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National Briefs


National Briefs: July 2014
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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PATENT OFFICE CANCELS WASHINGTON TEAM'S TRADEMARK

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled six trademarks belonging to the Washington football team on June 18, saying they are offensive to Native Americans.

The team, which has said it has spent millions defending trademark over the years, will appeal the decision, a process that could take years. The Patent Office will continue to treat the trademark registrations as though they are valid during the appeals process, according to a spokesperson.

In the meantime, the team can continue to use the logos portraying a Native American profile with feathers. If the decision is upheld, it will be hard for the team to claim ownership of its brand, a crucial step in going after the makers of unlicensed merchandise. Instead, the team will have to illustrate that it has always used the logos, rather than relying official trademark registrations. The decision came in response to a suit brought by five Native plaintiffs.

In May, 49 senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, signed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying that the "team is on the wrong side of history," and that he should endorse a name change. A week later, a coalition of 77 tribal, civil rights and religious groups, including the National Congress of American Indians and the NAACP, signed a letter urging players to campaign to change the team's mascot.

The team adopted its name and logo in 1933, when it was based in Boston. It had been known as the Braves but changed the name to honor William Henry "Lone Star" Dietz, their coach at the time, who was a Native American, according to a legal brief filed by the team in a previous matter.

The trademark, which was granted in 1967, has been renewed several times, but the Patent Office previously canceled the registration in 1999. A federal judge overturned that decision in 2003, saying there was no proof that the name was disparaging at the time of registration. The team's trademark attorney Bob Raskopf said he believed this decision, like the previous one, would be overturned.

National Briefs: June 2014
Friday, June 06 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN FEDERAL JUDGE CONFIRMED BY SENATE

WASHINGTON, DC – Hopi citizen Diane Humetewa made history on May 14 when the United States Senate confirmed her to serve on the federal bench as judge for the U.S. District Court for Arizona, the first American Indian woman to serve in the federal judiciary.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs applauded Humetewa’s appointment. “Diane Humetewa is an inspiration to Native people, especially Native women across Indian Country. This is an important appointment and long overdue. I’m pleased that the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to get this done. As the only Native American in active service on the federal bench, Diane provides much-needed expertise on the complexities of federal law and Indian sovereignty.”

Until her confirmation, Humetewa served as Special Advisor to the President and Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at Arizona State University. She is also a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

From 2002 to 2007, Humetewa was an Appellate Court Judge for the Hopi Tribe Appellate Court. From 2009 to 2011, Humetewa was Of Counsel with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP. She worked in the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona from 1996 to 2009, serving as Senior Litigation Counsel from 2001 to 2007 and as the United States Attorney from 2007 to 2009. During her tenure in the United States Attorney’s Office, Humetewa also served as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General from 1996 to 1998.

From 1993 to 1996, she was Deputy Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Humetewa received her Juris Doctor in 1993 from Arizona State University College of Law and her Bachelor’s of Science in 1987 from Arizona State.

On February 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Humetewa’s nomination. Previously, Humetewa served as a prosecutor and an appellate court judge for the Hopi Nation, and was the first Native American woman to serve as a U.S. Attorney.


National Briefs: May 2014
Thursday, May 01 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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NCAI CONDEMNS STERLING, LINKS RACIST MASCOT

WASHINGTON – Leading up to Donald Sterling's lifetime ban from the NBA for racist remarks, the National Congress of American Indians issued a condemnation and drew parallels to the Washington team's mascot.

The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers drew widespread criticism in late April for his disparaging remarks about African Americans on a recording made by his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano, after she posted a fan photo of herself on Instagram posing with Magic Johnson.

"NCAI condemns Donald Sterling’s appalling comments regarding African Americans," the organization said in an April 28 statement. "There is no place in modern society for that kind of hatred and discrimination. We also want to applaud the many athletes, sportscasters, corporations, and individuals who have spoken out against Sterling and his comments. It is encouraging to see so many people standing together and declaring that this behavior is unacceptable."

The organization linked the controversy to its continuing efforts to eliminate racist images in professional sports. Dan Snyder, an NFL team owner, has refused to change his team's mascot. "NCAI is no stranger to facing down racism and ignorance in American sports. Every incident of hate and racism – whether a singular incident or the repeated, high-profile use of offensive words and images – is unacceptable and has no place in the 21st Century. We will continue to support the LA Clippers players and fans as they face the fallout from Sterling’s words and we will continue to fight for a world in which no race or ethnic group is treated in this way."


National Briefs: April 2014
Friday, April 04 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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SCHIMMELS PROFILED IN HBO SPECIAL

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” profiled the much-vaunted Native American women's college basketball sisters Jude and Shoni Schimmel on March 25.

In the hour-long special, the pair, called “a force in women's basketball,” talked about their journey from the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon to the college basketball court.

HBO correspondent John Frankel went to the sisters’ home in Oregon where got a lesson in “rez ball” and learned that basketball is the tribe's national pastime.


SOUTH DAKOTA TRIBES' KXL PROTEST DRAWS NATIONAL INTEREST

WITTEN, S.D. – Delegations from several Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes – known collectively as the Oceti Sakowin – founded a spiritual camp on March 29 in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, drawing national attention to their cause.

The encampment is located in rural south central South Dakota on land owned by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and will serve as a cultural and spiritual rallying point in the ongoing fight against the pipeline, which still awaits approval from the Obama administration.

If approved, TransCanada's pipeline would carry tar sands from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. It would run through South Dakota, west of the Missouri River, on land guaranteed for tribal use under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.

MSNBC's Ed Schultz featured the camp on “The Ed Show” over the March 29 weekend, interviewing tribal leaders from the Oglala, Rosebud and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes.

"We're going to be here at least a month, at which point, we're expecting President Obama and the administration will be making a decision. If the decision is no, we will pick up camp and go home and continue to be vigilant about the issue. If he says yes to the route, we're going to be here for an additional two months, plus we have more camps that we're planning to set up along the route," Rosebud Sioux Tribal citizen Wizipan Little Elk said to media.

The camp near Witten has tipis representing the Oceti Sakowin - the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation. In the center is a council tent, which serves as a meeting place. In addition to serving as ground zero for South Dakota's resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline, the camp will serve as a teaching too to educate youth and community members in traditional living.

Washington State: Collect Your Own Taxes - That's Where the Money Is
Saturday, August 13 2011
 
Written by Ryan Dreveskracht,
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I grew up Longview, Washington. A small town on the banks of the Columbia River, on the Washington-Oregon border, Longview had a few small stores, mostly catering to the logging industry that inundates all small towns in the Pacific Northwest. For Christmas shopping, or, come to think of it, for any big-ticket purchases, my family would hit the I-5 South to Portland, Oregon.

When I turned sixteen, I got a job and a driver's license, and it was time to do my own Christmas shopping. By this time, Longview had a mall - complete with a Bon March? and a Nordstrom's - but I still drove to Portland. Probably for the same reason my parents did. Probably for the same reason a large number of Washingtonians did. Oregon does not impose a sales tax.

According to the Washington State Revenue Department, local governments lose an estimated $50 million in tax revenue annually to Oregon-Washington cross-border shopping.

Apparently, We Were Breaking the Law
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