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PATENT OFFICE CANCELS WASHINGTON TEAM'S
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
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.
IDAHO TRIBE CONTINUES TO OFFER POKER
PLUMMER, Idaho – A federal judge
won't stop the Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho from offering poker games
but the dispute might not be over yet.
Judge Lynn Winmill said the Class III
gaming compact bars Idaho from suing the tribe because the state
already sent a notice of alleged non-compliance to the tribe. The
letter was sent on May 1 and the compact requires a 60-day period for
the parties to discuss their dispute.
"The court finds that Article 21
of the compact unambiguously prohibits the state from filing a
lawsuit within the 60-day period," Winmill wrote in a nine-page
decision today. "The state’s position to the contrary is
unreasonable, and thus fails to create any ambiguity that would
prevent the court from interpreting the compact as a matter of law."
The 60-day period ended June 30. At
that time, either party can request binding arbitration – however,
that means the state might have to withdraw its lawsuit altogether.
"Once a party has given notice of
intent to pursue binding arbitration and the notice has been sent to
the non-complaining party, the matter in controversy may not be
litigated in court proceedings," the compact states.
Winmill stayed the litigation and
asked for an update from the parties by July 7. Meanwhile, poker
games continue at the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel.
PUEBLO WOMAN WANTS TO BE FIRST NATIVE
LAGUNA PUEBLO, N.M. – Native
Americans make up 11.4 percent of the population in New Mexico,
according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but a Native person has never
held statewide office.
Deb Haaland, a single mother from
Laguna Pueblo, hopes to change that. She's the Democratic candidate
for lieutenant governor.
“I don’t think voting is enough.
You have to do more," Haaland said. "Sometimes you’ve
just got to take a leap."
Haaland is running on the Democratic
ticket with Attorney General Gary King. Their opponents in the
November general election are Gov. Susana Martinez (R) and Lt. Gov.
John Sanchez (R).
SUPREME COURT DENIES APPEAL BY NATIVE
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court
won't be hearing an appeal from a Indian tobacco firm.
The justices took up petitions in
Native Wholesale Company v. Idaho and Native Wholesale Supply Company
v. Superior Court of California during a closed-door conference on
June 19. Both were denied without comment in an order list this
Native Wholesale Supply Company is a
business located on the Seneca Nation in New York.. The firm was
fighting efforts to comply with state laws in Idaho and California.
The firm declared bankruptcy in 2011
after facing numerous state enforcement efforts.
ACTIVISTS FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Native American
activists in Illinois are planning to file a lawsuit against the
Cleveland Major League Baseball team.
Activists have been protesting the
team's Chief Wahoo mascot for decades. They hope the lawsuit leads to
the elimination of the racist symbol.
"We're going to be asking for $9
billion and we're basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism,
exploitation and profiteering," Robert Roche, the director of
the American Indian Education Center and one of the plaintiffs in the
forthcoming suit, told ABC News. Roche said the lawsuit will be filed
by the end of July.
CHEROKEE NATION ATTRACTS NEW
DEVELOPMENT WITH CASINO
TALEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation is
spurring economic development in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area thanks to
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has
drawn a Wal-Mart Supercenter to Catoosa. The 24-hour facility, which
employs 300 people, opened on June 25.
“It’s not only made things more
eye appealing, but it’s helping to bring sales tax revenue to the
city of Catoosa,” Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker told The Tulsa
World. “It’ll really be a boon for the Catoosa area.”
The tribe bought land by the casino in
hopes of bringing retail to the area. The tribe sold the property to
a developer who lured Wal-Mart to the site.
SENATE CONFIRMS OSAGE CITIZEN TO RUN
OFFICE OF SPECIAL TRUSTEE
WASHINGTON – The Senate voted today
to confirm Vince Logan as the leader of the Office of the Special
Trustee for American Indians.
Logan is a member of the Osage Nation
of Oklahoma. He was first nominated for the OST job in September 2012
and was re-submitted this past January.
“As an investment professional, a
mentor for Native American attorneys, and a member of the Osage
Nation, Vince has been deeply rooted in Indian Country for many
decades," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a press
release today. "His asset management expertise, legal experience
and extensive network of professional relationships in Indian Country
will well serve the Office of Special Trustee and the Department of
the Interior as we work to build a stronger and more responsive trust
asset management system for the nation’s First Americans. I am
pleased the Senate voted to confirm him to this leadership post at
The OST position has been vacant for
more than five years. Logan has from now until the end of the Obama
administration to get a handle on trust reform efforts at the
IHS ANNOUNCES PLANS TO HIRE MORE NATIVE
WASHINGTON – The Indian Health
Service said it will hire more Native American veterans. Native
veterans make up about 6 percent of the workforce at IHS. The goal is
to increase that rate to 9 percent.
"The IHS will recruit veterans by
setting hiring goals, engaging in active outreach, and using existing
and new partnerships to create additional career opportunities,"
the agency said in a press release.
IHS will recruit veterans by setting
hiring goals, engaging in active outreach and using existing and new
partnerships to create additional career opportunities.
Earlier this year, the IHS and the
Department of Veterans Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding
to assist veterans in finding employment through President Obama's
National Strategy to Hire More Veterans.
As part of its Veterans Hiring
Initiative, the IHS will collaborate with the VA on federal
recruitment events targeting veterans. Additionally, the IHS will
partner with the Department of Defense on recruitment of separating
active duty service members through the Transition Assistance Program
and through marketing and media outreach campaigns.
The agency also said it plans to
partner with tribes in recruitment outreach efforts targeted at
tribal members who are active duty or veterans. It is also developing
its own nationwide public service announcement radio and print
campaign customized to markets with large populations of military
The Bureau of Indian Affairs also
announced plans this month to hire more Native veterans.
REMAINS OF 12,600 YEAR-OLD TODDLER
REBURIED IN MONTANA
BILLINGS, Mont. – A reburial ceremony
was held in June for a 12,600-year-old boy whose DNA showed a link to
present-day Native people.
The boy was discovered on a ranch in
Montana in 1968. He was reburied at a site not far from his original
“The spirit is now back to the other
side,” said Thomas Larson Medicine Horse, Sr., an elder from the
Crow Tribe who participated in the ceremony.
The boy was buried with more than 100
artifacts. His remains and the items had been covered with red ochre,
a sign that his community conducted a burial ceremony after he died.
DNA tests showed that he shared the
same genes as present-day Native people who live as far away as
Central and South America. Shane Doyle, a professor at Montana State
University, participated in the study.
“It’s one thing to believe and
sense that your people have been here for thousands and thousands of
years,” Doyle, a Crow tribal citizen, said in a press release
earlier this year. “It’s another thing to have scientific
evidence and proof that those paleo-Indians were us and we are them.”
SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
PLANS FOUR HEARINGS IN JULY
WASHINGTON – The Senate Indian
Affairs Committee has four hearings on its schedule for the month of
July. On July 9, the committee will hold a hearing on five bills.
Those bills include:
S. 2442, the Northern Cheyenne Lands
Act. The bill requires the Interior Department to place land, mineral
rights and important sites into trust for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe
S. 2465, the Albuquerque Indian School Land Transfer
Act. The bill requires DOI to place land into trust for the 19
Pueblos of New Mexico.
S.2479, the Moapa Band of Paiutes Land
Conveyance Act. The bill The bill requires DOI to place land into
trust for the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians in Nevada.
Nevada Native Nations Land Act. The bill requires DOI to place land
into trust for seven tribes
S. 2503, a bill to implement a water
rights settlement for the Hualapai Tribe of Arizona.
On July 16, the committee will hold an
oversight hearing on the Land Buy-Back Program for tribal nations. A
prior hearing on the issue was held on Dec. 11, 2013.
The following week, on July 23, the
committee will hold an oversight hearing on the "next 25 years"
of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The law marked its 25th
anniversary last year.
On July 30, the committee will hold a
hearing on natural disasters in Indian Country. Congress has enacted
a law that allows tribes to request disaster declarations directly
from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.