Several House Republicans on Wednesday proposed legislation on Native American courts that could lay the groundwork for a compromise on the stalled Violence Against Women Act. The legislation gives tribal courts the authority to prosecute non-Indians accused of abusing partners on tribal lands. The bill, introduced by Reps. Darrell Issa of California, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, and six other Republicans, would also allow defendants to request that their case be moved to a federal court if they felt their constitutional rights were being violated.
The RCMP says it wants to get to the bottom of abuse allegations against its officers in British Columbia, but the international rights watchdog that has publicized them isn't helping them investigate. The force takes the allegations raised in the Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday very seriously, RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong said in a statement. "The unimaginable loss and pain felt by families and loved ones of missing and murdered persons is also felt across our communities," Armstrong said.
This is a guest blog post by Bonney Hartley of the Native American Health Center in Oakland, CA. They have partnered with Kiva Zip to help Native American entrepreneurs who they work with. Native American entrepreneurs have demonstrated tremendous growth in recent years. The U.S. Census shows that Native business revenue totaled $34.4 billion in 2007, a 28 percent increase from 2002. In spite of this growth, success is limited to areas with established business development centers and programs, and often does not reach federally unrecognized tribal communities. The Native American Lending Study reports that 74.3 percent of non-federally affiliated tribes have no access to microloans. There are also barriers for Natives in urban areas -- where more than 60 percent now reside -- in accessing federally funded services that are only available to designated reservation and rancheria communities.
The National Gallery of Australia today opened Kastom: Art of Vanuatu, on show only in Canberra until 16 June 2013. Comprised of over fifty extraordinary works the exhibition examines traditional indigenous art of Vanuatu created for community practices, commonly known as kastom. It is the first major survey exhibition of the art of traditional Vanuatu in Australia. The practice of kastom is at the heart of all cultural values and practices in Vanuatu - it is a way of thought and expression. It is a spiritual connection to ancestors and to land. Today it is observed in tandem with Christian beliefs; it is a concept that encompasses every aspect of life. The exhibition reflects the many stages of ritual life in Vanuatu, from art created for initiation events, to art which celebrates the ascension of life beyond the physical being and into the world of the ancestors.
A prominent state assemblyman from Brooklyn defended himself on Monday after wearing blackface to a party he hosted to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim, saying he did not mean to offend anyone. The assemblyman, Dov Hikind, a Democrat and a longtime power broker in the Orthodox Jewish community, wore an Afro wig, brown makeup, an orange jersey and sunglasses as part of a costume that he said represented a “black basketball player.” … But Mr. Hikind said he had learned a lesson from the blackface episode. “Next year I was thinking I’d be an Indian,” he said. “But you know, I’ve changed my mind about that. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Somebody will be offended.”
Native Americans on an oil-rich North Dakota reservation have been cheated out of more than $1 billion by schemes to buy drilling rights for lowball prices, a flurry of recent lawsuits assert. And, the suits claim, the federal government facilitated the alleged swindle by failing in its legal obligation to ensure the tribes got a fair deal. This is a story as old as America itself, given a new twist by fracking and the boom that technology has sparked in North Dakota oil country. Since the late 1800s, the U.S. government has appropriated much of the original tribal lands associated with the Fort Berthold reservation in North Dakota for railroads and white homesteaders. A devastating blow was delivered when the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Missouri River in 1953, flooding more than 150,000 acres at the heart of the remaining reservation. Members of the Three Affiliated Tribes — the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara — were forced out of the fertile valley and up into the arid and barren surrounding hills, where they live now.
Staten Island activists who want to build a monument to the North American Indian at Fort Wadsworth said they got no answer when they asked to hold a ceremony there to mark the 100th anniversary of groundbreaking for the project. But they say they are pushing forward with plans for the monument even through the National Parks Service, which operates Fort Wadsworth, has turned thumbs-down on it.
After effectively stonewalling the once bipartisan Violence Against Women Act in the last Congress, House Republicans are at it again. On Friday, the GOP countered a Senate version of VAWA that passed through the upper chamber with bipartisan support last week with their own less inclusive bill that continues to block protections for LGBT domestic violence victims, American Indians, and undocumented immigrants.
Back in 1895, the Oklahoma Historical Society received a Cheyenne art-decorated rattle that became the first American Indian artifact listed in the OHS collections. It has been followed by collections of artifacts, photos, documents, music, video and other items from all over Oklahoma.
Nearly half of all Native American tribes across the country are benefiting from casinos and other gaming revenues. For most, it's their largest source of income. But growing threats to that revenue due to competition from non-Indian gaming are forcing many tribes to look for other investment opportunities. In a dramatic example of that diversification, one group of Native Americans is buying nearly half the hotel rooms in Minnesota's capital.
Responding to pressure from a student alliance, Northwestern University has established a committee to investigate the history of John Evans, a university founder connected to one of the worst massacres of Native Americans in the country's history. The committee will consist of four Northwestern faculty members and three additional professors hailing from Yale University, the University of Illinois and the University of Arkansas.