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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, February 3, 2013


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

EQUAL ACCESS: President Barack Obama signed into law a piece of legislation passed by both the House and Senate that will put tribes on equal footing as states in requesting federal disaster aid.

BETTER CONSULTATION: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack strengthened the consultation and coordination process with Indian tribes by signing a Departmental Regulation that “establishes over-arching Department-wide guidance.”

MASSACRE REMEMBERED: On January 29, the Northwestern Band of Shoshone hosted a memorial marking the 150-year anniversary of the slaughter of an estimated 300 men, women and children of their nation by an all-volunteer regiment of roughly 200 white men from California. The tragic event is referred to today as the Bear River Massacre.

UNITED WE STAND: In response to Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s approval of that state’s section of the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, people from about 25 U.S. tribes and Canadian First Nations met in Pickstown, South Dakota, on Yankton Sioux lands to craft and sign a mutual-support treaty opposing the project.

LOUNGE AXE: Minneapolis-based burlesque dancer Tomahawk Tassels is hanging up the sexy Native American shtick. Tassels, who says her father, whom she did not know growing up, was an unenrolled Cherokee Indian, has weathered criticism over her costume and act for years.

WHO'S AN IMMIGRANT?: During a speech on immigration in Las Vegas, President Obama reacquainted the nation with the actuality that “unless you’re one of the first Americans, Native Americans, you came from somewhere else – somebody brought you,” he said.