The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country


In our weekly roundup of all the big news coming out of Indian country, the presidential race, the Cobell settlement, vandalized petroglyphs and potential new taxes on tribes from the IRS are some of the stories we covered.

-Another week, another revelation about republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Mark Trahant wrote about the now much discussed video of Romney speaking at a $50,000-a-plate fundraising event in Florida in what he thought was a private moment. Speaking candidly, Romney said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what …These are people who pay no income tax.”

-Trahant also wrote a piece trying to deduce what Romney might have been thinking denouncing a whopping 47% of the country while running for the highest office in the land, for a job that requires one to be the president of all Americans.

-Eisa Ulen wrote about how Al Jazeera highlighted the failure of the Violence Against Women Act (VAMA) to protect Native women. A recent episode featured guests such as assistant professor at William Mitchell Law School Sarah Deer, Muscogee Creek Nation, and co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Andrea Smith, among others, to discuss how 1 in 3 women in Indian Country report being the victim of some type of sexual violence, with many more not reporting these crimes.

-Vandals armed with a drill and acid destroyed aboriginal pictograms and petroglyphs on a boulder in Alberta, Canada. An expert said that the "culprit's drill bit has no reduced the artifacts to dust…what the wind and rain could not wash or blow away is now a painful memory."

-Rob Capriccioso reported on how the Native American Rights Fund has fired back at Cobell lawyers over fees. NARF has rebutted claims by the Cobell lawyers that the non-profit legal organization does not deserve compensation for its role in the $3.4 billion case.

-Actress Q'orianka Kilcher was arrested at a trade agreement protest in Virginia, where protestors were voicing their concerns about the Trans Pacific Partnership. The actress, famous for playing Pocahontas in "The New World," released a statement saying "The Trans Pacific Partnership would be devastating for people around the world and is being negotiated in complete secrecy to hide the content." The Trans Pacific Partnership has been criticized on a number of grounds; The draft proposals are said to include excessive provisions for international enforcement of copyright and intellectual property law that would overrule established intellectual property practices. It has been suggested that this could have wide-ranging effects, including restricting the distribution of medicine and criminalizing such common pop-cultural practices as parody and cosplay.