The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Jefferson Keel delivered the annual "State of Indian Nations" Address Thursday morning, just two days after President Obama's "State of the Union" Address. Mr. Keel spoke to a live studio audience of tribal citizens and leaders, Congressional employees, federal government officials, students and advocates, including Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation.
Almost half of American Indians and Alaska Natives identify with multiple races, representing a group that grew by 39 percent over a decade, according to U.S. Census data released Wednesday. Of the 5.2 million people counted as Natives in 2010, nearly 2.3 million reported being Native in combination with one or more of six other race categories, showcasing a growing diversity among Natives. Those who added black, white or both as a personal identifier made up 84 percent of the multi-racial group. Tribal officials and organizations look to Census data for funding, to plan communities, to foster solidarity among tribes and for accountability from federal agencies that have a trust responsibility with tribal members.
Conservationists and Native American tribes are suing over the Navy's expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts, saying the noise can harass and kill whales and other marine life. In a lawsuit being filed Thursday by the environmental law firm Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups against the National Marine Fisheries Service claims the service was wrong to approve the Navy's plan for the expanded training.
The planned closing of a Pamida store in Bemidji next month is raising questions about what will happen to Native American remains on the property. Skeletal remains were uncovered during construction of an addition to the store in 1988. Now, some members of the Indian community say the store's closing is an opportunity to restore honor to a site that was occupied by their ancestors for thousands of years.