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A federal appeals court heard arguments in a years-old case brought by leaders from two Northwest tribal nations who say the federal government needlessly destroyed a sacred religious site in 2008 despite objections from them.
A three-panel judge of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday in Slockish v U.S. Federal Highway Administration, a case in which the lawyers representing the tribal leaders say it has broader implications on religious freedom in the U.S.
The case stems from the destruction of a sacred religious site near Mt. Hood in Oregon for a highway widening project, despite the federal government knowing it existed and over objections from tribal leaders who have alleged that the project violated religious, environmental and land preservation acts. Three leaders subsequently sued the federal government over the decision and on Tuesday asked the court to force the federal government to rehabilitate the site and protect it in the future.
A federal district court in 2018 ruled that the destruction of the site didn’t violate the Religious Freedom Information Act. Last year, a judge said the project didn’t violate any environmental laws and that the federal government didn’t have to rebuild the site. READ MORE. — Chris Aadland, Indian Country Today
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared “squaw” a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove it from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names.
Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, is ordering a federal panel tasked with naming geographic places to implement procedures to remove what she called racist terms from federal use.
"Our nation’s lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and our shared cultural heritage — not to perpetuate the legacies of oppression,” Haaland said in a statement. “Today’s actions will accelerate an important process to reconcile derogatory place names and mark a significant step in honoring the ancestors who have stewarded our lands since time immemorial.” READ MORE. — The Associated Press
A caravan of Royal Canadian Mounted Police cars moved up the Morice River Service Rd and made several arrests of First Nation land defenders who had set up roadblocks on Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia, Canada.
“A total of 14 individuals were arrested today for breaching the injunction,” said a statement from the RCMP on Thursday. “They were transported to the Houston RCMP Detachment for processing and will be held in custody to appear before the BC Supreme Court” on Friday.
Coastal GasLink says that 500 of its workers have been stuck behind the blockades that were set up on the road.
Police called the operation “an effort to rescue hundreds of workers.”
“Today’s enforcement was dictated by the actions taken by protesters that blocked the Morice River Forest Service Road that jeopardized the safety and wellness of hundreds of people whose provisions were at critical levels,” said Assistant RCMP Commissioner Eric Stubbs after the arrests were made. READ MORE. — APTN National News
One of the enduring fictions surrounding the founding of the United States involves the sale of Manhattan Island by its Lenape inhabitants to the Dutch for a handful of baubles.
“It’s a myth,” said Joe Baker, executive director of the Lenape Center and citizen of the Delaware Tribe of Indians. “It’s magical recreation for the erasure of our people.”
It’s an erasure Baker and his colleagues at the Lenape Center have been fighting for more than a decade through advocacy work in the land originally known as Lenapehoking that stretches from Philadelphia and up past New York City.
The center has existed online since 2009 but is now entering a new phase as it explores establishing a physical presence in Manhattan to provide cultural and educational opportunities for Lenape descendants as well as members of the broader New York community. READ MORE. — Stewart Huntington, special to Indian Country Today
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We're taking a look at this week’s White House Tribal Nations Summit. Plus, more on what tribes playing a role in co-managing public lands could look like.
SALEM, Ore. — The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved the nomination of Charles “Chuck” Sams III as National Park Service director, which will make him the first Native to lead the agency.
Some conservationists hailed Sams’ confirmation Thursday night as a commitment to equitable partnership with tribes, the original stewards of the land.
“I am deeply honored,” Sams told the Confederated Umatilla Journal on Friday. “I am also very deeply appreciative of the support, guidance and counsel of my tribal elders and friends throughout my professional career.”
The National Park Service oversees more than 131,000 square miles of parks, monuments, battlefields and other landmarks. It employs about 20,000 people in permanent, temporary and seasonal jobs, according to its website.
Sams is the agency's first Senate-confirmed parks director in nearly five years. READ MORE. — The Associated Press
Dear Creator in the heavens above, what is it about Jason Momoa?
Is it the fact he seems as though he could care less about the film industry semantics and just instead delivers realistic and gritty portrayals that are completely believable?
I think so.
I am not saying he hasn’t studied Anton Chekhov or Stanislavski in theater arts in college (I did study all of that in theater arts in college, by the way). But what I am saying is that Momoa comes across like the guy who tossed the acting book everyone else had earmarked and highlighted — and he just threw his into the trash and got up to deliver a profoundly incredible acting job. READ MORE. — Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today
- Indigenous airline takes off: Canadian-based airline Iskwew Air has commenced its first scheduled flight.
- $12 billion. 1,560 projects. And a green light for tribes: ‘A failure to clear out some of the burdens that prevent infrastructure investment will mean all our efforts to help pass the infrastructure bill may not lead to the progress we want for our people.’
- Sam Kito: ‘Unified with a purpose’: Countdown to the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
- Tribal leaders reflect on the tribal nations summit: Hundreds of tribal leaders were invited, but for the first time it was a virtual experience for many of them.
- Billions coming to help tribes access clean water: 'Safe drinking water is a basic human need.'
- Different projects united by interest in Mayan culture.
- Paralympian Cheri Madsen shares how her family's heritage shaped her personal journey.
- Film shot entirely in Blackfoot language, on tribal land to premiere
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