The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, June 2, 2013

A summary of big news stories in Indian country from the past week.

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

KEYSTONE XL MANEUVERING: Although the U.S. House of Representatives voted 241-175 on May 22 to favor a bill that would have eliminated the need for Presidential approval of the Keystone XL pipeline’s northern leg, the move may have done little more than disenfranchise some of its supporters.

GOVERNMENT CRITICIZED: Indigenous organizations attending the 12th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) criticized the United States federal government for trying to make an end run around the human rights affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration) and voiced concern that state actions will sideline Indigenous Peoples at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

DIPLOMA DENIED: An Escambia Academy High School student who wore an eagle feather on her graduation cap was denied her diploma after graduating May 23. According to a contract issued by the school in Atmore, Alabama, 17-year-old Chelsey Ramer, of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, would not receive her diploma or high school transcripts until she paid a copy,000 fine for wearing the feather.

WOODEN INDIAN MOVED: A wooden statue of an American Indian Chief representing an Indiana school's "Redskins" mascot has been removed from the gym temporarily for a graduation ceremony to avoid offending anyone who finds it objectionable.

GOING HOME: Writer, poet and mother of two Jane Naviyak Kane has successfully raised the money needed to make the trip to her native community’s ancestral home—the abandoned King Island, 40 miles off the coast of Alaska.

BLOCKBUSTER DONATION: Disney has also chosen to donate 100% of the revenue from the $1000-a-ticket Hollywood premiere of The Lone Ranger to the American Indian College Fund.

JIM THORPE REMEMBERED: One hundred and twenty-six years ago last week, Jim Thorpe, whose Indian name was Wa-Tho-Huk ("Bright Path"), was born in Indian Territory. The Sac & Fox Indian would go on to become the "World's Greatest Athlete," and he is still today the best known American Indian athlete.

NATIVE APPOINTEES: Two Native Americans in Washington state and an environmental adviser to Quinault Nation’s president were named in May to key positions influencing the arts, the environment and historical protection. Earlier, an environmental lawyer who is Mescalero Apache was named director of the state’s Department of Ecology.

WIND FARM CRITICIZED: Horizon Wind Inc.’s plans for a wind farm atop the Nor’Wester Mountain Range in Ojibwe traditional territory are under fire from opponents who fear the development will violate sacred places and endanger the environment.

MORE TAKE STAND AGAINST SNYDER: Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota) has joined with nine other members of Congress and more than 50 tribes and organizations in urging Dan Snyder, the owner of the NFL’s Washington XXXskins football team, to change his team’s racist name.

TOWARD A NATIVE VETERANS MEMORIAL: Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has introduced a bill, S. 1046, Native American Veterans’ Memorial Amendments Act of 2013, that would facilitate the construction of a Native American Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.