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With the Modoc Nation’s recent purchase of an overgrazed ranch near Sheepy Ridge, bison may be headed to the Klamath Basin — along with, tribal leadership hopes, cultural healing.

The 496-citizen tribe, based in Miami, Okla., includes the descendants of 155 Modocs who the U.S. government transported on cattle cars from Fort Klamath in Oregon to Oklahoma after the Modoc War in 1873. Recently, the tribe has purchased several properties in the Tulelake area near the Oregon and California border, intending to develop a presence on lands they were forcibly removed from.

“It’s kind of another step towards coming home,” said Modoc Nation Second Chief Robert Burkybile.

During the last three years, the tribe purchased two adjacent properties at the foot of Barntop Mountain, in the sagebrush uplands that separate Lower Klamath Lake from Tule Lake. The tribe intends to restore these ecosystems, which have been overgrazed for decades after nearby hunting lodges began leasing land to ranchers. READ MORE. Alex Schwartz, Herald and News, Report for America

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The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Oklahoma appellate court decision that the high court’s landmark McGirt ruling on criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country does not apply retroactively to state convictions that are finalized.

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the appeal of Clifton Parish, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation who argued the state did not have jurisdiction over him because the killing for which he was convicted happened on land within the tribe’s historic reservation.

The high court let stand a ruling by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals that McGirt did not apply retroactively to criminal cases in which an inmate’s appeals have been exhausted.

Parish, who is serving a 25-year sentence in state prison, was convicted of second-degree murder for the 2010 killing of Robert Strickland in Hugo. His public defender declined to comment on the court’s ruling. — The Associated Press

Around the world: An Indigenous heroine faces death threats in Ecuador, Canada finally agrees to compensate First Nations over its broken child-welfare system, Māori-led projects in New Zealand get funding, deforestation has doubled on Indigenous lands in Brazil, and women restore mangroves in Indonesia.

Coverage around the world on Indigenous issues for the week ending Jan. 9, 2022. READ MORE.Deusdedit Ruhangariyo, special to Indian Country Today

Call it one step forward and two steps sideways in a dispute over former boarding school land.

The city council in this South Dakota reservation border community voted Monday to allocate $9 million toward the construction of an urban Native community center in a move that was seen as groundbreaking.

“This is the first time that a substantial investment has been made (by the city) to an Indigenous effort in our community,” said Tatewin Means, Oglala Lakota and a volunteer with the group behind the effort to build the center.

But the enthusiasm was tempered by strings attached to the funding and questions whether the deal would resolve a thorny land dispute. READ MORE. — Stewart Huntington, special to Indian Country Today

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U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández plays a key role in advancing legislation about Native people in Congress. She tells us about her priorities. Plus, we're talking about the filibuster with John Tahsuda.

Watch:

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema met with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona recently to discuss the infrastructure investments for tribal communities and the Jobs Act

The discussion, held virtually on Jan. 7, was an opportunity for the senator's office to better understand how to assist tribes with accessing funds and implementing programs.

“One of the first concerns I heard was ensuring that the funds that were allocated through the new infrastructure law are able to be dispersed to communities in a fast and efficient and effective way,” Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, said.

“The good news is my team has already started working with both the tribal communities and federal agencies to determine how best to get these funds flowing to tribal communities, whether it be through federal agencies or through self-governance agreements, to get them out the door as quickly as possible,” Sinema added. READ MORE. Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

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After initially resisting, the U.S. Navy will comply with Hawaii’s order to remove fuel from a massive underground storage tank facility near Pearl Harbor blamed for contaminating drinking water, officials said Tuesday.

The Navy is making preparations to defuel the facility, Rear Adm. Blake Converse said during a U.S. House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness hearing.

Hawaii’s governor said he expected the Navy to immediately comply with the state’s order and address the threat the tank facility poses to the environment and the well-being of the state’s military families and residents.

The Navy’s water system serves some 93,000 people in residential homes, offices, elementary schools and businesses in and around Pearl Harbor. Starting in late November, about 1,000 people complained that their tap water smelled like fuel or reported physical ailments such as nausea and rashes after ingesting it. — The Associated Press

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