The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country


It's our weekly roundup of some of the big stories coming out of Indian country. The Republican convention, severe weather and protests over Whiteclay were some of the stories that we covered

-Rob Capriccioso reported on how Democrats stopped short of calling for the dismissal of Republican National Committee executive Pat Rogers, who outed himself as Pro-Custer. Rogers said, amazingly, that Col. George Armstrong Custer was "dishonored" when New Mexico's Republican Governor Susana Martinez recently met with American Indians at a tribal summit.

-Simon Moya-Smith spoke with Colorado state senator Suzanne Williams, the only registered American Indian legislator in the state of Colorado. After serving for 16 years with the Colorado General Assembly, Williams will soon be prevented by term limits for running for reelection.

-Vincent Schilling covered the the turmoil at the Women's Day of Peace March to protest alcohol sales in Whiteclay, Nebraska, which ended up with arrests and confrontations between the peaceful protestors and police. Native youth were sprayed in the face with mace, and one 14-year old boy was arrested.

-Hurricane Isaac battered the Houma Nation, dumping at least 14 inches of rain on the tribe's territory as it essentially hovered there, crawling along at a mere six miles per hour. Wind gusts exceeded 80 mph as the category 1 hurricane moved slowly through southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi, turning north-northwest as it moved farther inland over Louisiana.

-Rob Capriccioso wrote about the Republican's positive American Indian platform at their convention in Tampa. The GOP's Native-focused platform is "strong on Indian self-determination, tribal sovereignty, and federal-tribal consultation," and is titled, "Honoring Our Relationship with American Indians."

-Social scientists at Arizona State University School of Social and Family Dynamics presented a report that suggests following traditional culture is the strongest predictor of anti-drug behavior among American Indian teens. This new research paper gives credence to this principle that is already being used in many rehabilitation and mental health centers throughout Indian country that incorporate traditional cultures a means of reducing teenage drug and alcohol abuse or dependency.

-The Bureau of Indian Affairs is sending a 'Strike Team' to evaluate the efforts to improve child safety at Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe's social services program. Senator Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) said this past April "Preventable tragedies have occurred that must never be permitted to happen again."