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Indian Country Today

Happy Friday. Here’s a look at what’s happening today:

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Treaty rights activist Billy Frank Jr. statue update

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A statue honoring the late Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal citizen who championed treaty rights and protecting the environment, is one step closer to being on display at the U.S. Capitol.

The Olympian reports the state House of Representatives approved a bill this week that would start a process to replace Washington’s Marcus Whitman statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection with a statue of Frank. After a bipartisan 92-5 vote, the proposal will now head to the Senate.

“Billy Frank Jr. has walked every watershed to the east and the west of the mountains,” Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, said on the House floor Monday. “He has stood in every river and collaborated with local, tribal, state, federal communities to say ‘How do we rise together to protect the values of Washington state? How do we stand together?’”

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Maine tribe seeks support for bill that would allow casino

HOULTON, Maine (AP) — The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians are supporting a bill in the state’s Legislature that would allow them to negotiate with the federal government to open a casino in Aroostook County.

The Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs will hold a public hearing on March 17 for the bill, which seeks to allow Maine’s four federally recognized tribes to open casinos as other federally recognized tribes are able to do, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 means that the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, among other federal laws, does not apply to the tribes in the state, said Maliseet Chief Clarissa Sabattis on a call on Thursday.

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Committee restores funding for Native American health jobs

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana legislative committee voted Friday to restore funding for two positions within the state health department that are dedicated to serving Native American communities.

Democratic Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder brought the amendment to restore the funding for the the American Indian health director and the tribal relations manager, saying the panel’s earlier elimination of two jobs held by Native Americans doesn’t “look good out there to Montana.”

Republican Rep. Matt Regier of Kalispell had argued the positions were redundant, that other health department workers could work with tribes and that there are other tribal liaisons in state government.

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Shift to daylight saving time, again

WASHINGTON (AP) — No need to lose sleep over the shift to daylight saving time this weekend.

The sun will still come up, though the dawn’s early light will break through later than it has during the months of standard time and the twilight’s last gleaming will extend deeper into the evening.

The annual shift comes at 2 a.m. local time Sunday in most of the United States. Don’t forget to set your clocks an hour ahead, usually before bed Saturday night, to avoid being late for Sunday morning activities.

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

Standard time returns Nov. 7.

From social media:

The latest headlines:

The majority of facilities receiving COVID-19 vaccines through the Indian Health Service are providing vaccines to at least some individuals who are not tribal citizens.

At any moment, on any school day, the entire future of the Quileute Tribe is at risk. The Quileute Tribal School is located within a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean, which has been a source of life for the Quileute people since the beginning of time.

Navajo Nation officials cited a declining number of new COVID-19 cases and other improving conditions as they announced a new public health order.

The new law also represents the most significant investment in Indian Country ever, at least $31 billion directed at tribal governments and to help Indigenous families.

It's time once again for another weekend edition of Indian Country Today.

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