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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, February 24, 2013


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

• FRASIER SENTENCED: At the February 21 sentencing hearing, Jennifer Davette Fraser, 29, was sentenced to serve one year in jail with 3 years formal probation, and to pay court fines and restitution to Patty Dawson for physical, emotional and financial injuries she caused when she attacked Dawson in June 2010. Judge Arlan L. Harrel also issued Fraser a “stay-away order” from Dawson and her family, and included Fraser’s first husband and her first child in the order.

• BEGAY WEIGHS IN ON 'SKINS: On Friday, February 22, pro golfer Notah Begay, Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta, and journalist Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, discussed the controversy over the use of the name Redskins by Washington, D.C.'s NFL club on ESPN's Outside the Lines. Titled "Redskins Nickname Controversy," the episode was the latest examination of the swelling opposition to the use of the derogatory term redsksins by owner Daniel Snyder's NFL team.

• A TRIBAL VAWA INTRODUCED: Republican House members Tom Cole (Okla.) and Darrell Issa (Calif.) on February 20 issued new Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) legislation that includes stronger tribal jurisdictional provisions than a similar bill they released last year. Their bill, titled the Violence Against Indian Women Act of 2013, would give tribes criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit domestic violence against Indian woman and families on tribal lands.

• SACRED BUFFALO RELOCATED: A white buffalo named Lone Star no longer resides behind Fuel City in downtown Dallas. The immediate reaction of Native people, along with concerns expressed by Friends of Animals, have caused the owner of the truck stop to return the animal to a more desirable and respectful location.

• NGS THROUGH '44?: In a move that would translate to increased revenues and additional benefits to the tribe, the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) are considering extending the power plant’s lease until 2044. The tribe would also sign-off on the grants of rights-of-way for the plant, transmission, water lines and the railroad. The current site lease and the grants of rights of are set to begin expiring in 2019. Further details of the proposed agreement will not be made public until they are presented to the Navajo Council for final determination.

• PROTECTION FOR PETROGLYPHS: Tribal leaders in California say sacred sites and burial sites are far too vulnerable to vandalism and destruction via development, and California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) agrees. Gatto recently introduced a “placeholder” for Assembly Bill 52, which states his intent to enact legislation to improve the protection of sacred and cultural sites by requiring developers to consult with the appropriate tribes “prior to project initiation.”