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Crow tribal citizens are still fighting to exercise off-reservation hunting rights in Wyoming after a U.S. Supreme Court victory more than two and a half years ago and recent state court wins.

In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Crow tribal citizen Clayvin Herrera, who was cited for killing three bull elk in 2014 out of season and without a license during a hunt with several other tribal citizens. They had started on Crow tribal lands while following a group of elk and crossed into the Bighorn National Forest.

Herrera had been found guilty of two misdemeanors in a jury trial after he unsuccessfully claimed in state courts that the tribe’s 1868 Fort Laramie treaty, which guaranteed Crow tribal citizens’ right to hunt off-reservation in “unoccupied lands,” made him immune from prosecution. The Supreme Court agreed in the 2019 Herrera v. Wyoming decision and affirmed the tribe’s off-reservation hunting rights.

The Crow Tribe and treaty rights organizations viewed the decision as a victory for tribal sovereignty and treaty rights. But the ruling was also one that prompted concern – which tribal leaders at the time dismissed as misguided and based on stereotypes – from Wyoming officials and others about unregulated hunting by tribal citizens outside of reservation boundaries. READ MORE. Chris Aadland, Indian Country Today and Underscore News

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The Gila River Indian Community is celebrating an expansion and rebranding across the tribe’s gaming enterprises along the southern edge of the Phoenix Valley.

“We're really excited to share and unveil what we've been working on for the last two years,” Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Resorts & Casinos, said.

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Gila River Resorts & Casinos invested $180 million in renovations at all three of its gaming properties, Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva. The tribe has a fourth casino opening in 2023 called Santan Mountain.

The tribe is aiming to offer gamblers an “elevated guest experience comparable to Las Vegas.” READ MORE.Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

Almost An Island,” a documentary about an Inupiat family living above the Arctic Circle, is available until Feb. 1 on some PBS stations and online.

PBS describes the film as a cinematic portrait of the Goodwins, an Inupiat family living in Kotzebue, Alaska. Through observing three generations of one family over four years, the documentary explores what it means to be Indigenous in the dramatically changing Arctic.

It shows Elmer Goodwin, 78, teaching his children and grandchildren as they gather, process, and share food from the land and sea. “‘Almost An Island’ is an intimate portrayal of this multi-generational family, revealing their memories, dreams and goals, and challenging common stereotypes to show the Goodwins as complex, dignified individuals,” PBS said. — Indian Country Today

An Arizona lawmaker is expressing concern over details of the federal plan to distribute free COVID tests, saying it is not well designed for tribal and rural and communities.

“While I applaud the Biden administration’s initiative to increase access to COVID-19 testing for American families, I am concerned that the execution will leave behind some who live in rural, tribal, and underserved communities,” Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a Democrat representing the 1st District, said in a press release.

The Biden administration launched an initiative this month to provide every family with free rapid COVID-19 tests. Every household with a working residential address can order one set of free at-home tests from USPS.com.

The orders are limited to one per residential address, including P.O. boxes and physical addresses, according to the U.S. Postal Service website. The order will include four individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests, and they’re expected to start shipping in late January. READ MORE.Shondiin Silversmith, AZ Mirror

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An update from the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and a conversation about grief and mourning. Plus, more on how the United States Postal Service impacts rural communities.

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The Hardship Assistance relief payments set for citizens of the Navajo Nation has been delayed for some.

President Jonathan Nez announced Sunday that payments are delayed due to the coronavirus.

Nez said the surge in COVID-19 cases has impacted employees across all branches of government, according to the Navajo Times.

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