VIDEO CALLS OUT FEDEX FOR WASHINGTON
PAWHUSKA, Okla. – The Native Voice
Network released a video on Sept. 7, urging the courier company FedEx
to end its corporate sponsorship of the Washington NFL team. The
release was timed to coincide with the team’s season opener.
Native Voice Network is a coalition of
25 Native American organizations and commissioned the online Native
comedy troupe 1491s’ Ryan Redcorn to write and produce the clip
titled, “FedEx Fail.”
The video features artist and
filmmaker Steven Paul Judd and draws comparisons between racism
directed at Native Americans and other ethnicities, Redcorn told
NVN spokeswoman Chrissie Castro said
what matters most is the mental wellness and stability of Native
American children. Castro cited the American Psychological
Association’s call to ban Indian mascots on the grounds that such
images and language have a negative impact on a Native American
child’s self-esteem. "FedEx doesn’t think this is a
particularly important issue," Castro wrote in a press release.
“We do. How can you put a price on our children’s mental health?
… We’ve received a lot of negative backlash from proponents of
the Washington Team retaining its name. I just have to ask myself,
‘When did America’s pastime become more important than America’s
NAVAJO LEADER APPOINTED TO HEAD CITY’S
NEW TASK FORCE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The former Chief
of Staff for the Navajo President, Sherrick Roanhorse, was appointed
by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry to chair the city’s new Native
American Homelessness Task Force.
The mayor said Roanhorse joins the
task force with extensive knowledge of Native American affairs. In
addition to his role with Shelly, the former chief of staff worked as
a policy analyst for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department and as
and a government and legislative affairs specialist with the Navajo
Nation in Washington, D.C. He currently works in the state government
affairs office of PNM.
Berry and Shelly agreed to create the
task force following the brutal beating deaths in July of two
homeless Navajo men in a vacant lot on Albuquerque’s southwest
FINAL PAYMENTS FROM COBELL SETTLEMENT
CLOSER TO BEING DISTRIBUTED
WASHINGTON – The final checks from
the $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement are almost ready,
according to the parties involved.
The Cobell legal team and the Garden
City Group – the firm that was appointed by the court to administer
the settlement – were waiting on the Interior Department to
finalize the data needed for the Trust Administration Class payment.
The information was provided by August 30.
The Garden City Group is now
validating the information. Once that process is complete, the legal
team will seek court approval to distribute the payments, which could
happen by the end of September.
"GCG is prepared to commence
sending out checks within three weeks as long as the court gives
final approval for the Trust Administration Class distribution. We
will update the website when the first checks have been mailed,"
the attorneys said on CobellSettlement.Com.
Once checks are sent out, it will
likely take five to seven days for the money to reach beneficiaries,
according to the Web site.
SEATTLE LEADERS POSTPONE INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES DAY VOTE
SEATTLE – City leaders in Seattle,
Washington, delayed action on a resolution to designate the second
Monday of each October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The city council was set to approve
the resolution at a meeting on Sept. 2. But members postponed the
vote after Mayor Ed Murray requested a delay.
Murray said he supports the change.
But he wants to sign the resolution closer to the actual date of the
new holiday, according to news reports.
The day would replace Columbus Day.
Other cities, including Minneapolis, have made the change. South
Dakota has been observing Native American Day since 1990.
CHEROKEE NATION ANNOUNCES $170 MILLION
CASINO AND DEVELOPMENT
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee
Nation announced plans for a $170 million casino and retail complex
The Cherokee Springs Plaza will
include a casino, two hotels, retail, office space and a convention
center. The 150-acre project is located off a major highway in
Tahlequah, the tribe’s capital.
“It was the largest contiguous piece
of property left in the capitol of the Cherokee Nation, and they’ve
been on the drawing board for almost a year now with some of the best
land developers in the country coming up with their plan to make this
a showpiece in not only all of Indian Country, but I think it’s
going to be a showplace for Oklahoma,” Chief Bill John Baker said
in a press conference on Aug. 29.
The tribe purchased the land and an
existing golf course – now known as Cherokee Springs Golf Course –
in December 2012 through Cherokee Nation Businesses. A board member
at the time was a part owner of the site but said he recused himself
from the sale.
The property abuts Baker’s Furniture,
which is owned by Chief Baker.
PAIUTE TRIBE REJECT WASHINGTON TEAM’S
LAS VEGAS – The Las Vegas Paiute
Tribe was offered a van by the Original Americans Foundation but
turned it down, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said.
“Redskins is a racist name and
native Americans believe that,” said Reid, who serves as the Senate
majority leader, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. “They have
tried to buy off some of my Nevada Indians and they have not been
able to do that, giving them trucks and stuff like that.
Reid previously said a tribe in his
state was approached by the foundation. One of his aides confirmed it
was the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.
Other tribes have accepted gifts from
the foundation but many have condemned the initiative as a publicity
TULE RIVER TRIBE HELPS REMOVE MARIJUANA
TULARE COUNTY, Calif. – The Tule
River Tribe of California was joined by local, state and federal
authorities in removing a marijuana farm from the reservation in late
Operation Tule River took five days.
Authorities cleared out nearly 14,000 plants from a farm that was
siphoning over 100,000 gallons of water per day from the tribe’s main
source of water.
“We will continue our efforts in
protecting our sacred lands and restoring the water for future
generations to come," William J. Garfield, a spokesperson for
the tribe, said in a press release distributed by the California
Department of Fish and Wildlife. No arrests were made.
TRIBE CONTINUES BANISHMENT FOR DRUGS
LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. – The Lac du
Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Wisconsin continues to
banish people from the reservation who have been involved with drugs
So far, only non-members have been
banished. The tribe keeps a tally of the people who are affected on
its Web site.
"We made it public knowledge that
we will deal with this epidemic. Hopefully the actions of our law
enforcement community send a strong message that drug abuse is not
acceptable on our lands. We have resources and support for our people
who need help with addictions," President Tom Maulson told
Northland’s News Center.
The latest banishment occurred in June
with the removal of one person from the reservation.
MONTANA TRIBE SUES ONLINE LOAN BUSINESS
PARTNER FOR $13 MILLION
BOX ELDER, Mont. – The Chippewa Cree
Tribe of Montana is accusing its partners in an Internet lending
business of theft and fraud.
The tribe started Plain Green Loans
and First American Capital Resources with four out-of-state partners.
The lawsuit claims they bilked the tribe out of more than $13.1
"The tribe has lost millions of
dollars because of these entanglements, defendants’ overtly
fraudulent acts, and their clandestine and complex fraudulent
scheme," the complaint states.
According to media reports, Plain
Green remains in operation but First American Capital Resources was
shut down last fall.
JUDGE ORDERS ALASKA TO ASSIST NATIVE
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A federal judge
ordered the state of Alaska to do more to assist Yup’ik language
speakers in time for the Nov. 4 election.
In a ruling from the bench, Judge
Sharon Gleason said the state didn’t provide adequate materials for
Native voters, according to news reports. The state agreed to submit
a response plan by Sept. 5.
The lawsuit, Toyukuk v. Treadwell, was
filed by the Native American Rights Fund on behalf of two tribes and
two Yup’ik voters. The plaintiffs will be able to respond to the
state’s submission before Gleason issues a final order regarding the
upcoming election, according to minutes of today’s hearing.
Gleason has yet to rule on other
claims raised by the plaintiffs.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUPPORTS TRIBES IN
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department
weighed in on a class-action lawsuit in South Dakota pitting Native
American tribes against state officials, and come down resoundingly
in support of tribes.
It’s the first time the department has
intervened in a federal district court case involving the Indian
Child Welfare Act, a law meant to keep Native American families
together. The department filed an amicus brief in the case concluding
that the state is violating the rights of Native American parents.
In the suit, tribes claim the state is
failing to abide by the 36-year-old federal law, removing hundreds of
Indian children from their families in court hearings where parents
are rarely allowed to speak, and that often last less than 60
The children are then placed in foster
care, where they may stay for months or years.
As part of the lawsuit, the state had
to turn over rarely seen transcripts of 120 recent court hearings. In
every one, the Native American children were taken into state
custody. Not a single parent was allowed to testify at the hearings.
Most were not allowed to say anything except their names.
In one case cited in the lawsuit,
children were taken away from a mother who the state said was
neglectful. Their father, who was divorcing the mother, appeared at
the hearing and said, "I am here. Please give custody of my
children to me." The judge placed the kids in foster care.
In its brief, the Justice Department
wrote that state court and state officials with the Department of
Social Services have an obligation to "actively investigate and
oversee emergency removals of Indian children to insure that the
removal ends as soon as possible, and that Indian children are
expeditiously returned to their parents or their tribe" from the
beginning of the process with the first court hearing to the end.
The Indian Child Welfare Act mandates
that states place children with their tribes, their relatives or
Native American foster parents if they have to be removed from their
In South Dakota, almost 9 out of 10
Native American children are placed in non-Indian homes or group
homes, says Chase Iron Eyes, a staff attorney with the Lakota
People’s Law Project.
This year, seven of the state’s nine
tribes applied for federal planning grants, with the help of the law
project, in an effort to develop their own foster care programs.
State officials have said they support that effort.
NAVAJO STUDENT SENT HOME FROM SCHOOL
FOR LONG HAIR
SEMINOLE, Texas – A five year-old
Navajo Nation citizen was sent home from kindergarten for having long
April Wilson said her son, Malachi,
was excited for the first day of school on Aug. 25 at F.J. Young
Elementary in Texas. But he was disappointed when he was told the
length of his hair violated school policy.
"Certain recognized religious or
spiritual beliefs may qualify for an exception from provisions of the
dress code," the policy states. "However, any exceptions
must receive prior approval by the campus administrator."
Wilson said her son was finally
allowed to attend school on Aug. 26 after the Navajo Nation and the
local American Indian Movement got involved. The principal reportedly
asked the family to verify Malachi’s tribal heritage.
“It’s kind of heart breaking
because how do you explain to a five-year-old that he is being turned
away because of what he believes in, because of his religion, because
of what’s part of him, how do you explain that to him?” Wilson
A similar case arose in the state when
an Apache boy wasn’t allowed to wear long hair at school. The 5th
Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the school’s policy in A.A. v
Needville Independent School District in 2010.