Hello Monday! Here’s a look at what’s happening today:

Native students continue to battle for the right to wear eagle feathers

The disagreement over allowing Native students to wear eagle feathers and regalia during high school graduation rears its contentious head once again this year.

Some Native students continue to face push back from schools prohibiting the wearing of eagle feathers and traditional regalia at graduation ceremonies due to strict dress codes, according to Matthew Campbell, staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, the largest legal nonprofit organization defending Native American rights.

“During this time of year, we get a lot of calls from Native students facing this issue,” said Campbell, a citizen of the Native Village of Gambell.

The organization advises and assists Native students in navigating such restrictions and maintains an informational website for students and parents.

To read more, click here.


Umatilla Indian Reservation removes pot housing barrier

MISSION, Ore. (AP) — The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have removed a tribal housing barrier.

The Tribes announced this week that they amended their housing department’s drug elimination policy to allow tribal citizens to test positive for marijuana during the application process.

The news release said cannabis is still illegal on the reservation, but changing the policy was an acknowledgment that marijuana was legal to consume in Oregon and Washington.

To read more, click here.

Maine senator looks to expand tribal broadband access

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — Maine’s independent senator has co-sponsored a proposal to give Native American tribes more time to meet requirements to expand broadband on their lands.

Sen. Angus King said the Extending Tribal Broadband Priority Act of 2021 would give the tribal nations and native Hawaii organizations more time to apply for spectrum licenses for unassigned spectrum over their lands. King said that is a pivotal step to growing broadband.

The Federal Communication Commission gave the tribes the opportunity to apply for the licenses in 2019. The application window closed in September 2020.

The connection rate to fixed broadband services for U.S. citizens who live on tribal lands is 65 percent, compared to 92 percent on tribal lands, King said.

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Woman sentenced to prison for theft from tribal program

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Federal authorities say a Waubay woman accused of stealing money from an American Indian agency has been sentenced to more than two years in prison.

Dawn Block, 53, pleaded guilty earlier to program theft. Authorities say the embezzlement occurred while she was acting director for the United Sioux Tribes of South Dakota Development Corp. from October 2018 to May 2019.

A judge ordered Block to serve 27 months in prison and three years of supervised release. She must also pay back more than $222,000.

Block allegedly took payroll advances, cash withdrawals, awards and bonuses, duplicate pay and unsupported payments.

United Tribes powwow to return

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The United Tribes Technical College International Powwow and associated events will return late this summer after a year’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Tribal Leaders Summit that’s traditionally held at the Bismarck Event Center before the outdoor powwow has been called off a second year. The Bismarck Tribune reports this year’s powwow will be the weekend of Sept. 10-12.

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