Regional and Local Briefs: November 2014



RED WING, Minn. – The Prairie Island Indian Community is joining three

states in a lawsuit over the storage of nuclear waste.

The tribe says it will join with New

York, Connecticut and Vermont in a lawsuit against the Nuclear

Regulatory Commission.

The Prairie Island Nuclear Generating

Plant near Red Wing is just 600 yards from the tribal community. The

NRC in August opened the door for on-site nuclear waste storage for

100 years or more.

The tribe says the NRC has failed to

do a complete analysis of the risks associated with the onsite

storage of nuclear waste.

Prairie Island plant executive Kevin

Davison agrees with the NRC assessment that the nuclear waste is

safely stored near Red Wing. But, Davison says the federal government

still has an obligation to create another storage option.


FT. YATES, N.D. – Last Real Indians,

an online Native media and advocacy Web site, unveiled its first

print edition in October.

A nearly three year-old endeavor,

founded by Chase Iron Eyes (Standing Rock Sioux) in January of 2012,

LRI features almost daily content provided by writers from across

Indian country. “Our network continues to expand as we inform our

own, inform the world, strengthen our ties, shatter stereotypes,

protect our image, essence and portrayal against appropriation,

objectification & [sic] mascotry and share our stories,” Iron

Eyes wrote in the first edition.

According to the mission statement on

its Web site, “LRI is a media movement grounded in our pre-contact

ways of life. We are independent media with direction. We are an

adaptation of our story-tellers. We are content creators of many

origins with a vision of returning Indigenous peoples of all

‘races’ to a state of respect for

generations unborn.”

Its first edition features topics on

environmentalism, Lakota tribal politics, lacrosse, Lakota language,

law and health. The paper is headquartered on the Standing Rock Sioux

reservation in South and North Dakota.



PIERRE, S.D. – A Chicago man barred

from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota has been

sentenced to nine months in federal custody for repeatedly ignoring

the tribal order.

Forty-three-year-old Steven Nichols

recently pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to criminal trespass

and was sentenced. He’ll be on supervised release for a year after

his time in custody is over, and he can’t re-enter the reservation.

Nichols was barred from the

reservation and escorted off tribal lands in September 2011. The

reason wasn’t immediately clear.

U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says

Nichols was caught on the reservation three times over the next two

and-a-half years.



MINNEAPOLIS – The United States

Attorney’s Office announced the sentencing of two men who committed

unrelated violent crimes on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

In the U.S. District Court in Duluth

on Oct. 22, Fernando Luis May-Gil-Garcia, 29, and 25-year-old Avery

Wade Schoenborn both received sentences of 84 months, or 7 years, in

prison. Both are enrolled members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa


May-Gil-Garcia was sentenced for

striking a female victim multiple times with his fist as well as

biting her on the face and back. The victim was holding a baby at the

time and unable to defend herself. She suffered multiple broken bones

in her face and the baby was also struck during the assault.

Schoenborn was convicted for entering

a house and sexually assaulting an intoxicated victim, who was

unconscious at her friend’s home. She was later taken to the

hospital where she regained consciousness, was treated and released.

Both cases resulted from

investigations conducted by the FBI and Red Lake Police Department.

They were both prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford




CASS LAKE, Minn. – An 88-foot tall white

spruce, destined to be the nation’s Christmas Tree on the U.S.

Capitol grounds, will be cut in Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest.

The tree will be cut from a spot in

the forest about 10 miles from Cass Lake in a ceremony attended by

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Rick Nolan. There will also be a

traditional blessing ceremony by Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe members.

Jim Scheff, who is the state’s Logger

of the Year, will cut the tree.

The tree will then be wrapped and

taken by truck to Washington, D.C., on a long trip with many stops.

The tree’s route can be followed online.

The Capitol’s Christmas tree comes

each year from a national forest around the country. The last

Minnesota tree, also a white spruce, was cut from the Chippewa

National Forest in 1992.




– The National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media

launched a new anti-Washington team ad campaign though the

Minneapolis-based advertising agency Red Circle.

The agency is owned by Chad Germann –

a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The agency works primarily

with the hospitality industry, including many Native American


“I was tired of people avoiding what

I think is the real issue. There is no word in the American lexicon

that is more hurtful to the Native American,” Germann said in a

statement. “We’re left with this ugly word. People don’t talk about

how ugly it is. We need to talk about it.”

The ad opens with a black woman

looking into the camera and saying, “I am a n—–.” The ad

continues with people of Vietnamese, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Chinese

and Cuban descent speaking their own, censored racial slurs into the

camera. "Why would the FCC ban all those other words and allow

this one?” asked Melanie Benjamin, chief executive of the Mille

Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

The ad is punctuated by a Native

American man saying, “I am a Redskin.” “This is equally

profane,” the ad says. “There’s no honor in racism.”

The ad comes days before the

Washington team is scheduled to play the Minnesota Vikings in

Minneapolis. The Hennepin County board passed a resolution for the

team to find a name that it says isn’t racist and derogatory.

Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said the nickname “has no place in

the 21st century.”

Team owner Daniel Snyder insists he

will not change the name.

The word came from a time when there

was a bounty on Native Americans and people would kill them and

present their bloody scalps as proof to get paid. "I think if

people understood that and thought about it and knew what that word

really means, then maybe they’ll think differently about that and

maybe we can get some more effective pressure on Redskins ownership,”

Germann said.



CLOQUET, Minn. – St. Louis County and

Fond du Lac leaders unveiled some new signage on Oct. 22. Two lakes

on the Fond du Lac Reservation are now labeled with bilingual signs

that list the names in both English and Ojibwe.

The signs are the result of an

agreement between St. Louis County and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake

Superior Chippewa. The band asked the county to install bilingual

traffic signs to identify natural features, such as lakes and rivers,

as a way to preserve the their culture.

The county’s public works department

will post the signs along several county roads. The band has a

similar agreement for bilingual signs with Carlton County.



CHICAGO – Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, a

Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin citizen, was named president of the

national board of the Girl Scouts on Oct. 23.

Hannan, a Girl Scouts alumna whose two

daughters also went through the program, is the first Native American

in the post. She is the highest-ranking volunteer member of the Girl


"I am extremely honored and

excited to have been selected by the delegates of the Girl Scout

Movement to serve as National Board President to GSUSA," Hannan

said in a press release. "The opportunities presented to girls

today have never been greater, but the challenges they face have also

never been more difficult to overcome. That is why the Girl Scout

mission remains so vitally important in today’s world."

Hannan is the national managing

partner of diversity and corporate responsibility at KPMG in Chicago,

Illinois. She is a past board member of the Anti-Defamation League,

the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, The Chicago Network, and

Loras College.