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Local Briefs
Political Matters: Ma'iingan update
Thursday, February 05 2015
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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mordecai_specktor_some.jpgThe Minnesota House of Representatives now has a Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee. Such a thing didn’t exist when I worked as a writer at the House Public Information Office, in 1994 and 1995. I covered meetings of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, on the House side of the Capitol. The late Willard Munger, a champion of the natural environment in Minnesota, chaired the committee. He often waged a lonely, uphill fight – against an array of well-funded industry lobbyists and the elected officials in their service – for measures that would have encouraged sustainability for the benefit of our planet.

Anyway, the Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy panel held an informational hearing about ma’iingan, brother wolf, on Jan. 20. As I wrote briefly in my last “Political Matters” column, on Dec. 19, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell, in Washington, D.C., ruled that wolf management in the western Great Lakes states should be returned to federal control.

Judge Howell’s decision, on a motion brought by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups, upended the regime of wolf hunting and trapping that ensued after the wolf was removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act, in April 2011, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes, in January 2012.

However, agriculture interests and hunting groups want to put the wolf back in the gun sights and traps, so some members of Congress are getting into the act. In January, the Associated Press reported that U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), is leading an effort to legislatively undo Judge Howell’s decision.


Native Lives Matter: A Solution to Police Violence in Indian Country
Tuesday, January 13 2015
 
Written by Jon Lurie,
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native lives matter-web.jpg“Black Lives Matter!” The chant has echoed through America’s streets since Aug. 9, the day unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. The Brown case focused attention on longstanding problems in black communities: racial profiling and police violence against young black men.

The perceived lack of justice in these and many other cases sparked major demonstrations, including a Dec. 20 rally at the Mall of America that drew more than 3,000 protesters.

But as millions rallied around the cause of human rights for African-Americans, many Indigenous people wonder if America thinks their lives matter. For every Michael Brown, for every Eric Garner, they say, there is a victim of police violence in Indian Country whose name you probably don’t know.

“It's imperative to understand that this issue is not just about black people and white people. Despite the available statistical evidence, most people don't know that Native Americans are most likely to be killed by police, compared with other racial groups. Native Americans make up about 0.8% of the population, yet account for 1.9% of police killings,” Simon Moya-Smith, an Oglala Lakota journalist, wrote in a CNN editorial last month.

“There is no outcry against what’s happening in Native American communities,” Lemoine LaPointe, a Lakota educator and community organizer from Rosebud, S.D. who lives in the Twin Cities said. “These very same atrocities that have been happening in the Black community have been happening to Native American people and without protest. It has to stop.”

While police and military violence against Native American people has been occurring for hundreds of years, LaPointe said a recent rash of incidents could have been avoided if police officers had been trained to use violence as a last resort. He refers to the following as cases where lives might have been saved had responding officers deployed nonlethal tactics.

Great Lakes wolves ordered returned to endangered list
Tuesday, January 13 2015
 
Written by Dan Kraker, MPR News,
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great lakes wolves ordered returned to endangered list-web.jpgA federal judge has ordered that endangered species protection for gray wolves must immediately be restored in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The decision puts an end to controversial hunts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell returned management of wolves in the western Great Lakes states to the federal government, overturning a 2012 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"The D.C. Circuit has noted that, at times, a court 'must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough,'" Judge Howell wrote in her 111 page decision. "This case is one of those times."

The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups filed the suit last February. They argued Fish and Wildlife's decision to remove the wolf from endangered species protection threatens the animals' recovery in the Great Lakes region.

More than 1,500 wolves have been killed since Minnesota and Wisconsin authorized hunting seasons in 2011, said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel at the Human Society. "We are pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the de-listing decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its tracks," he added in a statement.

The other plaintiffs in the suit include Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment.

The decision restores wolves to "threatened" status in Minnesota, and "endangered" in Wisconsin and Michigan. People may kill wolves in self-defense, but not to protect livestock or pets, said Minnesota DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen. Federal workers must be enlisted to kill wolves when there is proof they are threatening animals.

Native Community Welcomes New Lacrosse Star
Tuesday, January 13 2015
 
Written by Art Coulson,
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native community welcomes new lacrosse star-web.jpgMiles Giaehgwaeh Thompson, co-winner of college lacrosse’s top honor last year with his younger brother Lyle, arrived in the Twin Cities on Jan. 2 to a hero’s welcome before he had even played in his first National Lacrosse League game.

Twin Cities Native American Lacrosse Club youth players, coaches and families joined other members of the local Native community to greet Thompson with banners and an honor song as he arrived at the Minneapolis airport. He was all smiles as he posed for photos and signed autographs for the fans in the airport’s baggage claim area.

The next night, Thompson scored three goals and one assist in his NLL debut at the Xcel Center before a crowd of almost 9,000 fans. Although the Swarm lost 20-13 to Colorado, the team’s native players – forwards Thompson (Onondaga from New York), veteran Corbyn Tao (Nishga First Nation from British Columbia) and returning Swarm star Dean Hill (Turtle Clan Mohawk from Six Nations) – accounted for more than half the scoring, with Tao and Hill adding two goals each.

When Hill fed Thompson the ball for one of his goals, a group of fans in the corner of the arena held up a large Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) flag and danced.

It was just the sort of welcome and excitement for the Creator’s game that Thompson was expecting.

“When I was talking to different (National Lacrosse League general managers) and trying to decide where I wanted to play, my brother Lyle told me about Minnesota,” Thompson said by phone before he boarded his flight to Minnesota. “He said the Swarm draws a big crowd and they really love lacrosse. That's really how I decided I wanted to come to Minnesota.”


Red Lake council receives new member and youth report
Tuesday, January 13 2015
 
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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red lake council receives new member and youth report-web.jpgRED LAKE, Minn. – Shortly after the call to order of the Red Lake Tribal Council on Dec. 9, Hereditary Chief James Loud was called upon by Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr. to swear in Robert Smith, recent winner of the special election for Red Lake District Representative.

He joins council member Roman Stately representing the community on the eleven member Tribal Council.

A special run off election was held on Nov. 19, to elect one Red Lake District Representative to a two-year term. The only eligible candidates in this contest were Donald Desjarlait and Robert Smith. Smith was declared the winner of the election winning 278 votes over Desjarlait's 227.

Hereditary Chief George "Billy" King was appointed by the council in March 2014 to serve temporarily in the Red Lake seat after former council member and Smith's father-in-law Donald "Dudie" May, Jr., died on March 8. May had won a four year term on July 18, 2012. King also served temporarily as Chairman after the death of former Chairman Gerald "Butch" Brun in 2003 until a special election was held.

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