The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, April 23, 2017

DAPL, Trump, yanked liquor licenses and a new Museum of the American Revolution, all here during The Week That Was: April 23, 2017, in Indian country.

DAPL fallout, Natives as ISIS and revoked liquor licenses characterized this past week in Indian country. Read on.

DRYING OUT: The Nebraska state liquor board unanimously voted against renewing the licenses for four beer stores in Whiteclay, a decision hailed as a victory for Oglala Lakota people because of the prevalence of alcoholism on the dry reservation.

BATTLING CORPORATE OPOIDS: Declaring an “opioid epidemic of unprecedented proportions” in Indian country, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma filed suit against CVS, Walmart and others alleging that the defendants knowingly created the conditions that amount to little more than legalized drug trafficking to citizens within its jurisdiction.

ABOUT THOSE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS: You might want to rethink them after reading this story on police mining activists’ social media posts in order to retroactively level charges against water protectors and other protesters. Tara Houska gives some dos and don’ts on posting about one’s activities.

TRUMP TRICKS: Between pipeline approvals, a hiring freeze in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and other measure, President Donald Trump is instituting policies that directly threaten tribal sovereignty, reports Duane Champagne. Tribal colleges are pressing Trump to renew the federal relationship that President Barack Obama let lapse. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, and the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit challenging Trump’s proposed border wall on environmental grounds.

THIS REALLY HAPPENED: Faced with an angry constituent who pointed out during a town hall in Oklahoma that constituents pay his congressional salary, Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin said, “Bull crap.” The Cherokee Congresman went on to clarify. “I pay for myself,” he said. “I paid enough taxes before I ever got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary … This is a service. No one here pays me to go. I do it as an honor and service. This is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make my living.”

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED: After the United States dropped the “mother of all bombs” on an alleged Afghanistan terrorist stronghold, Pete Hegseth of Fox News somehow managed to equate Indian country with ISIS. “This is Indian country. This is enemy country,” he said of Afghanistan. “This is a place where if you are there you’re likely collaborating or working with ISIS.”

NIGA: The National Indian Gaming Association’s annual conference went back to basics, refocusing on the gaming heart of economic development. Participants took time out to honor Seminole Leader Joel Frank Sr. for his determination to fight for Native rights.

HISTORICAL ACCURACY: The new Museum of the American Revolution opened in Philadelphia after 16 years of planning and construction, which finally allowed the Oneida Indian Nation see the story of their contributions come to light.

LUMMI 1, COAL TERMINAL 0—FILM TELLS ALL: Last year the Lummi Nation defeated the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point (Woo-chee-ah-ken) using the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. Now a film is out detailing how that happened.

SHOES TO FILL: Herman Agoyo, a member of the Ohkay Owingeh tribal council since 1992 and serving as governor, lieutenant governor and in several other offices, walked on this month. Besides being an author, cultural activist and Native education advocate, Agoyo presided over the placing of a statue of Pueblo Rebellion leader Po’pay in the National Statuary Hall Collection the renaming of the tribe to Ohkay Owingeh. Also being mourned in Indian country were the legal giants Charles Hobbs, 88, and S. Bobo Dean, 84, who walked on within days of each other earlier this year. Their achievements were monolithic, the very foundation upon which Indian sovereignty and self-determination rest today.