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The Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan is challenging a state permit approving construction of a gold and metals mine that would tunnel under the Saksaia Glacier on 6,100-foot Flower Mountain near the headwaters of the Chilkat River watershed.

Chilkat Indian Village officials say the project’s proposed system to treat water runoff from the mine in southeast Alaska is insufficient to protect glacier-fed streams that flow into the Chilkat River and other salmon-bearing rivers and streams.

“Protecting the pristine quality of the Chilkat River watershed is our responsibility and enshrined in our Tribal Constitution,” Chilkat Indian Village President Kimberly Strong said in a statement.

“Our government will continue to carry out our duty to ensure a system built to discharge mine wastewater and waste rock does not contaminate the pristine quality of the Chilkat River watershed.”

The Chilkat Indian Village is seeking a hearing on a permit that allows Constantine Metal Resources to mine for gold, barite, copper, silver and zinc at a site that is 37 miles from the deep-sea port of Haines, Alaska, north of Juneau.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, which approved the permit, sent the Village’s request for a hearing to the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings on Nov. 4. The hearings office considers decisions made by executive branch agencies and other governmental bodies.

Constantine, which is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, has proposed the mine project, and Dowa Metals and Mining, a Japanese company, has majority ownership interest in the mine, according to Constantine’s project website.

Strong said the environmental degradation and health risk outweigh the financial benefits from what is known as the Palmer Project.

Rock that is extracted during mining and left behind as waste — known as mine tailings — often contain heavy metals that can get carried by the elements into surface and ground waters, where they can be hazardous to humans, animals and aquatic life. READ MORE. — Richard Arlin Walker, special to ICT

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Sounds of appreciation resonated around the locker room as the Phoenix Suns players got their first glimpse of the City Edition jerseys they’ll play in this season.

“Oh snap,” “wow,” and happy nods came from the players with Chris Paul saying, “The uniforms are dope!” And Cameron Johnson adding, “Oh, they’re pretty, they’re very pretty.”

This season each NBA team is unveiling a jersey that’s unique to the city where they play. The jersey can also divert from the team’s official colors.

Suns’ management, guided by Shawn Martinez who is Diné and the senior director of live presentation, spent more than two years designing the jersey. They consulted with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Nike’s N-7 program, the Heard Museum and more Native groups in Phoenix.

“Our City Edition this year is a lot more than basketball, it has a lot more meaning than the other ones out there,” Graham Wincott, the senior marketing director of the Suns told the players.

The players were given the new jerseys on Oct. 14, 2022 along with some tribal history.

“The Hohokam tribe actually helped build the canal system that makes Phoenix a viable city to live in,” Wincott explained.

Wincott, Martinez and Stephen Lewis, the governor of the Gila River Indian Community spoke to the players in the locker room.

After greeting them in his language, the governor said, “This land, even here underneath the beautiful Footprint Center, all of Phoenix, was our traditional land.”

Lewis jokingly nicknamed the jersey. “I would call it the Tribal edition, right? Or the Rez edition that is very special.”

The bright turquoise jersey features the word “Sun” in each of the 22 tribal languages in the state prompting Deandre Ayton to raise his eyebrows as he looked over each word.

“Turquoise is such an important stone to us. The color, it’s like you’re going into battle and this is going to protect you,” said the governor.

“You’re going to be honoring all 22 tribes everytime you wear this,” he added. READ MORE.Patty Talahongva, ICT

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The former leader of a tribe in Massachusetts convicted of accepting bribes including exercise equipment and a weekend stay at a luxury hotel from an architectural firm working with the tribe to build a casino has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Cedric Cromwell, former chair of the Mashpee Wampanoags, was also sentenced in U.S. District Court in Boston on Tuesday to a year of probation and was fined $25,000, according to prosecutors.

David DeQuattro, 56, the owner of the Rhode Island architecture and design firm, was sentenced to a year of probation under home confinement and fined $50,000.

The Cape Cod-based tribe, which currently has about 2,600 enrolled citizens, in an impact statement signed by current Chair Brian Weeden said it has been “irreparably harmed” by Cromwell’s conduct.

“For over 400 years, the Tribe has fought to preserve its culture, lands and protect its people from constant exploitation and oppression,” Weeden wrote. “And yet, we are now facing the ultimate betrayal by one elected and entrusted to lead and act in the best interests of our Tribal Nation and future seven generations.”

He noted that while Cromwell was enriching himself, tribal citizens “struggled under the pressures of increased homelessness, unemployment, alcohol and opioid addiction, and other traumas.”

Cromwell, 57, apologized in court.

“I will spend the rest of my life seeking redemption,” he said, The Boston Globe reported.

DeQuatto’s attorney called his client’s actions an “aberration.”

Cromwell, who also was the president of the tribe’s five-member gaming authority, received $10,000 from DeQuattro in November 2015 that was deposited into an account for a company called One Nation Development LLC, which Cromwell founded to help Native tribes with economic development, prosecutors said.

But One Nation Development had no employees and Cromwell spent the money on personal expenses, prosecutors said. READ MORE. — Associated Press

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Arizona veteran Darryl Blaine laughed and waved to onlookers as he marched toward the National Mall on Veterans Day, surrounded by fellow Native vets and his family members from the Tohono O’odham Nation.

“This is where the cool people are!” Blaine, a Marine Corps veteran, shouted over the drums and the cheering crowd. He was one of 51 Native veterans from Arizona – part of a contingent of 1,500 from across the country – on hand for the formal dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial.

“This is something all Natives should be proud of, whether they served or they didn’t,” Blaine said. “We’re here for all of them.”

A sometimes-heavy rain could not dampen the spirits of the marchers, who ranged from the remaining Navajo Code Talkers of World War II to veterans of more recent wars. The procession, hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian, was filled with veterans in uniform and in traditional clothing, carrying tribal and military flags to a stage just across the street from the U.S. Capitol.

After speeches and performances there, they returned to dedicate the National Native American Veterans Memorial, a stainless-steel circle placed on a carved stone drum surrounded by water. The installation is surrounded by four lances, placed around the memorial, where visitors can tie cloths for prayer and healing, according to the museum’s website.

The memorial has been open since Veterans Day of 2020, but the pandemic delayed dedication ceremonies until this year.

Blaine could be easily spotted in the procession, not just because of his dark blue University of Arizona hat and bushy gray mustache, but also because of the big smile he flashed to groups spread along the procession’s path.

He said the day’s festivities were not about “being better than anyone,” but were a chance for Native American veterans to gain the respect they deserve and to give respect to those who came before him.

And there is a long line of Native Americans who have served.

According to the USO, Native Americans serve at five times the national average and have served in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War, including the 29 Navajo Code Talkers in World War II. Since 9/11, around 19% of all Native Americans have served in the U.S. military, compared to 14% for all other ethnic groups in the country, the USO said.

Harvey Pratt, the artist who designed the memorial, has said he was inspired by healing ceremonies that Indigenous soldiers went through after their service. READ MORE.Cronkite News

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  • Native American Heritage Month: Still hoping to observe the month? ICT has just the list for you.
  • Native voters: Turnout for elections in Montana tribal communities lower than rest of state and lower than in past years.
  • School (almost) in session: Tulalip Tribes hope to open its own K-12 school to provide Native students with better education and experience than they get in the local public school district.
  • A former Indian boarding school in South Dakota reckons with its past.
  • States wish Colorado River Basin tribes weren’t fighting for their water rights.
  • Report shows Native voters supported Democratic candidates in last week’s elections, though at slightly lower rates than 2020.

We want your tips, but we also want your feedback. What should we be covering that we’re not? What are we getting wrong? Please let us know. dalton@ictnews.org.

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