Indian gaming hit $39 billion in 2021, according to news reports. It all began in 1972, with a dispute over a $147 property tax bill on a mobile home on the Leech Lake Reservation.Continue reading
Native American Rights Fund
ICWA lawsuit primer: What it’s about, what’s at stake, who’s involved, and why we should care
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case this year trying to end the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law that provides states guidance on how to handle “child abuse and neglect and adoption cases involving Native children,” with the goal to keep Native children in Native homes.
The case, Haaland v. Brackeen, has huge implications for Native children and families. Less well known is how corporate interests appear to be weighing in, trying to undermine Tribal sovereignty to increase their profits.Continue reading
Why isn’t it a crime for a state government to suppress the Indian vote?
It’s a story as old as the colonial frontier, where state and local governments did everything they could to cheat Native Nations. They only honored treaties or federal laws if and when they were sued in court and lost.
These systemic problems keep happening because states face no consequences for bad-faith actions.
There are many examples, but today we look at a recent voter suppression case in South Dakota. The law is clear, yet the state chooses to be willfully ignorant of legitimate grievances.Continue reading
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
Native American voting rights: The first people on the land should not be the last to vote
In 2017 and 2018, the Native American Voting Rights Coalition—founded by the Native American Rights Fund—held nine public hearings to better understand how Native Americans are systemically and culturally kept from fully exercising their franchise. More than 120 witnesses testified from dozens of tribes across the country.
The Native American Rights Fund just released the results of that research in the report: Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters. Continue reading
Updates on Challenges to Enbridge Line 3 and Keystone XL; New North Dakota Pipeline Proposed
In this blog:
- The Progressive Magazine: The Battle Against Line 3: It’s not only a pipeline, it’s the future of the planet
- Trump’s effort to end-run court challenges to Keystone XL facing more court challenges
- Phillips 66 and Bridger Pipeline propose new pipeline through North Dakota
- Line 3 opponents rally at Sen. Klobuchar’s office to get her to take a stand against the pipeline
News and Events: Standing Rock Film Screening, Youth March for Fossil Free Future, and More
News and events in this post:
- Oct. 8: Augsburg Native American Film Series: The Eagle and The Condor–From Standing Rock with Love.
- Oct. 28 Our Right, Our Future: March with Minnesota Youth for a Fossil Free Future
- Construction on Keystone XL Begins Near Rosebud as Three Native Nations Sue to Stop It
- Minneapolis City Council Accepts the Red Lake Nation’s Help to Relocate Homeless Camp
Native Nations Sue the Federal Government to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) and the Fort Belknap Indian Community (Assiniboine (Nakoda) and Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) Tribes) are suing the Trump Administration in the District Court for violating key federal regulations in approving the Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline, according to an email from the Native American Rights Fund, which also has joined the suit.
The 77-page lawsuit asks the court to find the federal permits violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the National Historic Preservation Act( NHPA). The lawsuit asks the Court to rescind the permits and prohibit “any activity in furtherance of the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the Pipeline and related facilities.”
Some of the arguments this lawsuit makes are similar to the ones that Native nations in northern Minnesota could make against Enbridge Line 3.
Native Nations Sue to Protect Bears Ears Monument, and More
You probably have read by now that President Trump took the unprecedented action to drastically reduce the size of national monuments in Utah, including Bears Ears, sacred lands to Native nations. As the New York Times reported:
President Trump sharply reduced the size of two national monuments in Utah on Monday by some two million acres, the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history.
The administration shrank Bears Ears National Monument, a sprawling region of red rock canyons, by 85 percent, and cut another monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, to about half its current size. The move, a reversal of protections put in place by Democratic predecessors, comes as the administration pushes for fewer restrictions and more development on public lands.
Native nations are fighting back, saying the President does not have the constitutional authority shrink national monuments, according to a statement from John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund.
Under the Antiquities Act, the president may create national monuments. That is all. He or she may not modify or revoke existing monuments — only Congress has that ability. Trump’s actions are illegal, unwarranted, and deeply unpopular. And they are a blatant attack on tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument a year ago. Native nations had pressed for that designation to protect their sacred places. As Echohawk explained:
Until the designation of Bears Ears, our sacred lands were under constant threat. Those unfamiliar with our cultures and our traditions contributed to the steady destruction of our sacred sites by looting, grave robbing, and indiscriminately drilling for oil and mining uranium at the expense of our heritage.
See the Native American Rights Fund website for more information. Continue reading
Bears Ears National Monument Threatened; Upcoming “Resistance and Resilience” Event in Minneapolis; and More
This important update from the Native American Rights Fund blog: Stand Firm for Bears Ears.
Last December, President Obama designated an area of great importance in southeastern Utah as a national monument known as “Bears Ears.” [This week] President Trump signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a two-part review, aimed first at the Bears Ears National Monument in Southeastern Utah and then at other post-1995 monument designations made pursuant to the Antiquities Act.
The stated policy of the order is to review all monuments created since 1996 to determine if they were created without “public outreach and proper coordination.”
In an email, the organization gave some additional background:
Bears Ears, an area in southeast Utah, is filled with sacred sites, hunting grounds, and medicines that are still used today; it is a place where Native ancestors are buried and to be honored. Despite being such an incredible cultural treasure, the designation as a monument was made only after persistent efforts of many who spoke to the importance of the region. President Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument after two years of public input and meetings in both Utah and DC. The effort to protect Bears Ears was very long, very public, and very robust, which makes yesterday’s order especially offensive.
Click here for the full blog.
Keep reading for other news. Continue reading