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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, March 23, 2014

The week's news stories, on topics including the Bering Strait land bridge theory, the Kerr Dam, racism in a California school, and Martha Redbone.
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It's our weekly roundup of the news that mattered most in Indian country:

ABOUT DAM TIME: Montana’s Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) will become the first tribes in the nation to own a major hydroelectric facility. CSKT recently completed arbitration meetings that will allow them to purchase Kerr Dam on the Flathead River. The price tag for this purchase was set at copy8,289,798 and the purchase will officially take place in September 2015.

WINNING STREAK: Central Arizona’s tiny Yavapai Nation (950 enrolled members on a 40-square mile reservation) is about to get an influx of visitors that will double, triple or perhaps even quadruple its population. The Yavapai Nation’s Fort McDowell Casino Pow Wow in early April is themed, “Celebrating a 30-Year Winning Streak.”

BUY BACK: In another step to fulfill President Obama’s commitment to strengthen Indian communities, the U.S. Department of the Interior recently announced that the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations has sent purchase offers to nearly 16,000 individual landowners with fractionated interests in parcels on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Totaling more than $100 million, these offers will provide landowners the opportunity to voluntarily sell their fractionated interests, which would be consolidated and held in trust for the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation.

LITTLE GUYS, STANDING UP: A small Vancouver Island First Nation is contesting a Canadian Federal Court decision involving a treaty between Canada and China that they say endangers their right to be consulted on resource projects and other matters.

MEDIA PRESENCE: On Friday, a representative from the #NotYourTigerlily twitter campaign spoke in a Huffington Post panel and comdy group The 1491s appeared on Al Jazeera America's The Stream -- two rare moments of including Indians in the discussion of how Indians are portrayed.

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UGLY NOTES: Notes reading “Watch Your Redskinned Back” and “White Pride Bitch” were left March 4 in the lockers of two Pit River Tribe students at a Northern California high school where parents have alleged for months there is systemic, racially charged abuse of their children.

TORTOISE ROCK READIES: The new, boutique Tortoise Rock Casino is gearing to open March 31 in quaint Mojave Desert enclave of Twentynine Palms, California, located just outside Palm Springs and nestled between Joshua Tree National Park and one of the country’s largest military training facilities—the United States Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.

SCIENCE BY PRESS RELEASE: Over the past few weeks, new scientific discoveries have rekindled the debate over the Bering Strait Theory. Two of the discoveries were covered recently in Indian Country Today. The first, “More Reasons to Doubt the Bering Strait Migration Theory,” dealt with the growing problem of “science by press release,” as scientific studies hype their conclusions to the point that they are misleading; and the second, “DNA Politics: Anzick Child Casts Doubt on Bering Strait Theory,” discussed how politics can influence science, and the negative effects these politically-based scientific results can have on Native peoples.

REDBONE RECOGNITION:The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake, by the Martha Redbone Roots Project, has been named to the shorlist in the category of Best Concept Album for the 13th annual Independent Music Awards (IMA). The release is an innovative marriage of the poetry of William Blake and the Appalachian music Redbone (who is Cherokee, Shawnee, Choctaw and African American) grew up listening to.

MORE NATIVES STANDING UP AGAINST SLUR: The Diné Medicine Men’s Association (DMMA) passed a resolution urging President Barack Obama and lawmakers to do whatever it takes to change the Washington Redskins name. The resolution also appealed to Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly to support the banning of the racist name through the Nation’s legislative process.

MEGA-LOAD MANIA: Missoula, Montana has become the latest battleground against so-called mega-loads trundling gargantuan hunks of equipment destined for the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. Three women were arrested as about 80 protesters blocked the oilfield equipment on a street in the city just east of the Idaho border. Carol Marsh, Debbie Florence and Gail Gilman were protesting along with members of a group called Indian Peoples Action, Northern Rockies Rising Tide and the Blue Skies Campaign.