Issue 40, October 12, 2016

    A Letter from the Publisher


    Shekóli. A contentious election. A troubled country. A population concerned with everything from jobs to disaster recovery to water and energy resources. In a campaign year, it’s difficult to look beyond divisive rhetoric. It’s challenging to imagine how exactly our communities, nations and global alliances will resolve differences and confront problems of historic proportions.

    While the above description accurately describes the condition of the United States today, it also applies to the situation in Navajo last year. One year after a fraught election, ICTMN examines the post-campaign direction and leadership of this Native nation with Vice President Jonathan Nez. In a wide-ranging interview this week, Nez addresses just where things stand on such crucial issues as the Bennett Freeze, the Nation’s lawsuit against the EPA over the Gold King Mine Spill, and the problems his citizens face from outside law enforcement. Anyone living in Navajo or reading this feature will understand that working for positive change is a slow, careful process for leadership and, most important, for the everyday people who are the only ones who can make it truly happen.

    Most people want to work hard, lead their lives, and look to a brighter future. Even so, it’s become increasingly clear (in the face of massive hurricane flooding and the degradation of our air, land and water) that major policy decisions need to be set on a grand scale. When prospective leaders get lost in negative attacks and personal diversions, we miss opportunities to develop plans for a sustainable future. The technologies to do so exist all around us; Native communities are in possession of some that are eons old (controlled grass and scrub burns, anyone?).

    We just have to remember that leaders are chosen, and that everyone has the power in them to stand up and do what’s right.


    NΛ ki wa,

    Ray Halbritter


    Dakota Access And Obama’s Legacy

    If President Obama wants to be remembered as a friend of Natives, says Gyasi Ross, he will do the right thing on the Dakota Access pipeline:

    Barack Obama has unquestionably been the “best” president ever in recognizing and respecting the Nation-to-Nation relationship of Native nations to the United States. Yet his legacy hangs in the balance. No Native nation wants the Dakota Access Pipeline and every nation recognizes that it is a violation of treaty rights. There has never been this much consensus, from Native nation to Native nation, on one issue.

    Tribal leaders understand the importance of his action on Dakota Access. As NCAI President Brian Cladoosby said,  “We thank President Obama for visiting Indian Country—it was a historic visit to the Standing Rock homelands. …The youth came away thinking that the President had their back.  Now they need him to really have their back more than ever. Their generation, and generations to come, would be devastated if this pipeline went through. We need the easement denied.”

    Along with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Dakota Access Pipeline also threatens the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s water sources. Cheyenne River Chairman Harold Frazier spoke strongly on what President Obama needs to do. “A young Native girl testified to the President and he talked to her and promised her that he would protect her. He needs to live up to his words and promises.”

    President Obama cannot sacrifice eight years of hard work. He and Native nations have worked too hard to rebuild hundreds of years of broken trust to compromise that legacy now. This pipeline cannot be completed without federal approval. If Obama values the relationship he’s built with Native nations, he needs to kill it.

    Natives And Our National Parks

    The Next 100 Coalition comprises more than 30 civil rights, environmental and conservation organizations dedicated to extending the ideals of the National Park Service going forward from its centennial. Dean B. Suagee urges strong Native input and outreach:

    The coalition calls for more attention to ethnic diversity in telling the stories about our parks and national monuments, and in adding new ones. America’s complex history includes many stories about how places that are now national parks used to be inhabited by indigenous tribal nations.

    There are also many stories about how this came about. These stories do not get told as often, or in as much detail, as they should. The American people would benefit from greater involvement of Native people in the telling of these stories—including the development of exhibits at visitor centers and the composition of text for historical markers, but also in actually speaking to groups of park visitors.

    The chances for success will be improved if Native people are engaged in the discussions. For example, workforce diversity programs should include outreach efforts to educational institutions. To reach Native young people, those efforts will need to reach tribal schools, colleges, and universities. People who have been educated in such tribal institutions may well have valuable insights into how to conduct such outreach.

    The groups in the Next 100 Coalition can support issues such as the proposed Bears Ears and Gold Butte National Monuments (both are mentioned in its policy document) and push issues such as workforce diversity. But they could use some help from Native people in speaking to such issues from their experiences.

    The Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday on August 25. The next 100 years has begun.

    Our Students Can Take It

    Recently, when Toni Tsatoke of the University of Oklahoma Native American Languages and Native American studies programs lectured about the era of the Indian Removal Act, she found personal and professional affirmation:

    At the end of the lecture, I shared a dramatic segment of a documentary that gave a powerful visual representation of what the Trail of Tears really was—the dreadful “G” word, “genocide.” The visual that my students was left with was described from an actual written account by a New Englander who observed a woman carrying her dying baby.  Historical accounts estimate that over 5,000 people perished during that single initiative. It’s a painful part of our collective history, and even after 170 or 180 years it’s a hurt that  people can still feel and relate to.

    I always remind my students that learning a more whole American history that includes the indigenous perspective isn’t a means to create sympathetic non-Indian people. It’s the only way to educate and result in an informed people as a whole—because, after all, most American Indian children are public school educated with the rest of mainstream America.

    I could tell from the faces on all types of students—regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or gender—that for some of them, it was the first time they actually took a moment to acknowledge the human experiences that occurred during the Indian Removal Era.

    We, as educators, can’t “protect” our students from our history, nor should we gloss over complicated and difficult subject matter. I believe that students can “handle” more than we give them credit for and that they want to learn the truth. More inclusive histories can only bring about more informed citizens later.

    ICT News


    Standing Rock Sioux Fail To Secure Dakota Access Injunction


    A federal judicial panel has denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction that would have stopped progress of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) through treaty-protected, sacred burial grounds.

    In a ruling issued on October 9, U.S. District Court judges Janice Rogers Brown, Thomas B. Griffith and Cornelia T.L. Pillard acknowledged the “narrow and stringent standard” that formed their legal parameters. They also noted that key permits that would allow the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River are still pending, and that Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act “was intended to mediate precisely the disparate perspectives involved in a case such as this one.”

    “Ours is not the final word,” they wrote. “A necessary easement still awaits government approval—a decision [the Army Corps of Engineers] counsel predicts is likely weeks away; meanwhile, Intervenor DAPL has rights of access to the limited portion of pipeline corridor not yet cleared—where the Tribe alleges additional historic sites are at risk. We can only hope the spirit of Section 106 may yet prevail.”

    “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is not backing down,” responded tribal chairman David Achambault II. “We are guided by prayer, and we will continue to fight for our people. We will not rest until our lands, people, waters and sacred places are permanently protected from this destructive pipeline.”

    Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, remained hopeful. “They [the panel] left, I think, a window open for our trustee the federal government to really examine the 106 process and make sure that their consultation process is adequate for projects like this one that affects tribes at this level,” he told ICTMN.

    Sacred Sites Saved As Vote Quashes Southern California Building Project


    In a victory for a coalition of Southern California indigenous nations, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) has rejected a permit to build a massive commercial and residential development in Newport Beach. The 400-acre property, known as the Banning Ranch, contains numerous sites considered sacred by the local Tonva and Acjachemen people, who call the land “Genga.”

    The CCC rejected the permit in a 9–1 vote on September 7, ending a 20-year battle, reported The Orange County Register. “This is a great decision, for once,” said Anthony Morales, tribal chairman of the Gabrielino Tongva, one of many groups opposing the development. “It was obvious that it was too premature for the project to go before the Coastal Commission.”

    Environmental opponents focused on building a wildlife habitat on the site, while Native peoples recognized it as a place of deep cultural significance and widespread historical use. In California, the state laws SB 18 and AB 52 require greater tribal consultation and consideration of tribal cultural resources in development projects.

    There are at least eight sites that the Coastal Commission recognizes as cultural resources on the property, at least three of which are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historic Resources.

    The aborted project would have built 895 homes, a mall, hotel and a hostel in one of the last remaining open spaces on the Southern California coast. If it were reconfigured to fit within a 20-acre footprint, it could potentially move forward, the Los Angeles Times reported. “The future of the site is unknown,” acknowledged Angela Mooney D’Arcy of the Sacred Places Institute.

    Indigenous Peoples’ Day Resolution Passes Unanimously In Phoenix


    Phoenix, Arizona has become the latest—and is now the largest—U.S. city to officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, in opposition to Columbus Day. The designation was made by a unanimous 9-0 vote of the Phoenix City Council on October 5.

    Residents Jeff Malkoon and Carlos Bravo, of the group Phoenicians for Recognition of Indigenous People’s Day, submitted an application for a historical commemoration in May.

    Various Native American groups, including Indigenous People’s Day Arizona and the Phoenix Indian Center supported the resolution. In remarks to the city council, Indigenous Peoples’ Day Arizona co-founder Laura Medina called for the abolition of Columbus Day. “It is important to acknowledge the original people of this land, and that is something that Columbus Day has completely contradicted,” said Medina. But she met resistance from city councilman Jim Waring, who advocated both retaining Columbus Day and noting the contributions of Native Americans with the passage of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution.

    “The move neither creates an official city holiday nor does it replace Columbus Day, which Phoenix doesn’t observe as a city holiday,” noted the Arizona Republic. “But supporters said it will promote a more accurate understanding of history and celebrate the city’s large, vibrant Native American population.”

    Approximately 25 U.S. cities have opted out of celebrating Columbus Day. They include Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; and Lawrence, Kansas.

    ICT News

    Indigenous Leaders From Ecuador Join Standing Rock Protest


    Indigenous leaders from Ecuador joined the water protectors at Standing Rock last month to show solidarity in light of the struggles that their community have lately waged against oil companies and politicians.

    Franco Viteri, Nina Gualinga and Eriberto Gualinga from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku, accompanied by Leo Cerda (Kichwa from Tena), arrived on September 13. The visitors have fought for a decade against multinational oil companies and the Ecuadorian government’s efforts to drill in their Amazonian community, known as Sarayaku.

    “We came from the Amazon jungle with a message of strength and solidarity for the Sioux,” Viteri said. “My people are very conscious, because of our history and our tradition, just like the tribes here, of our connection with nature, with Mother Earth; we know that this is what gives balance to life here on Earth. The transnational corporations, like those trying to build this oil pipeline, are blind because they don’t understand the language of nature.”

    Viteri noted that he had seen other Indigenous Peoples from Latin America at the camp, and recalled that he had spoken with a few from Honduras, Peru and El Salvador. He concluded with this message: “In the name of all the children, elders, women, the birds, the large and small animals that depend on water to survive, the Kichwa people extend a greeting, a sacred greeting of respect for nature and for the life of all the peoples of the North, because we know that if water is destroyed, life on Earth will end.”

    Weather Wreaks Havoc With Wild Rice Harvests 


    Drenching storms and plant disease have devastated wild rice crops in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, depriving local tribes of the staple known in Ojibwe as manoomin, a.k.a. “the good berry.”

    One recent excursion to Chippewa Lake yielded only 15 grains of rice, said Marvin Defoe (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa): “The water level on this lake was seven feet higher than normal, which is unbelievable.” Defoe had to travel three and a half hours south to find adequate wild rice to harvest, he said.

    “We struggled like Wisconsin—a wet summer seemed to wreak havoc on our lakes,” reported Thomas Howes, natural resources program manager for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “For our on-reservation lakes, we harvested about one-tenth of what we normally do.” The Fond du Lac and Red Cliff areas both endured major July storms that destroyed portions of highway in northern Wisconsin and affected the multi-agency, multi-year reseeding program to restore manoomin to the St. Louis River estuary, Howes said.

    “We saw a fairly poor crop even in some of the areas that weren’t hit that hard,” said Peter David, a biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. “In addition to the individual storm events, we had general high water that correlated to lower rice crops. The rains knocked seed down. . . . In some areas, there were disease outbreaks that might have been associated from the flooding. We’re probably [experiencing] maybe half of an average season.”

    Wild rice harvest fluctuations are not inherently unusual, David acknowledged: “The old rule is in four years, you’ll have one very good, one very poor and a couple of middling years.”

    Amnesty International USA Wants Inquiry Into Pipeline Protest

    Amnesty International USA is pressing for an official inquiry into the use of pepper spray and attack dogs against anti-Dakota Access pipeline protesters on September 3. “We are writing to ask you to investigate the use of force by private contractors,” wrote Amnesty International Executive Director Margaret Huang to Morton County (North Dakota) Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.

    “Even though individuals trespassed on to private property in order to stop the destruction of potential cultural sites,” Huang wrote on September 28, “law enforcement, in its obligation to facilitate peaceful protest, has a duty to protect peaceful protesters and not use the unlawful acts of a few as a pretext to restrict or impede the exercise of fundamental rights of a majority.”

    Huang notified Kirchmeier that her organization had also requested that Morton County State’s Attorney Allen Coppy drop charges of criminal trespass against Amy Goodman, a journalist for Democracy Now! who entered private property to report on the story. Huang said the trespass was “clearly related to, even essential to, effectively carrying out her role of covering the protest and making information about it available to the public.”

    Huang also requested that sheriff’s officers refrain from wearing riot gear and deploying assault rifles and armored vehicles. “As seen in many countries,” she wrote, “inappropriate or excessive police interventions can actually lead to violence and disorder rather than reducing tensions.”

    In conclusion, she reminded Kirchmeier that the federal government “is obligated under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous people, including the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”

    A Matter Of Artifacts

    For the Standing Rock Sioux, water is not the only issue


    Bottom Line: The argument that the Dakota Access pipeline will not endanger sacred sites is far from over.

    One Standing Rock official believes that the pipeline site should now be considered a crime scene.

    ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

    The construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) did not destroy sites sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Nor do sacred sites exist within the disputed 1.36-mile corridor located on Cannonball Ranch, recently purchased by Dakota Access LLC.

    That was the conclusion of archaeologists from the North Dakota Historical Society. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, however, disagrees. Indeed, they say, Historical Society representatives have not dealt honestly with the tribe on the matter.

    “I was invited to a meeting on September 23 with the Morton County Sheriff, the State Historical Society and other members of the task force investigating this issue where I thought we would discuss plans to visit the site,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Officer John Eagle. “At that meeting, I was told [by sheriff’s officials] that archaeologists were already at the location and that I would not be allowed access.”

    Indeed, DAPL officials had specified that they would allow an archaeological inspection of the pipeline easement only under the condition that no Standing Rock tribal officials were included.

    Tribal leaders insist that the area contains dozens of burials, stone rings, effigies and other culturally significant features. On September 2 Tim Mentz, former Standing Rock THPO, filed survey papers detailing locations of these features in federal court. Mentz’s family owns a business that does archaeological and tribal identification survey work; he conducted the survey on the disputed land with permission of the Cannonball Ranch owners weeks before Dakota Access LLC purchased the land on September 20. Prior to that date, the company had purchased use of an easement from the ranch owners in order to conduct pipeline construction.

    On September 3, the day after the tribe filed papers, including Mentz’s survey, DAPL workers bulldozed piles of earth over the area containing archaeological evidence, Eagle said. The corridor, he believes, should now be considered a crime scene.

    Although the Morton Country Sheriff’s Department says it has encouraged Dakota Access officials to allow tribal access to the site during the archaeological inspection, they consider the matter closed.

    “Jon Eagle’s input was incredibly valuable to the taskforce in gaining an understanding of his opinion regarding the area,” said Morton County Sheriff spokesperson Rob Keller. “However, Morton County is relying on the expertise of the State Archeologists who surveyed the property and have made a determination that no human remains or significant sites were found in the pipeline corridor.”

    Morton County sheriffs cite a memo and report issued September 22 by Paul R. Picha, Chief Archaeologist with the State Historical Society of North Dakota. It describes a pedestrian inventory (cultural resources survey) in which seven Society archaeologists surveyed the corridor at seven-meter spacing intervals, inspecting the surface and the sides of the soil berms that had been dug out to make a trench for the pipeline. The survey indicates that archaeologists found no evidence of human bones or burials.

    The Sheriffs Office invited Eagle on September 26 to discuss the completed state survey. He insists that the soil berms created by pipeline construction have destroyed and covered the artifacts and other evidence. Dakota Access denies the company destroyed any cultural sites, according to Forum News Service.

    However, Eagle countered, North Dakota Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Fern Swenson has presented images of the group’s findings during the September 26 meeting that clearly showed how the soil covered half of a stone feature.

    DAPL representatives did not respond to e-mailed questions from ICTMN; Kim Johndal, spokesperson for the Historical Society, did not respond to a telephone request for information.

    The current conflicts, some tribal representatives believe, actually augur well for their claims that the area is a site of cultural importance. “We are receiving public support from heavy hitters in the museum, historical and archaeology community,” Eagle said.

    The Natural History Museum, a mobile and pop-up institution, has initiated a sign-on letter campaign. It asks archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and museum workers to call on the federal government to include proper consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in cultural and environmental surveys and impact statements regarding construction of the pipeline.

    “We join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in denouncing the recent destruction of ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people,” the letter states.

    So far nearly 1,300 people have signed the appeal. They include Richard W. Lariviere, president and chief executive of the Field Museum in Chicago, and Brenda Toineeta Pipestem, chairwoman of the board of the National Museum of the American Indian.

    Challenges Of A Nation

    ‘We, as Navajo people, have the power to change our lives’


    On the job 16 months, Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez has his hands full.

    Alysa Landry

    Editor’s Note: Navajo Vice President Jonathan Nez took office in May 2015 after a tumultuous election that resulted in court hearings, disqualified candidates and an unprecedented debate over the importance of speaking the Navajo language.

    Nez and running mate Russell Begaye won their bid for office in a delayed election and took the oath as the Navajo Nation faced some of the most complicated issues in its history. During his short tenure in office, Nez already has contended with police-involved shootings, border town violence, lawsuits against the federal government and long-standing disputes over land and water rights.

    A marathon runner who hails from Shonto, Arizona, Nez advocates for education, local empowerment and enhanced sovereignty. Sixteen months into his term, he sat down for a candid interview with ICTMN.


    It’s been more than seven years since President Obama repealed the Bennett Freeze. What does the thaw look like on the Navajo Nation?

    There are still so many regulations we have to deal with, but the overall master plan is being developed for that area. A lot of our people got relocated out of there and many of them have yet to be compensated. We need the federal government to honor its promise to provide resources to those people.

    Right now, we’re working on a plan, approving projects for electricity and water lines. We have $1 million for dams and windmills and $2 million to provide homes.

    Things just don’t happen very quickly on the Navajo Nation, but for this project, seeing tangible results and rehabilitation in the former Bennett Freeze—that’s in the near future. For some of those people who really need homes, we’re hoping to provide those before winter.

    A police officer who shot and killed a Navajo woman in Winslow, Arizona, in April was cleared of wrongdoing. What is the Navajo Nation doing to get justice for Loreal Tsingine?

    We’re trying to get the federal Department of Justice to investigate the incident. We’re just waiting for that. After the Arizona Department of Public Safety did its investigation and cleared the officer, we weren’t satisfied.

    The Navajo Nation recently announced that it is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over the August 2015 Gold King Mine spill. In the lawsuit, the Nation is asking that the Navajo way of life be restored. What will that look like?

    Right now, there is so much hurt. This incident instilled more mistrust in the federal government. We have had hearings in D.C. and in Phoenix, and senators have come out here, but there is this long-term psychological effect that will linger for a long time. There’s already distrust about using the water.

    We’re challenging the federal government, as always, because they need to step up and clean up the river, and also hold those mining companies accountable for all the neglect that’s happened in the Colorado mountains. The Gold King Mine was one of thousands of abandoned mines. Just imagine, this could happen again—and it probably will.

    So we’re suing the U.S. EPA. We need to raise awareness of the need to compensate our people and clean up the river. This is constantly on our radar and there’s continuous advocacy for the folks along the river.

    A longstanding issue on the Navajo Nation is the lack of electricity and running water for tens of thousands of residents. What are you doing to remedy the situation?

    We have, right now, over $300 million appropriated by the Navajo Nation Council and signed into law by the president for water infrastructure. I’ve been a lawmaker for eight years and I’ve never seen this much money put aside to help improve basic life for our people. Some of that will go to extend water lines, and then we can work with Indian Health Service to help fund individual hookups.

    We’re also working to extend electricity trunk lines and develop a package to make that affordable. We are encouraging folks to plan with their families to create communities on their ancestral lands. If they group everyone together, that makes power and water more affordable. That’s the biggest bang for the buck.

    They also have to realize that if they want to live way out there, they will probably not see power or water. So the bottom line is that we’re encouraging people to put together plans so we can provide infrastructure.

    Another perennial issue is unemployment, which hovers at about 50 percent. What can be done to create jobs?

    A lot of our families, in order to make ends meet, are sending one parent off the reservation to get a job. That’s five or six days a week away from the family. Then social ills start plaguing us because parents are split.

    We are investing millions of dollars in Navajo business and we believe jobs are just around the corner. We want to empower individuals, families, communities and the entire Navajo Nation. Our ultimate goal is to create jobs that will bring a lot of our Navajo people home.

    One of your personal goals is improved health for yourself and the Navajo Nation. What would you like to see the Navajo people achieve in terms of health?

    I was once 300 pounds, and I was telling kids to be healthy and take care of themselves. Then I realized they weren’t going to believe a 300-pound man. One day a young man called me on that. He said, “You tell us to eat right, but every year we see you getting bigger and bigger.” I decided he was right. I needed to control myself. So I lost 100 pounds and started running.

    If we’re a sovereign nation, we should be in charge of our own health. That means we should be able to grow our own Native foods, to go back to our traditional seeds and encourage our people to return to subsistence farming.

    We also need to challenge our lawmakers to make laws that are more friendly to our farmers and ranchers. If you’re going to put a gas station, service station, convenience store or grocery store on the Navajo Nation, you should sell Navajo fruits and vegetables and Navajo meats. That’s food sovereignty at its highest. We also have our junk food tax, which I supported to help our people be a lot more aware of their health.

    You and President Russell Begaye have been in office for more than a year. What’s still to come before the end of your term?

    We just want to leave a lasting impression on our people. We want them to know that we, as Navajo people, have the power to change our own lives and our own families. We want our people to be the best they can be. Now is the time for all able-bodied individuals to be part of the building process. Now is the time to help each other, to bring back service and volunteerism.

    This will come in gradual steps. It may not happen this year or next, but we’re hoping in this administration to plant a seed for our families to become stronger and combat the monsters we fight on a daily basis: alcohol, drugs, poverty and violence. We all know that a healthy family can fight a lot of these monsters off.

    What we really want to see in this administration is that our families are whole and healthy. We want to plant that seed of empowerment so that in one or two generations we’ll see true self, true sovereignty—a return to who we were.

    On-Reserve Child Funding Lags

    ‘Why are they taking so long?’


    Bottom Line: The complaint was filed in 2007. The order came down in January. And still, critics say, little is being done.

    Child advocate Cindy Blackstock is dissatisfied with the Canadian government’s sluggish response to calls for increased funding for on-reserve child welfare.

    Canada AM/CTV

    Not good enough. That is what the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has told Ottawa regarding its response to longstanding complaints about funding for on-reserve child welfare.

    On January 26, the quasi-governmental Tribunal ordered Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to increase on-reserve child welfare funding, to bring it into line with the funding provided to non-reserve children. But in a second Supplemental Decision, issued on September 14, the Tribunal determined that the INAC had failed to do so.

    This lack of action “is reflective of INAC’s old mindset that spurred this complaint,” the Tribunal declared. “This may imply that INAC is still informed by information and policies that fall within this old mindset.”

    The Tribunal’s new compliance order directs the government to explain how it is implementing the initial ruling.

    “I am profoundly disappointed that the federal government is failing to comply with repeated legal orders to end its racial discrimination against 163,000 First Nations children,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, who brought the initial charges against the government in 2007. “As the Tribunal suggested in January, Ottawa needs to move from empty rhetoric to meaningful action.”

    The ruling Liberal Party’s federal budget includes about $635 million over five years in new funding, with $71 million set to be released immediately, the Canadian Press reported. But Blackstock said that the latter figure falls $200 million short of what is needed. Six percent of on-reserve children are in state care, she noted—almost eight times the rate for other Canadian children.

    “Why are they taking so long?” she asked the Canadian Press. “What they are doing is illegal and immoral. We’re talking about little kids.”

    Indigenous leaders concurred. “I welcome today’s ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal, but it is disappointing to see that Canada has to be pushed to respect human rights and end discrimination against First Nations children,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde.

    Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart agreed. “The fact that Canada is dragging its feet is contrary to fairness and human rights,” he said.

    As part of its directive to INAC to increase on-reserve child welfare funding, the Tribunal instructed the agency to relax financial standards, take into account cost-of-living increases, and allow for the remoteness of certain communities.

    The Tribunal specifically invoked Jordan’s Principle, a policy designed to keep children’s services from becoming ensnarled in financial bureaucracy. The measure is named after Jordan River Anderson, who was born in 2001 with a rare muscular disorder and spent the next two years in a Winnipeg hospital. When it came time for him to return home, various government entities could not agree on who would pay for his medical care. Restricted to the hospital while the parties haggled, he died in 2005.

    The Tribunal told INAC that Jordan’s Principle must apply to all medical needs—not just acute and complex situations—and to Indigenous Peoples both on- and off-reserve. The Tribunal also called for details on how measures are being carried out, and for INAC to consult with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

    Ottawa is reviewing the Tribunal’s latest order, said Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.

    “We know that the child welfare system on reserve needs to be overhauled, and that is why we are engaging with First Nations youth, First Nations leadership, service providers, the provinces and Yukon Territory,” she told the Canadian Press. “Our government is committed to changing the status quo, and we are taking action to ensure that we get this right for First Nation children and families on reserve.”

    Albert Goodman Plaza is now accepting applications for the waiting list for the development locates at 970 Boston Road. Bronx, NY 10456.

    These apartments are subsidized under the HUD Section 8 program. Applicants must meet the Section 8 program income and family size requirements.

     For interested Applicants, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your name, mailing address and telephone number in your letter.

    Each applicant may submit only one application. Multiple applications by the same applicant will not be accepted. No fee is required to obtain an application. Complete applications must be returned by REGULAR MAIL ONLY to

    Albert Goodman Plaza
    PO. Box 931
    Bronx, NY 10455



    Albert Goodman Plaza does not discriminate on the basis of disability status in the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its federally assisted programs and activities.

    Pond View Homes I L.P.
    a 52-unit building including 7 units designed for the handicapped or disabled located at 53A High Court Manhasset, NY 11030 is opening its waiting list for Studio, 1,2, 3, &4 bedrooms rental units to eligible families with limited income.

    Qualifications will be based on
    Low Income Housing Tax Credit guidelines.

    Interested persons may obtain an application in person between 11 am & 3pm at Pond View Homes I L.P. Management Office located at 277 Northern Blvd, Great Neck, NY 11021 or request an application by writing to Pond View Homes I L.P.

    Att: Waiting List
    277 Northern Boulevard,
    Great Neck, NY 11021

    If you have a disability & need assistance
    with the application process, please contact
    Alyssa Kennedy at 516-487-0041 ext 321.



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    Oglala Sioux Tribe

    Department of Public Safety
    PO Box 300 Pine Ridge,
    South Dakota 57770
    Phone (605) 867-5141
    fax (605)867-1340


    The Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety is interested in obtaining proposals for General Liability, Auto and Crime Insurance, Effective September 1, 2016 and ending October 1, 2017. No unilateral changes or modifications of proposals will be allowed after they have been delivered to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety.

    The OST Department of Public Safety is seeking quotes for the following lines of coverage:



    General Liability to include Law Enforcement Liability


    Excess Workers Compensation

    Umbrella/Excess Liability

    Bids will be due October 14, 2016 @ 4:00 P.M. A review will be made by the (Acting) Chief  Financial Officer, Mason Big Crow of your proposal, and given to the Board of Directors for approval. The OST Department of Public Safety will award the contract that best serves the company’s interest.

    Please submit two original copies of your proposal to:

    Mason Big Crow
    Acting Chief Financial Officer
    OST Department of Public Safety

    PO Box 300
    Pine Ridge, SD 57770
    605-867-5141 ext. 8119


    San Carlos Housing Authority
    Post Office Box 740
    Peridot, AZ 85542
    Phone 928/475-2346 (Main)
    Fax 928/475-2349
    Office Hours: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

    Request For Proposals



    The San Carlos Housing Authority is currently requesting proposals from qualified firms for Asset Management services for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Projects.

    The qualified service provider or its principals must be able to provide the following services for Low Income Tax Credit Projects.

    Site Visits


    Final Pay

    Form 8609s

    Compliance Reports


    Problem Solving


    Software Management

    And any other compliance issues related to Low Income Tax Credit Projects.

    All proposals are due October 26, 2016 by 4:00p.m. to the San Carlos Housing Authority Main Office. Detailed information and a copy of RFP -Asset Management Service which list additional requirements and forms, can be obtained by contacting Angela Randall, Purchase Coordinator of San Carlos Housing Authority at 928-475-2346,(

    United Indian Health Services, Inc.

    Request for Proposal (“RFP”) to Provide Independent Audit Services

    United Indian Health Services, Inc. (“UIHS”) is requesting proposals from independent accounting firms that have experience in providing audit and tax services for nonprofit organizations that operate within the healthcare environment, and more specifically as a Tribal Health Program. UIHS ( was founded in 1970 with the mission to provide a broad range of healthcare services primarily to American Indians residing within counties of Humboldt and Del Norte, California. We are soliciting firms interested in receiving a RFP and submitting a proposal to us by early November for consideration. A more complete description of our organization, the services needed, and other pertinent information will be provided in the RFP. Request to receive the RFP should also include a brief statement on the qualifications of your firm, and may be sent to the attention of:

    Laura Borden Chairperson
    Audit Committee
    United Indian Health Services, Inc.
    1600 Weeot Way
    Arcata, CA 95521
    Further questions contact

    The Week in Photos

    Courtesy Leland Dick

    Armed police are now a common sight at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

    Joshua Aidan Dunn

    The Gay Pride or “rainbow” flag (at right) is a growing presence at pow wows, including the Tracy Intertribal Pow Wow outside San Jose.


    A Warrior of the People by Joe Starita is a new biography of Dr. Susan La Flesche, the first Western-trained Native American doctor.

     Courtesy Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

    Amber Cardinal, project coordinator for the American Indian Cancer Foundation, moderated a panel at the First Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition last month.

     Headlines from the Web

    Upcoming Events


    October 18: Starting the Community Food Sovereignty Assessment Process
    This first of a series of four webinars will assist First Nations in understanding food sovereignty and what it means to each community or tribe. Specifications and definitions of food sovereignty work in Indian country will be offered, as will examples of community engagement, organizational structure and timelines. Sponsored by the First Nations Development Institute.
    Contact Information:

    October 18-21: National Tribal Judicial & Court Personnel Conference
    “Tribal Justice Matters: Role of Tribal Courts in Upholding Indigenous Rights” will be the theme of the 47th annual conference, which will provide culturally appropriate continuing legal education to tribal judges, peacemakers and court personnel. Participants will learn about major recent court decisions and legislation, as well as emerging practices that improve the quality of tribal justice administration while maintaining fidelity to tribal traditions, customs and values. Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to network with and learn from their tribal court peers.
    Location: Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Palm Springs, California

    October 19-20: Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation Conference
    The conference will highlight opportunities designed to develop aboriginal economies, promote community prosperity and contribute to the Canadian economy. There will be networking and knowledge sharing opportunities with community leaders, government representatives and corporate Canada; speakers include Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty.
    Location: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta

    October 19-22: World Indigenous Law Conference
    This international conference gathers indigenous lawyers, practitioners, academics and those interested in furthering their understanding of issues facing Indigenous Peoples. Key elements include an international discourse on Indigenous Peoples’ jurisprudence, examining legal frameworks and strategies for self-determined futures. Specific areas of inquiry will be devoted to violence against indigenous women and children; traditional knowledge; environment and climate change; treaties and conventions; intellectual property; and tribal jurisdictions and territorial integrity.
    Location: Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences & Engineering, Irvine, California

    October 20: American Indian Health Research Conference
    “Mental and Physical Well Being in Tribal Communities” will bring together national speakers, researchers, students and community members to learn how to conduct research with American Indian communities and the research that is required in these communities. Opportunities for students to present their work and to partner with communities, tribal colleges and researchers will also be afforded.
    Location: Alerus Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota

    October 20-22: Alaska Federation of Natives Convention
    The 50th annual AFN convention will feature keynote speeches, expert panels and cultural performances. Speakers will include Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart, Chairman of the Alaska Native Veterans Council George Bennett, Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot, Rep. Don Young and Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.
    Location: Carlson Center, Fairbanks, Alaska

    Letters to the Editor

    In “What Makes a Briefcase Warrior?” (September 28), Peter d’Errico mentions “the Doctrine of Christian Discovery,” which was codified in the 1823 Supreme Court decision Johnson v. M’Intosh. It ruled that the government’s title was superior to that of the aboriginal occupants.

    One hundred thirty-two years later, when the Tee-Hit-Ton Indians of Alaska had their timber sold by the federal government and clear-cut, the Supreme Court invoked Johnson v. M’Intosh to rule against any compensation. In the majority opinion for Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States (1955), Justice Stanley Forman Reed wrote, “It leaves with Congress, where it belongs, the policy of Indian gratuities for the termination of Indian occupancy of government-owned land rather than making compensation for its value a rigid constitutional principle.”

    Is this not a rigged system?

    Steve Melendez
    Houston, Texas


    Re your account of the first anniversary of the Gold King Mine spill (September 14):

    I say to the victims, sue for any damages done to one’s sick or elders. Keep medical records of the sick. It is time to fight back.

    —Lillian Jaehnig



    Top News Alerts


    The Muscogee (Creek) Nation (MCN) laid off 123 employees of its Department of Health across six clinics on September 30, citing a budget deficit. In addition to the layoffs, 55 other workers were transferred to other positions, reported the ABC News affiliate KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Leadership right now is doing the best they can to provide the best quality care for our tribal citizens,” said MCN spokesman Geebon Gouge. “It is something that had to be done to prevent any more deficit.”


    The Seminole Tribal Council voted 4-0 to remove James E. Billie as chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida on September 28, citing “various issues with policies and procedures of the chairman’s office.” Billie was chairman from 1979 to 2001—the “longest tenure of any elected leader in the Western Hemisphere, other than Fidel Castro,” reported the Miami Herald—and again from 2010 until his removal. His time in office was marked by initiating high-stakes bingo and paving the way for tribal gaming rights.


    The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is donating $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s legal fund. The band cited the need for “government-to-government consultation related to federal decision making on all projects that incorporate tribal input in a meaningful way,” irrespective of the outcome of the Dakota Access oil pipeline issue. To date, the Standing Rock Sioux have received support from more than 200 tribes and indigenous organizations in the United States alone in their struggle against the pipeline.


    Only about a dozen caribou remain in the contiguous United States, The New York Times noted in a feature article last week, all of them living in the forests of the Selkirk Mountains near the Canadian border. “Right now, predation is the biggest problem, primarily wolves and cougars,” said Norm Merz, a wildlife biologist with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho. By contrast, the Times noted, some 1,354 mountain caribou dwell in southern British Columbia, dispersed among 15 subgroups.


    Ramona Horsechief (Pawnee/Cherokee) took first place honors at the National Indian Taco Championship in Pawhuska, Oklahoma on October 1. Her fifth such victory in eight years at the annual taste-off competition won her a prize of $1,500. The People’s Choice Award of $1,000 went to the Osage Sisters team of Dana Daylight and Jacque Jones; it was their fourth straight win. The 10 judges included Oklahoma State Reps. Steve Vaughan of Ponca City and Sean Roberts of Hominy.

    How Did I Miss That?

    GOP pigmentation, the return of the Bronco and
    sending in the clowns


    Photo courtesy Steve Russell Steve Russell

    Last week’s vice presidential debate took place in the electronic equivalent of an empty room, so the departures by Republican nominee Mike Pence from the Trump platform will be little noticed. Between Pence and Trump, there was lots of daylight. But the big deal was Pence interfering with the flowering bromance between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

    Trump wants to befriend Putin; Pence wants to confront Putin. Trump wants to ignore Bashar al-Assad; Pence wants to deploy military force against Assad.

    * * *

    HuffPost reported from the trial of Ammon and Ryan Bundy for armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon that Ammon Bundy is about to testify in his own defense. He claims the judge otherwise won’t let him try to prove that the federal government has no authority to operate a wildlife refuge.

    As I’ve reported before, the party with grounds to complain about the existence of the wildlife refuge would be the Northern Paiutes. The Paiutes and the park rangers have come to agreements that satisfy both, so the Paiutes have expressed no interest in litigation to shut down the wildlife refuge.

    Another occupier, Brand Nu Thornton, testified that if the park rangers had showed up, the occupiers planned to “get out of the way and let them go to work.”

    Prosecutors have presented, so far, 22 long guns, 12 handguns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition confiscated from the occupiers. My cousin Ray Sixkiller speculated that they planned to hunt for food “and expected the food to shoot back.”

    * * *

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Forsyth County teacher’s aide Jane Wood Allen was fired for a discussion on Facebook where she several times referred to Michelle Obama as “a gorilla.” Earlier, an official with the Georgia Department of Education, Jeremy Spencer, “resigned under pressure” after posting a photo of a lynched black man in a discussion about President Barack Obama with the caption, “Only one way to solve the problem . . .”

    Cousin Ray claimed he could think of at least one more way to solve the problem.

    * * *

    The Trump campaign produced a viral video when The Donald visited the International Christian Academy in Las Vegas, provoking a child on the soundtrack to observe, “See? I told ya his hair wasn’t orange.”

    “Easy to see,” Cousin Ray snickered, “when you compare his hair to his skin.”

    * * *

    Time published a summary of the recent wave of “clown hysteria.” It started in August with reports from South Carolina that clowns were trying to lure children into the woods.

    Clown hysteria spread to at least two dozen states. Alabama charged seven people with making terrorist threats involving “clown-related activity.” Hundreds of students at Penn State organized a clown hunt. (I am not informed whether they carried torches and pitchforks.) Other schools were on clown sighting lockdown in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Texas.

    Last week, things got so dicey for clowns that horror writer Stephen King, who created the evil clown Pennywise in It, was trying to dial back clown fears on Twitter: Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.

    * * *

    Contrary to Trump’s speech on the campaign trail, the Detroit Free Press reported that Ford is going to bring back the Bronco, and that the big SUV will be built in Michigan.

    Cousin Ray wondered if O.J. Simpson is planning a low speed prison break.

    * * *

    HuffPost ran a pic of an itemized statement from an Intermountain Healthcare hospital in Provo, Utah, that charged the new mother $39.35 to hold the baby. It was itemized as “skin to skin after C-SEC.” A hospital rep told HuffPost the reason for the charge is they had to bring another staffer into the room to “ensure the safety of both the mother and the child.”

    The proud dad declined to criticize the hospital, but after he quit laughing, he put the baby holding fee up for crowdfunding. He quickly raised $60.

    “Wow,” Cousin Ray exclaimed. “That’s almost enough money to allow his wife to hold the baby again!”

    Upcoming Pow Wows


    Waccamaw Siouan 46th Annual Tribal Pow Wow

    Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Grounds in the Buckhead Community
    Bolton, NC

    Indian Education Pow Wow and 35th Annual Fall Festival

    2910 Hobson Pike
    Hermitage, TN

    Chattahoochee River Park Pow Wow

    269 River Landing Road
    Chattahoochee, FL
    850-209-7083 or 850-277-1026

    Wolf Den Pow Wow

    Wolf Den Drive
    Junction of Routes 44 & 101
    Pomfret, CT

    National Championship 4th Annual Indian Pow Wow

    9333 SW Loop 410
    San Antonio, TX

    Hibernia Harvest Festival and Pow Wow

    Hibernia Park
    1 Park Road
    Coatesville, PA

    Hunting Moon 12th Annual Pow Wow

    UW Milwaukee Arena
    Milwaukee, WI

    Red Clay Pow Wow

    1140 Red Clay Park
    Cleveland, TN

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Autumn 39th Annual Pow Wow

    2200 East Kenwood Blvd
    Milwaukee, WI

    The Big Picture

    The 50-foot, 50-ton steel sculpture “Dignity,” depicting a young Lakota girl and created by Black Hills artist Dale Lamphere, has risen in Chamberlain, South Dakota. David Rooks