The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, December 21, 2014

News stories of interest to American Indians, on topics including Bristol Bay, Jude Schimmel, Ralph Lauren and an auction of sacred items in Paris

It's our recap of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:

ANOTHER AUCTION DEBACLE: In what has become an all-too-familiar and all-too-disappointing scenario, a Parisian auction house put sacred Native American objects on the block despite strenuous objections from Tribes.

WILL THERE BE JUSTICE?: Their land still saturated with goop, indigenous groups in Ecuador are awaiting a decision in the Supreme Court of Canada on whether Chevron Corp. can be forced to pay the $9.5 billion in damages they are owed for severe contamination of their lands.

SLUR RULED NOT OBSCENE: The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday dismissed a case filed by a Washington, D.C.-based law professor arguing the word "Redskin" is not obscene.

COLOSSAL: Sculptor Dale Lamphere wants to put a 45-foot-tall sculpture of a Native American woman on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

GOOD NEWS FOR ALASKA NATIVES: In the final days of the 113th Congress, the House and Senate passed legislation that could begin a new era in the relationship between Alaska Native nations and the State of Alaska. “It is one of the biggest things Congress has done for Alaska Natives in many years,” says Troy Eid, former chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission.

KEY APPOINTMENTS: Three prominent Native American Washingtonians have been appointed to key positions in education, environmental protection, and the judiciary.

ASSIMILATION ERA CHIC: The holiday lookbook for Ralph Lauren's RLL brand contained vintage photos of Native Americans wearing European-style clothing. Ruth Hopkins called for a boycott of "Assimilation Era chic," and Adrienne Keene called the use of the images "a new low" for Lauren.

SHOCKING CLAIM: The family of late actress Misty Upham released a statement alleging that their daughter was "murdered by two men in front of several witnesses."

NO DRILLING: The Bristol Bay watershed has been saved, at least from oil and gas drilling. President Barack Obama on December 16 decreed the entire area off limits by signing a Presidential Memorandum withdrawing “these beautiful and pristine waters from all future oil and gas drilling.”

DOUBLE DOUBLE: Jude Schimmel had her best game of the season Monday night, scoring 12 points and dishing out 10 assists for her University of Louisville Cardinals, who routed Old Dominion 100-46 to rebound from a tough loss to No. 8 Kentucky last week.