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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.

MICHIGAN OJIBWE TRIBE DISENROLLS CITIZENS CITING LESS MONEY

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan disenrolled 50 of its citizens in early March, cutting them off from $58,000 in casino per capita payments.

Former members who were ousted say greed is behind the disenrollments. Revenues at the tribe's casinos have dropped in recent years so there is less to go around.

The tribe opened its enrollment in the late 1980s to expand its membership. Those enrolled before the expansion contend the disenrollment is also about money. Gary Sprague, a tribal citizen enrolled before the 1980s, told media outlets that people signed up with the tribe only to get a share of casino funds.

According to tribal reports, the annual per capita payment in 2003 was $78,000.


FEDERAL LEGISLATION IS NEXT IN WYOMING'S FIGHT AGAINST ARAPAHO

CASPER, Wyo. – In the latest chapter of the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming's sovereignty fight for the city of Riverton, two senators and the governor's office have drafted a bill that refutes the Environmental Protection Agency's ruling earlier this year that placed the city within tribal jurisdiction.

Wyoming Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso drafted a bill with the help of Gov. Matt Mead's office that declares the disputed 171,000 acres, which includes Riverton, have never been a part of the reservation and will continue to remain outside the reservation's borders.

The Northern Arapaho said the consulting process didn’t allow for tribal consultation. Tribal members lobbied Enzi and the Congressional delegation to reconsider drafting the bill, but they were not interested in doing so, Al Addison, Northern Arapaho Business Council member said.

The bill is the second arm of a two-pronged attack by Mead to negate the EPA decision. The legislation is paired with Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael’s petition in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that’s challenging the EPA decision. Devon Energy and the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation also joined Wyoming to fight against the EPA, Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone in court.

The legal battle is likely to end with a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.


SENATE INTRODUCES A MEASURE TO FIX CARCIERI TRUST RULING

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group Senators introduced a bill to fix the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

S.2188 amends the Indian Reorganization Act to ensure that all tribes can follow the land-into-trust process. It replaces the phrase – "now under federal jurisdiction" – with "any federally recognized Indian tribe" to cover all tribes, regardless of the date of federal recognition.

The bill applies to all tribes, including those in Alaska, an issue of contention in the past. It also ensures that all prior land-into-trust acquisitions are legal. The issue has come up in Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California, a case involving the Big Lagoon Rancheria that's being closely watched across Indian Country.


COLVILLE TRIBES TO OPEN FIRST HOTEL

NESPELEM, Wash. – The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington hope a new $43 million casino will become a destination resort.

The facility in Omak will feature a 52,000-square-foot casino and an 80-room hotel, a first for the tribe. The goal is to draw patrons from Canada, about 45 miles away.

Chairman Michael Finley told media that the tribe expects some will stay longer and spend more with the addition of the hotel. The new facility will be twice the size of the Mill Bay Casino. It will replace the Okanogan Bingo Casino.

The tribe plans to break ground in May. Construction should take about a year.


GUILTY PLEASE IN ADVANCE-CASH SCHEME AT SANTA ANA PUEBLO CASINO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Two men pleaded guilty in connection with an advance-cash scheme at the casino owned by Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico.

Osamu Togashi, 32; Hiroto Matsuo, 40; and Yu Zheng, 31, were accused of using counterfeit credit cards to take out cash at the Santa Ana Star Casino in January of last year. However, according to authorities, the three weren't using the money to gamble.

Togashi and Yu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and related activities in connection with access devices. Matsuo was charged but was never apprehended.

Togashi, who is a Japanese citizen, already served his prison sentence and could face removal from the U.S. Yu, who is a Chinese citizen remains in a half-way house in New Mexico. Matsuo is a Japanese citizen.


WINNEBAGO TRIBE FACES OPPOSITION IN COMMERCIAL CASINO LAWSUIT

SLOAN, Iowa – The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is facing opposition to its request to join a lawsuit over a commercial casino in Iowa.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the developer that won the commercial casino license and the city of Sioux City said the tribe shouldn't be allowed to intervene. The opposition was anticipated.

Ho-Chunk, Inc. President and CEO Lance Morgan said though the tribe's suit may be unwelcome, the tribe's gaming arm has an interest in the proceedings but neither of the other parties can adequately protect the tribe's interests.

The tribe's proposal for the $122 million Warrior Casino & Hotel in downtown Sioux City was rejected by the IRGC last year. Another rejected bidder, Penn National Gaming, filed suit contending the process was unfair.

The developer that won the license is planning a Hard Rock-branded facility.




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