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Political Matters
Polymet lawsuit
Sunday, March 13 2011
 
Written by Circle NEws Staff,
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I wrote last August about the environmental dangers associated with sulfide mining, which is being proposed for several areas in northeastern Minnesota. Although further environmental analysis has been ordered for the PolyMet Mining project near Hoyt Lakes - within the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory - the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), the State of Minnesota economic development agency located in Eveleth, has given PolyMet a $4 million loan.
In January, five conservation groups, including the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), filed a lawsuit challenging the IRRRB loan to help PolyMet develop its open-pit sulfide mine.
Tribal stimulus
Sunday, March 13 2011
 
Written by Circle News Staff,
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Most people likely don't think of Indian tribes when the discussion turns to economic recovery; but, as a recent article in the Duluth News Tribune reports, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is holding its own in the recession.
Karen Diver, chairwoman of the band's Reservation Business Committee, told the newspaper that none of the 2,000 FDL employees have been laid off. The band "kept a large part of Northeastern Minnesota working at a time when that wasn't the norm for the area. Even a small change in our activities would have a large impact," said Diver.
The newspaper reported that the Fond du Lac Band "moved forward on projects, completing a natural resources building, several housing complexes and a drug treatment center expansion." The band increased spending from 2009 to 2010, from about $160 million to $182 million, which includes payroll and membership payments. More than half the tribal employees work in non-casino jobs, according to Diver. In addition to government services, the band runs sand and gravel, lumber and construction businesses.

Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Friday, February 11 2011
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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'A plague of sexual violence' I would like to dedicate this column to the memory of my mother, Anna Waller Specktor, who journeyed on to the next world on Jan. 21. While my mom was in United Hospital last month, I happened to read the story titled "Tiny Little Laws," by Kathy Dobie, in the Feb. 2011 edition of Harper's Magazine. The subtitle of the story is "A plague of violence in Indian country." It’s a shocking report about rape and sexual molestation on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which covers an area the size of the state of Connecticut, mostly in South Dakota and stretching up into North Dakota.
Political Matters: Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Thursday, January 13 2011
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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Betting on a racino
The Shinnecock Indian Nation happens to be located a stone’s throw from the mansions of the super rich in New York City. In the shadow of staggering wealth, the residents of the tiny reservation near Southampton, Long Island, subsist with a median annual household income of $14,055, according to the 2000 census. And many tribal members eye the lavish casinos in the region, such as the Foxwoods resort that’s owned by the Mashantucket Pequots.
The bid by the Shinnecock’s to cash in big with casino gambling was chronicled in a lengthy story, “Reservations,” by Ariel Levy, in the Dec. 13 issue of The New Yorker magazine. The author surveys the casino dreams of tribal leaders, and the objections of those who think that a mega-casino on the rez would be a disaster. In any case, the Shinnecocks became the 565th federally recognized tribe last fall, and a tribal casino in the Hamptons could be in the cards soon.
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