UNITED STATES

IAIA Senior Created Project to Support Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women

NATIVE KNOT - April 16, 2019 - 1:00am

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Red Quilt Solidarity Project (#RQSP) is an international awareness initiative dedicated to Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). While the numbers of unreported, unsolved, and uninvestigated cases of MMIW are astounding, this is not just an Indigenous problem. Violence against women is rampant all over the world. This is a global issue. In response, IAIA Student Tina Sparks started her own quilt project, inviting people from across the country to participate.



In January 2019, Tina’s Red Quilt Solidarity Project; a dress to honor MMIW by designed by Patricia Michaels’ (Taos Pueblo); and IAIA Academic Dean Charlene Teters’ (Spokane) painting “Lady in Red Shawl” was selected to be part of “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” Awareness Day during American Indian Day on February 1, 2019, in the State Capitol. NM Congresswoman   Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) was also recognized for her tireless work on behalf of MMIW and bringing the issue to national attention.  As a result of that event, Tina was invited and encouraged to attend Senate Committee meetings to advocate for MMIW bills being proposed. All three Senate proposals that were written to date, have passed the committees, and are on their way to the next level in the process.

So far, the Tina’s RQSP has received 12 submissions from across the United States, and many more are in the works. This project will be open for submissions throughout the next 12-18 months.  The national submissions to the Red Quilt Solidarity Project, as well as Tina’s BFA quilt creation and performance piece, will all be part of the BFA Senior Art Show at IAIA on April 19, 2019, from 5:30-8:00 pm.
 
The RQSP will be installed in the Library Building in front of the auditorium. For directions and a map of the campus, visit iaia.edu/about/visit.  The short-term goal for this project to travel around the country as an installation paired with a community art experience that will initiate introspection, engage community conversation and increase awareness of Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women.  The long-term goal is to transport the project to Washington, DC in 2020, and display it on the national mall, much like the AIDS Quilt in the 1980s, creating a visual voice calling for visibility, funding, and change.

For anyone interested in participating in the project, please contact tina.sparks@iaia.edu or at the Red Quilt Solidarity Project Facebook Page.
Categories: UNITED STATES

Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Senior Created Project to Support Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 16, 2019 - 12:02am

Dean Charlene Teters and Amelia Sparks-Schuler at the StandUp4MMIW event on the IAIA Campus

Published April 16, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Red Quilt Solidarity Project (#RQSP) is an international awareness initiative dedicated toMissing/Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). While the numbers of unreported, unsolved, and uninvestigated cases of MMIW are astounding, this is not just an Indigenous problem. Violence against women is rampant all over the world. This is a global issue. In response, IAIA StudentTina Sparks started her own quilt project, inviting people from across the country to participate.

In January 2019, Tina’s Red Quilt Solidarity Project; a dress to honor MMIW by designed by Patricia Michaels’ (Taos Pueblo); and IAIA Academic Dean Charlene Teters’ (Spokane) painting “Lady in Red Shawl” were selected to be part of “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” Awareness Day during American Indian Day on February 1, 2019 in the State Capitol. NM Congresswoman   Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) was also recognized for her tireless work on behalf of MMIW and bringing the issue to national attention. As a result of that event, Tina was invited and encouraged to attend Senate Committee meetings to advocate for MMIW bills being proposed. All three Senate proposals that were written to date, have passed the committees, and are on their way to the next level in the process. So far, the Tina’s RQSP has received 12 submissions from across the United States, and many more are in the works. This project will be open for submissions throughout the next 12-18 months. The national submissions to the Red Quilt Solidarity Project, as well as Tina’s BFA quilt creation and performance piece, will all be part of the BFA Senior Art Show at IAIA on April 19, 2019 from 5:30-8:00 pm. The RQSP will be installed in the Library Building in front of the auditorium. For directions and a map of the campus, visit iaia.edu/about/visit.

A portion of the quilt the be displayed at IAIA.

The short-term goal for this project to travel around the country as an installation paired with a community art experience that will initiate introspection, engage community conversation and increase awareness of Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women. The long-term goal is to transport the project to Washington, DC in 2020, and display it on the national mall, much like the AIDS Quilt in the 1980’s, creating a visual voice calling for visibility, funding and change.

Sandra Claymore (Lakota), Senator John Pinto (Navajo), and Tina Sparks

For anyone interested in participating in the project, please contact tina.sparks@iaia.edu or at the Red Quilt Solidarity Project Facebook Page.

The post Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Senior Created Project to Support Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women appeared first on Native News Online.

Categories: UNITED STATES

Udall, Luján, New Mexico Delegation Introduce Legislation to Address Health Disparities for Native Americans Living in Urban Areas Off the Reservations

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Published April 16, 2019

The Urban Indian Health Parity Act will help expand services and improve care

WASHINGTON — On Monday, U.S. Senators Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján, Assistant Speaker of the House, along with U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small, introduced bicameral legislation to improve Medicaid for Native patients who receive services at Urban Indian Health Programs. The Urban Indian Health Parity Act is also cosponsored by ten other U.S. Senators and 13 other members of the House of Representatives.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is the primary federal agency responsible for providing health care to American Indian and Alaska Natives through federally operated facilities that provide services directly on reservation lands, Tribally run facilities, and urban Indian nonprofit facilities. All three types of facilities are available in New Mexico.

Federally and Tribally operated IHS facilities are reimbursed at a higher federal rate for Medicaid patients than their urban Indian health counterparts. This bill would balance the scales by providing 100 percent parity in federal reimbursement rates for all three types of facilities, allowing IHS-funded urban facilities to expand care and services for their Native American patients.  There are approximately 43 urban Indian health facilities in 19 states across the country, including as First Nations Healthsource in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“The federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to Native Americans do not stop at the reservation boundary.  Congress must ensure every Native American has access to quality health care — including the nearly 70 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives that live in urban areas,” Udall said. “This legislation is a common-sense measure to establish parity for Urban Indian Health Programs.  It will make sure we are building a stronger, better Indian Health Service system for generations to come.”

“Almost 70 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives live outside of Native lands. This bill will go a long way to ensure all native people – regardless of where they live – can receive culturally competent health care,” said Assistant Speaker Luján.

“This legislation will ensure the Urban Indian Health Program in New Mexico can benefit from Medicaid funding to support expanded services and improve health care outcomes. Too often, our tribal communities in both rural and urban areas face unique challenges with access to affordable health care, insurance, and services.  I’m proud to cosponsor this effort and will continue fighting to keep quality health care accessible and affordable for all New Mexicans,” said Heinrich. 

“Access to healthcare shouldn’t have to be a burden for our communities just because they live in urban areas. Unfortunately, there are gaps in the healthcare system for urban Indians which is part of the failure of the federal government’s trust responsibility. By leveling the playing field for Urban Indian Health Programs through Medicaid reimbursements, we’re working to close gaps in life-saving healthcare services for Native Americans who live in cities,” said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.

“It’s long past time that the Urban Indian Health Programs has the right resources to meet the unmet needs of the communities it serves.  Health care accessibility is just as critical as affordability, and we need to make sure that every conversation about health care address both of these challenges.  By improving Medicaid reimbursements for Native patients, we have helped to improve health care accessibility for thousands of Native patients.  I am proud to co-sponsor this bill with the rest of the NM delegation, and I will continue to fight to ensure the health care needs of all Native communities, whether they are in rural or urban environments,” said Torres Small.

The National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Health Board, and the National Council of Urban Indian Health support the bills.

“Since the devastating relocation era, Indian Country has been fighting for parity of urban Indian Health Programs in alignment with the trust responsibility of the U.S. government,” said Maureen RosetteBoard President of the National Council of Urban Indian Health.  “This simple administrative fix to give urban programs the same 100% FMAP rate IHS and Tribal facilities receive, corrects a legislative oversight and is a win for states and Indian Country that will allow for expanded access to medical and community health-related services for urban Indians.”

“This legislation is truly a step in the right direction to ensure American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban settings have more access to high-quality, culturally-competent care,” said Francys CrevierExecutive Director of the National Council of Urban Indian Health. “Thank you to Senator Udall, Congressman Lujan, and the rest of the cosponsors who truly care about the healthcare of all American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.) Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

The full text of the bill can be found HERE.

The post Udall, Luján, New Mexico Delegation Introduce Legislation to Address Health Disparities for Native Americans Living in Urban Areas Off the Reservations appeared first on Native News Online.

Categories: UNITED STATES

“Recalled” Councilwoman Carmen Tageant Settles State Court Suit with Nooksack Cyber Stalker

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Bree Black Horse and Carmen Tageant

Published April 16, 2019

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Carmen Tageant, a former Nooksack Tribal Councilperson and mother of seven, has reached a confidential settlement of her Whatcom County Superior Court lawsuit against Nooksack health care official LeAndra Smith, who cyber stalked Tageant from a fake Facebook account for two years.

“We are pleased that Carmen was able to achieve justice for herself,” said Bree Black Horse, Tageant counsel with Galanda Broadman, PLLC. “We hope her case has brought needed attention to the disproportionate stalking and harassment that Native women experience, and shown both victims and perpetrators in Indian Country that they are not beyond the reach of justice.”

Beginning in January 2016, LeAndra Smith used federally funded Nooksack Indian Tribal information technology to post a stolen photo of Tageant in lingerie, as well as misogynistic comments about her, in an effort to recall Tageant from the Nooksack Tribal Council.  LeAndra Smith, the daughter of Nooksack Tribal Councilwoman Agripina Smith, targeted Tageant on behalf of a Tribal Council faction after she spoke out against the faction’s efforts to persecute and disenroll over 300 Nooksack Indians.

LeAndra Smith used the name and image of a witness in the murder of two-year-old Caylee Anthony—Keith Williams—to create a fake social media account on Facebook.

The stolen photo of Tageant and the various misogynistic posts that later emanated from the fake Williams page caused Tageant to originally fear that a man was stalking her and intent on harming her.  Tageant specifically feared that a Tribal Councilman known for violent abuse of Nooksack women, was stalking her as “Keith Williams.”  Tageant believed that Nooksack law enforcement authorities were protecting the Councilman as he taunted “Whatcom detectives” from the fake Williams page “to come arrest me,” knowing that reports of violence against Native women go unanswered by local law enforcement far more often than not.

As it turned out, Tageant’s stalker was another female Nooksack tribal member: LeAndra Smith.

On January 28, 2016, LeAndra Smith posted to the fake Williams page the photo of Tageant in lingerie, which was taken as a Valentine’s Day gift for an ex-husband but stolen from her Nooksack home in a burglary in 2015.  Tageant reported that burglary to the Nooksack Police Department, but it went uninvestigated and remains unsolved.

Soon after LeAndra Smith posted and disseminated the intimate photograph, Tageant became a target for sexual predators.  Numerous predators sent her sexually explicit Facebook messages.

Throughout 2016, LeAndra Smith continued to post hateful things about Tageant, which caused other Nooksack women to write obscene things about Tageant.  The vitriol towards Tageant also contributed to her Nooksack children being bullied and assaulted at their elementary school.

Looking back on what happened to her kids as a result of the hatred espoused against her on Facebook, Tageant commented: “Our children and children’s children will be affected by all of this. I do not wish this on anyone—it all has to stop.  I want peace for all Nooksack families.”

Starting on February 9, 2016, Tageant reported the stalking she was enduring from the fake Williams page to Facebook, as well as to the Nooksack and Whatcom County police.  Facebook never took down the page or responded to Tageant’s complaint.  Nooksack police claimed they did not have criminal jurisdiction to investigate.  And Whatcom County did little to investigate.

In April 2016, a Tribal Council faction purportedly recalled Tageant from her elected office due in part to the ridicule that LeAndra Smith caused her from the fake Williams page.  On four separate occasions from October 2016 to September 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior rejected the faction’s recall effort against Tageant and acknowledged her rightful Tribal Council position.  But the faction ignored Interior—and by March 2018 Interior looked away from Nooksack altogether—and never let her back in Council chambers again.

In the Whatcom County lawsuit that Tageant filed in January 2018, records subpoenas issued to Facebook, Verizon, and Comcast connected LeAndra Smith and the Nooksack Tribe to the various obscene posts about Tageant on the fake Williams page.  Facebook IP addresses connected that page to the Tribe’s Verizon cellular plan and in turn to LeAndra Smith’s Tribally issued iPhone.  Likewise, those IP addresses tethered to the Tribe’s Comcast Internet plan and in turn to three computer devices at the Nooksack Tribe.

LeAndra Smith took down the fake Williams page the day after Tageant filed her state court lawsuit.  Otherwise the page might still exist.

Tageant’s settlement with LeAndra Smith comes at a time when the rates of violence against Indian women and missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) have reached epidemic proportion.  The online stalking Tageant experienced resulted in the same horror nearly one in five Native women experience each year.

“Tribal and non-tribal law enforcement too often disregard criminal harassment of Native women, which is too common in Indian Country because the wrongdoing goes unchecked,” continued Black Horse.  “The systemic disregard for Native female life must stop.”

Amidst growing national public discourse about the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization and MMIW prevention, Tageant and Black Horse feel that particular focus is needed towards the unanswered harassment and violence committed against Native women by other Natives, including other women and individuals who hold tribal public office.  Tribal actors hide behind a tribal government’s sovereignty and “self-determination” to ruin Native women’s lives—with little to no consequence, if not impunity.

LeAndra Smith still works for the Nooksack Tribe and was afforded legal defense to Tageant’s lawsuit by the Tribe’s insurance company.

Realizing the connection between what happened to her and the nationwide systemic disregard for Native women, Tageant sought out and obtained justice on her own.  As Tageant originally alleged in her suit, before she knew a female Nooksack health care employee was masquerading as Keith Williams to stalk her as a political ploy: “Defendant John Doe has exploited the fact that abuse like what he has inflicted upon [me], as an Indian woman, more often than not falls through the cracks.”

The post “Recalled” Councilwoman Carmen Tageant Settles State Court Suit with Nooksack Cyber Stalker appeared first on Native News Online.

Categories: UNITED STATES

Navajo Nation Council Commends Introduction of Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Sen. Mitt Romney

Published April 16, 2019

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Council commends U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for introducing the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act Thursday. The act will resolve the Navajo Nation’s federally reserved water rights claims within the State of Utah with a negotiated settlement.

“On behalf of the Navajo Nation Council, I want to thank Senator Romney for his strong leadership on this issue,” stated Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon (Bááháálí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Tsé Lichíí’, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh).

“Navajo families in Utah have lived for far too long with inadequate, and frankly unconscionable water infrastructure. This bill will provide Navajo Utah citizens the federal funding to begin remedying that situation and grant non-Navajo Utah governments clarity on how they can build out their future water infrastructure development,” said Speaker Damon in response to the introduction.

“For many years there has been a great deal of conflict about who has the right to water that flows through Utah and the Navajo Nation as part of Utah,” Sen. Romney said. “This conflict could have been resolved through a lengthy court process that would have cost millions of dollars and accomplished very little. Instead, we have come together to introduce legislation that will resolve this conflict by providing additional water for the Navajo Nation and for the people of Utah in a way that is good for everybody. At the same time it will provide needed infrastructure to the Navajo Nation for nearly half of the 5,000 citizens there that don’t have running water. I’m proud to be joined by Senators McSally and Sinema, and I hope the Senate will take this up and pass it without delay so that we can keep the longstanding promise by the federal government to the Navajo Nation in Utah.”

“The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act settles a decades-long negotiation and provides certainty to the Navajo Nation’s water security. I’ll continue working across the aisle to ensure the federal government makes good on its promises to tribal nations,” said Sen. Sinema.

“This is a tremendous bipartisan accomplishment to bring much-needed certainty to the Navajo Nation’s water supply,” Sen. McSally said. “I look forward to working to pass this into law to expand economic opportunity and uphold the government’s commitment to the Navajo.”

The settlement act takes action on several matters. First, the act provides the Navajo Nation the right to deplete 81,500 acre-feet per year from Utah’s Colorado River Basin apportionment. Secondly, it authorizes $210 million in federal funding and $8 million in state funding to address the short-term and long-term water development needs of the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation.

In return, the Navajo Nation waives its water-related claims against the United States and the state of Utah.

“This is going to be a sigh of relief to my communities and constituents. It will provide funding for agricultural conservation and management, which will reduce shortages to Navajo farms in addition to funding municipal water infrastructure. Thank you to our leaders and advocates for helping us succeed in this long-standing mission,” stated Council Delegate Charlaine Tso (Mexican Water, Aneth, Teecnospos, Tółikan, Red Mesa).

At the beginning of February, Speaker Damon, President Jonathan Nez, and Vice President Myron Lizer, after discussing the settlement with elected state leadership in Salt Lake City, met with Senator Romney in Washington to request his sponsorship of the settlement bill.

On April 11, Speaker Damon and Vice President Lizer met with Sen. Romney in Washington to discuss the introduction of the bill and how to advance it through both chambers of Congress.

Originally, the act was introduced in the 115th Congress as S.664 on March 15, 2017 by now- retired Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Brigham City), who was Chairman of the natural Resources Committee at the time, introduced the House companion on September 28, 2018.

Lt. Governor of Utah Spencer Cox (R) and the-then President of the Navajo Nation Russell Begaye testified at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on the water rights bill and strongly advocated for its passage.

On October 3, 2018, the committee approved the bill.

Sen. Romney and the Nation anticipate that with the overwhelming state and Navajo support of the settlement bill, it will be enacted in the 116th Congress.

The post Navajo Nation Council Commends Introduction of Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act appeared first on Native News Online.

Categories: UNITED STATES

Navajo Nation President and Vice President Release State of Navajo Nation Address

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez in the Navajo Nation Council Chambers on Monday.

Published April 16, 2019

WINDOW ROCK — On Monday, the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President released the State of the Navajo Nation Address from President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer for the 2019 Spring Council Session.

With the first 100th day of the Nez-Lizer administration coming up next week, part of the address highlighted a commitment of over $28 million secured from Capitial Outlay Funds for New Mexico communities. Part of the address reads: “April 23rd will mark the 100th day in office for our administration and for the 24th
Navajo Nation Council. The Nez-Lizer Administration remains committed to
working together with the Council to bring positive change for our Navajo people
and communities, and we believe that we have laid the groundwork to build a
positive and productive working relationship with each member of the 24th Navajo Nation Council for the benefit of our people and the Navajo Nation. Within the first 100 days, the Nez-Lizer Administration and the 24th Navajo Nation Council worked together to successfully secure over $28 million in Capital
Outlay Funds for our communities in New Mexico – marking one of the largest
investments by the State of New Mexico in recent history.” Please click the following link to view the report: http://www.opvp.navajo-nsn.gov/Portals/0/Files/STATE%20OF%20THE%20NAVAJO%20NATION/State%20of%20the%20Navajo%20Nation%20Address%20-%20April%202019.pdf?ver=2019-04-15-115152-463&timestamp=1555350724212 The 24th Navajo Nation Council voted 17-3 to accept the State of the Navajo Nation Address this afternoon.

The post Navajo Nation President and Vice President Release State of Navajo Nation Address appeared first on Native News Online.

Categories: UNITED STATES

DOI Head Under Investigation For Alleged Conflicts Of Interest

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 7:06pm
The head of the U.S. Department of the Interior is being investigated over allegations of conflicts of interest related to work he did while he was a partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, the agency's inspector general said in a letter Monday.

Emotional Election Results Announced During Tribal Assembly

TRIBAL COLLEGE JOURNAL - April 15, 2019 - 6:48pm

The 21-year-old from Kake, currently a student at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington, was voted emerging leader Friday morning during the last day of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s 84th annual Tribal Assembly.

The post Emotional Election Results Announced During Tribal Assembly appeared first on Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education.

Categories: EDUCATION, UNITED STATES

Letter: Online Learning Can Benefit Those with Autism

TRIBAL COLLEGE JOURNAL - April 15, 2019 - 6:47pm

"Today, I'm attending Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College, where I'll receive my Associate's Degree this May. Had it not been for the encouragement and support I received at ISMN, I wouldn't have made it this far."

The post Letter: Online Learning Can Benefit Those with Autism appeared first on Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education.

Categories: EDUCATION, UNITED STATES

Wall Of Secrecy Surrounds Sexual Harassment In State Courts

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 6:10pm
Is sexual harassment a systemic problem in the state judiciary? Law360 reviewed data from 50 states and the District of Columbia and found the answer is more elusive than it seems. (This article is part of a series examining sexual harassment in state courts).

Discipline Rare For State Judges In Sexual Misconduct Cases

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 6:10pm
If raising a sexual harassment complaint against a state judge is uncommon, seeing a complaint go through the disciplinary process and result in a public determination is almost unheard of. (This article is part of a series examining sexual harassment in state courts).

BLM Must Nix Inactive Calpine Geothermal Leases, Tribe Says

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 5:48pm
The Pit River Tribe sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Department of the Interior and Calpine Corp. Monday in California federal court, alleging the agency improperly allowed the company to continue to hold geothermal leases on land sacred to the tribe despite regulations mandating their termination.

Confirmed Last Week by Senate, This Week Interior Secretary Bernhardt Being Investigated by Department’s Inspector General

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 15, 2019 - 5:42pm

David Bernhardt

Published April 15, 2019

Lawmakers requested investigation into potential violations of federal ethics regulations at Interior by Bernhardt, other senior officials

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was confirmed just last week by the U.S. Senate. This week begins with news the Interior Department’s Inspector General is investigating the secretary.

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and U.S. Representative Betty McCollum, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, responded to the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) agreeing to open an investigation into whether senior DOI officials, including Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, violated federal ethics regulations meant to prevent conflicts of interest by participating in matters concerning former clients or employers.

 

Udall and McCollum requested the investigation in March.

“The American public deserves to have the basic confidence that their Interior Secretary is looking out for their interests – protecting public land, species, the air and the water — and not the interests of former industry clients. The Inspector General’s investigation into Secretary Bernhardt’s extensive conflicts of interest is a necessary step to ensure that the public interest is paramount in decision-making at the Interior Department,” Udall said.

“Our federal ethics policies and procedures are in place to ensure federal officials are working for the benefit of the American people. It’s important to know that the Inspector General will be looking into whether officials at the Department of the Interior, including the newly confirmed Secretary, may have violated ethics regulations. The Department’s focus should be protecting our public lands and natural resources,” McCollum said.

The position of secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior is viewed as one of the most important federal posts to American Indians and Alaska Natives because the Interior department houses Indian Affairs, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education.

The post Confirmed Last Week by Senate, This Week Interior Secretary Bernhardt Being Investigated by Department’s Inspector General appeared first on Native News Online.

Categories: UNITED STATES

Judge Will Let Cameras Roll In Okla. Opioid Trial

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 5:25pm
A judge said Monday he would allow cameras in the courtroom during an upcoming trial in the Oklahoma attorney general's suit alleging drugmakers recklessly sold opioids, likely to be the first of numerous state lawsuits over the opioid crisis to be heard by a jury.

CashCall Urges 9th Circ. To Toss $10M Fine In CFPB Case

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 4:18pm
CashCall has urged the Ninth Circuit to overturn a lower court ruling ordering the lending company to pay $10 million for offering high-interest loans through a tribe-linked firm in states where payday loans are barred.

BIA OKs Raft Of Tribal-State Gaming Compacts

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 3:53pm
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has taken action on a slew of tribal-state gaming compacts in Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and South Dakota, according to agency notices filed Monday and set for publication in the Federal Register on Tuesday.

DOI Can't Dodge Calif. Tribal Land Suit, Landowner Says

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 2:03pm
A California landowner said Friday that a federal court still has jurisdiction over her suit challenging a tribe's bid to have its land taken into trust, saying the U.S. Department of the Interior's move to end the suit was "an attempt to short circuit the judicial review process."

EPA Opens $220M Small Biz Contract For Mine Site Cleanup

LAW360 (Native feed) - April 15, 2019 - 1:42pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking proposals to clean up abandoned mines on or near Navajo land under a contract valued at about $220 million, with the agency saying it is exclusively looking for bids from small businesses.

Native youth utilize organizational skills to rally young voters

NATIONAL NATIVE NEWS (nativetimes.net) - April 15, 2019 - 1:12pm

by Christine Trudeau

North Dakota’s Native youth played a significant role in parts of the state to help get out the Native vote last November. Youth-led groups like the Turtle Mountain Youth Council reached out through numerous Facebook Live events and other forms of social media leading up to Election Day to help get young voters engaged. College students and other young people were among those who were affected by the state’s voter ID law during the 2018 midterm election.

Longtime North Dakota Native vote organizer Prairie Rose Seminole, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes said, in a state of “do-er’s” the Turtle Mountain Youth Council stepped up to join that tradition in a big way.

“I went up there, and they’re calling through the phonebook for the second time to make sure people had rides, knew where they voted, and then they were marching in a blizzard,” Seminole said. “You know I just was so in awe of what the young people were doing a Turtle Mountain.”

Colten Birkland, Youth Council vice president, was among the young people sending numerous Facebook Live updates nearly round the clock in the days leading up to and throughout election day. In one he’s marching with other young people from their local high school to a nearby polling site in temperatures close to single digits.

“We made it,” Birkland said in the video. “This is a statement for anybody who is watching, and everybody
who is listening, we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.”

But their get-out-the-vote efforts didn’t start or stop there. With help from voting rights advocacy group Four Directions, and the Turtle Mountain Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure, they organized a hundred volunteers on Election Day, from poll monitors to attorneys with the Native American Rights Fund and drivers who provided rides to and from each polling site, all day. The Youth Council also set a goal to surpass the previous voter turnout for Rolette County, which includes the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation. Then Youth Council Chairwoman Alexis Davis documented the moment on Facebook Live when they hit their goal.

“4,619? We had to beat 4,169?” Davis asks while filming herself on video. “We beat it! We beat it! We beat it!”

Their continuous social media updates, volunteer calls-to-action, and appearances on local tribal radio station KEYA appears to have helped boost voter turnout. The final ballot count for Rolette County was just over 5,100–a new record.

This story is a joint project with National Native News, Prairie Public Broadcasting and Solutions Journalism Network looking into how a potential setback for tribal members in North Dakota turned into a win for tribes, voters and Native candidates.

 

The post Native youth utilize organizational skills to rally young voters appeared first on National Native News, by Art Hughes.

Categories: UNITED STATES

Monday, April 15, 2019

NATIONAL NATIVE NEWS (nativetimes.net) - April 15, 2019 - 1:02pm

Longtime North Dakota Native vote organizer Prairie Rose Seminole says Native youth deployed impressive organizing skills in the days leading up to the 2018 midterm election (Photo: Christine Trudeau).

Three Arizona tribes are suing over a proposed open-pit copper mine A Congressional field hearing will focus on Native voter suppression and disenfranchisement Young Native groups helped voter turnout in the 2018 midterm election in reaction to North Dakota’s voter ID law https://www.nativenews.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/nnn041519.mp3

The post Monday, April 15, 2019 appeared first on National Native News, by Art Hughes.

Categories: UNITED STATES

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