. ``And so that's part of history, it's part of culture, and Lakota horse culture.''

One of the first events is titled Horses and Connection, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

``Two weeks ago we did healing our hearts,'' said Eagle Elk, ``and the way it was explained to me is that whenever we're born, we have that natural rhythm, and it's calm. And then when trauma comes along or something happens, it'll really throw your rhythm off, right? And so to get back into your rhythm. And it's like balancing, balancing your heart, your mind, your internal being. Your spirit, balancing your spirit.''

Mental health is a topic that has become stigmatized over the years especially during the pandemic. Eagle Elks says there is a strong connection that is formed between horses and people _ a connection that can help navigate trauma.

``There was a parent here last weekend, she was talking about her granddaughter and her granddaughter had been exposed to some pretty severe trauma, and she quit talking,'' said Eagle Elk. ``And they went, at Christmas we had an event, it was a Christmas, and it was more like a fun thing where they could go out. And the horses were dressed up as elves, or Santa, or whatever. And take pictures and drink hot cocoa and stuff.

``So it was kind of a fun event. But that little girl, when she went to that here, she started talking. So they wanted to get her back into that, get her every opportunity to be around the horses. And one person, if we help one person, one child to make that connection and to start healing themselves, then I think that that's what it's all about, right?''

The Great Plains Tribal Opioid Response Program's Healing with Horses is offering events until late September. Some of the categories include Horses and Healing, Horses and Culture, Horses Helping Humans and even Horses and Yoga. Registration is required.

Haaland: US Expanding Native American Massacre Site

Associated Press

DENVER (AP) _ Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced an expansion Wednesday of a National Park Service historical site dedicated to the massacre by U.S. troops of more than 200 Native Americans in what is now southeastern Colorado.

Haaland, the first Native American to lead a U.S. Cabinet agency, made the announcement during a solemn ceremony at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historical Site about 170 miles (272 kilometers) southeast of Denver to honor the dead, survivors and their descendants.

The move marks the latest step taken by Haaland to act on issues important to Native Americans in her role as Interior Secretary. Haaland's ``Tribal Homelands Initiative'' supports fundraising to buy land and requires federal managers to seek out Indigenous knowledge about resources.

Haaland's selection to lead the federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation's tribes for nearly two centuries was hailed as historic by Democrats and tribal groups who said it meant that Indigenous people _ who lived in North America before the United States was created _ would for the first time see a Native American lead the powerful department where decisions on relations with the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes are made.

Earlier this year, the agency released a first-of-its-kind report about Native American boarding schools that the U.S. government supported to strip Indigenous people of their cultures and identities. She has also formally declared ``squaw'' a derogatory term and taken steps to remove it from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names.

Expansion of the Sand Creek Massacre site will provide more opportunities for visitors to learn about the 1864 massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho, most of them women and children, Haaland said Wednesday. She declared that it is her department's ``solemn responsibility'' to ``tell the story of our nation.''

``The events that took place here forever changed the course of the Northern Cheyenne, Northern Arapaho, and Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes,'' she said. ``We will never forget the hundreds of lives that were brutally taken here - men, women and children murdered in an unprovoked attack. Stories like the Sand Creek Massacre are not easy to tell but it is my duty - our duty - to ensure that they are told. This story is part of America's story.''

The historic site near Eads, Colorado, preserves the haunting landscape of the Nov. 29, 1864, attack by a volunteer U.S. Cavalry regiment. Troops swept into a sleeping encampment of 750 Native Americans along Sand Creek, killing more than 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho, most of them women, children and the elderly.

The expedition ostensibly was to retaliate for Native American raids on white settlers. Soldiers carried body parts back to Denver in celebration. But some commanders refused to attack, saying Native American leaders who believed they had made peace with the U.S. commander of nearby Fort Lyon tried to wave white flags. Congress condemned leader Col. John M. Chivington for an unprovoked massacre.

Max Bear, the tribal historic preservation officer for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, welcomed Haaland's homage as sustaining the storytelling mission he and countless others have dedicated their lives to.

``We don't want our children and grandchildren to fight an uphill battle to know what happened to our folks,'' said Bear, a descendant of Cheyenne Chief Black Whiteman, who sought food and shelter for the widowed and the orphaned after the attack.

Whiteman also signed the Treaty of Medicine Lodge in 1867, intended to end retaliatory Indian raids by forcibly settling Cheyenne, Arapaho and other tribes to reservations on ``Indian Territory'' in what is now Oklahoma, Bear said.

``We weren't at war. ... You can't call Sand Creek a battle,'' Bear said. ``In this time of book banning, I think it's more important than ever that our history be told correctly.''

Sand Creek was established as a National Park Service historic site in 2007. The service has collaborated with the Northern Cheyenne of Montana, the Northern Arapaho of Wyoming and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

The new expansion also will preserve what Haaland called one of the largest intact shortgrass prairie ecosystems within the National Park system.

In recent years, Colorado officials have attempted redress.

State and U.S. officials are preparing to rename Mount Evans, a prominent Rocky Mountains peak named after Territorial Governor John Evans, who resigned after the Sand Creek massacre.

Last year, Gov. Jared Polis rescinded an 1864 proclamation by Evans that called for citizens to kill Native Americans and take their property. In 2014, Gov. John Hickenlooper apologized on the state's behalf to tribal members on the 150th anniversary of the massacre.

Tribal representatives, National Parks Service Director Chuck Sams and Colorado officials, including Hickenklooper, now a U.S. senator, attended Wednesday's ceremony.

Incorporating land from a private seller, the expansion was financed by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, established by Congress in 1964, and Great Outdoors Colorado, which invests state lottery proceeds to wildland preservation. The lands include significant archaeological remains and are considered sacred by the tribes.

Boulley's 'Warrior Girl Unearthed' to Come Out in May 2023

NEW YORK (AP) _ Children's author Angeline Boulley will soon return her many readers to the world of her prize-winning debut novel ``Firekeeper's Daughter.''

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers announced Friday that Boulley's ``Warrior Girl Unearthed'' will come out May 2023. Like its predecessor, ``Warrior Girl Unearthed`` will be set in an Ojibwe community, focusing on a teenage girl who learns of a plot to make money off the theft of Indigenous graves. Holt calls the book ``a complex and compelling mystery, effortlessly exploring themes of identity, family, and reclamation in a Native community.''

Boulley's book will be illustrated by Michaela Goade, whose drawings for ``We Are Water Protectors'' brought her a Caldecott Medal for outstanding illustration of a children's book.

Boulley's bestselling first book, also featuring a young protagonist, received numerous awards, was selected for Reese Witherspoon's book club and is being adapted by Barack and Michelle Obama's production company for Netflix.

``I revel in telling stories about Ojibwe teenagers _ strong in their culture and language _ who love their communities,'' Boulley said in a statement. ``Young people protecting and caring for their elders and ancestors are an inspiration to me and, I hope, to readers everywhere.''

URI Establishes Scholarship Program for Indigenous Students

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) _ The University of Rhode Island has established a scholarship program that this year is helping 15 citizens of the Narragansett Indian Tribe pay for their educations, the university announced Monday.

The Narragansett Undergraduate Scholarship stems from a 2017 proposal that the university's American Indian/Native American Advisory Council submitted to then-President David Dooley seeking tuition waivers for undergraduate students.

The council said that URI is a land grant institution on the traditional homelands of the Narragansett Nation, and waiving tuition for tribal members would be an important step in creating opportunities for Indigenous students.

``Acknowledging and respecting the original inhabitants of the land the university occupies is an important part of our mission and our values and I am pleased that we are able to honor and support members of the Narragansett Nation in this way,'' current URI President Marc Parlange said in a statement.

The university awarded $175,000 for in-state tuition and fees to this year's recipients. An additional 15 to 20 students are expected to benefit during the next academic year.

``The Narragansett Tribal scholarship gave me a sense of acknowledgment and recognition of not only me but all Narragansett students, our history, and our future presence on campus,'' senior animal science major Laurel Spears said.

New Exhibit Shows Navajo Nation's Suffering, Resiliency

Santa Fe New Mexican

FORT SUMNER, N.M. (AP) _ They named the area near this place Bosque Redondo, after a grove of cottonwoods near the river.

The Navajo imprisoned there called it ``Hweeldi.'' Some say that translates to ``place of suffering.''

It might as well have been called hell.

It was near here, in Billy the Kid country, that the U.S. government attempted to strip members of the Navajo Nation and Mescalero Apache tribe of their language, culture and spiritual beliefs in the 1860s.

The government had already removed them from their native lands in New Mexico and Arizona, forcing them to take the Long Walk, as it became known _ a forlorn journey on foot of several hundred miles in which disease and death became daily companions. And it wasn't just one journey; there were a number of long walks that took place over the years from different sites, including Fort Defiance in Arizona and Fort Wingate near Gallup.

Once the people arrived here, they found a sandy, desolate desert landscape unfit for farming and bereft of fresh water. They became prisoners, then survivors, struggling first to just live and then to get back home.

In the end, they succeeded, said Morgen Young, a historian who helped leaders of the Bosque Redondo Memorial/Fort Sumner Historic Site create the exhibition Bosque Redondo: A Place of Suffering...A Place of Survival.

Ultimately, Apaches fled the fortress-reservation one winter night in 1865, and Navajos negotiated a release and treaty in 1868 that helped them grow into an influential nation, she said.

``This is a place of resiliency,'' Young told the Santa Fe New Mexican. ``People were forced here, they survived, they returned home.''

And that attitude is reflected in the exhibition, which drew more than 500 people on May 28, the official opening day. The exhibition, which draws on historical documents and oral accounts, takes the visitor on a journey back to the 1860s through today as it tells the story of people who ultimately found their way home and reclaimed their native ways.

It's not an easy story to tell _ or to take in. Photographs, panels of text and audio presentations of the oral memories of those who survived the ordeal paint a portrait of a government determined to wipe out an Indigenous population it saw as a threat.

There are stories of soldiers shooting pregnant women who could not keep up on the walk; of elders and babies drowning in river crossings; of 12- and 13-year-old girls, fighting off starvation, selling their bodies to soldiers for a piece of cornmeal.

It's an exhibition that can easily prompt tears, said Santa Fean Diana Clanin, who said it was a ``difficult decision'' to visit the exhibition. As a docent for the New Mexico History Museum, she knows the backstory of the site.

``I didn't know if I could be able to handle it,'' she said, adding the exhibition showcases the reality of ``man's inhumanity to man.''

But, she added: ``It's worth every mile (I drove).''

Wendy Raper, a Navajo woman from Clovis, said she also knows all too well the history of the Long Walk and the prison camp at Fort Sumner.

``This is where I come from,'' she said. ``This is what made me who I am.''

The 6,500-square-foot exhibition was decades in the making and started in large part because of a handwritten letter left at the site by some visiting Dine youth in June 1990. At that time, the historic site focused on providing information about the fort and the famous outlaw who was shot and killed in these parts _ Billy the Kid.

The letter _ on display in the museum _ said the youth found the site ``discriminating and not telling the true story behind what really happened to our ancestors in 1864-1868.'' It went on to demand museum officials ``show and tell the true history of the Navajos and the United States military.''

Change did not happen overnight, or even over the course of another 15 years. The Bosque Redondo Memorial, as it is now known, opened in 2005 but was just a facility with a few storyboards of information. But talks slowly began around the idea of developing a permanent exhibition _ one that would include the input of Navajo and Mescalero Apache members.

Aaron Roth, historic sites manager for the memorial, said those behind the creation of the exhibition sat down for the first time with tribal community members in August 2016 to determine how best to present a difficult story that needed to be told.

Five years later, in the autumn of 2021, the memorial's leaders mounted what Roth called a ``soft opening'' of the current exhibition.

Among other features, the exhibition includes period and contemporary cultural artifacts, a touch-screen display of the 1868 treaty between the Navajo and the U.S. government that you can read or hear and a response room where visitors can record their reactions to the exhibition.

Many of those written responses, Roth and others involved with the memorial said, reflect personal stories, including from the survivors or children of survivors of the Holocaust. Several people interviewed at the site Saturday said it immediately conjured up images of Nazi Germany's persecution and genocide of Jews.

In that sense, you might say the Bosque Redondo memorial is the closest thing to a Holocaust museum that Native Americans have.

But Roth, like others interviewed for this story, said he does not believe the majority of general public knows the story behind the site or the Long Walk.

``For the longest time, even in (Fort Sumner) itself, the history wasn't even taught in schools,'' he said. ``People who grew up here in the '60s and '70s said to me, `This happened in our own backyard, and we didn't even know it happened.' ''

Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, and one of the Native American representatives who helped shape the exhibition, echoed that thought.

``It seems the majority of Americans have no idea that this even happened,'' he said. ``When there's that unawareness, it leads to an uncaring attitude. Once someone understands what happened, their logic and emotions will help them understand that this was wrong.''

He said that so many people see the story of the Long Walk and Bosque Redondo imprisonment as one of ``resiliency'' speaks to the fact ``we've come a long way at the sacrifice of some of our culture, the sacrifice of human lives.''

For 17-year-old Veronica Beck-Ruiz, a member of the Chiricahua Apache nation, the exhibition touches deep, raw personal emotions. Her great-great grandmother endured the Long Walk and Bosque Redondo.

Beck-Ruiz _ who left a number of personal messages on Post-it notes and on the many whiteboards in the exhibition expressing how it made her feel _ summed up her sentiments in one succinct sentence as she prepared to leave the memorial.

``It shouldn't have happened, but it did,'' she said. ``And it made our people stronger.''

Astronomy Panel Urges Federal Funding of Hawaii Telescope

HILO, Hawaii (AP) _ An independent review of the state of astronomy and astrophysics in the U.S. has recommended federal funding of a giant telescope in Hawaii.

The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey warned it could be ``disastrous'' for U.S. astronomy if the National Science Foundation does not invest in projects like the Thirty Meter Telescope, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Friday.

The report recommends the U.S. government fund several large astronomy projects.

``There's a little bit of a feeling of astronomy going the way of physics,'' said Doug Simons, director of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy.

He said the cancellation of a particle accelerator in Texas in 1993 resulted in the research moving to European facilities like the Large Hadron Collider.

``I think if . the Europeans were the only international organization that had this kind of research capacity, that really signals something kind of alarming in the U.S., which has historically had a leadership role in contemporary astronomy.''

But the report also highlights astronomy's problems with Indigenous people.

Some Native Hawaiians consider the proposed site for the giant telescope, on the Big Island's Mauna Kea, to be sacred.

``I wish they would have recognized that we have already spoken,'' said Native Hawaiian activist Kealoha Pisciotta, who opposes the plan.

Russiaville Artwork Honors Native American, Farming Roots

Kokomo Tribune

RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ Cecaahkwa Ciipaya. It's the language of the Miami Indians that translates to ``Crane Soul.''

And it's the name Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore gave to one of two new sculptures installed along the paved trail in Russiaville's Community Center Park celebrating the town's Native American history.

Gregory Steel, associate professor of fine arts at Indiana University Kokomo, created the sculpture and said the piece depicts the spirit of a crane rising from the earth and ascending back to its creator.

He asked Moore to name the sculpture, since he is the fourth-great-grandson of Civil Miami Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville, the namesake of the town before it was changed to Russiaville due to the difficult French pronunciation.

Moore said in his description of the piece that the crane is a sacred symbol to the Miami people. He said he believed the piece looked like a crane's soul returning to its creator. The sculpture is located in the middle of a pollinator garden featuring local grasses and flowers.

Steel was commissioned to create the piece after the town secured a $7,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County to install signage and artwork around the path. A horde of local residents and businesses then donated enough money to fully fund the project.

Rick Homkes, vice president of the town's Park and Tree Board, said board members had for years discussed installing sculptures around town, and the grant and donations finally allowed that to happen.

The second sculpture created for the trail is made of old iron tractor rings collected from residents and farmers in southwest Howard County. It's located in the roundabout connecting two sections of the trail.

A dozen families ended up donating the rings they found in their barns or fields. They were welded together by two brothers to create an art piece designed by former Western High School art teacher Jet Sundheimer. The sculpture, called ``Iron Wheels,'' pays homage to the town's farming heritage.

Homkes said when the board started brainstorming what they wanted from the sculptures, the idea of honoring the area's agricultural and Native American heritage quickly became the themes.

``These were the two ideas that just bubbled up to the surface, and everyone agreed that these were the ones we wanted to do,'' he said.

At the same time, the project would mark the first public art ever installed in the town. Homkes said the goal was to improve the quality of life and quality of place for residents and visitors.

``Kokomo has its sculptures along the trails; now Russiaville does, too,'' he said. ``It just makes me feel like the town is really moving forward.''

And they're not done yet. Homkes said they are now working to install more public art around the former interurban train station, which is in the middle of a restoration project.

The Cloverleaf Trail that will eventually run from Kokomo to Frankfort will pass right by the station, and the town wants to start work now to make the area an attractive trailhead featuring more artwork.

Steel said he's made sculptures for all kinds of projects, but there's something special about putting them in public spaces as a powerful way to share a community's history and heart.

And, he said, he thinks both ``Iron Wheels'' and ``Crane Soul'' do just that for Russiaville.

``To be me, public sculpture has to have bigger arms,'' Steel said. ``It has to reach out beyond just the individual artists and talk about the larger issues around this community. At least I hope that's what my sculpture does _ reaches out and talks about the Native American heritage here.''

Hawaii Office Advances Pledge for Waterfront Development

HONOLULU (AP) —The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has advanced its pledge to develop 30 acres (12 hectares) of underutilized and mostly waterfront land in the state despite pushback from the community, the Legislature and a law that prevents residential development.

The OHA Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a plan to hire a development consultant and community planner to further its goal of utilizing its land in Kakaako Makai.

The board on Thursday formed a panel designed to recommend a list of eligible development consultants, investigate land and commercial property policies and implement a request for proposal for a community planner, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The trustees are pushing to develop the land that was given to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs by the state in 2012 to compensate for funds owed to the agency from revenue from lands in the Public Land Trust.

The Kakaako Makai properties were estimated to be worth about $200 million. The new source of revenue was intended by OHA to help fund grants and other programs designed to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians.

But, the Legislature had outlawed residential development in Kakaako Makai in 2006 after Alexander & Baldwin Inc. proposed two condominium towers that were heavily opposed, the newspaper reported.

The OHA has said it is unable to generate enough revenue from the land without building residential towers, according to the agency’s planning and financial analysis.

“Regardless of whether the Legislature grants Native Hawaiians the same ability to build residential housing on our lands as our neighbors across Ala Moana Boulevard enjoy, OHA is moving forward with developing these prime lands,” OHA’s website said. “Our intention is to submit a master plan to the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority reflecting the best case scenario approved by our board of trustees.”

Gaps in US Wildfire Smoke Warning Network Leave Many Exposed

Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ Huge gaps between air quality sensors in the western U.S. have created blind spots in the warning system for wildfire smoke plumes sweeping North America this summer, amid growing concern over potential health impacts to millions of people exposed to the pollution.

Government programs to alert the public when smoke pollution becomes unhealthy rely on about 950 permanent monitoring stations and dozens of mobile units that can be deployed around major fires.

Those stations are heavily concentrated around major cities on the West Coast and east of the Mississippi River _ a patchwork that leaves some people unable to determine local risks from smoke, including in rural areas where air quality can quickly degrade when fires ignite nearby. The problem persists far beyond fire lines because wildfire smoke travels for thousands of miles and loses its tell-tale odor yet remains a danger to public health.

The monitoring gaps underscore what officials and public health experts say is a glaring shortage of resources for a type of pollution growing worse as climate change brings increasingly long and destructive wildfire seasons to the U.S. West, southern Europe and eastern Russia.

Microscopic particles in wildfire smoke can cause breathing issues and more serious problems for people with chronic health conditions. Long-term effects remain under study but some researchers estimate chronic smoke exposure causes about 20,000 premature deaths a year in the U.S.

``It's a very frustrating place to be where we have recurring health emergencies without sufficient means of responding to them,'' said Sarah Coefield, an air quality specialist for Missoula, Montana. ``You can be in your office just breathing smoke and thinking you're OK because you're inside, but you're not.''

Missoula, perched along the Clark Fork River with about 75,000 people, is surrounded by mountains and has become notorious as a smoke trap. All across the region are similar mountain valleys, many without pollution monitors, and smoke conditions can vary greatly from one valley to the next.

Montana has 19 permanent monitoring stations. That's about one for every 7,700 square miles (20,000 square kilometers) or an area almost as big as New Jersey. New Jersey has 30.

Data on air quality is particularly sparse in eastern Montana, where smoke from a 266-square-mile (690-square-kilometer) fire on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation got so bad this month that officials closed a health clinic when air filters couldn't keep up with the pollution.

The smoke prompted tribal authorities to shield elders and others who were at risk by extending an evacuation order for Lame Deer, a town of about 2,000 people that sits beneath fire-scarred Badger Peak and is home to the tribal government complex.

But on the same day, Lame Deer and surrounding areas were left out of a pollution alert from state officials, who said extremely high smoke particle levels made the air unhealthy across large areas of Montana and advised people to avoid prolonged exertion to protect their lungs. A pollution sensor on the reservation had burned in the fire, and the nearest state Department of Environmental Quality monitor, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) away, showed an air quality reading of ``good.``

That left tribal officials to judge the pollution hazard based on how far they could see _ a crude fallback for areas without monitors. On a scale of one to 20, ``I would say the smoke was a 19,'' tribal spokesperson Angel Becker said.

``What makes it difficult is that Lame Deer is sitting in between a couple of ravines,'' she added. ``So when you get socked in (with smoke), it just sits here and that's not good for elders or kids that have asthma or any breathing issues.''

Doug Kuenzli, who supervises Montana's air quality monitoring program, said regulators recognize the need for more data on smoke but high-grade monitors can be prohibitively expensive _ $10,000 to $28,000 each.

Oregon expanded its network over the past two years with five new monitors along the state's picturesque coastline where smoke only recently became a recurring problem, said Tom Roick with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

``We're seeing more prevalence of wildfire smoke and increased intensity,'' Roick said. ``It's not because we have more monitoring; it's getting worse.''

Throughout the West, public health officials have struggled to get the message about dangers of smoke to at-risk communities, such as migrant workers who spend lots of time outdoors, people in houses without air filters and the elderly. Children, too, are more at risk of health problems.

That's no small subset of society: People over 65 and children under 18 make up about 40% of the U.S. population, said Kaitlyn Kelly, a wildfire smoke pollution specialist with the Washington Department of Health.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced $7 million in spending on research to come up with better strategies and tools to detect and lessen exposure to wildfire smoke. Recipients included Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, which will look at how to communicate with low-income, hard-to-reach communities to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke.

The number of unhealthy air quality days recorded in 2021 by pollution monitors nationwide is more than 10 times the number to date in each of the last two years, according to the EPA. Wildfires likely are driving much of the increase, officials said.

Rapid technological advancements mean households can buy their own monitoring equipment for around $250. The equipment is not as reliable as government stations, officials said, but the data from many of the privately owned sensors is now displayed on an interactive smoke exposure map by the Environmental Protection Agency and Forest Service.

Although inaccurate readings have been reported for some consumer-grade sensors, officials said they can help fill blind spots in the government's network. The number in use is fast increasing _ from about 6,000 private sensors last year to more than 10,000 currently, according to EPA.

``There's still gaps,'' Kelly said. ``The low-cost sensors are the first step in filling in the gaps where we don't have (government) monitors.''

In Missoula, a small non-profit group founded to bring attention to global warming is going beyond warning people about smoke. It's providing makeshift air filters and portable air cleaners to the homebound elderly and impoverished households.

Vinette Rupp, a 74-year-old Missoula woman who received a portable air cleaner, said she ``can almost taste it'' when the smoke gets thick in town. Neighbor Maureen Fogarty, 67, who has lung cancer and suffers from breathing problems, said her coughing has eased since she got one of the filters.

``Well it's a lifesaver because I can breathe easier now,'' Fogarty said. ``The way it is, you know, you've got to come and go and you're bringing in the unhealthy air, and it's gonna affect you.''

Climate Smart Missoula, which provided the portable air cleaner, also makes and distributes filters through a local food bank. Costing about $30 apiece _ versus $150 or more for a manufactured unit _ the do-it-yourself purifiers are endorsed by public health officials. They're crafted from box fans with high-efficiency furnace filters duct-taped to the back to trap pollution particles as air passes through.

Climate Smart Missoula Director Amy Cilimburg said she and a colleague have built roughly 200 of them, paid for largely with donations.

``Our strategies for dealing with wildfire smoke were pray for rain, or leave town, or suffer _ and that seemed inadequate,'' Cilimburg said ``It's kind of caught up with us, even though scientists have told us it's coming. I felt like we needed to get to work.''


Rama reported from Missoula. Associated Press writer Drew Costley contributed to this story from Fairfax, Virginia.

Native Activists Hope for Probe of Utah Boarding School


Not much is left of the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. The once-sprawling campus is now mostly barren fields of dying grass. A giant white letter ``I'' fades away on the nearby mountainside.

Just a few buildings remain. One sits empty and abandoned. Two others have been converted into an upscale furniture store, KUER reported.

But for Lorina Antonio, the memories are still clear. She first arrived in 1967 when she was 12 years old.

``First time when I showed up here they had Greyhound buses lined up all the way around the campus,'' she recalls, tracing the line with her finger. ``They had 2,000 students that they were bringing in.''

On a hot, cloudless day this July, she was dressed in a traditional Navajo outfit with a purple blouse and turquoise jewelry. Back in 1967, she came with very little. She had two sets of clothes in a plastic bag. She knew no one, barely spoke English and was 400 miles from home.

``I was scared because I didn't know where I was,'' she said. ``I didn't know when I was going to go home. I didn't know what to do.''

To escape homesickness, Antonio said she threw herself into activities. She played sports and joined the student council. She became homecoming queen in 1974.

In all, she spent about a decade of her life at Intermountain. She said the school taught her personal responsibility and gave her opportunities she didn't have back home.

``We were away from a lot of alcohol,'' she said. ``We were away from a lot of drama going on on the reservation. We had counselors and we had teachers that cared about us. Every day they would talk to us, `What do you want to be in life? What do you want to have?'''

Lots of students report experiences similar to Antonio's. Intermountain alumni are active on Facebook groups and they hold reunions.

But for historian Farina King, a citizen of the Navajo Nation who is writing a book about the school, Intermountain remains part of the troubling history of native boarding schools in the U.S.

Many Americans are just learning about schools like Intermountain, following the recent discoveries of hundreds of Indiginous bodies buried in unmarked graves outside residential schools in Canada.

Similar schools existed throughout the U.S., and the U.S. Department of the Interior is now investigating the country's boarding school system. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has called this an important step towards confronting the country's discrimination of Native Americans.

Native advocates in Utah hope schools here will also be investigated, including Intermountain.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs opened Intermountain in 1950, transforming a former military hospital into what would become the largest Native boarding school in the world. That was decades after other federally-run programs around the country had earned reputations for brutal practices, such as forcibly shaving student's heads and physically and sexually abusing them.

While Intermountain was not as harsh, King says federal officials had the same goal in mind.

``They wanted to assimilate them, integrate them, and they wanted to cut off the ties (to their land),'' King said. ``I mean, this is in BIA records of how they designed this school.''

Intermountain grew out of a kind of bargain between Navajos and the federal government, King said.

Navajos had long been skeptical of government schools. But they were also facing a major economic depression following World War II _ mostly because of earlier Federal policies according to King. They began to see these schools as the better of bad choices.

``It's always a balance because Navajos have never given up their sovereignty, have always seen the significance of their peoplehood, culture, language,'' she said. ``But as a strategy of survival, they realize we need more schools for our children.''

So on a cold day in January 1950, 526 Navajo students arrived in Brigham City. Like Antonio, few spoke English. Some had reportedly never seen a shower before.

Students learned math and English. Older students also had vocational training, which, particularly in the school's early years, was mostly in gendered, low-level trades that didn't offer much upward mobility, according to USU history professor Colleen O'Neill. Girls, for example, tended to go into occupations like cleaning houses and boys trained in agriculture or as car mechanics.

By the early '70s, a darker side began to emerge. In 1972, a student died by suicide in a Brigham City jail after being arrested for public intoxication. He was not the first.

The year before that, a group of students filed a lawsuit to shut the school down. They alleged administrators drugged students with Thoraznie to sedate them, that the school illegally segregated students and provided an inferior education.

The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed. The lead plaintiff declined to speak with KUER for this story. Former teacher Hal Reeder said the allegations weren't true.

``I can think of one instance in all the time I was there that an employee laid hands on a kid in a violent way,'' Reeder said. ``There were skirmishes among the kids, especially when we had our famous riot. But that was blown up.''

Shortly after the school started admitting students from other tribes in 1974, several riots broke out.

But Reeder said it was mostly a standoff between Navajo students and students from other tribes. And no one got seriously hurt. He said the police and surrounding community made a bigger deal of it than it was.

And that, to him, was always the bigger problem.

``People are racist,'' he said. ``And a lot of people in town weren't necessarily nice or friendly to the Indian kids.''

Reeder taught at Intermountain for close to 20 years, until it closed in 1984. He said teachers cared about the students and did their best to make them feel comfortable. But he said many students came from difficult backgrounds and he recognized that it could be difficult for some to be so far from home in a strange, new culture.

He remembered escorting students back to the reservation on the bus at the end of the year. When they were almost home, the students began taking off their school clothes and changing into their ``Navajo clothes.'' He said the students seemed to be afraid their friends and family would think they had been white-washed.

``I think (the students had) an ambivalence about, `what will make me happy here,''' he said. ``I think they came with a lot of Navajo culture. And they tried to adapt the best they could.''

Unlike earlier boarding schools, students at Intermountain could express themselves and their culture. They had bonfires and traditional dances, made fry bread in the kitchen and painted native artwork on their dorm walls.

When BIA officials planned on shutting down the school due to limited funding and declining enrollment, students rallied to keep it open. They organized a 24-mile run from Brigham City to the Federal Building in Ogden to speak with Utah's federal delegates, including Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Republican Rep. James Hansen. None of them showed up.

``I think Intermountain offers a lot more than many of the boarding schools, the ones I've been to by a far shot,'' said student Darrell Bradley in a video of the event.

Antonio said she saw students struggle with staying connected to their culture while attending the school. But it wasn't something she had a problem with.

She still speaks Navajo. But she never moved back to the reservation. She went to Salt Lake and worked in construction.

``What happened in Canada is very sad, but I would never put that for Intermountain,'' she said. ``We were away from home. We were away from our family, but we were brought here to learn an education and learn about ourself. That's the way I look at it.''

Antonio is helping to organize the next reunion in September and trying to get a group together to repaint the letter ``I'' on the side of the mountain.

Even though most of the school is now gone, she said she wants people to know it existed and remember the students who went there.

Chief Wants Kansas Site Included in Unmarked Graves Search

Associated Press

The leader of an American Indian tribe is concerned that a former Kansas boarding school will be left out of a federal initiative seeking to determine whether thousands of Native American children were buried at schools across the country in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes said federal authorities have not indicated whether the the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kansas, would be part of the investigation U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland launched last month. Barnes said he and others worry the Kansas school could be overlooked because it was run by the Methodist church, rather than the federal government, as were many other boarding schools for Indigenous children.

Much of the conversation since the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative was announced has centered on federally run schools such as the notorious Carlisle Indian Reform School in Pennsylvania, which promoted the idea of erasing American Indian culture and assimilating Indigenous children into white society. Barnes noted many of the boarding schools, including the one in Kansas, operated for decades before the Carlisle school opened in 1879.

``There's been a lot of rumor and innuendo about what they are going to investigate,'' Barnes said. ``We are in touch with the federal government and lobbyists to help educate them that the Indian mission system didn't start with Carlisle.''

A spokesman for the Department of the Interior said in an email the agency has only recently begun working on the federal program and no information was yet available about individual locations.

Barnes said making distinctions between federally run schools that forcibly removed children from their families and church-run schools that ``persuaded'' families to send their children to the schools is offensive ``hair-splitting`` because both types had the same mission.

Congress contracted with Indian agents to work with missionaries to convince Native American families to send their children to church-run schools. They attempted to convince the families they would have no future if they stayed with their tribes, which had been forced to walk to Kansas in the 1800s as part of what became known as the Trail of Tears, Barnes said.

``It was coercion,'' Barnes said. ``(Tribal families) were told if they wanted to fit in, they needed to not act so different, behave and get along. It was considered the best solution for our future.''

When discussing the initiative in June, Haaland acknowledged the process will be painful and difficult but said it was necessary to address the lasting trauma caused by the schools. The U.S. effort came after close to 1,000 unmarked graves were discovered at former residential school sites in Canada in the last several months.

Bobbie Athon, a spokeswoman for the Kansas State Historical Society, which owns the mission in Fairway, said the agency has not been contacted by federal officials but would be happy to work with the initiative if asked.

Barnes said the Shawnee Tribe, which has headquarters in Miami, Oklahoma, has a strong working relationship with the historic society and the city of Fairway, which oversees the mission's daily operations. He said it should be the federal government's responsibility to investigate the mission site.

The Shawnee Indian Methodist Manual Labor School was started at its present site in 1839 by Thomas Johnson, a Methodist minister for whom Johnson County was later named. Children from many tribes attended and were taught basic academics, manual arts and agriculture, according to the historical society. At one point, it had 16 buildings on more than 2,000 acres, with nearly 200 students a year ranging in age from 5 to 23.

Barnes said Johnson, a slave owner, and others forced Native Americans to pay for the construction materials and build the school, and tribal families paid up to $20 per student to attend. He contends Johnson became rich off the school because the children spent most of their time doing manual labor rather than academics.

Most of the original 2,000 acres owned by the mission has been developed. At a minimum, the Shawnee Tribe wants the federal government to conduct ground-penetrating radar searches on the 12 acres that remain at the mission site to search for unmarked graves.

But Barnes said he is hopeful the new attention on the boarding schools will prompt national leaders to make the resources available to seriously address their painful legacy.

``Let's use this moment, not to just genuflect toward the cause of good and right, let's really do something,'' he said ``We know Shawnee children died at that mission. We want those kids' names. Someone wrote them down somewhere. Who has the record? Where did they go? What more can they do to find out?''

Barnes said a part of him hopes no graves are found at the site but if they are, the tribe would hold private conversations about how to honor the children.

``I'm not sure I could bear it if we were to find them,`` he said. ``I don't know how we could make it right. But I have an obligation to the families, as the descendants' leader, to demand that we look.``

New Museum Exhibit Puts Dakota Language at Head of Class

Mankato Free Press

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) _ When the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota was still in its early stages, its director at the time sought out Glenn Wasicuna for his thoughts on how the Dakota people could be represented in it.

Wasicuna said he recalled being asked if there was an animal they should use to symbolize the Dakota people. He saw it as a teaching moment, and his response might not surprise those who know him from his work as a Dakota language instructor.

``If you want to include the Dakota people here, use the language,'' he said.

His guidance led to ``ded yahipi kin waste'' being displayed at the museum's entrance as a welcome to visitors.

Wasicuna recounted the memory during his latest visit to the museum _ this time for the unveiling of a new exhibit further highlighting Dakota language and art, the Mankato Free Press reported.

Placed right inside the museum's entrance, the exhibit features textile art by local Dakota artist Gwen Westerman. Each of her textiles represents one of the four seasons, with the words for each in both Dakota and English displayed underneath.

The Dakota words _ ``bdoketu'' for summer, as an example _ light up as visitors trace each character with a stick. When pushed, buttons play audio of Wasicuna pronouncing the Dakota words.

The exhibit is a way to teach children about Dakota language and culture, Wasicuna told a gathering of people there for the unveiling.

``It's all in the spirit of understanding,'' he said. ``That's what we want to put forth into the public, because if you understand and know, it's going to create good relations.''

Wasicuna and Westerman, a couple from Good Thunder, consulted with the museum on the interactive kiosk, which directly faces another visual and audio display of Dakota children inside the entrance.

Funding for the project came from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Minnesota Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Andy Vig of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community described the project as a perfect fit for the Native American tribe's cultural and educational grants. He noted how Wasicuna taught him the Dakota language for a time, and now more people will learn from him through the exhibit.

``Glenn can't be everywhere, but now he provides this here,'' he said.

The exhibit's placement up front at the entrance is meaningful, Westerman said. It'll be the first thing people see when they walk in and the last thing they see when they walk out.

``Their commitment to making sure that the Dakota language and culture is a part of the learning experience has been unwavering,'' she said.

Planning for the exhibit dates back more than four years. Vice President of Museum Operations Deb Johnson noted it involved Wasicuna and her visiting with members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for feedback.

She acknowledged Bud Lawrence, a founder of the annual Mahkato Wacipi, as well as Lawrence's daughter, Barb Kaus, among those who helped make the project happen. Lawrence died in 2017, while Kaus attended the unveiling.

While thanking everyone who consulted on, supported or constructed the exhibit, Johnson described it as a step toward expanding visitor knowledge about Dakota culture. But continued conversations will be needed about how to build on it, she added.

``It's not `OK, we've accomplished something,''' she said. ``We've taken another step.''

The possibilities seem endless on what comes next, Westerman said, thanks to the longstanding relations developed between museum leaders and Dakota consultants from the museum's inception.

``As they expand the outdoor areas or as the exhibits themselves change, they're always looking for opportunities to incorporate Dakota culture and language,'' she said. ``It's ingrained and woven into the vision of this place.''

Northwestern Band of Shoshone Sues Idaho Over Hunting Rights

Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation is suing Idaho Gov. Brad Little and state wildlife officials in federal court, contending the state has wrongly denied the tribe hunting rights guaranteed by the 1868 Treaty of Fort Bridger.

The lawsuit, filed in Idaho's U.S. District Court earlier this week, asks a judge to declare that the Northwestern Band is protected under the treaty. Attorneys for the state didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

On its surface, the legal case could come down to whether one of the Native American leaders who signed the treaty was representing the Northwestern Band along with other bands of the Shoshone Nation, and whether the Northwestern Band itself has remained a cohesive unit in the time since.

But at the heart of the dispute is a dilemma faced by many Native American governments across the U.S. who sometimes find themselves at odds with game wardens, mining companies, water users or other groups as they try to preserve their use of the land they were promised in treaties signed centuries ago. Tribes have increasingly turned to the legal system to interpret and enforce those treaties.

``For thousands of years the bands of the Shoshone nation and their ancestors have hunted and subsisted on the land in various parts of the Great Basin and throughout the Shoshone nation's expansive territory,'' attorney Ryan Frazier wrote in the lawsuit, noting that they lived nomadically across 125,000 square miles (about 323,749 square kilometers) of prairie, forest and mountains in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Nevada.

But as white pioneers, gold miners and Mormon families moved West, demand for natural resources and land increased, causing tension between Native American tribes and settlers. The conflicts culminated in the Bear River Massacre of 1863, when the U.S. military slaughtered between 200-500 Shoshone men, women and children near what is now Preston, Idaho.

Eventually, the federal government and Native American leaders signed the 1868 treaty at Fort Bridger, ceding land to the United States. In exchange, the tribes were offered some guarantees, including the right to hunt on unoccupied lands.

Today, the Northwestern Band doesn't have reservation land and its tribal offices are in Brigham City, Utah. Historically, members of the band would spend time fishing near what is now Salmon, Idaho, would hunt big game in western Wyoming and hunt and gather in southern Idaho and Utah. Winters were often spent in southeastern Idaho.

According to the lawsuit, the state of Idaho doesn't recognize that the northwestern bands of the Shoshone nation were part of the Fort Bridger Treaty, and doesn't believe that members of the federally recognized Northwestern Band have the right to hunt on unoccupied lands pursuant to the treaty.

Some Northwestern Band tribal members have faced criminal convictions after Idaho game wardens said they were hunting without tags. In 1997, two brothers were found guilty for hunting out of season in Idaho, though they had hunting tags issued by the Northwestern Band. Shane and Wayde Warner appealed their convictions, claiming treaty rights under the Fort Bridger treaty.

Though the Idaho Court of Appeals agreed that the Northwestern Band was represented by the tribal leaders who signed the Fort Bridger Treaty, it said the band hadn't maintained enough political continuity to maintain its rights.

In 2019, two more tribal members were cited in Idaho for hunting without tags. That criminal case is on hold while the federal lawsuit moves forward.

Similar lawsuits in other states have been successful. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with a member of the Crow tribe who was fined for hunting elk in Wyoming's Bighorn National Forest. The Crow tribe member successfully argued that when his tribe gave up land in present-day Montana and Wyoming under a 1868 treaty signed at Fort Laramie, the tribe retained the right to hunt on the land.

Arizona Regulators Set Target Date for Legal Sports Betting

PHOENIX (AP) _ Arizona gambling regulators said Wednesday they hope to have new licenses for sports gambling issued by the start of the 2021 National Football League season in September.

The announcement of the target date for new sports betting came just over two weeks after federal officials approved changes to the state's tribal gaming compacts. That decision by the U.S. Department of Interior was needed for the new sports gambling law signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in April to go into effect.

The state Department of Gaming can issue 10 licenses for sports books to major sport franchises, such as the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Suns. Others who can get sports gambling licenses include pro golfing and NASCAR events.

Tribes will be allowed to run sports betting operations at their casinos. The tribes and professional teams will also be allowed to run sports books close by their respective venues.

An unlimited number of fantasy sports licenses will be allowed.

The Department of Gaming said it plans to have draft rules for sports betting and fantasy sports ready for a one-week public comment period set to start on June 14. The first bets are expected to be allowed on Sept. 9, the NFL's opening day, in advance of the Cardinals away opener on Sunday, Sept. 12, against the Tennessee Titans.

Backers of the legislation said they hope the state can bring in as much as $100 million a year in new revenue. The Legislature's budget analysts put that figure at $34 million while acknowledging it is speculative.

The tribes fiercely protected their exclusive right to most gambling in Arizona under the gaming compact approved by the state's voters in 2002 and will continue to get that protection under the new deal.

In addition to the new sports and online betting, tribes can greatly expand their exclusive gambling offerings, adding games such as Baccarat and craps and increasing the number of slot machines while maintaining existing offerings of blackjack and poker.

Educator Retires After 50 Years at Southwest Illinois School

Belleville News-Democrat

COLUMBIA, Ill. (AP) _ Michael Kish spent five years at two Catholic seminaries before deciding that the priesthood wasn't his true calling.

Then he earned a history degree and toyed with the idea of going to law school.

Then a board member for Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Columbia asked if Kish would be willing to teach eighth-grade social studies after an employee shake-up left them short-handed.

Third time's a charm, as they say.

``Mr. Kish'' ended up working 50 years at the school, including 46 as principal. The 72-year-old is retiring this spring, but not because he's lost his passion. He just figures it's time for a new chapter.

``My warranty is about to expire,'' he said this week, smiling. ``I'm not going to live forever.''

The news is still sinking in for parents, teachers and other staff, many of whom attended the school as children.

That includes school secretary Bev Epplin, 51, her husband Doug and four sons. Kish attended their wedding and baptisms and sang at son Zachary's funeral when he died of cancer at age 20.

``(Mike) always calls me `the heart of the school,' but lately I've been calling him `the glue of the school,''' said Epplin, an employee for 25 years. ``He keeps us all connected. We're like one big family.

``He makes you want to be a better person and a better Christian. He always sees the good in everybody. He never says, `No.' No matter how crazy the idea, no matter what you need, he will say, `Yes.' He really is a unique individual. There's no one else like him.''

Immaculate Conception served about 270 students in first through eighth grades in 1971, when Kish started teaching. That dropped to 180 in the late '70s before gradually climbing to its current enrollment of nearly 400, which includes kindergarten.

Under normal circumstances, Kish prides himself on knowing every child by name. He often greets them in the hall with smiles and high-fives.

But that's been a challenge the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has required everyone to wear masks, stay socially distant, avoid touching and follow other safety precautions.

``That's my big regret,'' Kish said. ``I haven't gotten to know the kids as well, especially the new kids, the little kids.''

COVID-19 aside, students and staff have done their best to honor the beloved principal his last week at the school. Cooks served Kish's favorite meals in the cafeteria. Eighth-graders wore matching blue T-shirts that read ``That's what I doooooooo!'' (It's one of his common sayings, also known as ``Kishisms.'')

And, of course, Dum-Dums were distributed. The school has a running joke that students who get sent to the principal's office often leave with suckers after meeting with Kish.

``No one wants to get in trouble, and you respect him for sure,'' said eighth-grader Will Jansen, 14. ``But he's not the kind of guy you fear. If you have a problem, he's the guy who helps you.''

Will likes to talk history with Kish and listen to him tell stories about how he found arrowheads and other Native American artifacts that he's collected.

Kish also visited every classroom this week, entertaining students by singing and playing guitar. He's a former bassist for a band called ``The Sunsets.'' They performed at weddings, picnics and other events for more than 20 years.

Michael Kish was one of 11 children born to Al and Betty Kish, who farmed and ran a dry-cleaning business in Columbia.

The family was active at Immaculate Conception church and school. Al Kish served as first grand knight of the local Knights of Columbus council, which was founded in the family's basement.

Michael Kish left home at age 14 to attend the former St. Henry's Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, a boarding school that prepared high-school-age boys for the priesthood. He graduated in 1967 then continued his theological studies at Lewis University for a year.

Kish transferred to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history and later returned for a master's in educational administration.

It was school-board member Joe Christ, now deceased, who asked him to teach history, geography and science at Immaculate Conception in 1971. Kish also served as unofficial assistant principal, despite his youth and inexperience.

``The school was on a downslide,'' he said. ``We had no sports teams. We had just fired six teachers. So I came in when there was a big gap that needed to be filled.''

Kish formed basketball and baseball teams, and his wife, Jeanne, served as cheerleading sponsor, even though she didn't work at the school. He became principal in 1975.

Since that time, Kish has spearheaded curriculum improvements, developed programs for reading and special needs, overseen a major renovation of the school's former building in 1987 and guided planning for a new building, which opened two years ago.

Kish has worked to make the school less ``lockstep'' and more ``human,'' giving students the freedom to laugh while learning, express their individuality and practice self-discipline instead of being told what to do at every turn.

``I wanted to create the school I wish I had gone to,'' he said. ``That was the first 35 years. ... Then I realized that I should be trying to create the school that Mary and Joseph would have wanted Jesus to go to. That's what we really need to be striving for.''

Kish has engaged students in social-justice projects and exposed them to diversity, maintaining a cooperative relationship with Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis.

Kish took eighth-graders to Washington, D.C., 36 times and also led trips to Chicago and Memphis, where they visited the National Civil Rights Museum.

Kish has seen many changes in education over the past 50 years. Perhaps most significant is the increased sophistication of younger children and the ability of all students to master technology that didn't even exist when he started teaching at Immaculate Conception.

At the same time, Kish is dismayed by students' preoccupation with mobile devices, noting that many want to play video games instead of talk to each other when they have downtime on school trips.

``The technology, as beautiful and wonderful as it is, it's like anything else.... If it's not in balance, it really hurts you,'' he said. ``We have too many kids gaming right now. A lot of them game all night. Parents don't step up and take their devices away from them, and because of that, they want to sleep at school.''

Kish isn't sure what he'll be doing after retirement. He plans to stay involved with the school and church and make himself available as an adviser to his replacement, Dave Gregson.

Kish and his wife are building a new house. They also plan to spend time with their three grown daughters and seven grandchildren.

Kish will have to clean out his office, which doubles as a museum, art gallery and library lined with books, mainly on history.

Artifacts include a 1905 cash register that belonged to his parents; a 1912 Gibson banjo once played on a riverboat; Kish's first guitar; brass bells from the old church; and a brick from the former St. Teresa Academy in East St. Louis, where his mother went to school.

Tears welled up in Mandy Borgmeyer's eyes on Thursday when talking about Kish's departure. The first-grade teacher, who attended Immaculate Conception as a girl, can't imagine the school without him.

Borgmeyer, 40, has been most impressed by Kish's ``boundless'' energy, dedication and humility.

``It's not just his job,'' she said. ``It's his life. ... During the summer, he would paint classrooms and fix things. If a kid got sick, he would clean it up. If the toilet got clogged, he would unclog it. Nothing was below him.''

Crossing guard is another role Kish has played on occasion.

The principal seems to get uncomfortable when people praise his accomplishments over the past 50 years. (Another one of his sayings is, ``When you lose, say nothing. When you win, say even less.'') He pivots to the importance of faith and the help he's received from others.

Hanging over Kish's desk is a portrait of Mother Teresa, who he heard speak at a Chicago conference when he was a seminary student.

``She said, `I'm a pencil in the hand of God,''' he recalls. ``And I kind of agree with that.''

Maine Artist to Turn Dying Trees Into Art in Milwaukee

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A Maine artist and illustrator plans to make art out of trees that are being attacked by an invasive pest.

Daniel Minter has received a $75,000 award from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation for a project at the Lynden Sculpture Garden in Milwaukee, where ash trees are under attack by the emerald ash borer, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Minter will select a tall tree that's under attack, strip the tree of its branches and carve those branches into various shapes that will be hung like beads from the tree, the newspaper said.

He conceived the idea of honoring the dead and dying trees before the pandemic. He hopes other wood carvers will join in the project.

``We don't just discard the ones we have lost. We acknowledge them, we learn from them and we carry their memory forward,'' he said. ``These pieces will grow, as more people visit.''

The award from the Joyce Foundation supports artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of color. Minter will go to Milwaukee next month to begin the project.

Groups to Fund New Bison Quarantine Facility in Yellowstone

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ Two conservation groups are working to raise $500,000 to fund modification and construction of quarantine pens near Yellowstone National Park so more bison can be transferred to tribes and avoid slaughter, officials said.

The park's fundraising branch _ Yellowstone Forever _ and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition pledged to each raise $250,000, The Billings Gazette reported Thursday.

``This is one of the park's highest priorities,'' said Yellowstone Forever CEO Lisa Diekmann, who added that her group is also more than halfway toward its goal. ``I think in some ways bison are even more iconic than other Yellowstone wildlife. Hopefully, our constituents love them as well.''

Greater Yellowstone Coalition Executive Director Scott Christensen said the group is just over half its goal.

The Park Service is expected to provide another $500,000 to fund the project. Yellowstone lead bison biologist Chris Geremia said construction could begin this summer with plans to expand by next winter.

Quarantine facilities are used to hold a small selection of bison for disease testing, including testing for brucellosis, a condition that can cause abortion in cattle and other animals. However some diseased animals can be trucked to slaughter facilities to reduce the park's bison population. The process can take up to three years before bison are declared disease free and can be moved to other herds.

The Fort Peck Tribes built a state-of-the-art quarantine facility in northeastern Montana four years ago, but the state does not currently allow Yellowstone bison to be shipped to the facility until they have passed the first two of three phases of quarantine. Legislation to allow bison quarantine before phase two was tabled in committee.

The money being raised will pay for fencing to divide an existing pen in half and build two new pens, officials said. Each pen requires double fencing so the animals don't make nose-to-nose contact, which is one way brucellosis can spread. Water infrastructure and a corral used for testing the animals would also be built.

Yellowstone National Park is currently maxed out with 105 bison in two existing pens, the additional pens would increase the capacity to 250 animals and is projected to cut the park's slaughter program almost in half. The new pens could boost bison transfers to Fort Peck Tribes from about 30 to 80 animals a year.

Since the program began in 2016, 154 bison have been transferred to the Fort Peck Tribes, which already have a herd of more than 300, officials said. Another 45 Yellowstone bison were transferred to 17 tribal entities across the U.S., including Alaska.

Today there are about 400,000 plains bison in North America, with nearly 20,000 of them protected in about 60 publicly owned conservation herds, park officials said.

``There's so much positive momentum now with Native American tribes to do ecological and cultural restoration of bison,'' Christensen said. ``The thing I like about this is it has us all pulling in the right direction _ conserving and transferring Yellowstone bison to tribes to divert them from slaughter.''

Scrapped Vegas Pipeline Plan Looms Amid Swamp Cedar Debate

AP / Report for America

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) _ The shadow of a controversial plan to pipe groundwater from rural Nevada to Las Vegas looms as state lawmakers weigh two proposals to protect groves of swamp cedar trees considered sacred on Monday.

Until last year when the Southern Nevada Water Authority decided to ``indefinitely defer'' its pursuit of permits, the trees were caught in the crossfire of fights over development and conservation.

Opponents for decades argued that the Las Vegas water agency's proposed pipeline would endanger the swamp cedars by siphoning away their water supply.

The first proposal would make it illegal for people to destroy _ either willfully or due to negligence _ swamp cedars without state permits and would direct the state to protect the groves.

The second is a resolution to lobby the U.S. Congress to create a National Heritage Area in northeastern Nevada's Spring Valley that would protect the cone-bearing evergreen trees.

For southern Nevada officials preparing for a drier future, the protections could cripple efforts to revive the pipeline project if they reverse course and decide the region needs it.

The Ely and Duckwater Shoshone and Goshute people view the trees and the ground beneath them as sacred and use the groves to celebrate, sing and pray to honor those lost in three 19th century massacres where soldiers and vigilantes killed hundreds of Native Americans.

``Swamp cedars in the Spring Valley embody the spirits of the lives lost during those massacres. Our relatives are in those trees,'' Ely Shoshone elder Delaine Spilsbury told lawmakers.

Las Vegas relies almost exclusively on the overtaxed Colorado River to quench the thirst of its casinos, golf courses and bedroom communities.

Since the 1980s, officials have sought alternative water sources to prepare for a future where less water flows from the Rocky Mountains down to the dry deserts of the southwest U.S. and Mexico.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority's plans for a pipeline generated lawsuits and resistance from an unusual coalition of cattle ranchers, Mormon landowners and members of the Ely and Duckwater Shoshone tribes concerned about preserving the groundwater that sustains the swamp cedars.

Assemblyman Howard Watts III, the proposals' sponsor, said the protections would have applied to the pipelines.

``Spring Valley was one of the primary areas where most of the water would've been exported,'' he said of the Southern Nevada Water Authority's former proposal. ''These trees thrive in this area because the water table is essentially at ground level.``

The bills are likely to pass through the Assembly's Natural Resources committee, which Watts chairs, but may jumble partisan lines when heard in the larger Legislature if Las Vegas business and real estate interests worry about having enough water to sustain anticipated growth.

Sam Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Chiefs Under Pressure to Ditch The Tomahawk Chop Celebration

Associated Press

Pressure is mounting for the Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs to abandon a popular tradition in which fans break into a ``war chant'' while making a chopping hand motion designed to mimic the Native American tomahawk.

Local groups have long argued that the team's chop tradition and even its name itself are derogatory to American Indians, yet the national attention focused for years on the Washington football team's use of the name Redskins and the cartoonish Chief Wahoo logo, long the emblem for the Cleveland Indians baseball team. But in the past year, those teams have decided to ditch their Native American-themed monikers, and the defending champion Chiefs are generating more attention due to a second consecutive appearance on the sport's biggest stage.

A coalition of Native American groups has put up billboards in the Kansas City area to protest the tomahawk chop and Chiefs' name. A protest is planned outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, site of Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the coalition has hired a plane to fly around the area. A few thousand people have signed onto two online petitions, one of them started by a fourth-grader.

The Chiefs made some changes in the fall, barring headdresses and war paint and making a subtle alteration to the chop, with cheerleaders using a closed fist instead of an open palm to signal the beating of a drum.

But Gaylene Crouser, executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center, found the tweak to be laughable.

``They think that that somehow helps, and they are still playing that ridiculous Hollywood Indian song, which is such a stereotypical Indian song from like old Cowboy movies or something. I don't know how they feel that that made any difference at all,`` she said. ``And it's not like their fans are doing it any different either.``

Chiefs president Mark Donovan said barring face paint and headdresses from its stadium was a ``big step.''

``You are going to have opinions on all sides on what we should and shouldn't do,'' he added. ``We're going to continue to have those discussions. We're going to continue to make changes going forward, and hopefully changes that do what we hope, which is respect and honor Native American heritage while celebrating the fan experience.''

But the changes aren't nearly enough for the St. Petersburg-based Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality, which plans to protest near the stadium Sunday ahead of the kickoff, singing and holding signs.

Group co-founder Alicia Norris described the chop as ``extremely disrespectful,`` saying it ``conjures up images of Native Americans, indigenous people as savages.``

``Now the team wants to backtrack and say we are being culturally appropriate and we are being respectful of indigenous people by saying no headdresses,`` she said. ``And that is a good start, but the fans are still operating as if it is an indigenous-type atmosphere because you are still called the Chiefs. And you can still do this movement that looks like a tomahawk chop, but we are going to call it a drum beat instead. It is kind of silly. Just change it.``

Fans of the Chiefs long ago adopted the chanting and arm movement symbolizing the brandishing of a tomahawk that began at Florida State University in the 1980s.

``When we are down it is a rally cry,'' said Kile Chaney, a 42-year-old stone mason from Harrisonville, Missouri. ``Just to hear all the fans doing the tomahawk chop and hear it echo through the corridors, it is a beautiful noise that we make here.''

Aaron Bien, a 61-year-old automotive repair and body shop owner from Hillsdale, Kansas, described it as no different than any cheer.

``It is the soul. It is the lifeblood,`` said Bien, who had been a Chiefs season ticket holder for 15 years before the pandemic limited seating capacity in the stadium this season.

He said the chop has ``nothing to do with Native Americans,`` noting that the origin of the Chiefs nickname may have more to do with the mayor who helped lure the franchise from Dallas in 1963.

Mayor H. Roe Bartle was a large man known as ``The Chief'' for his many years of leadership in the Boy Scouts. Team owner Lamar Hunt reportedly named the team the Chiefs in honor of Bartle.

Vincent Schilling, associate editor of Indian Country Today, said that doesn't make it any better. He noted that, though Bartle was white, he started a Scouting society called the ``Mic-O-Say Tribe,'' which remains active and continues to use Native American attire and language. Young participants are ``braves,'' and the top leader is the ``chief.''

``He was called Chief because he played Indian and falsely taught Boy Scouts how to dress up as Native Americans,`` said Schilling, a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. ``Everyone dressed up like Indians going to those games, perpetuating a horrible cultural stereotype for decades.``

He called the changes the team has made to the chop ``insulting`` and ``a preposterous gesture with a lack of cultural responsibility.``

Mutual of Omaha replaces Indian chief logo with African lion

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Mutual of Omaha on Thursday unveiled a new corporate logo depicting an African lion, replacing the Indian chief head that had been the symbol of the insurance and financial services company for 70 years.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company announced in July its plans for a change as corporations and sports teams around the country face increasing pressure to dump nicknames and depictions that reference American Indians amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice.

The company said in a news release Thursday that its new logo not only projects protection and strength but also delivers a strong brand connection to the company that might be as well known by for its longtime sponsorship of the wildlife television program ``Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.''

``We chose the symbol of a lion not only as a nod to our Wild Kingdom heritage, but to represent the strong company we've always been,`` said Keith Clark, the company's senior vice president of marketing.

The new logo now appears on the company's website. Officials said that over the next year, it will replace the old logo on the company's printed materials, signs and on the face of its headquarters building in Omaha.

Alaska Threatens Eminent Domain Over Native Allotment

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) _ The Alaska Department of Transportation said it plans to restart construction on a road that would help better connect Bethel to its airport, but one Alaska Native family whose property lies where the road would pass through says the state agency isn't making fair offers for their land.

The state Department of Transportation said they aim to put asphalt on the road by 2023 and that they offered Warren Polk and his family $99,000 for their native allotment next to the H-Marker Lake.

Polk said that the state agency told him if he does not accept their offer, they would take his land through eminent domain.

"To steal the land from us,'' Polk said. ``That's basically what eminent domain is, where they get the land so ridiculously cheap it's stealing.''

The state agency's spokesperson, Shannon McCarthy, said that they "prefer to acquire the property through negotiation, not through eminent domain.'' The state transportation department initially began working on the Tundra Ridge Road Project in 2000. McCarthy said that the $99,000 figure comes from an independent appraiser and the number was reaffirmed by another outside party.

Polk said the appraiser's assessment was not a fair one.

"The fair market price was not the fair market price, "Polk said. "That's an insult.''

Polk said he sent the state agency a counteroffer and that if they do not accept it, he is ready to take the case to court.

Sam Fortier, an attorney who has defended eminent domain cases, told KYUK-AM that terms for eminent domain are generally unfavorable for those that own native allotments. Fortier said that while a legal defense that the road is not in the public's interest would be difficult, a legal defense that the state is not offering enough money for the land could prove more successful.

Acting City Manager Pete Williams has proposed an alternative plan that would not require the purchase of Polk's land. But McCarthy said that the alternate option would have more impact on wetlands and cost roughly $5 million more than the current plan.

Polk said that since the project started in 2000, the city and state have reached out multiple times in an attempt to buy the family's property. But Polk said the offers have never been fair to the land passed down to him by his mother.

"We were never about money,'' Polk said. "You must be respectful and fair when you're doing land negotiations. It's not only disrespectful to the heirs of Lucy Polk, but Lucy Polk herself.''

Art Museum Criticized for Keeping Native American Objects

The Minnesota Daily

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP) _ The Mimbres Collection at the Weisman Art Museum has a long and complicated past.

First excavated by anthropology professors and students in the 1920s, the collection of human remains and burial belongings was housed at the University of Minnesota before being transferred to the Weisman, where it remains today.

Mimbres bowls, characterized for their painted designs and a round hole in the center, were used in burials in 11th century New Mexico among a variety of Pueblo tribes, including the current-day Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni and the Pueblo of Acoma.

Despite repeated attempts by affiliated tribes to return the collection to New Mexico, the funerary objects remain at the Weisman. Under a 1990 federal law, institutions that receive federal funding must create an inventory of any Native American cultural objects or funerary remains as a part of the repatriation process. The University and the Weisman have come under fire by Native American communities, anthropologists and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) for their delay of inventory.

Now, about 90 years after the excavation, University anthropologists and archeology students have been working to compile an inventory of the collection to return objects to affiliated tribes who claim descent in New Mexico.

In mid-September, a letter was drafted to the University on behalf of all the graduate students in the anthropology department. Their message was clear: repatriation is not only warranted, but essential to address the ``historical extractive and unethical practices of our department.'' The letter cites the history of the collection and contextualizes the University's role in larger structures of oppression against people of color, especially in light of the police killing of George Floyd.

An enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, fifth-year anthropology student Elan Pochedley said his involvement as a co-author of the letter was especially personal.

``Potawatomi people and nations have also been affected by these practices of exhuming, looting, and collecting Indigenous bodily remains and funerary objects for the benefit of institutions of higher education,'' he said in an email to the Minnesota Daily.

``In a moment when questions of racial justice and institutional accountability are of the utmost importance to address, we are not interested in erasing the Department of Anthropology's institutional legacy as it pertains to the Mimbres excavations and the looting of Indigenous graves.''

The Mimbres Collection has a long history, stemming from a 1928 archaeological expedition in the Mimbres Valley, New Mexico led by Albert E. Jenks, the founder of the University anthropology department. In a collaboration with the School for American Research and the University of New Mexico, and with a sponsorship from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Jenks along with several other graduate and undergraduate students unearthed burial sites for over three years.

Jenks returned to Minnesota with the human remains of about 190 people and almost 3,000 painted bowls, ceramics, animal bone tools, jewelry and other objects that were buried with them.

Both the human remains and burial objects were stored in the basement of the anthropology department until 1992. In 1989 under state law, the University anthropology department transferred all the human remains identified as of American Indian descent to MIAC to await repatriation efforts.

The human remains are currently housed at Hamline University, which has an agreement with MIAC to store and take care of the remains until they are returned. As the Weisman Art Museum was being built, the burial objects were relocated there for safekeeping and storage.

Under the Federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which passed in 1990, all institutions that receive federal funding, including museums and universities, must engage in repatriation efforts with affiliated Native American peoples.

Along with a compiled inventory, each museum and federal agency is required to send a summary with a general description of the sacred or funerary objects in its possession to any Native American tribe or organization who may be affiliated with the items. This summary serves as an invitation for the tribes to consult with the institution, and gives them an opportunity to request the return of these items.

In the summer of 2019, the Weisman, which had initially only submitted a general summary, began collecting an inventory of the funerary objects in their possession.

This work was delayed in part by a miscommunication about whether MIAC was designated a federal entity that needed both a summary submission and a comprehensive inventory, said former Weisman director Lyndel King, who served at the Weisman from 1981 to June 2020. King said to her knowledge, the museum believed they were compliant with NAGPRA, and said their noncompliance was an ``honest mistake.''

MIAC has long criticized King's leadership, and in a resolution in June wrote that the University had intentionally failed to comply with NAGPRA for over 30 years, despite repeated demands of repatriation and action from the Weisman.

In recent years, Native American tribes with cultural affiliation to the Mimbres objects and remains have requested both the human remains and funerary objects be returned together, so as to properly rebury their ancestors.

Kat Hayes, an associate anthropology professor and director of the Race, Indigeneity, Gender and Sexuality Studies Initiative at the University, has also been heavily involved with the repatriation efforts by providing research and directing the completion of the Weisman's inventory. Hayes said in many circumstances it can be challenging to establish cultural affiliations with burial objects from thousands of years ago due to patterns of migration over time.

But based on the evidence they have, she said it is clear to see that many, if not most, of Pueblo communities are descendants of the Mimbres people. Detailed archeological field notes from the 1928 to 1931 expeditions indicate precisely where the burial objects were taken by Jenks, and oral traditions relay migration patterns that have established ancestry in these areas, Hayes said.

Former University graduate student Melissa Cerda has been looking into University compliance with NAGPRA for years.

As a senior cultural resource specialist for MIAC, Cerda said the process has required something similar to detective work, sorting through and digitizing old archeological excavation notebooks and fading collection records to trace where objects came from and how they came to the museum.

While completing the inventory, Hayes, Cerda and a couple other students had to formally request the notebooks and materials from the Weisman be scanned so they could use them, as the Weisman only made the field books available to the researchers for an hour or so at a time, Hayes said. Hayes also said she had to remind the Weisman that it was within their rights to access the information based on an agreement with the anthropology department.

At Hamline's Osteology Repository, Desiree Haggberg is the supervisor who oversees MIAC's skeletal repository. As part of the cataloguing required of NAGPRA, Haggberg gathers as much physical evidence about the bones as possible, accessing characteristics like sex, age, height and trauma to the skeleton. Haggberg said some of the human remains taken from the Mimbres Valley are full skeletons, but most are partial, with only one or two bones from a single person.

``The vast majority of the human remains, we don't know what happened to them,'' said Matt Edling, the lab and collections manager of the University anthropology department. ``(Jenks' excavation team said) they excavated them, but they never came back to the University of Minnesota and were never cataloged into our collections . Who knows what happened to them? We don't know.''

Part of Edling's role in the repatriation process is tracing what happened to all the funerary objects and human remains collected by Jenks and his team. Some objects have been traded or gifted to other art museums or anthropology departments around the country. Others were rumored to be stolen, taken from the anthropology basement and sold.

Edling said in an email to the Minnesota Daily he believes this issue should have been investigated years ago, when MIAC first contacted the Weisman, and ``definitely after the Weisman received an official request for repatriation from the Hopi Tribe in 2014.''

Despite having original field notes from the excavations in their possession that stated most objects were associated with funerary contexts, in a 2004 letter obtained by the Minnesota Daily, King wrote to the Hamline Osteology lab that, ``I understand . that the intent is to claim repatriation for bowls to these groups mentioned in the proposal. We are not aware of any basis for such a claim for repatriation under NAGPRA.''

A former NAGPRA representative for MIAC, Jim Jones was involved with the fight for repatriation of the Mimbres collection at the Weisman for over two decades. He said the work has taken a significant toll on him, and eventually he had to stop doing repatriation work.

``The University of Minnesota and the Weisman and everyone has to get on board and do the right thing,'' he said. ``These people that are associated with those remains from the Southwest, whether it's the Pueblo communities, the Zuni, the Hopi _ the communities down there deserve their relatives back and anything that's associated with them.''

Andrea Carlson graduated from the University in 2003, and said she has been fighting against the showing of Mimbres objects since she was an undergraduate student. As an Ojibwe artist, Carlson said working with museums and institutions with ethnographic collections on display puts Native artists in a unique position.

``It feels different to you. It hurts you in a different way,'' she said. ``There's part of me that wishes I could just work with a museum. That way, I didn't have to question whether or not they had my body or the bodies of my people.''

In 2018, Carlson was invited to be on an advisory board for the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum was months away from showing a collection of Mimbres pottery donated from a private collector and wanted to get advice from several Native American people on how to proceed. Despite Carlson and the four other Native people on the board advocating strongly against the showing, the museum continued moving forward before postponing the show indefinitely right before their expected opening.

Many museum curators perceive and display Native American pottery, cultural objects or burial belongings as beautiful works of art that should be accessible and shared through the medium of a museum, but they do not have the authority to make those claims, she said.

``I'm so used to hearing how beautiful our grave objects were,'' Carlson said. ``Just because they're beautiful does not give a non-Native person the right to put them on display.''

Serving as a reminder of the damage still unfolding, over the summer the Weisman found a tooth, several bone fragments and two cremation bundles in the museum's holdings that were previously uncatalogued by the museum. The remains were immediately turned over to MIAC and taken to Hamline, but the Weisman acknowledged the damage it caused.

``This discovery was, of course, particularly disturbing and distressing, and it underscores the importance of completing the full inventory of the Mimbres materials,'' wrote the Weisman in an informational FAQ about the collection on their website. ``A complete inventory is absolutely crucial to ensuring that these human remains and all the affiliated cultural materials are properly identified and cared for with the respect they deserve.''

The museum said their full inventory of the Mimbres funerary objects should be complete by March 2021, assuming pandemic-related University closures do not delay the process. At the end of August, the University also started an advisory committee composed of Native American scholars and several other University professors. The committee will consult with tribal affiliates and advise University leaders in decisions related to the collection.

As a Korean Native American artist who identifies as a descendent of the Mimbres Valley people, Debra Yepa-Pappan said she gets frustrated working with art museums and institutions who want to make the determination of what objects are culturally significant enough to display. Ignoring the wants and needs of Native American people contributes to a power dynamic where largely white-led institutions then control their history and narrative.

``If it's ultimately significant to Pueblo people, then let it be ours,'' she said. ``(Mimbres pottery) are made beautifully for a reason, not for us to look at. These are materials that were supposed to remain with those people they were buried with. And it's for them, not us.''

Seven Tennessee Sites Added to Register of Historic Places

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A church, a turnpike and two bridges are among seven Tennessee sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tennessee Historical Commission said in a news release that the seven properties have been deemed cultural resources worthy of preservation.

Among the properties added to the register are Ebenezer Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Jasper, the Arch Bridge in Olive Hill, and the Sulphur Fork Bridge in Montgomery and Robertson counties.

Also added to the register were the Ward School in Hartsville and the Higginbotham Turnpike in Van Buren and Warren counties. The turnpike is part of the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Native Americans from their ancestral homes in the southeast in the 1830s.

Two Chattanooga locations made the register: The Dixie Mercerizing Company and the city's downtown historic district.

Student Designer's Code Talker Seal to Adorn License Plates


Arizona Daily Sun

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ Talent and community support have once again secured a win for a young Flagstaff graphic designer.

Alyssa Williams, 17, a senior at Flagstaff High School, will soon see her winning design on the move _ on Arizona veteran special license plates.

``If it's on a car and they travel, people will see it from all over the nation. I think that's pretty crazy, just to imagine the people who will see my design,'' Williams told the Arizona Daily Sun.

The Code Talker Seal Design Contest, an online competition hosted by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Governor's Office on Tribal Relations, asked Native American students to create a design to reflect the contributions made by Code Talkers from various tribal nations. The winner would be made into a license plate seal.

The license plate that will contain the Code Talker seal is one of seven veteran special license plates approved last year in an Arizona House bill to recognize veterans for their service in overseas conflicts.

Five student-created designs were selected by a committee and opened up to a public vote. Williams' design _ a uniformed Navajo Nation Code Talker in front of the silhouette of Monument Valley _ won with 61% of more than 20,000 votes.

``The Code Talkers fought for our freedom, so now I can repay them by doing what I do best: freely creating art,'' Williams said. ``I wanted to make something to thank our nation's heroes for their sacrifices. I wanted to return the favor.''

Last year, another of Williams' designs -- with help from community voters -- helped Flagstaff High win the nationwide Vans Custom Culture contest's $75,000 grand prize for the school's arts programs. It was the first year the school was able to compete in the contest and the first Arizona win for the decade-old contest in which students decorate two pairs of white Vans shoes to represent ``Local Flavor'' and ``Off The Wall'' styles.

Williams tackled local character with features such as aspen trees and Native American pottery designs, while classmate Nicole Dougherty focused on vibrant patterns and characters and mounted the shoes to roller skate plates for an ``Off The Wall'' look.

Beyond the Vans contest, Williams has also won a regional graphic design competition and a local contest for a new truck design.

She said she was pleased to be able to use her digital art for the Code Talker contest. For the Vans contest, she was required to draw and paint on the shoe.

``I like both of them, but digital art is more cool,'' she said. ``There's so many things you can do with digital art. You just don't get the same stuff out of drawing and painting on paper.''

Just days before the submission due date, Williams' dad discovered the contest and recommended she apply. Williams began researching Navajo Code Talkers and was inspired by online photos of a particular statue: the Navajo Code Talkers Veterans Memorial in Window Rock.

In addition to writing an accompanying essay, she spent about four hours creating the seal, drawing on her tablet starting with her focal point and then filling in around it, as she does with all her designs.

``Even from her first year with me, she has this incredible eye for detail and composition. She doesn't gloss over anything,'' said Flagstaff High graphic design teacher Kayley Quick. ``It's just super inspiring to see her work, getting to see what she does. As a young person, it's nice to see her transitioning into adulthood, and, much like many of my students, what they're going to bring to our society. I'm seeing it all the time at school. It's just awesome.''

Williams said the contest would have been impossible to win by herself.

``I just want to say thank you to everybody. It was all of you who helped me make this win possible. Every like and share and vote, it got me closer to winning and I really appreciate all of you for that,'' she said. ``Thank you for believing in me and believing in my design. You all make my job really easy and it makes me that much more passionate about what I do.''

Williams said she plans to study graphic design after graduating from high school and maybe someday make it into her own business. She has already created business pages for ``Alyssa Williams Design'' on Facebook and Instagram so she can start sharing her visual creations with a larger audience.


California Requires Ethnic Studies for University System

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Students at California State University, the nation's largest four-year public university system, will need to take an ethic studies course to graduate under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The change comes amid the national reckoning over racism and police brutality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It represents the first change to the CSU general education curriculum in over 40 years.

Under the measure, beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year, all 23 CSU campuses must offer courses on race and ethnicity. Beginning with 2024-2025 graduates, students must take a three-credit course to graduate.

The system enrolls over 481,000 students.

The bill will cost an estimated $16 million to implement.

The bill says the programs will have a special focus on ``four historically defined racialized core groups: Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latina and Latino Americans.``

``Studies have found that both students of color and white students benefit academically as well as socially from taking ethnic studies courses. Ethnic studies courses play an important role in building an inclusive multicultural democracy,`` according to the text of the measure, which was authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego.

``This bill reflects 50 years of student, faculty, and community advocacy for curriculum reflective of and responsive to our diverse state,`` Weber tweeted.

The university had opposed the measure for over a year. The measure would set a ``dangerous precedent for legislative interference`` with the curriculum, Toni Molle, CSU's director of public affairs, wrote before the measure was signed.

A call to Molle seeking comment Monday night wasn't immediately returned.

Critics in the state Senate argued that the bill wouldn't count studies of other ethnic groups that have faced oppression, such as Armenians, and said the measure would pose a financial burden on campuses already facing uncertain school years and lean budgets because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure will overrule reforms approved by the university's Board of Trustees last month that required students to take ethnic studies and social justice courses on a wider array of marginalized communities, including Jewish, Muslim and LGBTQ groups. Under that plan, students could have met their graduation requirement by taking courses on social justice that explored issues such as the criminal justice system and public health disparities.


King, Senators Call for Improved Broadband in Tribal Areas

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) _ Maine's independent senator has joined a group of colleagues in calling for the Federal Communications Commission to make it easier for tribal communities to get access to broadband internet.

Sen. Angus King and others said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai should extend the period for tribal governments to complete applications for wireless broadband and increased mobile coverage. King and the other senators said the window should be extended by 180 days.

King said extending the window is the right thing to do because tribal communities around the country have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and many need more time. He and the other senators wrote that ``rural tribal communities represent some of the least connected people in America'' and they need access to better service.


Drums, Dancers Livestream as Virus Moves Powwows Online

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ The names pop up quickly on Whitney Rencountre's computer screen, and he greets them as he would in person.

What's up, y'all? Shout out to you. How's it going? Ya'at'eeh. Good to see you, relatives.

He spots someone from the Menominee Nation, a Wisconsin tribe that hosts competitive dancers, singers and drummers in traditional regalia in late summer.

``Beautiful powwow there,'' he says.

The emcee from the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in South Dakota typically is on the powwow circuit in the spring, joining thousands of others in colorful displays of culture and tradition that are at their essence meant to uplift people during difficult times. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the gatherings are taking on a new form online.

``Sometimes we have this illusion that we're in total control, but it takes times like this of uncertainty and the challenges of the possibility of death to help us step back and reevaluate,'' said Rencountre, a co-organizer of the Facebook group Social Distance Powwow, which sprung up about a month ago as more states and tribes advised people to stay home.

Normally this time of year, a string of powwows hosted by Native American tribes and universities would be underway across the U.S., with tribal members honoring and showcasing their cultures _ and socializing, like family reunions. The powwows represent an evolution of songs and dances from when tribal traditions were forced underground during European settlement, Rencountre said.

The pandemic has canceled or postponed virtually all of them, including two of the largest in the U.S. _ the Denver March Powwow and the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, held in April.

Social Distance Powwow has helped fill the void, quickly growing to more than 125,000 members.

Members from different tribal nations post photos and videos of themselves and loved ones dancing, often in their regalia. The page has become a daily dose of prayer, songs, dances, well wishes, humor and happy birthdays.

In one video, Jordan Kor sits in his vehicle after a shift at a San Jose, California, hospital emergency department. An old Dakota war song he learned as a child that can be a rallying cry was bouncing around his head. He pulls off his mask and cap and sings, slapping a beat on the steering wheel.

``The biggest ones, social distance, keep working in whatever it is that brings you joy and helps you keep connected,'' said Kor, who is Tarahumara and Wapetonwon Lakota. ``And wash your hands!``

The page also hosts a weekly, live powwow with the organizers _ Rencountre, Stephanie Hebert and Dan Simonds _ assembling a lineup of volunteer drum groups, singers and dancers for the hours-long event. This past weekend, Rencountre patched people in from across the country on the live feed.

A marketplace on the site lets vendors showcase their paintings, beadwork, jewelry, basketry and clothing.

An online powwow may lack some of the grandeur of being in person and seeing hundreds of performers fill an arena for the grand entry. But it offers a way to keep people connected.

``When we dance, we are dancing for prayer and protection,'' said member Mable Moses of the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina. ``No matter what we do, may the Lord always protect us whether we're living or dying.``

Moses learned to dance later in life and now competes in the ``golden age'' category at powwows. In a video of her Southern Traditional dance, she moves around a dogwood tree in her yard slowly but with high energy.

``Even though I'm 72, I'm like 29,'' she said.

Moses said the dance meant to calm people helps her cope with the fear surrounding the coronavirus, and the difficulty of staying away from others.

Tribal members also are posting elsewhere on social media, including youth hoop dancers from Pojoaque Pueblo in New Mexico.

For those viewing for the first time, Rencountre encourages an open mind.

``We ask them to break down the wall, to feel the dances, to feel the songs, as you're watching,'' he said. ``Don't think about it from a technical point of view. Understand the creation of these songs and dances comes from a place of uplifting.''

Leiha Peters grew up doing jingle dress dance meant for healing. The dress is characterized by cone-shaped jingles typically made from the lids of tobacco cans. Now, she does beadwork for her children's outfits and is a Seneca language teacher.

She recently posted a video of two of her children and their cousins doing smoke dance in the living room of her home on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation northeast of Buffalo, New York. Its origins are mixed as a dance for men to bless themselves before they went to battle and a way to clear smoke from traditional homes called longhouses, she said.

Her children grow up knowing the respect and the protocol that accompany the dance and its songs. They also have fun with it, sometimes competing in the family's backyard to win cups of Kool-Aid or bags of candy, Peters said.

``For them, dancing is medicine on its own. It's everything to us,'' she said. ``It's energy, it's athleticism, it's staying healthy and living a better life with food choices. It's not easy doing what they do.''

New Mexico Cracks Down on Hoarding of COVID-19 Supplies

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ New Mexico confirmed a Coronavirus infection that has no apparent link to travel as the governor took new steps to limit the spread of the contagion by restricting restaurants to take-out service and closing down movie theaters, gyms, spas and shopping malls.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced five new positive tests for Coronavirus, bringing the state total to 28 infections. A woman in her 40s in the Albuquerque area is the first case of so-called community spread in which there is no clear connection to travel outside the state.

Urging state residents to cut short or avoid distant travel, the governor raised the specter of the Coronavirus possibly sweeping through the state's smaller Native American pueblo communities. About 10% of the state's population is Native American.

``People need to think about what they're doing to neighbors and their families,'' Lujan Grisham said.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The state is discouraging any business activity that brings together 10 people in one place and will limit purchases of medical supplies and some sanitary items such as toilet paper to prevent hoarding and shortages.

Without the purchasing restrictions, the governor said, infants may end up without nursing formula, and the elderly could be stuck with no toilet paper.

``We're not rationing. We're not withholding,'' Lujan Grisham said. ``We're leveraging.''

The new state orders take effect Thursday morning and run through April 10.

New Mexico previously closed schools, ordered state personnel to work from home and shut down public access to state buildings including museums. Many houses of worship and tribal-operated casinos have shut down.

Private and public medical labs in New Mexico are now equipped to process as many as 700 testing samples a day, the governor said. The state plans to open five new drive-thru public Coronavirus screening sites in coming days.

South Dakota Settles American Indian Discrimination Lawsuit

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) _ The state of South Dakota has agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging the state Department of Social Services discriminated against American Indian job applicants.

The U.S. Department of Justice brought the lawsuit in 2015 following a discrimination complaint by Cedric Goodman. Goodman was informed in December 2010 that he had not been selected for an employment specialist position that the Department of Social Services had posted for its Pine Ridge office. The specialist positions tended to be higher paying jobs offered by the department.

Goodman met the qualifications, which included an extensive work history and a bachelor's degree in a related field as well as credits toward a master's degree. He was one of six applicants interviewed for the position, five of whom were Native American. But on Dec. 12, 2010, the job posting was canceled and none of those interviewed were offered the job.

The next day, a new vacancy for an employment specialist was posted. The department hired a white woman for the job who had just graduated from college and whose work history had not been in a related field, according to the DOJ complaint.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission turned the case over to the Justice Department after failing to negotiate a resolution of Goodman's complaint.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department alleged that between Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 31, 2012, the department posted 18 specialist positions. The suit alleged that 40% of the applicants were Native Americans, but only one was hired while 11 whites were hired. Some of the vacancies went unfilled and were closed despite qualified Native American applicants, the lawsuit alleged.

As part of the settlement filed Wednesday, the Department of Social Services agreed to turn over nearly five years of hiring data for specialist positions at the department's Pine Ridge office. The department did not admit wrongdoing.

Of the state's payment, the Argus Leader reports $10,000 will go to the estate of Goodman, who died last year. The rest of the money will be distributed to 60 American Indians who applied but did not receive employment as a specialist between 2007 and 2013. Those applicants will need to apply, and the money will be distributed equally among those who apply.

Attorney General Neutral on Indian Child Welfare Act

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) _ South Dakota's attorney general won't sign a brief in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act, unlike 27 other attorneys general across the country.

A federal lawsuit could determine the future of the law aimed at keeping Native American families together.

Several states, a biological mother, and three non-indigenous couples interested in fostering and adopting Native American children are challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg decided to stay neutral on the matter because of an ICWA federal case in South Dakota, according to the Rapid City Journal.

The law was created in response to states removing Native American children from their families at disproportional rates and usually placing them with non-indigenous families.

Navajo Nation to Convert Methane into Hydrogen for Power

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The Navajo Nation announced this week it has signed a contract with renewable energy companies to convert methane vented from its oil producing operations in southeastern Utah into more eco-friendly hydrogen.

The plan was announced Monday at the Utah state Capitol and hailed by Laura Nelson, who heads the Utah Governor's Office of Energy Development, as a strategy that will help with clean energy and lead to more tribal sovereignty, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

``We have a partnership and organization to deliver the mutual benefit of advancing new commodity production while managing emissions that have been associated with oil and gas production,'' Nelson said.

Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Co. technology officer Bill McCabe said they will work with two alternative energy companies named called H2GO and Big Navajo Energy. The tribe wants to do something with methane, a greenhouse gas, instead of it ``just going up in smoke.''

``We'd rather see the benefit to the people,'' McCabe said. ``Now we're able to capture this, convert it into a different fuel, a fuel of the future, at a much higher economic value than the commodity of natural gas itself.''

H2GO Chief Executive Johnpaul Quick declined to fully explain how his process works, saying those details are proprietary. He said only that the process takes a lot of heat with temperatures around 900 degrees. H2GO would burn some of the gas on-site for use in its process to extract the hydrogen, he said.

``This technology is proven,`` Quick said. ``It will work.``

The tribe's vented gas is expected to produce 600 kilograms of hydrogen daily when the project begins and could ramp up to 1,000 kilograms, McCabe said.

Hydrogen retails for $13-$16 a liter at 42 fueling stations in California and prices are expected to drop as the technology for producing hydrogen improves, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership.

Energy development is vital to tribal government operations, with one-third of the Navajo Nation's ``disposable income'' coming from mineral energy resources in the three states the reservation spans.

``We have long have looked at energy as a source for moving forward and providing for our people and looking at how we can extend our government and the services to our community,'' McCabe said.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune,

$100 Million Solar Park in South Dakota is Moving Forward

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ A South Dakota agency could vote next month to approve a permit for a historic $100 million solar electricity generation project on a reservation in the southwestern part of the state.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission reviewed a settlement stipulation Tuesday for Lookout Solar Park I LLC's project, the Rapid City Journal reported. The three-member commission decided to postpone action on it because they didn't have much time to review it. The permit application has been under review since last year.

``It's kind of fun to be historical in South Dakota in a positive way,'' Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said at the meeting.

The 110- megawatt project would be the biggest solar park in the state. It's the first solar generation proposal big enough to need PUC approval. The threshold for a permit is 100 megawatts of maximum output.

If built, the solar park will be on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from Rapid City. It would have about 500,000 solar panels in arrays across an area of 250 acres. The German company will lease the land from the Rapp family, for whom the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs holds the land in trust.

Lynn Rapp, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, spoke for the family at the meeting. She said the lease agreement is the first of its kind for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

``We are their example lease for other reservations,'' Rapp said. ``We will be bringing it around to other reservations that have trust land.''

Besides the permit, several more steps are required before the project can be constructed. The project needs a connection with the Western Area Power Administration's transmission system, which has been requested and is under review. A buyer for the electricity is also needed, which developers indicated.

Measure Aimed at Preserving Native Languages Clears Congress

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Federal grant programs aimed at preserving indigenous languages would be extended for a few more years and expanded to allow more American Indian tribes to participate under legislation that has cleared its final congressional hurdle.

The U.S. House approved the measure, sending it to the president's desk. The Senate gave its approval earlier this year.

The measure is named after Esther Martinez, a traditional storyteller and Tewa language advocate from northern New Mexico's Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo who died in 2006. Her family and members of the state's congressional delegation say re-authorization of the programs through 2024 would mark the federal government's commitment to keeping Alaska Native and American Indian languages alive.

The goal of the programs has been to prevent the languages that are still spoken today from going extinct over the next 50 to 100 years. Evaluations by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department show the programs have increased fluency for thousands of speakers and have resulted in the training of between 170 and 280 Native language teachers each year.

``Esther Martinez was a champion for Native languages who spent her life teaching others and promoting the growth of indigenous languages and culture,'' said U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat. ``With the passage of this bipartisan legislation, Congress has taken a major step to deliver results on this top priority for Native communities that are working to preserve their languages.``

Dozens of tribes from Alaska to Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and Massachusetts have benefited from the programs over the years. Currently, there are over 40 active grants totaling more than $11 million that are being used for language preservation and immersion efforts. Martinez's own pueblo was awarded a grant earlier this year after seeing a decline in fluent Tewa speakers and the increase of English as the primary language in the homes of tribal members.

Ohkay Owingeh also has reported a shortage of resources in the community, such as language classes, youth programs and Tewa teachers. With its grant, the pueblo plans to establish a summer program to increase fluency among students between the ages of 12 and 16. The effort also calls for certifying more Tewa teachers and forming partnerships with schools.

In Montana, the Crow Language Consortium has been using its funding to increase community access to learning materials such as digital and mobile app dictionaries. The Hualapai Tribe in Arizona received a grant earlier this year to establish a ``language nest'' to provide services for children enrolled in Head Start and for their parents or guardians.

The legislation has the support of the Congressional Native American Caucus, the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Education Association.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, a New Mexico Democrat and Laguna Pueblo member who co-chairs the Congressional Native American Caucus, said programs that support language preservation are underfunded and often lack funding altogether.

E. Paul Torres, chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors in New Mexico, said the legislation is key to providing more support for immersion programs. That, he said, ``will help ensure the cultural practices vital to the traditional well-being of our indigenous nations stays alive with our stories, songs and prayers being passed on for future generations.''

National Indian Education Association President Marita Hinds said the legislation represents a milestone in expanding tribal flexibility to develop and implement Native language programs to serve the unique academic and cultural needs of Native students.

``Native language preservation is central to advancing culturally responsive education. Our children thrive inside and outside of the classroom when learning their own language,'' Hinds said.

Disney Plus Adds Disclaimer about Racist Movie Stereotypes


NEW YORK (AP) — Disney’s new streaming service has added a disclaimer to “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan” and other classics because they depict racist stereotypes, underscoring a challenge media companies face when they resurrect older movies in modern times.

The move comes as Disney Plus seems to be an instant hit. It attracted 10 million subscribers in just one day. The disclaimer reads, “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

Companies have been grappling for years with how to address stereotypes that were in TV shows and movies decades ago but look jarring today. Streaming brings the problem to the fore.

In “Dumbo,” from 1941, crows that help Dumbo learn to fly are depicted with exaggerated black stereotypical voices. The lead crow’s name is “Jim Crow,” a term that describes a set of laws that legalized segregation. In “Peter Pan,” from 1953, Native American characters are caricatured. Other Disney movies with the disclaimer include “The Jungle Book” and “Swiss Family Robinson.”

“Pocahontas” and “Aladdin” do not have it, despite rumblings by some that those films contain stereotypes, too.

On personal computers, the disclaimer appears as part of the text description of shows and movies underneath the video player. It’s less prominent on a cellphone’s smaller screen. Viewers are instructed to tap on a “details” tab for an “advisory.”

Disney’s disclaimer echoes what other media companies have done in response to problematic videos, but many people are calling on Disney to do more.

The company “needs to follow through in making a more robust statement that this was wrong, and these depictions were wrong,” said Psyche Williams-Forson, chairwoman of American studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. “Yes, we’re at a different time, but we’re also not at a different time.”

She said it is important that the images are shown rather than deleted, because viewers should be encouraged to talk with their children and others about the videos and their part in our cultural history.

Disney’s disclaimer is a good way to begin discussion about the larger issue of racism that is embedded in our cultural history, said Gayle Wald, American studies chairwoman at George Washington University.

“Our cultural patrimony in the end is deeply tethered to our histories of racism, our histories of colonialism and our histories of sexism, so in that sense it helps to open up questions,” she said.

Wald said Disney is “the most culturally iconic and well-known purveyor of this sort of narrative and imagery,” but it’s by no means alone.

Universal Pictures’ teen comedy “Sixteen Candles” has long been decried for stereotyping Asians with its “Long Duk Dong” character.

Warner Bros. faced a similar problem with its “Tom and Jerry” cartoons that are available for streaming. Some of the cartoons now carry a disclaimer as well, but it goes further than Disney’s statement.

Rather than refer to vague “cultural depictions,” the Warner Bros. statement calls its own cartoons out for “ethnic and racial prejudices.”

“While these cartoons do not represent today’s society, they are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed,” the statement reads.

At times, Disney has disavowed a movie entirely.

“Song of the South,” from 1946, which won an Oscar for the song “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” was never released for home video and hasn’t been shown theatrically for decades, due to its racist representation of the plantation worker Uncle Remus and other characters. It isn’t included in Disney Plus, either.

Disney and Warner Bros. did not respond to requests for comment.

Sonny Skyhawk, an actor and producer who created the group American Indians in Film and Television, found the two-sentence disclaimer lacking.

What would serve minority groups better than any disclaimer is simply offering them opportunities to tell their own stories on a platform like Disney Plus, Skyhawk said. He said that when he talks to young Indian kids, “the biggest negative is they don’t see themselves represented in America.”


Associated Press Writer Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed to this report.

Premera Funds to Help Bolster Rural Health Care in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ A major health insurer in Alaska has announced plans to provide $5.7 million to help bolster rural health care in the state.

The Juneau Empire reports the money pledged by Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska will go toward the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the University of Alaska Anchorage and a new grant-making program administered by the Rasmuson Foundation in partnership with the Alaska Community Foundation.

The grant-making program will get $3 million of the pledged funds. Jeff Roe, president and CEO of Premera Blue Cross says grants will go to rural outpatient clinics, community health centers and hospitals for small capital improvement projects and medical equipment.

Roe told a press conference in Anchorage that expanding the reach of health care will help to reduce costs for everyone.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire,

Agreement Calls for Shield's Return to Tribe in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A settlement agreement filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico calls for a Paris auction house to return a ceremonial shield to a Native American tribe that considers it sacred.

Under the agreement filed Friday, the EVE auction house is to release the artifact to the U.S. Embassy in Paris for transport to Albuquerque by a federal agent.

The auction house previously listed the shield among many Native American items for sale.

Those signing the agreement included Acoma Pueblo Gov. Brian Vallo and Jerold Collings, a resident of rural western New Mexico who has said he inherited the shield from his mother.

The tribe has pressed for repatriations of ceremonial items from galleries, auction houses and private collections, and Vallo called the shield's return homecoming "critical and highly sensitive."

3 More Tribes Sign International Buffalo Treaty

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) _ Leaders of three more tribes have signed a treaty guiding restoration of buffalo populations in the U.S. and Canada.

The International Buffalo Treaty was the first cross-border tribal treaty in more than 150 years when it was established in 2014.

The treaty now has over 30 signatories. This week, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe of Wyoming, Oglala Lakota Tribe of South Dakota and Frog Lake First Nation of Alberta, Canada, joined during a meeting in Chico Hot Springs, Montana.

Jason Baldes with the Eastern Shoshone tells Wyoming Public Radio the treaty reconnects buffalo to indigenous people and helps ensure buffalo are treated with ``utmost respect.''

An Eastern Shoshone herd established on Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation in 2016 has grown from 10 to 33 buffalo.


Information from: Laramie Boomerang, 

Report: US Native American Health Agency at Crossroads

 (AP) — Emergency rooms shut down for months. Hospitals put patients at risk for opioid abuse and overdoses. A longtime pediatrician was charged with sexually abusing children.

The federal agency that administers health care for more than 2.5 million Native Americans has long been plagued with problems that have kept it from improving health care delivery. Money, staffing, infrastructure, health disparities and a general lack of accountability all have played a part.

A federal report released Thursday said things won't get better unless the Indian Health Service takes a serious look at its organizational structure, which the report said fails to adequately track hospital performance and leaves workers uncertain about their roles and responsibilities.

The report by the U.S. Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General doesn't make any formal recommendations but is meant to maintain pressure on the Indian Health Service as it implements a five-year plan to address access to health care, quality, management and operations, Dallas regional inspector Ruth Ann Dorrill said.

"It's a matter of getting from that page to the direct service delivery and to the patients themselves so they can walk into IHS hospitals and feel like they are consistently and reliably getting high-quality care," Dorrill said.

The Indian Health Service says it recognizes the release of its strategic plan earlier this year is a first step and that embedding the changes within the agency will take time. The plan outlines goals to recruit and retain employees, improve data collection, provide culturally appropriate care and expand services.

"Through sustained effort, partnership with tribal communities and a sincere desire to do better, we will achieve the best care possible for our patients," IHS spokesman Joshua Barnett wrote in a statement to The Associated Press.

Jerilyn Church, chief executive of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board, was more skeptical. She said the issues are deeply entrenched and won't be fixed without significant and consistent input from tribes and tribal organizations, which she hasn't seen yet.

"The lack of trust, the lack of improvement, you can't overcome those kinds of failures in a vacuum," Church said.

The Indian Health Service repeatedly has been the focus of congressional hearings and scathing government reports that seek reform. It runs two dozen hospitals and nearly 80 other health care facilities around the country, most of which are small and on or near Native American reservations.

One-quarter of the hospitals are in the Great Plains region that serves Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Hospitals in that region have had Medicare funds yanked, and shut down services temporarily or permanently. Elsewhere in New Mexico and South Dakota, emergency room departments were shuttered for months between 2014 and 2017.

The Office of Inspector General released a report last month that found a handful of Indian Health Service hospitals put Native American patients at risk for opioid abuse and overdoses because they failed to follow their own protocols for prescribing and dispensing the drug.

In a separate report released the same day, the office said the Indian Health Service made significant improvements at its hospital on the remote Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota after the emergency department was abruptly but temporarily closed a few years ago. But it still struggles to hire adequate staff and managers.

A pediatrician accused of sex abuse, Stanley Patrick Weber, was sentenced in January to 18 years in prison for improperly touching two boys on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. He's awaiting trial in Rapid City, South Dakota, on several charges of sexually abusing Native American children between 1998 and 2005 while working for the Indian Health Service on the Pine Ridge reservation.

The Indian Health Service this year contracted for an independent review of how it addressed accusations against Weber. Two other inquiries are underway.

The agency has been focused on change in the last few years to ensure all hospitals are reviewed by the same accreditation agency, created an Office of Quality, increased incentives for scholarship and loan repayments for employees, and enhanced screening for new hires.

The Office of Inspector General interviewed current and former Indian Health Service employees and other health care professionals for its latest report. It said formal structures would help employees understand their jobs and keep them accountable. The report also found frequent turnover in leadership led to changes in policies that didn't provide clear direction.

One unnamed interviewee said: "We build our own processes as we go and hope that we are making progress."

Despite the issues, Dorrill said the Indian Health Service is headed in the right direction.

"We've been moved by their obvious, deep commitment to their mission and to their patients," she said. "When we've pointed out these disconnects ... we feel like they're listening."

Northern Arizona Organizations Uniting to Preserve Artifacts

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Historians, archivists and librarians in northern Arizona are teaming up to protect artifacts in the event a disaster.

It’s called the Northern Arizona Cultural Heritage Preservation Initiative and includes organizations such as Cline Library at Northern Arizona University, the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Arizona Historical Society Pioneer Museum, Lowell Observatory and Flagstaff Public Library.

The group has met quarterly for the past year to formalize the disaster support partnerships that have existed between them for years, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

“We recognize here at Cline Library that we, as well as all our cultural heritage partners in the region, are isolated geographically from assistance should a disaster occur. We would need to rely on each other,” said Jill Friedmann, associate dean of Cline Library, who is coordinating the effort.

The library already works closely with the Arizona Historical Society, which brought some of its material to the library for temporary storage during the big August wildfire near Flagstaff.

“Our main threat is and has always been wildfires,” said Bill Peterson, vice president of collections and education for the society. “In the event of a wildfire, we have a contingency plan. We’ve just never had a formal agreement (with these organizations) on how that would look or what they would be.”

The concept began with Peter Runge, head of Cline Library’s 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square meter) Special Collections and Archives, which stores artifacts from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff and the rest of the Colorado Plateau region.

Runge previously worked at the University of California, which partnered with California State University to have all their campuses share resources in the event of a disaster.

If the northern Arizona partnership proves successful, the goal is to incorporate cultural content holders from throughout the region, including organizations on the Navajo and Hopi nations. A few have already joined.

A formal agreement would help with record keeping when such materials and services are temporarily loaned to different organizations.

Each organization has a prioritized list of items to save from destruction as part of individual disaster plans. An agreement among these organizations could better ensure the safety of some of the region’s most irreplaceable material.

Cline Library’s special collections area holds more than 2 million items, including handwritten ledgers from the Babbitt Brother Trading Company, invoices from the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company and other materials dating back to the 1850s, many of them yellowed and boasting the heavy aroma of aged paper.

Ruins Unearthed in Colorado During Construction Preparations

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) _ Archaeological ruins have been unearthed in Colorado in the path of a proposed highway construction project.

The Durango Herald reported that well-preserved Native American ruins were discovered while surveying the Florida Mesa for realignment of the U.S. Highway 550 interchange.

Researchers say ruins found south of Durango included human and animal bones and shells from the Baja region.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says archaeologists have a few months before they plan to begin the $100 million construction project in spring 2020.

Archaeologists say digs have turned up indigenous ceremonial sites, large pit houses and living quarters for the first time in hundreds of years.

Officials say the new interchange is expected to prepare the state for increased traffic from an expected population increase.

Information from: Durango Herald,

Michigan Tribe Awarded $700K For Food Distribution Center

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) _ A federal grant of $700,000 will help a Michigan-based Native American tribe build a new food distribution center.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the grant to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

The structure will be located next to the tribe's existing food building in Manistee.

Tribal leader Larry Romanelli tells WWTV/WWUP-TV the project will help increase the number of people served. The program already has seen a big jump in demand over the past year.

The target date for completion is August 2020.

The funding was included in $63 million divided among 85 Native American communities around the U.S. to improve housing conditions and stimulate community development.


Information from: WWTV-TV,

Arizona Waterfall Featured in Beyonce 'Lion King' Video

SUPAI, Ariz. (AP) _ For a few hours, Beyonce had a famed blue-green waterfall in northern Arizona to herself.

The Havasupai (hav-uh-SU'-peye) Tribe says it was honored to grant the singer's request to film part of her latest music video on its reservation deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon.

Tribal Chairwoman Muriel Uqualla says it's a testament to the beauty of the tribe's homeland.

Some campers weren't feeling the love when the popular Havasu Falls was closed off for hours. Permits to hike there sell out quickly each year.

Beyonce's song, ``Spirit,'' is featured in the live-action remake of ``The Lion King,'' which opens this week in movie theaters nationwide. She voices lioness Nala.

Sedona's Red Rock State Park also appears briefly in the video with Beyonce leaning against a barren tree.

Native American Artifacts on Display in Woodville Museum

WOODVILLE, Miss. (AP) _ A museum in southwestern Mississippi has opened a new exhibit of artifacts found near two Native American mounds in the area.

The Natchez Democrat reports that the items are now on display at the Wilkinson County Museum in downtown Woodville.

The exhibit's curator is Megan Kassabaum, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She says the display has been in development since last year, when she and her students did excavation projects at the Lessley and Smith Creek mound sites west of Woodville.

The exhibit includes three glass cases that showcase Native American artifacts such as jewelry, spearheads and arrowheads, cooking tools and utensils and pieces of pottery, as well as two handmade replica pots.


Information from: The Natchez Democrat,

Tribe's Push to Build Casino Spurs Carolinas Political Fight

Associated Press

CATAWBA INDIAN NATION, S.C. (AP) _ Two of the Carolinas' most prominent American Indian tribes are battling over geography and lucrative gambling turf.

The Cherokee in North Carolina, with two casinos established in the mountains, say their opponents should stay in their own state to the south. The Catawba of South Carolina argue such state boundaries are artificial and shouldn't affect their effort to gain a foothold in the industry.

The Catawba Indian Nation, with a 700-acre (283-hectare) reservation in upstate South Carolina, has been unable to build a high-stakes gambling operation in the state despite a 1993 federal law that Catawba Chief Bill Harris says was supposed to open the door for them to do so. The tribe blames fierce anti-gambling opposition from South Carolina leaders.

Instead the Catawba are hoping to revive previously failed efforts to build a casino in North Carolina just 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of the Catawba reservation, specifically along Interstate 85 in the Charlotte suburb of Kings Mountain, where they say they have a historical and legal claim to land.

Powerful U.S. senators from both states are backing them, but their efforts may not be enough. A bill they've sponsored in Congress has drawn fierce opposition from lawmakers in North Carolina, where the Cherokee tribe _ one of the state's most prolific campaign donors _ already runs two successful casinos in the far western region of the state.

Those operations, the first of which opened in 1997, have transformed the fortunes of the tribe's 16,000-member Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and surrounding Appalachian counties, creating jobs, state-of-the-art government services and payments of about $12,000 annually to each tribal member.

Harris says his tribe _ whose federal recognition was restored in 1993 after its removal 40 years earlier _ deserves the same prosperity.

A casino, he says, would rescue a reservation population whose 28% poverty rate for families is nearly twice the state average: ``The opportunities would be limitless.''

Six years ago, the Catawba filed an application with the Interior Department to get permission to build on the Kings Mountain acreage. But then-North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, more than 100 legislators and state House Speaker Thom Tillis _ now a U.S. senator and one of the sponsors of the current bill _ shot down the idea.

The U.S. senators' bill, also backed by North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, would direct the Interior Department to authorize gambling on the land.

Tillis spokesman Dan Keylin says the senator changed his mind about the tribe's request because local Kings Mountain-area leaders have contacted his office expressing their support.

During a Senate committee hearing on the bill in May, John Tahsuda, of the Interior Department's Indian Affairs division, said it was ``clear that the benefits that Congress intended for the tribe'' in a settlement the federal government reached with the Catawba in 1993 ``have not been realized.'' He took no formal stand on the legislation.

Graham remarked, ``I'm from South Carolina. Nobody, nobody objects to the Catawbas having land in North Carolina and in establishing a gambling operation as long as it's consistent with the law.''

Some people north of the border feel differently.

Gov. Roy Cooper has expressed concerns because the senators' bill appears to exempt the Catawba from having to negotiate with the state over details such as which games could be offered and whether North Carolina would receive a cut of the revenues.

Cherokee Eastern Band Principal Chief Richard Sneed says the senators' bill could have ``devastating'' economic consequences in his tribe's region, where poverty used to be rampant. A Catawba casino could siphon visitors from South Carolina and the eastern two-thirds of North Carolina who want to play blackjack, roulette and slots _ and previously did so at the Cherokee-owned casinos.

Besides, the tribe contends, the Catawba have no legal or historical claims to the land where they want to build.

``The historical evidence is on the side of the Cherokees on this one,'' Sneed says. He says territorial agreements the tribes reached with the federal government long ago were based in part on information from a 19th century map that shows there was no Catawba-controlled land in North Carolina after the mid-1700s.

Catawba chief Harris says the land in question is well within the tribe's ancient boundaries and also just 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the site in northern South Carolina where the Catawba aided a decisive victory against the British in a key 1780 Revolutionary War battle. The Catawba River and Catawba County also are in North Carolina.

So far, the Cherokee tribe is finding success pushing back: North Carolina state Senate leader Phil Berger and 38 of his colleagues have sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs committee asking it to reject the ``unprecedented overreach'' of the U.S. senators' bill.

That doesn't sit well with Harris.

``To have someone say, `No, no, they cannot have what we have, they cannot have what other nations have, they have to suffer' _ it is a hard pill to swallow,'' he says.


Robertson reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Associated Press reporter Sarah Blake Morgan contributed to this report.


Olympic National Park Plans More Mountain Goat Roundups

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) _ Goats will fly again at Olympic National Park this summer as the National Park Service continues to transport mountain goats to their native habitat in the North Cascades.

Operations to move as many as possible of the estimated 700 mountain goats began last year. Using helicopters, tranquilizer darts, nets and refrigerated trucks, crews were able to remove 115 mountain goats from the park in September.

This summer, two operational periods will have visitor impacts throughout the park. They are July 8-19 and Aug. 19-30, Olympic National Parks spokesperson Penny Wagner told the Peninsula Daily News.

Hurricane Hill Road, beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center parking lot, will be closed to all access during the operational period, including the Hurricane Hill Trail, Little River Trail and Wolf Creek Trail.

The Klahhane Ridge area will be closed temporarily on July 8-9 for visitor and employee safety during capture operations, Wagner said.

Areas of the Seven Lakes Basin, High Divide, Heart Lake and Hoh lake to Cat Basin will be closed to overnight camping July 7-11.

During the August removal period, the Mount Ellinor trail system and Forest Road 2419 to Mount Ellinor near Hamma Hamma will be closed to the public.

The five-year relocation is a joint effort by the National Park Service, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service and area tribes.

The goats were introduced to the Olympic Peninsula as game animals in the 1920s before Olympic National Park existed. That population grew to about 1,000 animals, though it is estimated there are now about 600 goats in Olympic National Park.

Officials say the goats impact the fragile alpine and sub-alpine ecosystem and that they have become too comfortable around humans.

Some goats have become aggressive in their search for salts in human urine and sweat.

Bob Boardman, a Port Angeles man, was killed by a goat that gored him as he hiked Klahhane Ridge in October 2010.

The National Park Service has contracted with a private company, Leading Edge Aviation, which specializes in the capture of wild animals.

Capturing goats requires a helicopter crew that flies as close as possible to the goats, sometimes within 30 feet.

The gunner on the helicopter makes a decision to either shoot a tranquilizer dart or a net at the goat, a decision that is partly based on how steep the terrain is.

Then a crew member exits the helicopter and blindfolds the goat to reduce stress before putting it on a sling to be flown to a landing spot on Hurricane Ridge.

There, the goats are loaded into the back of a truck to be transported to processing, where veterinarians examine them before they are transported to the North Cascades.

Crews will not be able to capture all of the goats. Those that can't be captured will be shot and killed.

The park plans to use volunteers to kill the goats that can't be captured, though it hasn't established a process for that yet.

During September's efforts 115 mountain goats were removed from the park. Of those, 98 were transported to the North Cascades and six orphans were transferred to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

There were six adult deaths, including two goats that died during transport on the first day and three goats that were killed because they were ``unfit for translocation.''

One adult male that had been monitored had reports of aggressive encounters with visitors.

State Fish and Wildlife released mountain goats at five sites in the Cascades with the help of tribal and university biologists, and of Hi-Line Aviation of Darrington.

Two of the release areas were near mountain peaks south of the town of Darrington, on the Darrington District of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The others sites were located northwest of Kachess Lake (just south of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness) in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Tower Peak in the Methow area of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and the headwaters of the Cedar River Drainage, which is land owned by Seattle Public Utilities.


Information from: Peninsula Daily News,

Report Recommends Ways To Commemorate Chief Illiniwek

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) _ A group is recommending that the University of Illinois erect a plaque or monument to commemorate the history of Chief Illiniwek, the mascot who was dropped amid much criticism in 2007.

The Chancellor's Commission on Native Imagery says the site outside Memorial Stadium, as well as a public retirement, could provide ``healing and reconciliation.'' The group also recommends regular activities involving the university and Native Americans who consider Illinois to be their ancestral home.

Chancellor Robert Jones says, ``We will be making decisions as quickly as we can.''

A student dressed as Chief Illiniwek performed a traditional dance at sporting events, running the entire 100-yard football field. But many people called the portrayal offensive and would not watch. The university stopped using the chief in 2007.

Navajo Nation Reviews Spending After Proposing $167M Budget

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) _ Navajo Nation officials are looking for cost-cutting measures after proposing a budget that is $5 million short of the current one.

The Gallup Independent reported this week that the tribe expects to have $167 million in revenue for the 2020 fiscal year that begins in October.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer said in a joint statement that their administration is reviewing department operations to look for ``duplicate services, stagnant federal dollars, excessive spending, and other cost-saving measures.''

They said they also are looking for ways to reduce personnel expenses, and they have instructed division directors to limit travel to conferences, summits and meetings.

They said the revenue decline is projected from the closures of the Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine.


Information from: Gallup Independent,

South Dakota Reservation Declares Emergency After Flooding

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. (AP) _ Officials of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota have declared a state of emergency after flooding along the Cheyenne River.

Spring storms and flooding have forced several roads to close on the reservation.

KNBN-TV reports the road closures are forcing residents to drive miles out of their way. The closings also will disrupt summer school bus routes and force schools to dip into their budgets to add more service vehicles.

Officials say the road closures also will add time for emergency crews to respond to remote areas.

AP Explains - Militias Have Patrolled US Border For Decades

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ An armed group in New Mexico whose leader faces federal firearms possession charges drew national attention last month for detaining asylum-seeking Central American families near the U.S.-Mexico border.

It's not the first time an armed militia patrolled the border amid immigration and racial tensions. Throughout U.S. history, private, armed groups have been hired or appointed themselves to police the U.S-Mexico border for a variety of reasons _ from preventing black slaves from fleeing to stopping Chinese immigrants from crossing over illegally.

A look at the history of armed groups patrolling the border:



After the Mexican-American War, slave-hunting groups began monitoring the border between Texas and Mexico and watching for black slaves who had run away.

Slavery had been abolished in Mexico, and slaves from as far as Alabama sought to escape to Mexico through the southern Underground Railroad before the U.S. Civil War.

Historians say the armed horsemen sometimes went into Mexico illegally to try to capture runaway slaves but were met with resistance from the Mexican government and people. Mexico refused to return the slaves who fled there.

University of Texas doctoral candidate Maria Esther Hammack has documented how Mexican Americans helped runaway slaves avoid the patrols and escape to Mexico in the mid-1800s.



The Texas Rangers were recommissioned after the U.S. Civil War. Although the group was known for fighting Native American tribes and alleged bandits, historians say it also functioned as a private militia on behalf of wealthy landowners and ranchers concerned about cattle and horse thefts.

During the early 1900s, the Texas Rangers operated with impunity along the Texas-Mexico border on the grounds that they were protecting U.S. residents from Mexican outlaws who would cross over and raid ranches. But, according to historians, the Texas Rangers often attacked Mexican Americans in Texas border towns, raiding homes without warrants, torturing suspects and sometimes killing innocent people.

Tensions were especially high during the Mexican Revolution as refugees attempted to cross over and escape the violence. In 1919, the Texas Rangers executed 15 Mexican American men and boys from Porvenir, Texas, in what would later be called the Porvenir Massacre. None of the Rangers would serve any jail time and the massacre would later lead to reforms.



After World War II, many Mexican American civil rights leaders openly expressed alarm at the growing number of Mexican immigrants coming into the U.S. illegally. They also felt white businessmen and ranchers used the immigrants to keep the wages of Mexican Americans low because they couldn't unionize. Cesar Chavez, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers, believed white growers used Mexican immigrants as strikebreakers.

In 1973, members of the United Farm Workers under the guidance of Chavez's cousin, Manuel, set up a ``wet line'' along the U.S.-Mexico border near San Luis, Arizona, to halt Mexican migration. (The term ``wet'' refers to a racial epithet aimed at Mexican immigrants.) Manuel erected 17 tents along a 25-mile (40-kilometer) stretch of the border and had members physically attack migrants. The Yuma Daily Sun newspaper reported that cars were torched, men were beaten with a plastic hose and one man claimed attackers burned the soles of his feet.

Miriam Pawel, in her 2014 book ``The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography,'' wrote that the Mexican labor federation _ the Confederacion de Trabajadores de Mexico _ broke with the United Farm Workers and denounced the ``wet lines'' as a campaign of terror. The labor group's leader, Francisco Modesto, said hundreds of beatings occurred and two men were castrated.



In 1977, then-Ku Klux Klan national director David Duke announced that members of the white supremacist group would patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. He said armed members would assist the U.S. Border Patrol in stopping immigrants from getting into the U.S. illegally.

The U.S. Border Patrol in the 1990s under then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, increased enforcement in urban areas like El Paso, Texas, and San Diego, and migrants started shifting their path through the Arizona desert, prompting militias to form. The groups were accused of unlawfully detaining Latinos, and in some cases, physically attacking them.

Among those forming was the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps founded by Chris Simcox and J. T. Ready, a former neo-Nazi. The group urged citizens to take it upon themselves to guard the region.

Glenn Spencer also created the American Border Patrol in southern Arizona and touted it as a ``shadow Border Patrol.'' The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the American Border Patrol as an extremist group.


Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press' race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at .

South Dakota Governor Won't Test Tribal Ban From Reservation

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she won't test an American Indian tribe that has banned her from one of the largest reservations in the country, but she hopes to change the directive.

The Oglala Sioux is upset with legislation pushed by Noem that aims to quell any protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline similar to those in North Dakota that plagued construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The Tribal Council on May 1 voted 17-0 to tell Noem she's no longer welcome on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Noem says she respects tribal sovereignty and won't travel there without the tribe's blessing. But she also hopes to change the tribal edict.

Noem says she's had informal talks with council members but hasn't yet spoken with President Julian Bear Runner.

More Bald Eagles Found Dead, Possibly Poisoned in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ A great horned owl and at least seven bald eagles have been found dead along Maryland's Eastern Shore this year, reminding officials of the eagles found fatally poisoned in the area in 2016.

The Baltimore Sun reports state and federal wildlife officials are investigating the deaths, saying the Delmarva Peninsula has a ``systemic'' illegal poisoning problem. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that furthers the investigation.

This year's first known poisoning happened in March. Authorities believe the birds were killed with the pesticide carbofuran, which was essentially banned from the nation's market partly due to it being lethal to birds. Authorities say the birds may have eaten bait laced with the pesticide, which is sometimes sold under the name Furadan.


Information from: The Baltimore Sun,

Who Owns Aloha? Hawaii Eyes Protections for Native Culture

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) _ Last year, much of Hawaii was shocked to learn a Chicago restaurant chain owner had trademarked the name ``Aloha Poke'' and wrote to cubed fish shops around the country demanding that they stop using the Hawaiian language moniker for their own eateries. The cease-and-desist letters targeted a downtown Honolulu restaurant and a Native Hawaiian-operated restaurant in Anchorage, among others.

Now, Hawaii lawmakers are considering adopting a resolution calling for the creation of legal protections for Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property. The effort predates Aloha Poke, but that episode is lending a sense of urgency to a long-festering concern not unfamiliar to native cultures in other parts of the world.

``I was frustrated at the audacity of people from outside of our community using these legal mechanisms to basically bully people from our local community out of utilizing symbols and words that are important to our culture,'' said state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, a Native Hawaiian representing Kaneohe and Heeia.

The resolution calls on state agencies and Native Hawaiian organizations to form a task force to develop a legal system to ``recognize and protect'' Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property and traditional cultural expressions. It also seeks protections for genetic resources, such as taro, a traditional crop that legend says is an ancestor of the Hawaiian people and that scientists have tried to genetically engineer in the past.

The task force would be commissioned to submit its recommendations and any proposed legislation to lawmakers in three years.

The resolution has passed House and Senate committees. The full Senate is scheduled to vote on it Monday.

The Aloha Poke incident echoes past disputes, like when a non-Hawaiian photographer claimed copyright over an image of a woman dancing hula and Disney copyrighted a modified version of a Hawaiian chant used in a movie.

Chicago's Aloha Poke Co. chose as its battleground the word ``aloha'' _ a term meaning love, compassion, kindness as well as hello and goodbye. It's a term central to how Native Hawaiians treat others and how many in Hawaii _ Native Hawaiian or not _ try to live.

``It's traumatic when things like this happen to us _ when people try to take, modify or steal what's been in our people's world view for generations,'' said Healani Sonoda-Pale, chairwoman of the Ka Lahui Hawaii political action committee, who testified in support of the resolution.

Aloha Poke CEO Chris Birkinshaw didn't return messages seeking comment left at his West Madison store in Chicago and on the company's website. The company has stores in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Aloha Poke Shop in Honolulu initially ignored the Chicago company's letter, said co-founder Jeff Sampson. When the issue burst into the news, he and his partners had an attorney write their Chicago counterpart saying they wouldn't change their name. They explained there would be no confusion between their businesses because they operated far from the mainland company's stores.

But a poke store in Anchorage run by a Native Hawaiian woman changed its name to Lei's Poke Stop after receiving one of the letters.

Native Hawaiian experts note there's a cultural clash underlying much of this. Modern European-based traditions use trademarks, copyright and patents to create economic incentives and rewards for creating knowledge and culture. Indigenous culture, on the other hand, is often passed on through generations and held collectively.

``They're never going to sit nicely together in a box,'' said Kuhio Lewis, the CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

It will be difficult to determine who would decide who can use Native Hawaiian culture and who would be able to use it. Limits may violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The task force will have to explore who can do what, Lewis said.

``At the least, they need to have some cultural sensitivity about how it's used. And they need to know you can't be telling Native Hawaiian businesses they can't use their own language,'' Lewis said.

The resolution points to potential models in New Zealand and Alaska, which both created signifiers that indigenous people may place on their art as a mark of authenticity.

Marie Texter of Anchorage said her late father Andy Makar _ who drew, made carvings from tusks, cottonwood and horns, and sewed animal skins _ was a strong believer in the Silver Hand seal for Alaska Natives.

``He said this is a great program because so many times the Native artwork gets commercialized or used by someone else,'' she said.

He had to fill out proof of his Indian blood _ he was mostly Yup'ik but his mother was Athabascan _ to apply.

But Rosita Worl, president of Juneau-based Sealaska Heritage Institute, said not all Alaska Native artists apply for or use the emblem. Nor does the program deter the sale of bogus Native art made overseas, she said. It also lacks enforcement and publicity, she said.

Charles E. Colman, a University of Hawaii law professor, said such programs hold up under federal law because they don't prohibit people from making work that resembles indigenous art. They merely won't allow people to say their work is produced by an indigenous person if it's not.

Colman believes the Aloha Poke situation, on the other hand, could be addressed within existing trademark law.

He believes the Chicago company's trademark could be cancelled if challenged because it's not so well-known that its name has developed a secondary meaning the way the words in the retailer name ``Best Buy'' have, for example.

``You can't just register a descriptive phrase unless you've achieved a certain amount of public recognition,'' he said.


Associated Press journalists Rachel D'Oro and Mark Thiessen in Anchorage contributed to this report.

Former Navajo Nation Official Sentenced in Theft Case

TUBA CITY, Ariz. (AP) _ A former manager of the Navajo Nation's Tuba City Chapter has been sentenced to jail time and probation in a theft case.

Priscilla Littlefoot had pleaded no contest last year to charges stemming from the theft of more than $1 million in chapter funds.

A tribal judge recently sentenced her to more than five months in jail, followed by six months of probation. She also was ordered to repay the tribe $30,000.

Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen McPaul says the closure of the case helps restore Navajos' trust in their government.

Authorities say Littlefoot had directed funding to herself and her family, and she forged documents to conceal the theft.

They say the funds largely were taken from the chapter's tax revenue earmarked for things like scholarships, veterans and emergencies.

Bill to Ban Native American Mascots in Maine Moves Ahead

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ A bill to prevent Maine public schools from using mascots and logos depicting Native Americans is moving ahead.

The Legislature's Education and Cultural Affairs committee voted 7-5 along party lines Monday to recommend the legislation. Democratic Rep. Benjamin Colling's bill faces further votes.

A bill amendment would also extend the ban to publicly funded educational institutions like the University of Maine system.

The Maine Education Department urged schools this year to refrain from using mascots and logos depicting Native Americans. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and several tribal leaders have said Skowhegan's mascot harms Native Americans.

Republican lawmakers argued Monday local boards should decide such issues.

A handful of Maine schools had continued to use Native American-themed sports mascots in past years.

Skowhegan High School retired the school's nickname in March.

Montana Basketball Team's Biggest Victory is Off Court


MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) _ It's easy to spot Two Eagle River's biggest victory of the boys basketball season on the schedule since it won only one game this past year.

But a more important victory for Two Eagle River came off the court. The Eagles turned a positive corner when they went the entire season without having a player take his own life.

If that happened to almost any other team, it would be the norm and hardly merit a mention. But Two Eagle River, an alternative school of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes that had an enrollment of 89 students last spring, has had a boys basketball player die by suicide each of the two prior school years.

So the win-loss record didn't reflect the most profound win. It was a win that kept families and friends intact.

``It's great to finish the season on a positive note,'' said Camas McClure, who completed his first season as the Eagles' head coach and his third with the team. ``Despite how our season ended, despite what our losses may have said on paper, we actually did pretty good. We competed every single night. The boys showed a lot of heart. They kept their heads up.

``I can't tell you how many times this whole season parents, players, fans, people around the community had support for our program. They notice our program is changing in a positive way. It's making me happy, our organization happy. Whatever we're doing, it's working.''

McClure, who's coached seven seasons overall, refuses to take sole credit for the positive change.

A 24-year-old Salish tribal member, he spends only a few hours a day with the players during practices, games or bus rides since he's currently a student at Salish Kootenai College studying early childhood education and doing an internship with the State Tribal Education Partnership.

The reserved and soft-spoken McClure is quick to credit others at the school and counselors called in by the tribe to provide help to the students and faculty.

As he's gotten to know people who work at Two Eagle River, he said he's been able to ask them to check in on or keep an eye on kids who he thinks may be struggling. That includes his assistant coach, DJ Piapot, a former Two Eagle River player and current teacher.

``Things have calmed down a bit,'' McClure said. ``I feel the support of the counselors at the school and tribe and members around the community have really been hitting hard. It's definitely what they need, especially going through these hard times with students at a young age committing suicide.''

Suicide on reservations is hardly a rare thing. The suicide rate among American Indians and Alaska Natives was 21.5 per 100,000 people, which is more than 3.5 times higher than that of the racial or ethnic groups with the lowest rates, according to a 2018 CDC report. Nearly 36 percent of those deaths by American Indians and Alaska Natives were among people who were 10 to 24 years old, compared to only 11 percent for whites in that age range.

The Two Eagle River basketball team experienced the first of two suicides in a 10-month stretch when Josiah Anthony Nichols, a starter during the 2016-17 season, died at 16 years old on April 24, 2017. As the Eagles were winding down the following season, Walter Raymond Reddick, the team's first player off the bench, died by suicide at 16 years old on Feb. 20, 2018.

``When I found out that happened, I couldn't believe it,'' said senior Travis Pierre, who started the past two years and played the past three at Two Eagle River after transferring from Ronan. ``But this season, I tried to dedicate my season to both of those guys. I think the whole team did, too. It hurt the team, though, too because those players should have been playing with us the past two years. It's hard to not see them at school. It hurt us deep down inside. All we could do was play it for them.''

This past season, Pierre wore pink Under Armour shoes with roses and wrote the initials and birthdays of Nichols and Reddick on them. He had gotten the shoes from former Two Eagle River player Brendan McDonald, who he said bought the shoes along with Nichols since they both planned to wear the same style shoes during the 2017-18 season.

It was Reddick's death between the district and divisional tournaments that prompted Arlee to create a suicide awareness video, which ended up going viral with over 1.1 million views.

After Arlee won its second consecutive state title, star player Philip Malatare told the Missoulian, ``This is for Two Eagle,'' when talking about the Warrior Movement.

The Warriors have since been sponsored by Nike, were featured in the New York Times magazine _ which had been a work in progress since before the video _ and were showcased on NBA TV.

Arlee's video did lead to Sen. Jon Tester securing a $50,000 grant meant to help with improving mental health services at Two Eagle River. McClure also acknowledged that Arlee tried to involve Two Eagle River in a sock sponsorship deal.

``Nothing is wrong with what they're doing,'' McClure said. ``The youth definitely have to speak up with letting everyone know things are going to be OK. But let's speak up together, be together as one.''

McClure knows the feeling of suicide and depression that can accompany youth on the reservation. He contemplated ending his life after he transferred from Ronan to Arlee as a sophomore in the 2009-10 school year.

``Just transferring to a new school felt real scary,'' McClure said. ``Just constant arguments from my dad and step mom at home. I just couldn't concentrate in school. I wanted to play ball, but I wanted some guidance in my life. I never had guidance. Having a learning disability in math and English and even Asperger's Syndrome, that kind of made me feel like (expletive) sometimes.''

As McClure recalled the story, he had texted a friend saying he was going to end his life. His friend didn't have the quickest response, waiting until the next morning to tell the Ronan principal, who reached out to Arlee to check in on McClure, who was fortunately still alive.

``I ended up seeing this counselor over at the tribal mission,'' McClure said. ``I went there until I felt like I was comfortable and not thinking those thoughts. All I needed was some support from my friends and family. They gave all that love and affection.

``I swear things were just going right for me there on. I was doing good in school. I was able to play ball. It just seems like everything was falling into place. That's how I kind of got here was just telling my story.''

While McClure played at Arlee, the Warriors took fourth place at state in 2010 and second place in 2011. After he graduated in 2012, he jumped into coaching at the local middle school and served as a volunteer coach for Arlee under J.R. Camel and later Zanen Pitts, the current head coach.

McClure left to be an assistant coach at Two Eagle River for the 2016-17 season. He was hired as the head coach on June 6, 2018, with Piapot as his assistant.

``I try to set the example for them as that male role model because a lot of these kids don't have dads or even just a male figure to look up to,'' McClure said. ``I've been told by the parents or just family members in general that you're a good role model to these kids. It makes me feel good that I'm doing my part. These kids mean the world to me. I love these guys like they're my brothers or even my own kids.''

Two Eagle River had a documentary crew following them around this past season. McClure described it as inside look at life on the reservation through the lens of basketball.

``I feel our story is the real story,'' McClure said. ``We've been through so much as a program. I feel like what we're doing with building this program is going to change the world.''

He added: ``We want to show that you're here for a reason, that you're on this earth to do great things.''

The documentary is in the production stage and is being produced through UPROXX, a Los Angeles-based entertainment and pop culture website, said Jamie Elias, who's leading the documentary crew.

Elias, who has no connection to Montana, had first heard about Two Eagle River and its connection to suicides on Facebook. She reached out to McClure through the social media platform, visited Pablo, Montana, and the idea of a documentary became a possibility.

``We saw the epicenter was at Two Eagle,'' Elias said. ``The more me and him talked, the more special I realized Two Eagle was.''

Elias and her team of two videographers have come out six times so far for the filming of their documentary. They'd spend one to two weeks at a time with the team.

``Obviously, there has to be a light shined on how to prevent suicide,'' Elias said. ``We feel that basketball plays a big part in that for these kids. What we found is it's keeping them busy and giving them a purpose and joy.''

While some kids grow up wanting to be star NBA players, McClure envisioned himself as a head coach.

He got his first shot this year, and it resulted in a 1-19 record as he was learning what it was like to run the show.

``It may not have looked like a good season, but it was, and we were humble,'' said Pierre, who is planning to attend Salish Kootenai College next year and major in forestry. ``We weren't always known for winning, but we knew who we were playing for and what we were playing for. All of us, we wanted to make that one person in our life proud. We did that this season no matter what the score was. Hopefully I made Josiah and Walter proud, and hopefully I made my family proud, too.''

McClure will lose four seniors from this year's team. He'll have three starters and seven players who could return, in addition to incoming players or transfers, as he tries to lead the Eagles to their first winning season since the 2011-12 school year.

``I would say he coaches with love,'' Elias said. ``He finds community with the boys.''

As a coach, McClure has to care about his team's win-loss record as a statement on his coaching ability. But McClure also sees his impact as a coach as going beyond the court, instilling a message he heard growing up about not listening to someone who tells you that you can't do something special with your life.

``I want them to succeed,'' he said. ``I want them to realize there's more to life than just the reservation. They can go out and go to school and become something of themselves. If they do decide they want to come back to the reservation and help out the people in any way, I'm going to be proud of them for that.

``But it's OK to leave the reservation, just go see the world, just experience it for yourself because it's scary out here. It's scary as an adult, especially with lately what's been going on. I want those kids to walk out with an education and do something with their lives and not be going down the wrong path, whether it's drinking or doing drugs or making a fool of yourself.''

McClure knows what success is like from his time at Arlee. He coached all-state players like Tyler Tanner, Philip Malatare and Will Mesteth, and was a volunteer coach on teams that made the state tournament in three of four years from 2013 to 2016.

McClure's players don't have the name recognition or awards of those stars. But as long as their names continue to show up in box scores instead of obituaries, it's a starting point toward building a winning culture.

``These guys, it's more than family. It's like a brotherhood,'' McClure said. ``They're always looking out for one another. They back each other up. They encourage each other a lot, don't let anything get by them. We say, `We're your brothers. We're here to help.'''


Information from: Missoulian,

Oklahoma State's Waters Draws Focus to Native American Players

AP Sports Writer

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III thinks there are many capable Native American basketball players who are getting overlooked.

He wants to change that by drawing attention to young players who are American Indians, including many who want to follow in his success.

``I just don't think that Native Americans are looked at on a scale for athletics,'' said Waters, who is part Kiowa and part Cherokee. ``That really stands out to me because I've played with great Native American basketball players. They can shoot the ball, they're really unselfish. They know how to play. Our numbers should be higher than they are.''

According to the NCAA, there were 14 Native American men's players last season across the 351 teams in Division I. Waters is second among Big 12 players, shooting 45 percent from 3-point range and 91 percent on free throws this season, averaging 12 points. He drew national attention by hitting four 3s in the last minute of regulation against Texas Tech, including a shot at the buzzer to force overtime.

The American Indian Exposition, a large intertribal gathering and cultural event, named Waters III its Indian of the Year in 2018.

``It's who I am,'' Waters said. ``It's who my parents have taught me to be. I need to respect who I am. Being Native American, you can just kind of say that you are Indian, or you can actually go out there and get involved in things.''

Waters and his father, Lindy Jr., put on camps at the Kiowa and Comanche Nations last summer and plan to run six camps at tribal nations in May. Waters is from Norman, Oklahoma, a short drive from plenty of youth hoops in Oklahoma City. There aren't as many opportunities for kids in small towns elsewhere in the state that have significant Native American populations but sit farther from basketball hubs.

Phil Dupoint, a Kiowa who is president of the American Indian Exposition, said Waters' impact on Native American youth cannot be overstated.

``I've seen the effect he has on the younger tribal members, and they kind of more or less put him in a high-ranking status,'' Dupoint said. ``They want to accomplish what Lindy Waters accomplished.''

Cherokee Nation principal chief Bill John Baker said Waters embodies his tribe's value of a tough, resilient spirit.

``Through sharing his own experiences, he, like many Cherokees before him, is trying to help the generations after him achieve greater successes,'' Baker said.

Waters is the most established player among three Native Americans on Oklahoma State's team, including J.K. Hadlock of the Osage Nation and Gabe Simpson of the Cherokee Nation.

Waters' father says his son has stayed humble amid increased visibility.

``We're just taught that way _ to listen to our elders, listen to our respected people in our tribe, elders in our family. We are just taught to listen before we speak. He is the epitome of that type of young person,'' he said.

Matthew Komalty, chairman of the Kiowa Tribe and a former high school coach at Apache (Oklahoma), said Waters has helped other Native American kids by running camps but also making the most of his opportunity in college hoops.

``We've had many great athletes walking around,'' he said. ``He's opening a door for Native American children. They needed that.''

Komalty said the Kiowa are picking up their efforts, too. The tribe sponsored a Native American team, mostly Kiowa members, that traveled around Oklahoma last summer and sent a team to a tournament in Phoenix, Arizona.

``Our tribe has been down for so long, but now we're building up where we can do some of these things for our kids, and it's a great thing to be able to see our kids excel,'' he said.

Thanks to Waters, Dupoint believes maybe a few more of those players will be seen.

``Believe it or not, they want to walk in your shoes. They want to be like you,'' Dupoint said he told Waters.


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Army Corps Approves $2 Billion Arizona Copper Mine Project

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will issue a permit authorizing construction of a $2 billion copper mine in southern Arizona by a Canadian company.

The Tohono O'odham, Pascua Yaqui and Hopi tribes oppose the project over concerns it would damage ancestral homelands.

An attorney for the tribes has requested further consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before construction starts.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that the Army Corps said Monday it will approve the Rosemont Mine southeast of Tucson.

Hudbay Minerals Inc. of Toronto is expected to build the mine and employ more than 400 people.

Construction has been delayed by a Clean Water Act permit from the EPA that would allow dredging and filling on the property.

The agency says it is dropping further review.


Information from: Arizona Daily Star,

Delaware Tribe Seeks Archaeological Survey in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The Delaware Tribe has requested an archaeological survey at a site in Lawrence where county officials plan to build a mental health center and housing complex.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that tribal historians have asked surveyors to look for artifacts and human remains before Douglas County moves forward with plans for the behavioral health campus. The tribe says members lived in northeast Kansas for 30 years, and some are buried in Lawrence.

The county wants to build a mental health crisis center and cottages for the mentally ill to address shortages in the area.

The tribe can request an archaeological survey because the project will use federal funding.

County Administrator Assistant Jill Jolicoeur says the archaeological field survey will be conducted as soon as possible.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

Haskell Cultural Center and Museum to Close Indefinitely

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Haskell Indian Nations University's Cultural Center and Museum will close indefinitely because its operating grant expired Friday.

Julia Good Fox, a college dean, said the university is working to secure more funding to reopen the center later this semester.

Three people work at the center.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the museum's collections date back to 1884. It contains items pertaining to Haskell's history, as well as items from several tribal cultures of students, and artwork by American Indian artists, Haskell students, faculty and alumni.

Good Fox says she is confident the center will reopen later this year.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

Library Presents Major Show of Objects in Wheeling's History

The Intelligencer

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) _ The Wheeling 250 observance is providing a perfect opportunity for the Ohio County Public Library to showcase many treasures from its large archival collections.

Wheeling 250 is a year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of the city's founding. City leaders and community groups are organizing events and exhibits to mark the occasion.

As part of that venture, the library is presenting a major exhibit, ``Wheeling in 250 Objects,'' in a new open exhibit area on its main floor. The display space was created last year as part of extensive renovations and upgrades to the facility.

Library Director Dottie Thomas said, ``The board, when they did the renovations, really wanted to increase the display space because of the quality of the displays we've been having.''

The open design of the display space -situated between the library's main desk, reference desk and computer section _ allows for an exhibit to be shown ``over a long period of time. It can stay there for a while,'' Thomas said.

A total of 16-18 display cases are being placed in the exhibit area, said Erin Rothenbuehler, the library's graphic designer who also works in archives and special collections.

The first part of ``Wheeling in 250 Objects,'' now on display, features artifacts related to the indigenous people of the Wheeling area. Other artifacts, documents and memorabilia will be added for each part of the multi-faceted exhibit.

Parts of the exhibit will remain on display throughout the year. ``We'll end up with far more than 250 objects,'' Rothenbuehler said.

From that number, 250 items will be selected ``as representative of Wheeling's history,'' said Sean Duffy, the library's programming director who also works in archives.

``Many of these objects will be on loan from various heritage partners and community members,'' he explained. ``Many more will come from the library's own archives and special collections.''

Identified as Object No. 1 is a replicated skull on a stick to symbolize the area's designation as the Place of the Skull, Rothenbuehler said.

The exhibit corresponds to the five symbolic stars on the city of Wheeling's new flag, which was designed by Rothenbuehler. Blue lights are being used in the display area to represent Wheeling Creek.

A display case is filled with items that illustrate the five points ``to help people understand the symbols on the flag,'' Duffy said.

The first installment, representing the flag's indigenous star, examines the history of native peoples of the Upper Ohio Valley, who lived in the region for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. Most of these artifacts are on loan from the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex's research facility in Moundsville. Hank Lutton, curator of the archaeological complex, has provided a selection of items from that facility.

Displays relate to both the indigenous period (pre-contact with Europeans) and the time after European explorers and settlers came to the region, Duffy said. The later period represented a time of transition for Native Americans and their trading with Europeans.

For instance, he said, the display includes two kinds of projectile points: ones made of stone or bone, which were more ancient, and ones crafted from European copper, which ``obviously were trade items.''

Also shown are glass beads, copper beads, decorative necklace, shell pendant, fish hooks, spear heads and ``iron trade tomahawks that Europeans would have,'' he said.

Of practical use was a ceramic bowl found near Wheeling Creek. ``They (Native Americans) would have ground up shells to mix with clay to keep the bowl from cracking during firing,'' Rothenbuehler said.

Duffy said the display includes a nutting stone, a large rock with eight holes, that could have been used for food grinding, starting fires or making weapons.

Also displayed are realistic-looking facsimiles of some real artifacts, Rothenbuehler pointed out. The re-creations include the skull, a lead plate that French explorer Celeron de Bienville placed at the mouth of Wheeling Creek, a page from explorer Christopher Gist's diary that mentions Wealin Creek and a map drawn from surveyors' documents that show Scalp Creek.

The next segment of the display will examine life on the frontier, focusing on the Zanes, Fort Henry and Fort Fincastle and extending into the era of slavery, Duffy said. Other phases of the installation will relate to transportation, tracing development of the National Road and the B&O Railroad, and the statehood movement.

An examination of Wheeling's industrial era will constitute the biggest and final portion of the exhibit, he said, adding, ``We have a lot of stuff from 1900 to the present.''

The exhibit may be viewed, free of charge, during regular hours of operation. The library, located at 52 16th St., is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.


Displays such as ``Wheeling in 250 Objects'' are designed ``to bring awareness to the library's archives,'' Rothenbuehler commented. ``We're trying to make it as accessible to people as possible.''

Thomas noted, ``Our archival collections are catalogued. Anyone can see what we have.''

In addition, Duffy said articles and stories written and shared on the library's Archiving Wheeling blog provide context to artifacts featured in the various displays.

Several years ago, the board decided that one of a library's main purposes is ``to preserve that community's history and culture,'' the director said. Louis Horacek, a former assistant director, began collecting historical documents and other archival material.

As the collection grew, the library made a commitment to preserve the materials professionally. An archives room was created, utilizing part of a large storage room on the building's lower level. ``We have been able to expand that room,'' Thomas said.

``These displays are part of making that (archives) more accessible to the public and drawing attention to Wheeling and all of Ohio County,'' the director commented. ``We do have some things from other communities in the archival collection, and we hope to expand that in the future, too.''

A catalog of the collection is posted on the library's website. The online resources allow people to conduct searches ``to see what might be included in the archives,'' she said.

``In the future, we hope to draw researchers here,'' she said, adding, ``We've already done that. We had a man from Australia here working on his doctorate.''

The Archiving Wheeling blog also serves as ``an organ to connect what we have with what is out there,'' Duffy remarked. ``As a library archives, it has been well received and has led to people donating things because they saw a story on there.''


Library officials think the archival collections and exhibits would complement a proposed Wheeling museum.

``We'll work in cooperation with the new museum when it comes,'' Rothenbuehler said.

Thomas foresees occasions when the museum could mount special displays at the library to draw attention to its holdings and to reach a wider audience. Noting that the library is open 67 hours a week, she said, ``It's hard to rival that.''

Rothenbuehler noted that the library attracts considerable foot traffic from patrons borrowing books, using computer resources and attending programs and classes.

Duffy thinks the library's display area could offer additional exhibit space for the museum to utilize. ``Most museums can display only 20 percent of their collections at one time,'' he related.


Information from: The Intelligencer,

Maine Basket Maker Wins Prestigious $50,000 Fellowship

ORONO, Maine (AP) _ A Maine man who is part of a long tradition of basket makers in a native American tribe has received a prestigious fellowship and its $50,000 award.

Thirty-eight-year-old Gabriel Frey is a Passamaquoddy basket maker from Orono known for adding flourishes of color and other notes of personal expressions to traditional Indian work baskets. The Portland Press Herald reports he is the latest artist from Maine to win a United States Artists fellowship for his work.

The cash prize is unrestricted, which means Frey can use the money as he wishes. Frey says he works as a massage therapist and makes baskets on his own time, so the money is life-changing.

Frey says he will have more flexibility to buy materials like leather to use in his basketwork.


Information from: Portland Press Herald,

Institute of American Indian Arts Plans for Research Center

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ An effort by the Institute of American Indian Arts to create a new research center is getting support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The institute says the center will focus on the advancement of contemporary Native American arts and culture by streamlining the care of museum collections and records as well as supporting training through internships and fellowships.

The three-year planning grant is worth $434,000.

IAIA President Robert Martin says the partnership with Mellon is a critical step in expanding the institute's capacity to contribute to the field and build upon its legacy as the birthplace of contemporary Native arts.

The institute also plans to start a scholarly fellowship program to provide financial support for a series of fellows working on projects related to contemporary Native American art.

Seeking the Mystery of Vortexes in Sedona, Arizona

Associated Press

SEDONA, Ariz. (AP) _ I suppose I shouldn't have taken the parking attendant's advice so literally.

``You'll know it when you feel it,'' he had told me when I asked where I'd find the vortex.

I had traveled to Sedona for a weekend to see if I would experience what many visitors come here to find: a static in the air, the ``vortex.''

Inside a steep, coral-colored canyon decorated with pine trees, this sleepy Arizona city has long been a quiet refuge for hikers, romantics and soul searchers. For many, it's a place of mystique and magic.

Walking past its earth-toned grocery stores, banks and restaurants, you'll find that Sedona's tourists and locals go into many of the same places. So much so that residents seem like former tourists themselves.

Crystal and incense shops sit prominently between visitor centers with pushy timeshare salesmen. Jeep tours that carry you to majestic points around the city, which is set amid glowing red rocks, bring convenience and modernity to what could otherwise be a still from an old Western. And the view is also picturesque from every hotel, bed and breakfast, and residential building.

To preserve its beauty, this city of just over 10,000 people has a strict building code and zoning laws: Structures can't grow too high, and must be colored in hues that complement the natural tones of the red rocks. Even the famed golden arches at McDonald's are turquoise here, to enhance the desert's natural beauty.

But many visitors to Sedona come looking for something in addition to this beauty. Native American legend recounts a spot where the earth's energy is supposedly concentrated and crackling. Where you can experience a range of sensations that encourage self-healing and spiritual awakening. The vortex.

The supposed healing power of vortexes gained popularity during the late 20th century. In 1987, some 5,000 believers flocked to Sedona for what became known as the Harmonic Convergence. The event began as an interpretation of the Mayan calendar; tens of thousands of people around the world gathered around spiritual centers for meditation to protect the Earth from spinning away into space.

While praying for a global awakening, many of those who came to Sedona developed a feeling of deep, astral connection to the red rock formations. Word of Sedona's mysterious vortexes began to spread.

There are many trails through the rocks around Sedona that guide you to these coveted locations. On my recent visit, we chose to try the Airport Mesa Loop. While more strenuous than some, it's a great hike if you are looking for exercise and a spectacular view of town. Pack light in everything but water, as there is not much shade and some steep drops.

As the trail ascends, there are panoramic views of Elephant Rock, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock _ Sedona's most visited landmarks. The trail circles around two sides of the mountain, marked by a difference in both plant life and geological formations. Once you near the end, it becomes hard to believe you are on the same path.

Because of the trail's popularity, two parking lots are accessible to visitors. While the one lower down the mountain is closer to the official entrance of the trail, its small size made it too difficult to park in the afternoon. We drove to the very top of the Airport Mesa and took in views of the city before the parking attendant pointed us to a spot past a fence near the road, where we hiked down a mile-long trail that forked at the entrance of the Airport Mesa Loop.

Every few steps of the roughly 3.3-mile-long trail encourage you to give in to the natural setting. A heightened feeling, tingling fingers and velvet in the air distracted me from the multiplying hikers and marriage proposals.

We walked for hours, and we felt a lot: aches, pain, wonder.

And it was only after we completed the loop and came back to the starting point of the trail when we discovered the vortex. Standing atop the mini-mesa elicited a more intense feeling than the one I had already felt in town. Red rock vistas transform to soaring pillars, as if you're inside a gothic cathedral. It's something that the New Age faithful preach about and even skeptics might buy into.

Once you wake up from your trance, you'll notice tourists and locals basking in the same feeling. It's a Sedona moment that can't be replicated.

Federal Agency to Investigate Alleged School Discrimination

HELENA, Mont. (AP) _ Federal education officials have agreed to investigate a complaint by the Fort Peck tribes alleging the Wolf Point School District in Montana discriminates against Native American students.

The tribes filed their complaint in June 2017 alleging Native American students were subjected to more severe discipline for misconduct, were more often placed in the district's learning and behavioral program and were not properly evaluated for or did not receive special education services.

The Office for Civil Rights in Seattle announced its investigation on Dec. 28, hours after The New York Times and ProPublica published a story investigating the discrimination alleged in the 18-month-old complaint.

The agency in January 2018 opened investigations into complaints over discipline and retaliation against the school district. The district's attorney did not immediately return a phone message seeking details of those complaints.

Some Alaska Native Tribes Look to Establish Tribal Courts

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ Some Alaska Native tribes are interested in organizing tribal courts as a way to further exercise their sovereignty.

Tribal representatives from southeast Alaska recently gathered for a conference in Juneau to discuss ideas.

The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has a tribal court in Juneau.

When it began in 2007, it handled child custody hearings. But the court has expanded over the years, to include divorce, domestic violence and other cases, the Juneau Empire reported.

Marina Rose Anderson, the vice president and administrative assistant for the Organized Village of Kasaan, was among the officials who attended the conference. Issues that happen close to home should be handled close to home, Anderson said, rather than having people outside the community make legal decisions.

Her goal is to make the tribe as independent as possible, Anderson said.

Hoonah Indian Association Tribal Administrator Robert Starbard had similar thoughts.

``I think for us, the primary importance of a tribal court is that it gives additional legitimacy and eligibility to our sovereignty,'' he said. ``You cannot be sovereign if you cannot exercise control over what happens with your ordinances and laws. Tribal court is a mechanism that allows us to do that.''

CCTHITA Tribal Court Judge Debra O'Gara said the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs can providing funding to help tribes form tribal courts. Establishing tribal courts throughout southeast Alaska is a possibility, she said.

``We don't have time to wait any longer,'' O'Gara said. ``We have to do it now.''

New Herd of Elk Could Be Reintroduced to NE Minnesota

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) _ There's an effort gaining steam to potentially reintroduce elk to the northeast part of Minnesota.

Minnesota Public radio reported that Univ. of Minnesota research illustrates nearly 80 percent of rural landowners and residents support restoring elk to the area.

University of Minnesota has spent the last three years observing potential habit for elk in northeast Minnesota: the Cloquet Valley State Forest north of Duluth; the Fond du Lac State Forest and Indian reservation near Cloquet and the Nemadji State Forest, near the Wisconsin border.

Public support is vital because the state passed a law in 2016 barring the expansion of elk in northwestern Minnesota.

``Without enough public support, this idea would probably be dead in the water,'' said Mike Schrage, wildlife biologist with Fond du Lac Band. ``It would be difficult to successfully turn loose a big hairy animal like an elk on the landscape without support from the public and landowners for doing it.''

The three state forests researchers are studying all include areas that are logged for aspen trees. That creates a lot of new habitat for young aspen trees, which provide ideal forage for elk.

``They like aspen, they like grass, but they can eat a lot of different things,'' said Schrage. ``I'm pretty confident in the end we will find that there's enough habitat. It's just quantifying where is it and how much of it there is.''

The state brought in 1,500 elk about 20 years ago. Now they have a population of more than 10,000.

They're due to submit their final report to the state in the summer. Then it will be up to policy makers to decide whether to bring elk back to the region, something that would require ``a significant chunk of funding,'' he said

Schrage says the earliest Minnesotans would likely see a new herd of elk on the landscape three or four years from now.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News,

Maine Again Down to Just One Tribal Representative

Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Only one of Maine's Native American tribes plans to send a representative to the Legislature next year, down from two this year, as two top Democrats promise to address strained state-tribal relations.

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians has declined to send a tribal representative to the Legislature next year, joining the Penobscot Nation, which pulled its tribal representative in 2015. The Passamaquoddy Nation also withdrew its tribal representative in 2015, but the tribe elected to send a representative back to the Legislature in 2016.

Maine's sole tribal representative next year will be Rep. Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Nation, who didn't respond to requests for comment.

``It's difficult as a sovereign nation when we have a state government that pushes back on things continually,'' said Houlton Band of Maliseets Chief Clarissa Sabattus, whose tribe could decide to send a tribal ambassador to meet with state and federal governments.

The departure of another Maine tribal representative comes amid increasingly tense relations between tribal nations and the state over tribal sovereignty, tribal gambling and fishing and clean water rights. In 2015, outgoing Republican Gov. Paul LePage _ whose office didn't respond to request for comment _ revoked his 2011 executive order aiming to promote cooperation between Maine and tribes.

Several leaders of Maine's four federally recognized tribes said they hoped Democratic Gov.-elect and Attorney General Janet Mills and incoming Democratic Attorney General Aaron Frey fulfill their promises to meet with tribal leaders, unlike past politicians.

``The relationship? There really isn't one at this point,'' said William Nicholas, chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township Reservation. He said he hopes Mills' administration respects tribal sovereignty and his tribe's wishes to be left alone.

Rep. Henry Bear, who previously represented the Houlton Band of Maliseets, said he's tired of the state's ``paternalistic'' attitude toward tribal nations. He led unsuccessful efforts this year to have Maine's high court consider allowing casinos on tribal land.

The controversy dates to 18th-century treaties and a 1980 settlement of tribes' claim to perhaps two-thirds of Maine's lands.

That 1980 law made Maine's relationship with tribes unlike that of most other states.

Under the law, the tribes agreed to be subject to Maine's laws and jurisdiction, except for ``internal tribal matters'' and hunting and certain fishing rights on tribal land. Congress has to specifically state whether a federal law applies to Maine tribes.

Mills' office has argued in court that means Maine has environmental regulatory authority over tribal lands.

Tribal leaders and liberal and environmental groups have criticized Mills for her role in the state's lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over Obama-era rules that heightened water quality standards in rivers fished by tribes. A federal judge allowed EPA officials to make ``substantive changes'' to water quality standards, while keeping in place the stricter standards for now.

Mills' office also defended Maine in the Penobscot Nation's unsuccessful federal lawsuit claiming ownership over the Penobscot River. This spring, Mills called for a review of a federal court ruling that backed tribal fishing rights in Washington, which was later upheld.

Mills, who has authority to decide whether to legally represent the state, has said she respects tribal sustenance fishing rights.

But her office has argued the state's water quality standards are already high and should apply the same to all Maine waters. Mills' campaign spokesman Scott Ogden stated she wants to work with tribes on issues including economic development, health care and removing ``offensive'' mascot names.

``The governor-elect believes that there is much that can be accomplish by working together and engaging in communication rather than litigation,'' Ogden stated.

Tribal leaders said the underlying issue is the wording of the 1980 law, which they said has far-reaching effects.

Houlton Band of Maliseets Chief Sabattus said the wording means tribal members need a state permit to hunt on tribal lands. Aroostook Band of Micmacs Chief Edward Peter-Paul said the law, passed before his tribe was federally recognized in 1991, hinders his tribe from accessing economic incentive programs available to tribes nationwide.

Incoming Attorney General Frey said this week he has promised to start a public dialogue with tribal leaders about their concerns over the 1980 law.

``We need to figure out where the conversation went wrong,'' he said.

North Dakota National Guard proposes Camp Grafton Expansion

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) _ The North Dakota National Guard is proposing a plan to expand its training center in a northeastern county to accommodate more military members.

The Minot Daily News reports that Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrman says the state's National Guard plans to seek input from neighboring landowners, counties, cities and the Spirit Lake Nation on the proposal to expand its Camp Grafton Training Center-South in Eddy County.

Dohrman says they'd like to expand Camp Grafton by at least 6,000 more acres to build a new range complex.

Military members in North Dakota often have to travel to Camp Guernsey in Wyoming and Camp Ripley in Minnesota for training.

Dohrman met with Minot officials last month about the training center not being adequate in size to support range and maneuver functions.


Information from: Minot Daily News,

University of New Mexico Project Works to Save Zuni Language

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ The University of New Mexico Libraries is working to preserve the Zuni language as part of a new digital initiative.

The school recently announced it has digitized books and posters published by Zuni Pueblo's bilingual education department.

Arin Peywa, a student and a member of Zuni Pueblo, says the new collection will be a great tool for those who use the Zuni language and who want to keep it alive for future generations.

She says some of the materials already added to the collection are quite sensitive to the Zuni culture and only fluent Zuni language speakers will be able to read them.

Archaeologist Claims State Parks Disregarding Native Sites

PHOENIX (AP) _ A former state archaeologist is accusing the agency that oversees Arizona's state parks of prioritizing development over protection of Native American sites and artifacts.

Will Russell, a former compliance officer and tribal liaison for Arizona State Parks and Trails, filed a complaint earlier this month with the Arizona Department of Administration.

Russell says he resigned in protest over Parks and Trails' deliberate disregard for regulations.

One example he cited was the building of updated restroom facilities and beachfront cabins in Lake Havasu State Park. He says no care was taken to prevent damage of Native American antiquities.

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Megan Rose says they are reviewing his accusations but declined to comment further.

The agency's director, Sue Black, is facing one of the worst employee turnover rates.

IU Gets $300K Grant to Preserve Angel Mounds Artifacts

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ Indiana University researchers have landed a $300,000 federal grant to preserve a treasure trove of artifacts excavated from ancient Native American earthen mounds in southwestern Indiana.

The grant from the National Park Service and other agencies will allow the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology to fully address preservation threats to artifacts recovered from the Angel Mounds State Historic Site.

That 603-acre site along the Ohio River in Evansville encompasses 11 mounds that were once part of a fortified, walled city Native Americans occupied until about 1450.

The Angel Mounds Collection at IU's Bloomington campus comprises 2.8 million objects recovered there from 1939 to 1983, including artifacts made of ceramic, bone, shell and copper.

Laboratory director April Sievert says the grant is just the first step in safeguarding the collection.

Cleveland Indians Donate to Sockalexis Statue in Maine

CALAIS, Maine (AP) _ A Maine man who's creating a monument to a Penobscot Nation baseball star says he's received a $10,000 donation from the Cleveland Indians.

Ed Rice, director of Louis Sockalexis Monument Fund, said the 8-foot bronze sculpture in Maine is estimated to cost between $80,000 to $100,000.

Rice said he'll be traveling across the state, starting in November, to drum up support.

The author of the 2003 biography ``Baseball's First Indian'' says Sockalexis inspired the nickname for the Cleveland Indians in spring training in 1897. The team was called the Cleveland Spiders during the time that Sockalexis played three seasons in the outfield.


Judge's Decision on Dakota Access Study Likely Months Away

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ A federal judge's decision on whether a year's worth of additional study of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline adequately addresses American Indian concerns appears weeks if not months away.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late August completed additional study ordered by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in June 2017, saying the work substantiated its earlier determination that the pipeline poses no significant environmental threats to tribes.

However, the Corps didn't immediately release its lengthy analysis so that it could be reviewed by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for sensitive information that shouldn't be publicly disclosed. That has been completed, and tribes and Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners now have the document.

Boasberg on Tuesday gave the parties until Nov. 1 to submit proposals for how to proceed in the case that's lingered since the Standing Rock Sioux sued in July 2016 over the pipeline built to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.

The pipeline has been operating since June 2017, but Standing Rock and three other Sioux tribes that later joined the lawsuit hope to get it shut down.

Standing Rock attorney Jan Hasselman expects Boasberg to give the tribes an opportunity to challenge the Corps analysis before making a final decision on whether it's sufficient. Any tribal challenges could extend the case for months, he said.


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US Marshals Museum Searches for Bass Reeves' Relatives

The Southwest Times Record

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) _ The U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith has an impressive collection of guns and documents related to famed Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves. Almost a year out from a planned opening of the new $60 million museum, it's the lawman's family tree the curator wants most.

Dave Kennedy, curator of collections and exhibits, said recently the museum is still in search of Bass Reeves's descendants, the Southwest Times Record reported.

At this point, with a downtown Fort Smith statue of Reeves erected in 2012, along with several True West Magazine stories and a 1992 induction in the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, it would be peculiar if someone asks ``Who's Bass Reeves?''

The question, however, opens up an opportunity to talk about one of the best stories around: Born into slavery in Crawford County; escaped servitude during the Civil War; possibly fought for the Union with the Keetoowah Cherokees; survived dozens of gunfights riding for Judge Isaac C. Parker as one of the first black U.S. deputy marshals west of the Mississippi; acquitted of murder for the death of his cook; arrested his son, Benjamin, for shooting his wife, Castella, in a jealous rage. These are just a few of the incredible stories of a man who hunted down men nobody else could capture.

After serving as a valiant marshal's deputy, Reeves worked as a policeman in Muskogee for two years, 1907-1909. He died in 1910. Kennedy pointed to ``racist sentiment on the part of incoming state officials,'' as well as the Congressional delegation and the incoming U.S. marshal when Oklahoma became a state in 1907 as reasons Reeves lost his job with the Marshals Service. Other reasons, Kennedy adds, included Reeves' age.

Thought to have been born in the summer of 1838, by the year 1880, Bass and Jennie Reeves had eight children: Sally, Robert, Harriet, Georgia, Alice, Newland, Edgar and Lula. All were two years in age apart. In 1887, Reeves had to sell his home and farm in the Catcher Community near Van Buren to pay for his first-degree murder defense with attorneys William H.H. Clayton, formerly the U.S. Attorney in Judge Parker's court, and William M. Cravens. The Reeves family moved to North Twelfth Street, Park Place, in 1889.

As noted in Art Burton's 2006 book, ``Black Gun, Silver Star,'' Reeves has been known to historians for quite some time and was even mentioned in Larry McMurtry's 1997 novel ``Zeke and Ned.'' But Reeves is left out of the picture in S.W. Harmon's 1898 book ``Hell on the Border.'' However, as early as 1901 writer D.C. Gideon detailed Reeves in his book ``Indian Territory.''

``Among the numerous deputy marshals that have ridden for the Paris (Texas), Fort Smith (Arkansas) and Indian Territory courts none have met with more hairbreadth escapes or have affected more hazardous arrests than Bass Reeves, of Muskogee,'' Gideon writes. ``His long muscular arms have attached to them a pair of hands that would do credit to a giant and they handle a revolver with the ease and grace acquired only after years of practice. Several `bad' men have gone to their long home for refusing to halt when commanded to by Bass.''

Tom Wing, history professor with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, feels that Reeves was so well respected by local lawmen that he was offered a ``light duty'' job with the Muskogee Police Department.

As noted by the U.S. Park Service in a history of Bass Reeves, Judge Parker ``believed that black men would make great officers of the law in the Indian Territory, due to shared mistrust that existed between Indians and blacks toward the white man.'' That entry also notes that racial tensions were particularly high at the time and ``caused whites to feel anger toward a black man who had the power to arrest them.''

Until just a few years ago, it was more likely that only readers steeped in the lore of the west or Parker's court knew much about the deep-voiced man who sang softly before going into a gunfight. Reeves was also known to love racing his sorrell horse, and would go to extremes to serve writs. Once, he walked 28 miles dressed as a beggar and fooled two men and their mother into letting him stay the night. The men with a $5,000 bounty on their heads woke up in handcuffs.

In ``Black Gun, Silver Star,'' Burton recounts some stories from Adam Grayson, a former resident of Indian Territory, saying that Reeves tore up at least one warrant for a prisoner who outraced his sorrel steed.

Claude Legris, executive director of the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission and a member of the U.S. Marshals Museum's board of directors, said Burton told Reeves' story at a Fort Smith National Historic Site Descendant's Day event in the early 2000s and helped Reeves receive the notoriety for his bravery and incredible career as a lawman. The U.S. Marshals Service also started doing these events in 2012 in conjunction with the Cherokee Nation.

Sebastian County Circuit Judge Jim Spears, now retired, is credited with leading an effort to prominently enshrine the folk hero in bronze. After five years and several hundred thousand dollars in fundraising, Spears and his committee saw the unveiling of the large bronze ``Bass Reeves Legacy Monument'' by H. Holden at Ross Pendergraft Park in downtown Fort Smith in May 2012.

Spears said Bill Black presented the idea for a Bass Reeves statue after Spears' effort for a statue of President Zachary Taylor did not get traction. Spears is now leading an effort to erect a bronze statue of Judge Parker downtown.

Many U.S. Marshals who rode for Parker have received fame over the years: Paden Tolbert bringing in Ned Christie, for example. And ``The Three Guardsmen'' was a name given to a group who became legendary in their pursuit of many outlaws of the late 19th century: Deputy U.S. Marshals Bill Tilghman (1854-1924), Chris Madsen (1851-1944), and Heck Thomas (1850-1912).

``But they didn't stay there for 30 years,'' Spears said of the trio with Parker's Court. ``I think Bass Reeves' claim to fame is his persistence, and he bounced back after the murder trial.''

Spears also agreed with the National Park Service notes that point out that although Reeves is often credited with as many as 3,000 arrests and as many as 20 outlaws killed in the name of the law, the numbers ``have to be used with historical caution.'' Kennedy said they have only been able to verify five people were killed by Reeves, including his cook, which was most likely an accident.

``Bass Reeves was born a slave, but died a respected lawman, having served in the Indian Territory (and later Oklahoma), Arkansas and Texas,'' the National Park Service states. ``His career stretched from the U.S. Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas in 1875 until two years after Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907.''

Barton quotes many sources in his book, and many times Reeves is credited with bringing in about a dozen prisoners or more at a time from the Indian Territory to the District Courthouse in Fort Smith.

The ``Court Notes'' of the July 31, 1885, Fort Smith Weekly Elevator for example states ``Deputy Bass Reeves came in same evening with eleven prisoners, as follows: Thomas Post, one Walaska, and Wm. Gibson, assault with intent to kill; Arthur Copiah, Abe Lincoln, Miss Adeline Grayson and Sally Copiah, alias Long Sally, introducing whiskey in Indian country; J.F. Adams, Jake Island, Andy Alton and one Smith, larceny.''

The legend of Bass Reeves will only continue to grow as more discover his story.

The Fort Smith National Historic Site has a room dedicated to the history of black lawmen and local military units.

``We may never know exactly how many black men served as Deputy U.S. Marshals,'' a placard at the Historic Site reads. ``There is no indication of race on federal records. Their names are listed side by side with other Deputy U.S. Marshals. All face the same hardships and dangers.''

The known black deputy U.S. marshals, however, are listed as Rufus Cannon, Bill Colbert, Bynum Colbert, Cyrus Dennis, Wiley Escoe, Neely Factor, Robert Fortune, John Garrett, Edward D. Jefferson, Grant Johnson, John Joss, Robert Love, Zeke Miller, Crowder Nicks (Nix), Charles Pettit, Bass Reeves, Ed Robinson, Dick Roebuck, Isaac Rogers, Jim Ruth, Dick Shaver, Morgan Tucker, Lee Thompson, Eugene Walker and Henry Whitehead.

The U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, which is in the process of constructing a building on the Arkansas River in Fort Smith for a national museum, has among its collection of artifacts a Spencer rifle Reeves took from a Civil War battlefield and two pistols Reeves purchased later during his career. The Three Rivers Museum in Muskogee also has several artifacts from Reeves' career as a lawman.

More U.S. marshals died in service while hunting down fugitives in the Western District of Arkansas than any other place. Eighty-two of the U.S. deputy marshals are buried at Oak Cemetery in Fort Smith. It's not known exactly where Bass Reeves is buried, but in the 1990s the Oklahombres organization placed a small marker bearing Reeves' name in the Old Agency Cemetery in Muskogee.

From 1920-1970, Kennedy explained, the name Bass Reeves, as well as those of Grant Foreman and Robert Fortune were forgotten outside the circle of family and local history.


Information from: Southwest Times Record,

Minnesota Regulators Postpone Line 3 Meeting after Protests

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Minnesota regulators postponed a meeting Tuesday on Enbridge Energy's planned Line 3 replacement after pipeline opponents disrupted the meeting with a bullhorn and a boombox.

Protests erupted as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met to discuss whether Enbridge met conditions earlier imposed by the panel. The PUC approved the project in June, giving Enbridge a green light to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across Minnesota.

Opponents in the back of the PUC hearing room took out a bullhorn and made speeches aimed at the commissioners, the Star Tribune reported.

``You should all be ashamed,'' one protester said.

PUC Chairwoman Nancy Lange recessed the meeting but eventually canceled it when a protester playing music on a boombox refused to turn it off.

Several opponents sat with their backs facing the commissioners. Their shirts featured slogans such as ``Enbridge lap dogs.''

In a statement, Enbridge said it was ``unfortunate that a small group of people derailed'' the meeting. The Canadian-based company said the conditions that were up for discussion were intended to ``protect Minnesotans.''

``We acknowledge that the process has been long and difficult and raised many passionate interventions. But what happened today crossed the line,'' Enbridge said.

State Rep. Dan Fabian, a Roseau Republican who chairs the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, also criticized the protesters.

``Minnesota is better than this nonsense,'' Fabian said in a statement. He called on Gov. Mark Dayton's administration, the PUC and local law enforcement ``to do whatever necessary to prevent disruptions like this from happening in the future.''

Line 3 runs from Alberta, Canada, across North Dakota and Minnesota to Enbridge's terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the line, which it built in the 1960s and is running at only about half its original capacity. The replacement would restore its original capacity. But Native American and environmental activists contend the new line risks spills in fragile areas.


Information from: Star Tribune,

Massachusetts Unveils Plans for Mayflower Commemoration

BOSTON (AP) _ State and local officials have formally launched preparations to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's landing in modern-day Massachusetts.

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

The Mayflower II, a replica of the famed ship that carried the Pilgrims to the New World, will sail to Boston in the spring and to Provincetown in the fall. The Pilgrims first landed in what is now Provincetown Harbor and signed the Mayflower Compact there.

Several events are also planned to honor the Wampanoag Indian tribe. The tribe's ancestors helped the settlers through their early years, though violent conflicts would erupt in the decades to follow.

Chickasaw Nation Company Makes Oklahoma State Chocolate Bars

DAVIS, Okla. (AP) _ A confectioner owned by the Chickasaw Nation has partnered with Oklahoma State University to produce collegiate-branded chocolate bars.

Gourmet chocolate bars made by Bedre Fine Chocolate are wrapped in packaging that bear OSU's logo and orange and black colors. They're sold at Bedre's retail store in Davis, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City, online at Bedre's website and are available to wholesalers for distribution across the U.S.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby says the partnership is another way the Oklahoma-based tribe shows support for higher education in the state. Anoatubby says the Chickasaw Nation has supported OSU students in academics, research and athletics for many years.

OSU President Burns Hargis says the new partnership makes Bedre Fine Chocolate the university's chocolate of choice.

USDA Awards UC and Karuk Tribe $1.2 Million for Research and Education

As California and the nation grapple with the implications of persistent drought, devastating wildfires and other harbingers of climate change, researchers at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources and the Karuk Tribe are building on a decade-long partnership to learn more about stewarding native food plants in fluctuating environmental conditions. UC Berkeley and the Karuk Tribe have been awarded a $1.2 million USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant for field research, new digital data analysis tools and community skill-building aimed to increase resilience of the abundant cultural food and other plant resources – and the tribal people whose food security and health depend on them.

Jennifer Sowerwine, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley and co-founder of the Karuk-UC Berkeley Collaborative, and Lisa Hillman, program manager of the Karuk Tribe’s Píkyav Field Institute, will co-lead the xúus nu'éethti – we are caring for it research project.

UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Karuk Department of Natural Resources will support the project with postdoctoral researchers, botany, mapping and GIS specialists, and tribal cultural practitioners and resource technicians. The San Rafael-based nonprofit Center for Digital Archaeology will help develop a new data modeling system.

Project activities include expanding the tribe’s herbarium (a research archive of preserved cultural plants launched in 2016 with UC Berkeley support), developing digital tools to collect and store agroecological field data, and helping tribal community members and youth learn how to analyze the results.

"For the xúus nu'éethti – we are caring for it research project, UC ANR’s Informatics and Geographic Information Systems (IGIS) team will lead hands-on workshops and consultations to build Karuk Tribal capacity to assess, monitor and make management decisions regarding the agroecosystem," Sowerwine said. "Workshop curricula for tribal staff and community members will include GIS training, 360 photospheres and drone images, and storymapping techniques. IGIS will also provide technical analysis of historical land use and land cover records to support researchers' understanding of agroecological resilience over time."

"We are delighted to continue our connection with UC Berkeley through this new project," said Hillman. "Through our past collaboration on tribal food security, we strengthened a network of tribal folks knowledgeable in identifying, monitoring, harvesting, managing for and preparing the traditional foods that sustain us physically and culturally. With this new project, we aim to integrate variables such as climate change, plant pathogens and invasive species into our research and management equations, learning new skills and knowledge along the way and sharing those STEM skills with the next generation."

The research team will assess the condition of cultural agroecosystems including foods and fibers to understand how land use, land management, and climate variables have affected ecosystem resilience. Through planning designed to maximize community input, they will develop new tools to inform land management choices at the federal, state, tribal and community levels.

The new project’s name, xúus nu'éethti – we are caring for it, reflects the Karuk Tribe’s continuing commitment to restore and enhance the co-inhabitants of its aboriginal territory whom they know to be their relations – plants, animals, fish, water, rocks and land. At the core of Karuk identity is the principle of reciprocity: one must first care for these relations in order to receive their gifts for future generations.

This work will be supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Resilient Agroecosystems in a Changing Climate Challenge Area.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers and educators draw on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. Learn more at

Tribal Leaders Question Maine AG on Water Rights

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Maine tribal leaders and environmental groups are criticizing Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills for calling for review of a federal court ruling backing tribal fishing rights in Washington.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review a federal court order that could force Washington to pay billions of dollars to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration. The ruling stems from a 2001 lawsuit filed by 21 tribes and the Justice Department.

The lawsuit says tribes are being deprived of fishing rights guaranteed by treaties. Maine tribes and other critics say Mills' efforts threaten such rights and clean water rules.

Mills says she respects sustenance fishing rights of the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribes. Mills, who's running for governor, argues the Washington case is about federal overreach.

Biologist Says Caribou Herd May be Extinct

 SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ A biologist says the south Selkirk mountain caribou herd may be extinct after aerial surveys found only three remaining animals.

Bart George, wildlife biologist for the Kalispel Tribe, says two aerial surveys in March found only three female caribou. Last year there were about a dozen of the endangered animals.

The Spokesman-Review says that less than 10 years ago there were about 50 animals in the herd.

The south Selkirk caribou herd was the only herd living in both the United States and Canada. It ranges along the crest of the Selkirks near the international border, north of Spokane. The remaining 14 or so herds are all in Canada. It's estimated that less than 1,400 mountain caribou are left in North America.

Efforts to save the animals began decades ago.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review,

Kansas governor signs bill protecting tribal regalia rights

Editors Note APNewsNow.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed a bill protecting the right of native Americans to wear tribal regalia and other cultural objects at public events.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the bill was sponsored by Rep. Ponka-We Victors. The Wichita Democrat is a member of both the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona.

She contends some states have enacted similar laws in response to policies enforced at events like high school graduations where officials sometimes insist on strict dress codes.

The new law bars any state agency, school district or local government from prohibiting any individual from wearing tribal regalia at events or meetings.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

Lawsuit seeks protected areas for West Coast humpbacks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A new lawsuit accuses the Trump administration of failing to follow the law on protecting humpback whales.

Two environmental groups and a nonprofit that represents Native American tribes filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in San Francisco.

There have been increasing reports of humpback whales tangled in fishing gear that cause some to die. Federal authorities have designated three groups of West Coast humpbacks as endangered or threatened.

The lawsuit says that obligates federal officials to designate special areas of the ocean as critical to protecting the humpback whales. It says authorities missed the legal deadline for doing so by 2017.

Spokeswoman Jennie Lyons of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the agency does not comment on litigation.

EPA settles with company to assess uranium sites on Navajo

CAMERON, Ariz. (AP) _ Federal officials have reached a settlement to have eight abandoned uranium mines assessed on the Navajo Nation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says EnPro Holdings Inc. will install fencing and signs warning residents and visitors of potential radiation exposure at sites in northeastern Arizona near Cameron and Tuba City. The company also will assess for radiation and conduct biological and cultural surveys ea.

The work is expected to cost $500,000 and be complete by the end of the year.

EnPro is the successor to the A&B Mining Corp, which operated on the reservation in the 1950s.

Uranium was mined extensively from the Navajo Nation for use in Cold War weapons production. Hundreds of mines were abandoned without being cleaned up.

The tribe has banned uranium mining and processing since 2005.