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Website documents state’s progress returning tribal remains

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Archives and History now has a new website documenting its progress returning Native American remains in its collection to tribes.

Since 1990, federal law has required that institutions like museums and schools that receive federal funding return human remains, funerary objects and other sacred items to their Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian descendants.

The law outlining these requirements is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA.

(Related: Years later, Chickasaw remains returning home)

This year, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History completed the largest repatriation in Mississippi’s history, returning 403 remains to the Chickasaw Nation. However, there are still at least 1,000 remains in Mississippi that have yet to be returned.

To read more, click here.

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Jill Biden to visit Navajo Nation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden’s office announced Saturday that she will visit the U.S. Southwest in the coming week, with stops planned in New Mexico’s most populous city and the Navajo Nation’s capitol in Arizona.

The announcement said Biden will travel to Albuquerque on Wednesday and visit Window Rock, Arizona, on Thursday and Friday.

The announcement did not elaborate on the scheduled visit but said additional information will be forthcoming.

Score one for wild rice

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disapproved Minnesota’s long-standing practice of excluding waterways used for the production of wild rice in the state’s listing of impaired waters under the Clean Water Act.

In a March 2021 letter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, EPA leaders partially approved Minnesota’s listing of impaired waters. But the state’s decision to exclude waterways with high levels of sulfate, deadly to wild rice, violates the Clean Water Act, according to the federal agency.

To read more, click here.

New law to make it a crime to trespass at pipelines

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A bill signed into law by Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly will make it a misdemeanor to trespass near oil and gas pipelines.

The bill Kelly signed gained bipartisan support in the state Senate, but drew criticism from some House Democrats, including two Native American legislators who said the bill targets Native American protestors like those who opposed the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the subject of months of sometimes-violent protests in 2016 and 2017.

The new law goes into effect on July 1. The legislation makes it a misdemeanor to trespass near oil and gas, rubber manufacturing and wastewater treatment facilities.

To read more, click here.

ICT reporter wins award

Mary Annette Pember, a national correspondent for Indian Country Today, was honored for her years of journalism work by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

She was one of three to receive the Distinguished Service Award.

Each year, the School honors distinguished alumni with awards for their accomplishments in the field of communication. A virtual ceremony is scheduled for Friday.

For details, click here.

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