The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, May 28, 2017

National Foster Care Month, cultural appropriation battles and a Google Doodle nod were all part of the Week That Was in Indian country.
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A federal budget boondoggle for Indian country, a Google Doodle nod, and a bison bonanza, all in the Week That Was, May 28, 2017.

BUDGET BOONDOGGLE: President Donald Trump proposed a federal budget that will cause “tremendous fiscal pain” to Indian country if passed, wrote Kevin K. Washburn, former Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO: While Trump and his cronies and relatives line their pockets and cut the national coffers, people are still pushing back against the practice of equating corporate profit with public prosperity. Most recently was the sixth annual worldwide march against Monsanto, which took place in 200 cities throughout more than 60 countries. The marchers were protesting the pesticides and genetically modified foods that the corporate giant is notorious for producing.

DAPL DOOM: The giant bank corporation U.S. Bank has amended its Environmental Responsibility Policy to ban funding oil and gas pipelines. And a big-data analysis revealed that contrary to the protestations of pipeline companies about their adherence to safety, spills happen all the time. And in the bombshell department, The Intercept published an investigation showing the lengths—and depths—that Energy Transfer Partners went to in monitoring and interfering with water protectors at Standing Rock.

GOOGLE DOODLE DOO: Google Doodle acknowledged Mohawk activist Richard Oakes on what would have been his 75th birthday. During much of the ’60s and ’70s, Oakes, an alumni of San Francisco State University, peacefully protested for the rights and recognition of Native American peoples. Born on May 22, 1942 in Akwesasne, New York, he was murdered at age 30.

BEARS EARS DOS AND DON’TS: Confusion has reigned over what can and can’t be done at Bears Ears National Monument. There is, in fact, a FAQ issued by the Bureau of Land Management that details some Bears Ears dos and don’ts. Some want the designation rescinded.

BISON BONANZA: First a buffalo calf was born on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, the first progeny of a herd the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes received last year. Then the Bronx Zoo in New York City, which had received eight bison from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation last November, welcomed no fewer than six calves.

SUFFERING SALMONIDS: A new study found that most of the migrating salmon and trout in California could become extinct within a century if stronger measures are not taken to save them now. Nearly half of all salmon species face extinction in 50 years if trends in the state stay the same, scientific assessment found.

THIS WEEK IN CULTURAL APPROPRIATION: A 42-foot tall totem pole carved by Brad Bolton, was nixed by the board of the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta, Oregon, after carving-family members of the Siletz, Grand Ronde and several other tribes spoke out against it. Tangental to the appropriation theme is that of racism, which came up when a woman put herself in redface at a parade—she said it was theater, the ACLU and Natives said, Um, no.

NATIVE FOSTER HOMES NEEDED: During National Foster Care Month, tribal nations have been raising awareness about the need for more Native foster homes in the United States, reports Suzette Brewer. One of the major areas of focus this year has been addressing the shortage of certified Native homes for children in state custody, as the majority of tribal children in foster care are in non-Native placements.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT: Indian Country Media Network has launched its new digital books publication platform, with its first title The Bering Strait Theory, by historian Alexander Ewen (Purepecha), available for sale at Indiancountrymedianetwork/books. In addition, having achieved the milestone of receiving approval to be sold on the Apple’s app store, Indian Country magazine is now available for reading on the iPad, and subscriptions are available in the more than 230 countries served by iTunes newsstand around the world.