LOCAL BRIEFS (July 2017)

0
402
views

N.D. OFFICIALS CLAIM IGNORANCE ON DAPL SEC. FIRM

BISMARCK, ND – Top officials in North Dakota relied on the security firm TigerSwan for surveillance on the #NoDAPL movement. Hired by the wealthy backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline, none of the state officials bothered to confirm the company’s legal status. With the exception of the National Guard, officials in the state worked closely with TigerSwan.

The governor, attorney general and the National Guard commander did not know that TigerSwan had been denied a license to work in the state. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department also told The Grand Forks Herald it didn’t know.

The North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board has filed a complaint against TigerSwan in state court.

BEMIDJI STATE WILL ACCEPT STUDENTS FROM FOUR TRIBAL COLLEGES

BEMIDJI, MN – (John Enger/MPR) It’s always been complicated to transfer credits from a tribal college to a traditional four-year university.

But Bemidji State University is changing that. Recently, the university reached a dual-enrollment agreement with Red Lake, Leech Lake, White Earth and Fond du Lac tribal colleges. Students from those tribal colleges are now automatically accepted at BSU, and there’s no enrollment fee.

BSU American Indian Resource Center director Bill Blackwell Jr. helped build the program. He said the old process was a barrier to Native students.

Tribal college students will also get BSU ID cards, which gives them access to the campus and most sporting events.

It’s a unique arrangement, Blackwell said. No other university has dual enrollment agreements with so many tribal colleges.

Blackwell hopes streamlining the enrollment process for tribal college students will bring more Native students to BSU.

S.D. TRIBE’S $2M WATER DIVERSION LAWSUIT DISMISSED

SIOUX FALLS, SD – A judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a South Dakota tribe that was seeking $200 million from the U.S. government for the diversion of Missouri River water.

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe’s reservation sits along the river. Since building dams in the mid-1900s that flooded the reservation, the federal government has allowed nontribal entities to use the tribe’s water for flood control.

The tribe’s June 2016 federal lawsuit alleges the government is infringing on tribal water rights by allowing others to take the water without payment.

But Senior Judge Robert Hodges Jr. said the tribe didn’t say how the government’s usage of the water harmed the tribe.

YANKTON SIOUX TO DISCUSS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

Yankton, SD – The Yankton Sioux Tribe is hosting a general council meeting on July 21 to discuss legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use and hemp manufacturing.

Chairman Robert Flying Hawk previously told the The Yankton Press & Dakotan that he was open to marijuana for medical use only but any potential changes are up to voters.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. A policy issued by the Department of Justice during the Obama administration opened the door for the drug in Indian Country but only a few tribes have entered the industry.

The Trump administration has not officially rescinded the policy but Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to take a harder stance against marijuana.

The drug is also illegal under South Dakota law and the state claims it can enforce the law against non-Indians on reservations.

Two non-Indians who were working with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe on a marijuana project were prosecuted although one was found not guilty on all charges.

NEW HOTLINE TO REPORT HATE CRIMES

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Through its 311 service, the City of Minneapolis has opened a new hotline for reporting hate crimes. The hotline number is 311 for anyone calling from within the city or 612-673-3000 statewide.

The 311 hotline will be answered 7 am to 7 pm weekdays and 8 am to 4:30 pm weekends. Those with a report to make can also call the Department of Justice at 612-664-5600. As always, in the case of immediate physical violence, property damage or threats, people should call 911.

Anyone experiencing discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, LGBT status or other protected classes, or has been the victim of police misconduct, should call 612-673-3012 or visit www.minneapolismn.gov/civilrights.