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The UN Permanent Forum On the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Ecuador's 17 year battle against Chev
Friday, June 10 2011
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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UN permanant forum story.jpgIn May, my grandson Giiwedin Buckanaga and I traveled to the United Nations in New York City for the UN Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNPFII). Testifying and attending the meeting were thousands of Indigenous delegates from African, American and Asian continents; all discussing the need for self determination, rights to a clean environment, rights to language and religious freedom, protection from foreign militaries, and hoping for some redress by multinational corporations who have contaminated their land.
Perhaps the most compelling case (with US origins) was that of the Ecuadorian Native and farming communities, who have been poisoned by American-based Chevron Oil. They are now seeking justice in the US courts, after having won justice in the courts of Ecuador.
After l7 years, the Indigenous people of the Amazon, represented by Ramiro Aguinda (Aguinda vs. Texaco), got justice. Or so they thought. Chevron-Texaco had dumped over 17 million gallons of pure crude oil and l6 billion gallons of toxins into their pristine ecosystem in Ecuador, leaving a wake of ecological and human destruction. Thousands of illnesses and cancer deaths, birth defects and a lost way of life, have impacted the last generation of people from the region (of at least 30,000).
UMD's Master of Tribal Administration and Governance is first of its kind
Friday, June 10 2011
 
Written by Eric Sharp,
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More than two years in planning mode, the first-of-its-kind Master of Tribal Administration and Governance (MTAG) degree program at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) is ready for its inauguration next fall.
American Indian leaders from tribes across the country will have the opportunity to pursue coursework in various classes that include tribal sovereignty, tribal accounting and finance, federal Indian law, leadership and ethics. In addition, tribal language and cultural elements will also be weaved into coursework throughout the program.
"UMD was one of the first institutions of higher learning in the country to recognize that American Indian studies was a unique discipline," said Tadd Johnson, chair of the American Indian Studies Department and MGAG program director at UMD. "Since 1972, UMD has taught generations of students the importance of the history, language and culture of Native Americans. Now, we are taking another bold step."
Johnson, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Ojibwe Tribe - Bois Forte Band, is a 1985 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. He has served as a tribal administrator, a tribal attorney, a tribal court judge and has taught numerous courses on Federal Indian Law and American Indian History. From 1990-1995, he served as counsel and staff director to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in the Office of Indian Affairs and the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs.
DNR confiscates nets, fish from Dakota activists on Cedar Lake
Friday, June 10 2011
 
Written by By Rupa Shenoy and Laura Yuen Minnesota Public Radio News,
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Conservation officers with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) seized a gill net and several dozen fish on May 13 from a small group of Dakota Indian activists at Cedar Lake in Minneapolis.
The group was fishing on Cedar Lake one day before the walleye opener to draw attention to an 1805 U.S. treaty that they say gives them the right to fish in Twin Cities lakes regardless of state law. The activists are hoping to push the case into court. No arrests were made, but DNR conservation officers took the names of at least six people and will forward them to the Hennepin County attorney's office for possible charges. Dozens of Dakota Indians and their allies gathered on the beach of the urban lake. They cast a gill net and caught nearly 60 fish in all - including sunfish, crappies and walleye.
Capt. Greg Salo manages enforcement of the Twin Cities metro area for the DNR and said the fish will probably be frozen as evidence. Salo said the DNR will forward a report, including the names of the six individuals who were tending the gill net, to the the Hennepin County Attorney's office for possible charges.
"But I think this is probably going to go on for a while," Salo said. "Anytime you deal with treaty rights, it's not black and white, cut and dried."
In 1805, young army officer Zebulon Pike negotiated a deal that allowed the United States to set up a military post in what is now the Twin Cities. In return Pike gave the Dakota presents and whiskey and promised them free use of the land.
First Lady launches Let's Move! In Indian Country Initiative
Friday, June 10 2011
 
Written by Associated Press,
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First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let's Move! In Indian Country (LMIC) Initiative at the Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin on May 25.  The initiative will support and advance the work that tribal leaders and community members are already doing to improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Native children.
LMIC will bring together federal agencies, communities, nonprofits, corporate partners, and tribes with the goal of ending childhood obesity in Indian Country within a generation.
First lady Michelle Obama sent top federal officials to the Menominee Indian reservation in Keshena to launch a specially targeted "Let's Move! in Indian Country" initiative to help Native children who statistically are twice as likely to be overweight as the general population.
SPPS Students In Top 10%
Thursday, May 12 2011
 
Written by by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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SPPS_studentsThree of the six high schools in St. Paul have a Native student in the top 10 percentile.

The American Indian Education Program for the Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) has three Native students that are in the top 10% of academic achievement at their high schools.
The students who made the honor roll are: Virginia Godfrey, from Como Senior High School (ranked number 15 out of 373 students); Brook LaFloe, a Johnson High Senior (ranked 13 out of 359 students); and Kyle Reiter, a senior at Harding High School (ranked 3 out of 541 students). The students will all be graduating this year and have plans for post-secondary education. LaFloe (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) has just been awarded a Gates Scholarship, and Reiter (Michigan Ojibwe) has recieved the Horatio Alger scholarship.
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