News: David Smith’s death 10 years ago echoes George Floyd’s; key PolyMet decision expected Thursday, and more

In this blog:

  • Washington Post: How Minneapolis police handled the in-custody death of a Black man 10 years before George Floyd
  • WaterLegacy: Key PolyMet decision expected this Thursday, Sept. 3
  • The Intercept: Trump Supporters Rush to Defend One of Their Own Who Killed Protesters in Kenosha
  • The Koncow Maidu’s Trail of Tears in California

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News: MN gets federal office for MMIW cold cases; ski resort changes name derogatory to Native women, and more

In this blog:

  • Feds to open seven cold case units to investigate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, including one in Minnesota
  • California ski resort says it will changes its name, which was derogatory to Native women
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe declares state of emergency in response to suicides
  • RNC passes resolution backing Columbus Day
  • From the files of “Really crazy things federal law enforcement does”

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News: AIM has new leadership; U.S. tries to force Indian schools to reopen during coronavirus, and more

In this blog:

  • American Indian Movement (AIM) has new leadership
  • U.S. Bureau of Indian Education tries to force Indian schools to reopen, despite coronavirus concerns
  • Indian Country’s take on Kamala Harris
  • California Tribe sues Trump administration, saying border wall would desecrate traditional burial site

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Native American organizations “alarmed” by decision to end U.S. Census count early

The Trump administration has done a lot to undermine our core democratic institutions and values. Trump has politicized the U.S. Justice Department. He’s undermined citizen confidence in our voting system and the free press. He’s used his office for personal gain. He’s doled out pardons as political favors. And now he’s messing with the U.S. Census.

His administration is shutting down the Census one month early, a decision that will lead to undercounts of black, Indigenous and other people of color. It will have significant consequences, from Congressional representation to school funding. Continue reading

Unelected Charter Commission poses a structural barrier to systemic changes in Minneapolis policing

It’s been two months since the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, a black man, sparking protests locally, nationally, and around the world.

This moment felt different. Black Lives Matter was getting broader community support. More people seemed open to a structural overhaul in Minneapolis policing. Minneapolis City Council members responded, approving a plan to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) as a free-standing entity. It would replace it with a new Minneapolis Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, which could include police officers as part of its operations.

Now, the irresistible force of community demands hit the immovable object of political process. The hope for big change is teetering in the balance.

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Sierra Club commits to truth telling about its racist past, elevate voices of people of color within the organization

The Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, announced today that it was in the process of truth telling about the organization’s racist past, making plans to take down or reinterpret monuments to early Club leaders, and making institutional changes that reflect its commitment to racial justice. Continue reading

Weekend Reads: Mutual of Omaha drops Indian logo, police brutality in Canada against First Nations chief, and more

In this blog:

  • Mutual of Omaha drops Indian logo
  • Police brutality caught on video in the arrest of a First Nations chief in Canada
  • The quiet campaign to make clean energy racist
  • Guerilla art in south Minneapolis

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Landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling a big win for tribal sovereignty

McGirt v. Oklahoma acknowledges broken treaties

Implies that much of eastern Oklahoma is reservation lands

Ruling puts tribes in strong negotiating position

Oklahoma today. Image: Wikimedia.

On the surface, MCGIRT v. OKLAHOMA was an effort by Jimcy McGirt, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation, to get a new trial on sexual assault conviction, a crime that took place on the Creek Reservation.

The underlying issues the case needed to resolve gave the decision a much broader impact.

At issue was whether the State of Oklahoma or U.S. government had jurisdiction to prosecute McGirt’s crime. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had jurisdiction because the Creek Nation effectively was an Indian reservation, at least as far as prosecuting major crimes such as sexual assault.

This was a roundabout way of a broken treaty getting long-overdue attention.

The decision’s impact ranges from overturning more convictions, like McGirts’, that were committed by an Indigenous person on Indigenous lands. It also could affect such things as zoning, taxation, and environmental law within reservation borders.

The decision will spark significant negotiations between the U.S. government, the state of Oklahoma, and the five Native Nations in the state. Continue reading

Ways to engage in dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department

City charter amendment would replace it with a Department of Public Safety and Violence Prevention

Black Visions and Reclaim the Block have led efforts to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with community-based public safety measures. Here’s what their organizers say you need to know about next steps and how to stay engaged. Continue reading