National Briefs: November 2014

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TULALIP CITIZENS GRIEVE AFTER SCHOOL

SHOOTING

TULALIP, Wash. – Leaders and citizens

of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington expressed shock following a fatal

shooting at a local public school that left three young people dead

and three others injured.

News reports identified the shooter as

a 14 year-old tribal citizen who took his life after opening fire at

the Marysville-Pilchuck High School on Oct. 24. Two teenage students

were killed while three others – including two other tribal citizen

– remained in the hospital in critical condition.

Tribal citizens came together on Oct.

26 for a vigil for the victims and their families. Tribal Chairman

Herman Williams said the local community will remain united as the

healing process begins.

“As we grieve in the wake of this

tragedy, the Tulalip Tribes and the City of Marysville stand

together, united in sorrow but determined to bring healing to our

communities," Williams said in a press release. "The strong

working relationship we have built over many years has proven

critical as we continue to respond to this unimaginable event. Our

priority is now on our children and young people.”

Condolences also poured in from Indian

Country. Brian Cloodosby, the chairman of the Swinomish Tribe reached

out to his fellow tribe in Washington. "As a father and

grandfather, my thoughts and prayers are with my Tulalip relatives …

All of Indian Country is holding the Tulalip people in our thoughts

and prayers."

NCAI’s executive leaders also offered

a statement in the wake of the tragedy. “We are deeply saddened by

the tragedy that occurred at Marysville-Pilchuck High School on

Friday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the

victims, the students of Marysville School District, and the Tulalip

tribes.”

“It is at times like these that

Native communities from all across Indian County come together in

support of each other. As Native peoples, we recognize that every

youth is sacred. Each of the young people involved in this tragedy

represent a loss to the Tulalip tribes and Indian Country – they

were sons, daughters, friends, and future leaders of their

communities.”

HISPANIC CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP JOINS IN

MASCOT FIGHT

WASHINGTON – The National Council of

La Raza – the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy

organization in the United States – called on the NFL and

Washington football team owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s

name.

The council’s board of directors

unanimously voted in support of the move Oct. 26. “Our brothers and

sisters in the Native American community have been clear and

consistent in their call to change both terms and images that they

consider demeaning. As an organization committed to fairness and

equality for all, NCLR fully supports these efforts,” La Raza

President and chief executive Janet Murguía said in a statement.

“The Latino community well understands that words matter and that

they can denigrate, disparage and dehumanize. We should treat all

people with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Snyder has promised to keep the name,

which he says honors Native people. The team cited polls showing that

a majority of Americans – and even a majority of Native Americans

in one 10 year-old survey – do not find the team name offensive.

La Raza had previously joined with the

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights – a coalition of

organizations including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties

Union – in its effort to change the moniker.

Last year, the conference approved a

resolution that called on the team to change its name and “refrain

from the use of any other images, mascots, or behaviors that are or

could be deemed harmful or demeaning to Native American cultures or

peoples.”

“When groups like La Raza, NAACP,

ADL and NCAI are saying in a singular voice that it is time to change

this offensive name, it should serve as a wake-up call to the NFL and

Dan Snyder that they are on the wrong side of history,” spokesman

for the Oneida Indian Nation, Joel Barkin said.

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT JOINS

WASHINGTON TEAM OWNER AT GAME

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Ben Shelly, the

president of the Navajo Nation, and his wife Martha sat with the

Washington football team’s owner Dan Snyder in a suite during an Oct.

12 game.

Shelly, who was not re-elected to

office in the tribe’s primary in August, said during the summer that

he believes the Washington team name is offensive. In April, the

Navajo Nation attempted to distance itself from a charity golf

tournament designed to raise scholarships for college students that

was sponsored by KTNN-AM (its Navajo-language radio station) and the

Washington team’s Original Americans Foundation.

“The Washington [team is] proud to

have President Ben Shelly and the Navajos along with Zuni and other

Western tribes that joined us at the game today,” spokesman Tony

Wyllie, the team’s vice president of communications said. “This is

representative of the support we have among Native Americans

nationwide.”

Before the game, approximately 75

people protested the team outside the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Signs at the protest, which began three hours prior to kickoff,

featured slogans like, “Game over for racism” and “Snyder can’t

buy my support."

EASTERN SHAWNEE TRIBE CLAIMS FORMER

RESERVATION IN OHIO

RUSSELLS POINT, Ohio – The Eastern

Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma is making its return to Ohio, 182 years

after being forced to leave its former reservation.

The tribe purchased 50 acres of its

ancestral territory near Lewiston. The land was part of an allotment

owned by the daughter of Chief Blue Jacket but it fell out of Indian

ownership in the 1800s.

A local attorney has since uncovered a

document that he says shows the tribe’s rightful claim to the site.

Jim Calim said it took 12 years to track down the information.

"I’m really proud of the fact

that I found one for them,” Calim said. He said the document shows

the land should have reverted to the tribe after Blue Jacket’s heirs

died.

The tribe had a reservation in Ohio

until being forced to leave in 1832. Lewiston had been set aside as

Indian territory under the Treaty of Fort Meigs in 1817.

The tribe will be asking the Bureau of

Indian Affairs to place the land in restricted status, according to

news reports.

SAGINAW CHIPPEWA TRIBE TO INVESTIGATE

BURIAL GROUNDS

MUNDY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Saginaw

Chippewa Tribe of Michigan will investigate whether there are any

burial grounds along the route of a proposed pipeline.

ET Rover has conducted archeological

surveys for the 800-mile natural gas pipeline. But the company won’t

disclose whether it has found any burial grounds or settlements.

"If there are any Indian burial

grounds, we will do everything we can to protect them," tribal

spokesperson Frank Cloutier told media. "There are very specific

guidelines that must be followed. They are dead in the water if we

find burial grounds."

ET Rover will need approval from the

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the $4.3 billion

pipeline. The route runs through Michigan, Pennsylvania, West

Virginia and Ohio.

JUDGE RULES FOR WYOMING TRIBES IN

DIVERTED WATER DISPUTE

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A federal judge

fined an irrigation district and its former manager for illegally

diverting water on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.

Judge Alan B. Johnson said the LeClair

Irrigation District must pay $250,000 and remove four dikes that were

illegally placed on the Wind River. The district’s former manager,

John Hubenka, was also fined $350,000.

"Thanks in large part to pressure

by Northern Arapaho leaders, the wrongdoers who diverted the Wind

River and blocked Arapaho access to tribal lands have been held

accountable," the Northern Arapaho Tribe said on social media.

The federal government filed the

lawsuit. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe and Northern Arapaho Tribe joined

as intervenors. Johnson said the county won’t have to pay its fine if

the dikes are removed by April 30, 2015. Hubenka, who was previously

convicted for violating the Clean Water Act, will still have to pay

his fine.

SANTEE SIOUX TRIBE PREPARES TO DEBUT

CASINO GOLF COURSE

NIOBRARA, Neb. – The Santee Sioux

Tribe of Nebraska will be opening a golf course at its casino next

year.

The 18-hole Tatanka Golf Club at the

Ohiya Casino was developed by famed designer Paul Albanese. Each hole

tells a different story in the tribe’s culture – the beaver, the

trickster and the white buffalo are all featured.

"We took the history and the

culture of the area and the Sioux Nation, and used it as a design

inspiration in a subtle and respectful way," Albanese said in a

press release.

An opening date hasn’t been announced.

But the casino just posted a job notice for a general manager for the

new course.

DOI EXPECTS 30 PERCENT RESPONSE RATE ON

COBELL BUYBACK OFFERS

WASHINGTON – The Interior Department

has sent out more than $298 million in offers to landowners on the

Crow Reservation in Montana but only expects about 30 percent of

people to accept.

The $298 million was the largest round

under the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. But DOI only has

$102.9 million for actual purchases.

“We’re just assuming that 30

percent may come back when it’s all said and done,” Debra Scott

of the Bureau of Indian Affairs said. “If that doesn’t occur,

we’re going into a second wave.”

The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement

provided $1.9 billion for Indian landowners who want to sell their

fractionated interests. DOI will pay "fair market value" as

required by the Indian Land Consolidation Act.

Since the program started last winter,

DOI has successfully concluded more than $146.4 million in

transactions, according to the press release. Nearly 280,000 acres

have been transferred to tribes.

NAVAJO NATION CANDIDATE WILL NOT STOP

CAMPAIGN

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Chris Deschene,

a candidate for president of the Navajo Nation, will continue his

campaign even though the tribe’s highest court said he must be

removed from the ballot.

Deschene was disqualified due to his

lack of fluency in the Navajo language. The Navajo Nation Supreme

Court said election officials must print up new ballots without his

name.

"It is unavoidable that the

November 4, 2014 election must be postponed," the court said in

a decision that was issued Oct. 23.

But Deschene said legislation enacted

by the Navajo Nation Council just after midnight ensures the

viability of his candidacy. Bill 0298-14 states that language

proficiency is an issue left to the voters.

"Our campaign continues,"

Deschene said on Facebook on Oct. 24. "After midnight, and after

much thoughtful deliberation, the Navajo Nation Council passed

legislation that respects our fundamental right to choose our own

leaders."

The vote on the bill was 11-10. Pro

Tem Speaker LoRenzo Bates had to step in and break a tie, according

to media. The Navajo Election Administration had previously

contemplated a delay in the election due to the language issue. The

agency hasn’t publicly responded to the Navajo Nation Supreme Court’s

mandate.

Russell Begaye, who came in third in

the tribe’s primary, will appear on the new ballots if election

officials follow the court’s order. Joe Shirley, Jr., a former

president who speaks Navajo fluently and who came in first, remains

in the race.

ALASKA GOVERNOR SIGNS NATIVE LANGUAGE

BILL SIX MONTH LATER

JUNEAU, Alaska – Alaska Gov. Sean

Parnell (R) signed a Native language bill on Oct. 23, six months

after lawmakers approved it.

House Bill 216 designates 20 Native

languages as official in Alaska. Parnell intentionally delayed

signing it into law in order to present it during the Alaska

Federation of Natives.

"It passed in April,”

Georgianna Lincoln, an AFN board member and former state lawmaker,

told media. “One half a year later he wants the signing at the AFN

convention? Now isn’t that politics?”

Parnell, who is running for

re-election, is on the agenda for this morning’s opening session. But

the signing will take place away from the main AFN convention, which

took place on Oct. 23.

“It seems like it took on a life of

its own on social media, with people inviting other people and so

on,” AFN President Julie Kitka told the News. The ceremony was held

in another room at the Dena’ina Center.

CROW TRIBE SEEKS RENEWAL OF INDIAN COAL

PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Crow Tribe of

Montana is calling on Congress to extend the Indian Coal Production

Tax Credit and make it permanent.

The reservation is home to a large

coal reserve. The tax credit enables the tribe to keep people at

work, Chairman Darrin Old Coyote said. “For the last few years,

we’ve been using the Indian Coal Production Tax Credit,” he said.

“When it expired in December 2013, we saw a $3 million reduction in

our budget as a tribe. A lot of our members are still on 32-hour

(work weeks) because of this. Without the tax credit, our future is

dim right now."

Rep. Steve Daines (R-Montana), who met

with the tribe on Oct. 22, is sponsoring H.R.4768 in the House, which

would make the tax credit permanent.

BIA ANNOUNCES CONSULTATIONS FOR

SECRETARIAL ELECTION REGULATION

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Indian

Affairs will be holding consultation sessions on a new regulation

that affects Secretarial elections.

Three consultations have been

scheduled so far. They will take place Nov. 18 in Oklahoma City,

Okla. and Nov. 20 in Rocklin, Calif.

The changes have been in the works for

several years. The Obama administration held consultations in 2009

and 2010 on a draft rule and the proposed rule was published in the

Federal Register earlier this month.

"A Secretarial election is a

Federal election conducted by the Secretary of the Interior

(Secretary) under a Federal statute or tribal governing document,"

the Oct. 9 notice states. According to the notice, the BIA hasn’t

updated its Secretarial election regulations since 1981.