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    An activist in Tulsa, Oklahoma, protests against the Supreme Court decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta.Manuela Soldi/Tulsa World/AP Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.Since the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, millions of people have faced new barriers to abortion access: increased wait times, longer distances to travel, and in many cases, an inability to access the procedure altogether. But for many Native people, especially those living on reservation land, these kinds of obstacles feel especially familiar.  “It is sad to say that we’re kind of used to these types of policies being passed and implemented,” says Krystal Curley, who is Diné and the executive director of Indigenous Lifeways, an Indigenous health and social justice group. “Now it’s the whole US that’s going to have to experience what we’ve been experiencing…and it’s traumatic.” Native American tribes are sovereign nations that have a government-to-government relationship with the United States. Tribes have the right to make many laws on their land and for their citizens—and in theory, that right...
    State Rep. Zack Stephenson was optimistic as he unveiled a bill to bring sports betting to Minnesota. In the four years since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states to offer such gambling, he’d managed to move a majority of the state’s federally recognized tribal governments from ‘heck no’ to ‘maybe yes.’ MinnPost photo by Peter CallaghanState Rep. Zack StephensonIt was a big deal.  The tribes don’t have legal exclusivity over gambling in the state but they have political clout. DFL Gov. Tim Walz and DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman had no interest in betting bills without tribal sign-off. Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, said he reached an agreement with tribal leaders across the state first by respecting their sovereignty and then by abiding by a fundamental tenet of the tribal position on gambling. His bill would give the tribes control over the new-to-Minnesota form of gambling, excluding non-tribal players such as race tracks from sponsoring betting. Article continues after advertisement Having the tribes on board – something that was strengthened by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association’s endorsement of Stephenson’s...
    (CNN)Lawmakers chose India's first president from the country's tribal communities on Thursday, which could boost the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party among marginalized groups ahead of the 2024 general election.Droupadi Murmu, a 64-year-old teacher turned politician, will be the second woman to hold the largely ceremonial role as head of the republic when she takes office on July 25 at the start of a five-year term.More than 4,500 state and federal lawmakers voted in the presidential election on Monday and ballots were counted on Thursday. Murmu's victory was assured as she was backed by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which dominates federal and state politics."A daughter of India hailing from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India has been elected our President!" Modi said on Twitter. Painter Jagjot Singh Rubal gives final touches to a painting of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, in Amritsar on July 21, 2022.Born into a family of the Santhal tribe from the state of Odisha, Murmu started her career as a school teacher and actively participated...
    NEW DELHI (AP) — A woman who hails from a minority ethnic community was chosen Thursday as India’s new president, a largely ceremonial position. Draupadi Murmu, a leader from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was elected by the Indian Parliament and state legislatures in voting held Monday, making her the first president from one of the country’s tribes and the second-ever woman to hold the position. She will be formally sworn in as the president on Monday. Murmu, 64, who hails from the eastern state of Odisha and was governor of Jharkhand state from 2015-2021, is a member of the Santal ethnic minority, one of India’s largest tribal groups. She started out as a school teacher before entering politics and has been a two-time lawmaker from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party. Murmu’s father and her grandfather were village headmen in Baidaposi in Mayurbhanj district in Odisha. Murmu’s supporters and Modi’s BJP party see her win as a triumph of tribal people and a breakthrough moment for her community, which generally lacks health care and education facilities in remote villages....
    NEW DELHI (AP) — Lawmakers began voting Monday to choose India’s next president in an election expected to be won by a tribal woman from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The election of Draupadi Murmu is a formality as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP controls enough seats in federal and state legislatures to push its favored candidate. She is also likely to get the support of other regional parties in state assemblies. The president in India is chosen by an electoral college that consists of lawmakers in both houses of Parliament and elected members of the legislative assemblies of all states. The president’s role is largely ceremonial, but the position can be important during times of political uncertainty such as a hung Parliament, when the office assumes greater power. The votes from Monday’s election will be counted Thursday. Modi’s party has projected Murmu as a leader representing poor tribal communities, which generally lacks health care and education facilities in remote villages. Murmu, 64, hails from the eastern of state Odisha and previously was governor of Jharkhand state. If elected, she...
    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding state authority to prosecute some crimes on Native American land is fracturing decades of law built around the hard-fought principle that tribes have the right to govern themselves on their own territory, legal experts say. The Wednesday ruling is a marked departure from federal Indian law and veers from the push to increase tribes’ ability to prosecute all crimes on reservations — regardless of who is involved. It also cast tribes as part of states, rather than the sovereign nations they are, infuriating many across Indian Country. “The majority (opinion) is not firmly rooted in the law that I have dedicated my life to studying and the history as I know it to be true,” said Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese, an assistant law professor at Stanford University who is enrolled at Nambé Pueblo in New Mexico. ”And that’s just really concerning,” Federal authorities largely maintained exclusive jurisdiction to investigate serious, violent crime on reservations across much of the U.S. when the suspect or victim is Native American. The 5-4 decision...
    (CNN)The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that states have the authority to prosecute non-tribal members who commit crimes against Native Americans on Indian territory. The ruling limits a major tribal ruling issued by the Supreme Court in 2020 and cuts back on tribal sovereignty.Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt praised the court's opinion, calling it a "pivotal moment" in a statement. Why tribal lands are unlikely to become abortion sanctuariesStitt has been fighting for state sovereignty on the issue and had expressed fear that if his side were to lose, it could open an avenue for individuals to gain access to abortion on tribal lands, as a way of sidestepping the state's strict abortion rules. "We think that there's a possibility that some tribes may try to set up abortion on demand," he said in an interview with KTUL before the opinion came down. "They think that you could be 1/1000 tribal member and not have to follow the state law. And so that's something that we're watching." Read MoreJustice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion in the case Wednesday,...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Oklahoma can prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed on tribal land when the victim is Native American. The 5-4 decision cut back on the high court’s ruling from 2020 that said a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation. The first decision left the state unable to prosecute Native Americans accused of crimes on tribal lands that include most of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city with a population of about 413,000. A state court later ruled that the Supreme Court decision also stripped the state of its ability to prosecute anyone for crimes committed on tribal land if either the victim or perpetrator is Native American. That would have left the federal government with sole authority to prosecute such cases, and federal officials had acknowledged that they lack the resources to prosecute all the crimes that have fallen to them. But the high court’s new ruling said the state also can step in when the victims are tribal members. The case highlighted the already strained relationship...
    (CNN)With Roe v. Wade now overturned, tribal lands are again coming up in conversations on social media and elsewhere as potential safe havens for those seeking abortions.In Oklahoma, which has enacted some of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt previously warned Indigenous tribes against setting up abortion clinics on their lands -- comments that the Cherokee Nation, the largest tribe in the state, referred to as irresponsible speculation and an attack on tribal sovereignty.Though the US recognizes tribal nations as sovereign entities with the inherent authority to govern themselves, the reality is much more complicated. As a result, experts in tribal and federal Indian law say it's unlikely that reservations will offer a viable solution to the challenge of abortion access, particularly for those who aren't tribal members."There is a legal scenario where this could work for a small class of patients and providers," said Lauren van Schilfgaarde, director of the Tribal Legal Development Clinic at the UCLA School of Law. "But I think it's safe to say that this is just not a realistic option."Opening...
    NEW DELHI (AP) — A woman representing India’s poor tribal community is likely to be the country’s next president after the governing Bharatiya Janata Party picked up Draupadi Murmu on Tuesday as its candidate for the post. The presidency is a ceremonial post and the election of Murmu, 64, is a formality with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in a strong position to galvanize support for her among lawmakers representing parliament and state legislatures. The BJP chose Murmu at the party’s parliamentary board meeting Tuesday chaired by Modi. Party president J.P. Nadda told reporters that they felt the next president should be a female tribal candidate. A divided opposition named Yashwant Sinha, a BJP rebel, to challenge Murmu in the election. Sinha, 84, had served as the country’s finance minister during the previous BJP government from 1998 to 2002. He quit the party following a divergence with Modi on economic issues in 2018. The voting will be held on July 18. In India, the prime minister is the head of the government and holds the executive authority, and...
    RINGWOOD, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey officials sued Ford Motor Company on Thursday, alleging that the automaker contaminated the ancestral homeland of a Native American tribe by dumping paint sludge and other pollutants into a former mine. The action in state court seeks unspecified damages to restore the land, and to compensate the state and local communities for losses they sustained when natural resources were damaged. The suit accuses Ford of dumping contaminants at the former Ringwood Mine site, a 500-acre site that encompasses the homelands of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, a tribe formally recognized by the state. Tribe members attended Thursday’s news conference and spoke of years of illnesses and deaths they attribute to contamination of their land. “Can you promise my community a future?” tribe member Angel Stefancik asked New Jersey officials during the press conference. “I’ve lived on contaminated land my whole life. I want the kind of land where my ancestors grew up, where you can walk barefoot. I want my rabbits, my toads, fruit trees. “I lost my grandmother to cancer,” she said. “I’m 22...
    Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. reversed an executive order that banned the Oklahoma flag from tribal properties after he faced backlash. Hoskin is a Democrat who was elected to lead the country’s largest tribe in 2019. He has been engaged in a battle of wills with Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) since shortly after he took office. Last week, Hoskin gave all Cherokee properties until Sep. 1 to remove the Oklahoma flag. The chief said the flag would only be flown under strict circumstances. Hoskin wrote: The Cherokee Nation is a sovereign entity with jurisdiction over our reservation, and the use of the Cherokee Nation flag on our land should reflect the strength and determination of the Cherokee people over these 113 years. The Oklahoma state flag remains in use at events involving Oklahoma government leadership or honoring visiting dignitaries and service in the Oklahoma National Guard. Backlash was swift, which Hoskin noted in a Tuesday statement announcing he would reverse the order. “Cherokee Nation is both a sovereign tribal government and a democracy,” Hoskin stated. “My responsibility to the...
    The Cherokee Nation announced Tuesday it will allow the Oklahoma flag to fly on its properties after Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. reversed his decision to remove the flag due to negative feedback from within the tribe. “I was particularly moved by concerns of some members of the Council that my executive order created unnecessary division at a time when I have called for cooperation,” Hoskin wrote in a press statement Tuesday. The state flag's removal was particularly notable due to disagreements between Oklahoma and the tribe regarding a 2020 Supreme Court decision that voided the state's criminal jurisdiction in a significant portion of the eastern part of Oklahoma when a case involves a member of a federally recognized tribe. NATIVE AMERICAN LEADERS BLAST OKLAHOMA HOUSE HOPEFUL FOR 'ANTI-TRIBAL ARGUMENTS' Still, Hoskin said the June 3 executive order that aimed to remove the state flag from tribal properties was not in response to any action by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is also a member of the Cherokee Nation. Rather, the initial move was done because he believed it was...
    Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said there is a need to "protect" Native American victims of crime after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case this week over whether the state can prosecute nontribal people who commit crimes against tribal citizens in a large eastern portion of the state. A consequential 2020 high court ruling known as McGirt v. Oklahoma voided the state's criminal jurisdiction in more than 40% of the state, resulting in the formation of separate tribal jurisdictions to handle and prosecute crimes committed by tribal citizens in what is legally known as "Indian Country." "This is ultimately about protecting victims and native victims in eastern Oklahoma," Stitt said outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, standing next to attorneys who completed arguments in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta. "It's about law and order, it's about justice, and they did a great job of showing how law is on our side." OKLAHOMA NATIVE LANDS EXPANSION LOOMS OVER SUPREME COURT CHILD NEGLECT CASE NEW: I spoke with Oklahoma @GovStitt about the state's appeal at #SCOTUS today in a...
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — With a Democratic governor and a Democratic-controlled Legislature, Native Americans in Maine saw this year as their best shot at changing a landmark settlement to win sovereignty from the state. The tribes now reluctantly accept that sweeping change is unlikely to happen because of a threat of a veto by the governor. Five tribal leaders responded to the Legislature adjourning without taking final action on the bill, saying they didn’t have enough votes to override the veto. But they said they’re not giving up and plan to continue to press for full sovereignty. “The evidence is clear that when tribal communities prosper, so do the surrounding communities. Wabanaki sovereignty is good for all of Maine,” the chiefs said in the statement Tuesday night. The veto threat represents the latest setback for efforts to alter the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980. That landmark agreement put Native Americans in Maine on a different path than the other 570 federally regulated tribes across the country. The law treats reservations like municipalities, subject to state law, giving...
    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in Oklahoma’s ongoing battle with Native American tribes over the state’s authority to prosecute people accused of crimes on Native American lands, following a 2020 Supreme Court decision. The court agreed earlier this year to consider limiting its 2020 McGirt decision, a ruling that the state says has produced chaos in its courts. The state’s appeal is in the case of Victor Castro-Huerta, who was charged with malnourishment of his 5-year-old stepdaughter and has since pleaded guilty to a federal child neglect charge and is awaiting sentencing. He was initially convicted in state court but that conviction and his sentence were overturned because of the way the state courts interpreted the law in the aftermath of the McGirt ruling. The state appealed with the strong support of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt and is the latest strain on his relationship with tribal leaders in the state. In the 2020 case, the Supreme Court ruled that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation. The...
    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Democratic Gov. Janet Mills asked tribal chiefs and legislatives leaders in a letter made public Monday to drop their effort to amend a 1980 land settlement deal that gave the state of Maine some governmental power over tribes. Mills said the proposal to expand tribal sovereignty could be a setback in tribal relations with her administration, instead of building on recent successes. “I do not wish to have a confrontation,” she wrote in the letter. “It would serve no constructive purpose and only inflame emotions on all sides of the discussion.” The letter was written Thursday night, the day before the bill failed to advance in the appropriations committee. Maggie Dana, chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, said previously she hoped the governor would be “on the right side of history” and agree to the changes long sought by tribes in the state. For the tribes, it has been a long, frustrating battle since they traded some rights to the state under the $81.5 million Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980, signed...
    OLANCHA, Calif. —  Spirits live here. That’s what Paiute and Shoshone tribal members say about the Owens Lake playa, an arid, eerily flat expanse along the eastern Sierra Nevada range that is prone to choking dust storms. It is best known as the focal point of a historic feud that began in the early 1900s, when Los Angeles city agents quietly bought up ranch lands and water rights for an aqueduct to quench the thirst of the growing metropolis 200 miles to the south. L.A. diverted so much water via the aqueduct system that the 110-square-mile lake dried up and it was nearly impossible for local farmers and ranchers to make a living — a scandal dramatized in the classic 1974 film “Chinatown.” But a different history looms over this wasteland for Native Americans whose ancestors knew it as a kingdom of irrigated villages and plentiful game until the late 1800s — before U.S. troops were sent to protect local white settlers and the land and water they had effectively stolen. Now, as part of an effort to present...
    Oklahoma congressional candidate John Bennett ignited rebuke from tribal leaders over "anti-tribal arguments" this week following his comments on the landmark 2020 Supreme Court decision that deemed the eastern half of the state as Native American land. Members of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes signed a letter Wednesday saying they were "disappointed to hear" Bennett's priority to disestablish the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation if he is elected to represent the state's 2nd Congressional District. Bennett, the former GOP chairman for the state, initially told the Washington Examiner this week that "Congress needs to go back, and they need to de-establish the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation," adding it would be "one of my priorities" if elected to the seat being vacated by Markwayne Mullin after his decision to run for the Senate. SUPREME COURT RULING EXPANDING INDIAN LANDS LOOMS OVER OKLAHOMA HOUSE GOP FIGHT A bipartisan array of leaders and political hopefuls support the tribes assertion of their #McGirt rights. CD2 candidate John Bennett is not one of them. His anti-Indian views- calling for the destruction of our...
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Senate advanced a historic proposal Friday to restore tribes’ sovereignty, ensuring they have the same rights as other federally recognized tribes across the country. The Senate action, made without debate, came a day after the House approved the bill that addresses sovereignty rights that were forfeited by tribes under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. More votes are needed. Also Friday, a tribal attorney rewrote language of a separate bill to ensure the governor’s support for letting the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point regulate its own drinking water. And the Maine House advanced a proposal that would funnel mobile sports betting revenue to tribes in the state. The three measures came up this week as lawmakers pick up the pace in hopes of adjourning next week. The chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point said she was celebrating the steps forward while reflecting on all the hard work by so many tribal members over the years. “People don’t understand the depth of injustice unless they’ve lived it. The Wabanaki people have...
    (CNN)Native American people in Maine have been excluded from protections guaranteed by federal law for more than 40 years but lawmakers could help change it.As the state Legislature's second session reaches its final days, a proposed legislation to restore sovereignty to Maine's tribes is being considered. Earlier this week, dozens of Indigenous advocates, social justice groups and environmentalists marched outside the state capitol building.The bill, L.D. 1626, aims to give the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseets and the Mi'kaq Nation (formerly known as the Aroostook Band of Micmacs) power to regulate hunting, fishing, natural resources, land use on tribal lands, economic development, among other rights.The state House voted 81-55 to pass the bill on Thursday and now it heads to the Senate. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn its session on Wednesday.Leaders of the Wabanaki nations said they haven't had equal access to many federal programs and have been excluded from new policy involving federally recognized tribes as a result of a decades-old settlement.Read MoreHow a Seattle community is supporting a tribes fight for its...
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Tribes in Maine gave up some of their rights to the state when they settled their land claims more than 40 years ago. They want to change that agreement so they can enjoy the same self-governing rights as the other Native Americans. The Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq view legislative debate this week, ahead of the midterm elections, as their best opportunity for establishing rights to self determination. The proposed changes come against a backdrop of President Joe Biden’s administration seeking to ensure that tribes are consulted early when it comes to policies or actions that impact them. It also has sought ways for the federal government and tribes to co-manage federal land that is part of tribes’ ancestral homeland. But unlike the hundreds of tribal reservations across the United States, the Passamaquoddy’s and Penobscot’s three reservations in Maine are governed like municipalities and bound by state laws under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. In Maine, the larger Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes operate their own police departments and health clinics but...
    States and Tribes now have little ability to limit damaging fossil fuel projects that directly threaten them. The Supreme Court’s “shadow docket” was in full effect on Wednesday when Justices chose to reinstate a Trump-era water rule that threatens waterways on state and tribal land. In a 5-4 ruling in which all three Trump-appointed Justices were part of the majority, the nation’s highest court chose to allow the 2020 Rule created by the Trump administration to take effect temporarily. The rule concerns Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and limits states’ and tribes’ abilities to review projects like pipelines, from shortening the review period to allowing federal oversight that could overturn a state and tribe’s findings. It is also on states and tribes to prove that projects will harm water quality. Polluters cheered the ruling, while environmental groups and even states themselves sued over what was effectively a gutting of the Clean Water Act. This led to a federal judge in 2021 rejecting the EPA’s request to keep the rule on the books. An appeal failed, but oil and gas...
    Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat representing the state’s 8th Congressional District, is a thoughtful and devoted arbiter of democracy. In other words, he is truly one of the rare politicians who, lucky for us, is on our side.  I spoke with Raskin on the day the House reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, which helps in the battle he’s fighting on behalf of missing and murdered Indigenous and Black women through his work as chair of the U.S. House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties In addition to $1.5 trillion in funding, the measure includes a “tribal title,” a provision that gives tribal courts jurisdiction over crimes committed by non-Native offenders—sexual assault, sex trafficking, stalking, and child abuse, as well as obstructing justice and assaulting tribal law enforcement officers.  Raskin told Daily Kos that the panel on missing and murdered women of color catalyzed people’s attention to the problem. He says the next steps are to assure that “law enforcement resources go to every level of local and regional and tribal governments to bolster their ability to...
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A lead lawmaker in the Minnesota House expressed confidence that his proposal to legalize sports gambling in-person at the state’s casinos and online will pass this year and get the necessary support from tribal nations, key stakeholders that have pushed back on the idea before. The legislation would form new gaming compacts with the tribes — in addition to the current gaming compact — which would operate mobile versions in partnership with commercial operators, said Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids. They would keep the revenues from the bets placed at their brick-and-mortar casinos, but the state would tax a slice of net profits from online wagers made statewide. READ MORE: Minneapolis Teachers Will Strike Tuesday“As someone who would not bring a bill forward if we didn’t think we had a path to tribal support, I feel very comfortable standing before you today with the bill,” said Stephenson, who chairs of the commerce committee. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, which represents 10 tribal nations, said it supports the state’s efforts to legalize sports betting and...
    Rep. Zack Stephenson wasn’t much of a gambler before he decided to become one of the Minnesota Legislature’s experts on sports betting. Other than playing fantasy football, the Coon Rapids DFLer said he hadn’t bet on sports until a recent visit to Iowa. So he can be forgiven for avoiding sports cliches and gambling terms to describe what he thinks the, ahhh, odds are for Minnesota joining the 26 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted some form of legalized betting on college and professional sports. “I don’t have a bill yet,” Stephenson, who chairs the House Commerce Committee, said Friday. “But I think we’re getting close. I’m hoping to have something more concrete to talk about in the very near future.” A year ago, Stephenson said his committee was too busy with the state budget and with the response to the COVID pandemic to take up the issue. At the time, the committee also heard and passed a recreational marijuana bill.  Article continues after advertisement Since then, however, he said he has met with all 11 recognized...
    The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider limiting the scope of its 2020 ruling that enhanced Native American tribal authority in Oklahoma in a case surrounding a man convicted of child neglect. The state sought to have the highest court examine the case of Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta to consider whether justices should overturn or limit its 2020 landmark tribal sovereignty ruling, McGirt v. Oklahoma. The goal would be whether to determine if Oklahoma also has jurisdiction in cases that involve non-Native Americans committing crimes against Native Americans in Indian country. The court said the case would be set for argument in April, according to a one-paragraph grant notice. "The fallout of the McGirt decision has been destructive," Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt wrote in a statement. "Criminals have used this decision to commit crimes without punishment. Victims of crime, especially Native victims, have suffered by being forced to relive their worst nightmare in a second trial or having justice elude them completely. " While the governor called the Supreme Court decision a "victory," the court ultimately denied the state's request to...
    THE Navajo council has voted to send checks worth up to $2,000 to eligible adults and $600 for each child Wednesday. The money comes from $557million in federal coronavirus relief funds. 2The program was created to help tribal members who were negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez approved the vote, ensuring checks for approximately 350,000 tribal members. Nez has approved rounds of relief checks in the past using money from federal relief funds. “It has been over 8 months since President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act and our Navajo people should not suffer another day without knowing how their government will assist them as they suffer from grief, mental health and financial hardship,” said Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty. “A second allocation of hardship assistance payments of $2,000 per adult and $600 per child will allow our relatives to purchase essential winter supplies like gasoline, firewood, and food now.” The 18-2 vote took place on Wednesday during a special session of the tribe’s lawmaking body. It will tap some of the...
    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it plans to withdraw and reconsider a decision made under the Trump administration that allowed the state, not tribal nations, to regulate environmental issues in Indian Country. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, had requested the authority last year, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court determined in a landmark ruling known as the McGirt decision that a large swath of eastern Oklahoma remains a Muscogee (Creek) Nation Indian reservation. Since then, the tribal reservations of five other Native American tribes stretching across virtually the entire eastern half of the state have been determined by courts to remain intact. The EPA said in a press release that its decision was made after extensive consultation with Oklahoma’s 38 federally recognized tribal nations and the concerns many of them had with the agency’s previous decision. “Today’s action reflects careful consideration of their concerns and our commitment to ensuring robust consultation on all policy deliberations affecting tribal nations,” said Jane Nishida, EPA’s assistant administrator for international and tribal affairs. The agency said...
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday proposed the withdrawal of a Trump-era rule that gave the state of Oklahoma jurisdiction over certain environmental issues on tribal lands. Last October, the EPA granted the state's request for such jurisdiction under a carve-out from a 2005 law that grants the state environmental oversight “in the areas of the state that are in Indian country, without any further demonstration of authority by the state.” Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) submitted the request shortly after the Supreme Court’s Oklahoma v. McGirt decision, in which the high court ruled 5-4 that much of eastern Oklahoma was legally part of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation. Since then, the EPA said in a statement that it has extensively consulted with representatives from the Sooner State’s 38 tribal nations, in addition to holding meetings between agency leadership and eight individual tribes. The agency faulted Trump-era leadership for what it said was “abbreviated” consultation on the matter with tribes that lasted under a month. The EPA will accept comments from stakeholders on the proposal through Jan. 31, with the state retaining the...
    HERTEL, Wis. (WCCO) — Leaders of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin say sports gambling will add a new dynamic to what their casinos can offer — and will hopefully be ready by Super Bowl Sunday. On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he has paired with the tribe to approve wagering on professional sporting events at St. Croix-operated casinos throughout the state. READ MORE: Man Gets Probation For Punching Trooper Who Responded To Drunken Driving CrashIn Turtle Lake, just a 90-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis, tribal leaders understand the importance of location. “When we look at sports betting, we want to pull from other states,” said Chairman Bill Reynolds. “Minnesota is a great state to pull from. They’re right next door.” Reynolds says expanding into the realm of sports wagering is something the St. Croix have wanted to do for years, but the timing was right in the partnership with Gov. Evers. “This just happened to fall in our lap,” Reynolds said. Now, he says the focus is on building a one-of-a-kind sports book at the Turtle Lake...
    The U.S. Supreme Court will take a fresh look at a landmark case involving government jurisdiction on tribal lands after more than 40 petitions were made seeking to overturn or limit the historic 2020 ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma. Justices will gather early next month with a focus on a Tulsa man's case , according to a Dec. 8 update to the court's docket. The state appealed following an Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals decision to vacate a 2017 conviction and 35-year prison sentence for Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta, 36, based on the McGirt ruling. The state appeals court contended with Castro-Huerta’s testimony that Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction to prosecute him because the victim was a member of a federally recognized tribe, noting that the crime happened within the bounds of the non-disestablished Cherokee Nation reservation. The logic used in the McGirt ruling has been applied to five other tribes. Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt and Attorney General John O'Connor have vehemently opposed the July 2020 McGirt ruling and a state court ruling that followed, which voided Oklahoma's criminal jurisdiction in...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — After a federal judge overturned the state’s gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, they have filed an appeal to his decision. The Seminole Tribe’s filing on Tuesday came after a ruling Monday from U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich that found the multibillion-dollar agreement between the state and tribe allowing online betting violated a federal rule that requires a person to be physically on tribal land when wagering. The lawsuit, filed by non-Indian casino owners in Florida, challenged the approval of the agreement by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations. READ MORE: Kyle Rittenhouse Reportedly Visited Former President Donald Trump At Mar-A-LagoThe state and tribe had argued that because the computer servers processing the bets would be on tribal lands, bettors could wager from their phone or kiosks at race tracks and non-Indian casinos anywhere in the state and meet the federal standard. Judge Friedrich, in her ruling, called that a “fiction,” writing “When a federal statute authorizes an activity only at specific locations, parties may not evade that limitation...
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Seminole Tribe of Florida on Tuesday moved to appeal a federal judge’s decision to block its deal with the state to expand gambling and online sports betting throughout Florida. In a ruling late Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich found that the multibillion dollar agreement between the state and tribe allowing online betting violated a federal rule that requires a person to be physically on tribal land when wagering. The lawsuit, filed by non-Indian casino owners in Florida, challenged the approval of the agreement by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations. The state and tribe had argued that because the computer servers processing the bets would be on tribal lands, bettors could wager from their phone or kiosks at race tracks and non-Indian casinos anywhere in the state and meet the federal standard. Judge Friedrich, in her ruling, called that a “fiction,” writing “When a federal statute authorizes an activity only at specific locations, parties may not evade that limitation by ‘deeming’ their activity to occur where it, as...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan held a ceremonial bill signing Monday with tribal leaders and state lawmakers in honor of a bill affirming Minnesota’s relationship with tribal governments. “We are working every day to ensure that state government works in a different, better way. A way that understands and honors tribal sovereignty. A way that allows more consistent and productive coordination and communication between state agencies and tribal nations,” the governor said, in a statement. The bill codifies government-to-government relations, affirming tribal sovereignty, requiring state agencies to have tribal-state liaisons, and mandating tribal-state relations for state leaders and employees. “For far too long, state government has not worked with or for Native people,” said Flanagan, in a statement. “The Governor and I are committed to changing that, for the long term. I am filled with gratitude for the friendship and partnership – from tribal leaders, from legislators, and from community voices – that got this bill across the finish line and into state law. Today is a historic, important step for...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan held a ceremonial bill signing Monday with tribal leaders and state lawmakers in honor of a bill affirming Minnesota’s relationship with tribal governments. “We are working every day to ensure that state government works in a different, better way. A way that understands and honors tribal sovereignty. A way that allows more consistent and productive coordination and communication between state agencies and tribal nations,” the governor said, in a statement. The bill codifies government-to-government relations, affirming tribal sovereignty, requiring state agencies to have tribal-state liaisons, and mandating tribal-state relations for state leaders and employees. “For far too long, state government has not worked with or for Native people,” said Flanagan, in a statement. “The Governor and I are committed to changing that, for the long term. I am filled with gratitude for the friendship and partnership – from tribal leaders, from legislators, and from community voices – that got this bill across the finish line and into state law. Today is a historic, important step for...
    For his first nine months as chair of the Minnesota House Commerce Committee, Rep. Zack Stephenson wouldn’t even hold hearings on bills to change state liquor laws or add the state to the growing list of those with legal sports betting. He was too busy, he said, drafting his chunk of the two-year state budget and moving a bill to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana. But now, over two weeks’ time, the Coon Rapids DFLer has heard more than two-dozen bills to liberalize liquor regulation and on Tuesday, he announced that he would be the lead sponsor of a sports betting bill that, if adopted, would make Minnesota the 33rd state to legalize betting on games since a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidated a federal law banning it from all but a few states. “Minnesotans should be able to engage in legal sports betting right here in Minnesota,” Stephenson said.  What that legislation will look like isn’t yet known; Stephenson has no bill drafted and said he will hold hearings and talk to interested parties about language before...
    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Biden administration has approved two portions of Connecticut’s request for a major disaster declaration needed to secure federal funds for recovery from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which caused an estimated $7.2 million in damage in the state. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced Saturday that renters, homeowners and business owners in hard-hit Fairfield and New London counties — and residents of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations — will now be eligible for federal reimbursement for the costs of uninsured or underinsured storm damage to homes and personal property. A stunned U.S. East Coast faced surging rivers, record-breaking rain, and dozens of deaths when the remnants of Ida walloped the region on Sept. 1, drowning many victims in their homes and cars. A veteran Connecticut State Police sergeant was killed after his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters. The storm dumped as much as eight inches of rain on parts of Connecticut and caused heavy flooding. According to Lamont’s request, just 8% of damaged homes in New London County and 23% in Fairfield...
    Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. signed a gambling deal in April.Two prominent South Florida businessmen and the group No Casinos have filed a lawsuit seeking to block a deal that allows sports betting in Florida, arguing the agreement signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and approved by the Legislature violates the state Constitution and federal laws. The legal challenge, filed Monday in Washington, D.C., is the third federal lawsuit challenging the sweeping deal, known as a compact, giving the Seminole Tribe of Florida control of sports betting throughout the state. Plaintiffs in the new lawsuit include South Florida developer Armando Codina and Miami car dealer Norman Braman, who have been longtime opponents of expanded gambling. The challenge accuses President Joe Biden’s administration of violating federal law by allowing the compact to go into effect and failing to consider a 2018 Florida constitutional amendment that requires statewide voter approval of gambling expansions. The compact, signed by DeSantis and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. in April and later approved by the Legislature, opens...
    The U.S. Department of the Interior has called for an investigation into a long-standing legal battle regarding the gaming compact between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the state of New York, claiming that a $470 million judgment placed against the tribal nation violates federal laws. In a filing Friday in a federal court in New York, lawyers for the Senecas submitted a copy of a Sept. 15 letter by Assistant Interior Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland to E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, who chairs the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). In February, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision siding with New York. The three-judge panel ruled that the nation was required to continue making payments as part of the gaming compact between the parties. Newland cited the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in the letter and the NIGC’s role in investigating potential violations of the law. “… The Department shares its serious concern about the panel’s extension of the revenue sharing provision … and whether this agreement may violate the (Seneca) Nation’s ordinance requirement...
    DENVER (AP) — A Colorado state panel has recommended that a mountain peak west of Denver be renamed in honor of a Native American woman who acted as a translator for tribes and white settlers in the 19th century. Thursday’s recommendation comes amid national efforts to address a history of colonialism and oppression against Native Americans and other people of color after last summer’s protests calling for racial justice reform. It is the first of several name changes being considered by the state panel. (credit: CBS) The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board recommended changing the name of Squaw Mountain, located in Clear Creek County, to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain, which is pronounced “mess-taw-hay.” The name honors an influential Cheyenne translator known as Owl Woman, who facilitated relations between white settlers and Native American tribes in the early 1800s, The Colorado Sun reported. The word “squaw,” derived from the Algonquin language, may once have simply meant “woman.” But over generations, the word morphed into a misogynist and racist term to disparage Indigenous women, according to experts. In a similar fashion, the Squaw Valley...
    NAMBE, NEW MEXICO - Carmaker Tesla has opened a store and repair shop on Native American land for the first time, marking a new approach to its yearslong fight to sell cars directly to consumers and cut car dealerships out of the process. The white-walled, silver-lettered Tesla store, which opened last week, sits in Nambé Pueblo, north of Santa Fe, on tribal land that's not subject to state laws. The electric car company can sell and service its vehicles freely only in about a dozen states, while it faces restrictions in others. Some, such as New Mexico, ban Tesla from offering sales or repairs without going through a dealership. In January, the company struck a deal with Michigan to resolve a 2016 lawsuit, a symbolic victory that allowed it to sell in the backyard of the nation's largest carmakers. Partnership with tribe Tesla supporters say the shop in New Mexico marks the first time the company has partnered with a tribe to get around state laws, though the idea has been in the works for years. From Oklahoma to Connecticut...
    NAMBÉ, N.M. (AP) — Carmaker Tesla has opened a store and repair shop on Native American land for the first time, marking a new approach to its yearslong fight to sell cars directly to consumers and cut car dealerships out of the process. The white-walled, silver-lettered Tesla store, which opened last week, sits in Nambé Pueblo, north of Santa Fe, on tribal land that’s not subject to state laws. The electric car company can only sell and service its vehicles freely in about a dozen states, while it faces restrictions in others. Some, like New Mexico, ban Tesla from offering sales or repairs without going through a dealership. In January, the company struck a deal with Michigan to resolve a 2016 lawsuit, a symbolic victory that allowed it to sell in the backyard of the nation’s largest carmakers. Supporters of Tesla say the shop in New Mexico marks the first time the company has partnered with a tribe to get around state laws, though the idea has been in the works for years. From Oklahoma to Connecticut and other...
    Tesla CEO Elon Musk exploited a loophole to avoid following New Mexico laws while setting up a sales and service center with one of the tribal nations in the state. New Mexico law prohibits car manufacturers from selling directly to customers without going through third-party dealers.  The rules, which exist in a few other US states, are meant to protect dealers from their own automakers opening a company-owned store next to a third-party dealership.  Tesla CEO Elon Musk exploited a loophole to avoid following New Mexico laws while setting up a sales and service center with one of the tribal nations in the state However, electric carmakers like Tesla have no history of deals with third-party franchises.  The law has kept the electric carmaker from doing official business in the state for years.     In 2019, Tesla tried to push a new law in the state with the help of some favorable legislators, but local car dealer associations used their political influence to shut it down, according to Electrek.   'This location will not only create permanent jobs, it is...
    Connecticut is one step closer to implementing sports wagering and online gaming. Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news release Thursday that the state, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and Mohegan Tribal Council have received the all-clear from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for their revised gaming compacts, which were submitted to the agency this summer. “This critical step in the process of modernizing our gaming landscape here in Connecticut ensures that our state will have a competitive, nation-leading marketplace for wagering both in-person and online,” Lamont said in the release. “I thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approving these revisions, as well as the efforts of our partners with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.” The Lamont administration worked with Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and James Gessner Jr., chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, on the revisions. Butler said in the release the “approval from the Department of the Interior is historic and begins and exciting new chapter for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.” “This expansion will allow us...
    The U.S. Department of the Interior has given final approval for nine tribal casinos in Washington to start offering sports gambling, while agreements with eight other tribes are pending. Washington, however, remains the only state out of 30 that does not realize any tax revenue from tribal gaming. A 2005 compact signed by then-Gov. Christine Gregoire and several tribes allowed them to expand gaming without any revenue-sharing provision. It was estimated that the state could have realized at least $140 million in revenue each year. Public records show tribal interests made $650,000 in donations to Gregoire’s re-election campaign in 2008. The federal department announced the approval Wednesday. A 2020 state law opened the door for the tribes to pursue sports betting, although an emergency clause was added to the bill, ensuring it was not subject to a referendum. Critics at the time said the clause was added because legislators supporting the bill knew voters would overturn it in a referendum. “That’s a heck of a partnership,” Sen. Doug Erickson, R-Whatcom, said during floor...
    MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — A member of the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma whose case led to a landmark decision on criminal jurisdiction in tribal lands has been sentenced to life in federal prison for sexual abuse of a child. Federal prosecutors in Muskogee announced late Wednesday that Jimcy McGirt, 72, was sentenced to life in prison for two counts of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country. McGirt was originally convicted in a state court and sentenced to 500 years in prison in 1997 for the assaults that occurred on Muscogee (Creek) Nation land. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the tribe’s reservation had never been disestablished and either federal courts or tribal nations have jurisdiction over crimes committed by or against Native Americans on tribal land, not the state. He was subsequently charged in federal court in Muskogee, where a federal jury convicted him in November of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old child. The victim, now in her late 20s, testified in his case. “The sentences imposed today are the culmination of many hours of investigation, case...
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