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FBI, tribe investigate killing on Crow Reservation

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The FBI and the Crow Police Department are searching for a suspect in a weekend killing on the Crow Indian Reservation in southern Montana, officials said.

The Crow Tribe Executive Branch described the Saturday afternoon killing as an “ambush-style homicide.” The victim was Lenita Goes Ahead, 26, Yellowstone County Corner Cliff Mahoney said Monday.

There is a federal arrest warrant for Taylor Leigh Plainbull, 27, as a suspect in the killing, the FBI said. He is described as Native American, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He should be considered armed and dangerous, officials said.

The FBI has declined to release any information about how the woman was killed.

Anyone with information on Plainbull's location is asked to call Billings police or the FBI.

Montana setting the example

Representation matters.

It’s a mantra that’s always been true and a phrase that has been increasingly stated in recent years. From Hollywood to professional sports head coaching positions to public offices, people of color are creating spaces for themselves in institutions they haven’t previously been represented in.

Consider 2018, when more Natives ran for public office at all levels than in any prior year. Those midterm elections, Reps. Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblo, and Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, “broke the glass ceiling” when they became the first two Native women elected to Congress.

Native people make up roughly 2 percent of the U.S. population and equal representation in Congress would be 11 members. Currently there are four in Congress: Haaland and Davids, plus Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole, Chickasaw, and Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee.

Perhaps Congress could learn a lesson from Montana, where the number of tribal citizens in the state Legislature equals the percentage of Natives residing in the state.

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California tribes oppose proposed water tunnel

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently released his final “Water Resilience Plan," which includes a massive underground tunnel that would pump billions of gallons of water from the San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state.

Citizens of the Yurok, Hoopa Valley, Karuk, Pit River, Winnemem Wintu, Pomo and Miwok nations have voice their opposition to the project, saying it would destroy water quality and devastate the state’s salmon population and other important fish species in the delta estuary. They also say the tunnel would harm burial and village sites and negatively affect cultural practices, including plants used for medicines and access to sacred sites.

Amid the pandemic and recent destructive wildfires, tribal citizens are calling on state officials to ensure their involvement in any project that affects water and ancestral homelands.

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"Governor Newsom should honor his tribal responsibility for informed and meaningful consent with all of our California tribes before moving ahead with this destructive project,” said Morning Star Gali, Ajumawi Pit River and tribal organizer for the group Save California Salmon.

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The Hoopa Valley High School Water Protectors Club holds their banner at the rally against the tunnel in Redding on March 2, 2020. (Photo by Dan Bacher)

The fiery clash over Mi’kmaq treaty fishing right

In the summer of 1993, a Mi’kmaq fisherman by the name of Donald Marshall Jr. navigated into the waters of Cape Breton, in the eastern part of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. During his outing, he managed to catch approximately 460 pounds of eels that he sold for about $787.

Because he was fishing out of season according to local laws, authorities arrested Marshall for fishing and then selling eels without a license, and for fishing off-season with illegal nets.

Asserting his sovereign right to fish as a Mi’kmaq citizen, which was protected under the “peace and friendship treaties (the first of which was signed in 1726), Marshall fought his case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Marshall won the case in 1999, with the court ruling he had a treaty right to fish for a “moderate livelihood.”

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Members of the Sipekne'katik First Nation, supported by other First Nations, stand on the breakwater in Saulnierville, N.S., as non-indigenous boats protest the launch the Mi'kmaq self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. The First Nation says a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, known as the Marshall decision, granted the Mi'kmaq the right to catch and sell lobster outside of the regular fishing season. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

WATCH: Seeking help for domestic violence

Senior Native affairs advisor for the National Indigenous women's resource center, Elizabeth Carr joins the Indian Country Today newscast to talk about the signs of domestic violence and two bills recently signed into law.

And the fallout from Phoenix Indian Medical Center closing its birthing center continues. National correspondent Dalton Walker shares the closure to such a vital department.

Plus, correspondent Kolby KickingWoman, from our Washington, D.C., bureau joins the show to talk about a few stories he's been working on.

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