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ELOUISE COBELL HONORED WITH MEDAL OF FREEDOM

WASHINGTON, DC – The late Elouise Cobell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 22.

Cobell, who passed away in October 2011, was the lead plaintiff in the land-mark Indian trust fund lawsuit. Her efforts helped hold the federal government accountable for millions of missing funds in land trust holdings.

Cobell, who was a member of the Blackfeet Nation, is the fourth Indian Country recipient of the award since Obama took office.

 

SPIRIT CAVE REMAINS TURNED OVER TO SHOSHONE TRIBE

RENO, NV – The Department of the Interior announced that effective November 18, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) transferred control of human remains and funerary objects found in Spirit Cave, Nevada to the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Indian Tribe.

This transfer means that the Fallon Paiute Shoshone, which is the closest Tribe living on aboriginal lands near the known burial site, now has full legal control and may take permanent possession of the Spirit Cave Assemblage.

Spirit Cave was located by archaeologists Sydney and Georgia Wheeler in 1940 during salvage excavations conducted by the Nevada State Parks Commission east of Fallon, Nevada. The human remains of four individuals, dating from 5,400 to 10,600 years ago, and 10 associated funerary objects, known as the Spirit Cave Assemblage are being curated at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, Nevada.

The age of the objects is carbon dated in excess of 10,000 years for one set of the burials, a mummified set of remains now believed to be one of the oldest in North America.

 

FINAL ICWA RULE GOES INTO EFFECT IN DECEMBER

WASHINGTON, DC – A new Indian Child Welfare Act rule that was finalized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs will go into effect in December.

The Act will become law before the end of the Obama administration. The BIA will use the next 180 days to offer training and technical assistance for tribes and states.

The goal of the new rule is to ensure greater compliance with ICWA. It requires state court systems and state welfare agencies to determine whether a child is Indian and whether the law applies to their proceedings.

 

PRES. OBAMA TO APPOINT ACHP VICE CHAIRMAN

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint current Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Native American Member Leonard Forsman as vice chairman of the ACHP.

Forsman was appointed to the 23-member ACHP in May 2013 and currently serves as chairman of its Native American Affairs Committee.

Forsman has been chairman of the Suquamish Tribe since 2005, a member of the Suquamish Tribal Cultural Cooperative Committee since 2006, and a member of the Tribal Leaders Congress on Education since 2005.

The ACHP promotes the economic, educational, environmental, sustainability, and cultural values of historic preservation and advises the President on national historic preservation policy. It also influences programs, and policies that affect historic and cultural properties.

 

TOHONO O’ODHAM OPPOSES MEXICAN BORDER WALL

Florence Village, AZ – The election of Republican Donald Trump as president hasn’t changed anything for the Tohono O’odham Nation. They have stated they are still strongly opposed to a wall along its 75-mile reservation border with Mexico.

“Over my dead body will a wall be built,” Jose told radio station KJZZ.

A border wall was one of Trump’s early campaign promise. He has since told 60 Minutes that he would accept a combination of fencing and electronic surveillance, in addition to a physical barrier.

“For certain areas I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate,” the incoming president told Lesley Stahl in an interview. “I’m very good at this, it’s called construction.”

The border was imposed on Tohono O’odham territory without the tribe’s consent. Citizens travel back and forth between Arizona and Mexico for ceremonies and to visit relatives and friends so a wall is out of the question for them.