State and Local News Briefs
Minneapolis approves plan to move homeless camp to Red Lake land: In late September, leaders of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa made an offer to the city of Minneapolis to provide land to use as a “navigation center“ to relocate about 300 people living at a homeless encampment in
the area. The site would shelter people in the camp through winter while more permanent housing is found. Sam Strong, the Red Lake tribal secretary, said, “Today, I'm very hopeful. You see governments coming together, tribes, local units of government, community leaders. And it's a powerful thing.“ Source: mprnews.org.
Worst-case pipeline spill would cost $1.4 billion: A worst-case scenario provided by Enbridge Energy to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) states that an oil spill from the Line 3 pipeline could cost $1.4 billion, a little more than a huge spill in Michigan eight years ago. The PUC conditionally approved construction of the new Line 3 pipeline in June. Source: startribune.com.
Glynn Crooks journeys to the spirit world: A long-time leader of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Glynn Crooks, passed away on October 10 at the age of 67. Crooks was a graduate of Shakopee High School and a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Navy for six years. He
was vice chairman of the tribe for 16 years and chairman of the Shakopee Wacipi (powwow) for more than 25. “Glynn was a big personality with a big heart,“ said Rebecca Crooks-Stratton, secretary- treasurer of the tribe. “He really was the face of our community in many different ways.“
Minneapolis considers supervised injection site: The city of Minneapolis is considering a government-sanctioned injection site to allow people to use heroin or other drugs in the presence of health care workers who can ensure their safety. Several cities are considering such an option although federal authorities have said they would take action against them for doing so. More than 150 people died from opioid overdoses in Hennepin County in 2016, up almost 60 percent from the previous year. Source: minnpost.com.
Native Americans celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day: Native American residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul came together on October 8 to celebrate the holiday formerly known as Columbus Day but renamed in honor of American Indian tribes. In St. Paul, marchers walked in the rain from the American Indian Magnet School to Indian Mounds Regional Park. Activists also threw a red dress over a statue of Columbus at the Minnesota State Capital to draw attention to the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Source: mprnews.org.
State agency files to stop Line 3: The Minnesota Department of Commerce has asked the Public Utilities Commission to reverse its decision granting Enbridge Energy a permit to build a new Line 3 oil pipeline across northern Minnesota. The Commerce Department said the PUC's decision to grant the permit was “affected by legal error and is unsupported by the evidence.“ The Commerce Department has said Enbridge failed to show that the new pipeline is needed by submitting a long- range energy demand forecast. The Sierra Club, Honor the Earth, Youth Climate Intervenors, and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe also filed petitions. Source: startribune.com.
National News Briefs
North Dakota tribal leaders hope to overcome voting barriers: After the United States Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to North Dakota's voter ID law, Chairman Jamie Azure of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa signed an executive order to provide free tribal IDs. The state's restrictive law was pushed by Republicans to require a residential address rather than a mailing address — a move widely believed to unfairly target Native Americans. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, is facing reelection. She won by a narrow margin in 2012 with strong support from tribal members. Source: Brainerd Dispatch.
Warren's DNA claim receives mixed reviews: In answer to Donald Trump's repeated attacks
and jeers over her claim to Indian ancestry, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren released a DNA test showing she had an Indian ancestor, as she has stated. While many Native Americans applaud her for standing up to Trump, who has mocked her with the name “Pocahontas,“ others point out that DNA results have nothing to do with tribal membership or identity. Source: startribune.com.
Texas judge declares Indian Child Welfare Act unconstitutional: U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor said in an October 4 ruling that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. Indian rights attorneys say the ruling will jeopardize Indian children as well as decades of legal precedent affecting tribal sovereignty. Dan Lewerenz with the Native American Rights Fund said, “As far as I know this is the first time ever that a federal statute enacted to benefit Indians has been found to be unconstitutional on the grounds of equal protection.“ Tara Sweeney, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, said, “The Department of the Interior strongly opposes any diminishment of ICWA’s protections for Indian children, families, and tribes.“ Source: startribune.com, indianz.com.
Native American Hall of Fame inducts inaugural class: An inaugural induction ceremony was held October 13 at the National Native American Hall of Fame in Phoenix. The Hall's mission is “To recognize and honor the inspirational achievements of Native Americans in contemporary history.“ Inductees were Lionel Bordeaux, Elouise Cobell, Vine Deloria Jr., LaDonna Harris, John Herrington, Allan Houser, Wilma Mankiller, Billy Mills, N. Scott Momaday, Lori Piestewa, Maria Tallchief, and Jim Thorpe. Source: nativehalloffame.org.
Alaska declares emergency for Native American languages: Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed an order last month declaring an emergency for Native American languages and aiming to promote and preserve the state's 20 recognized Indigenous tongues before they die out. The order directs the state education commissioner to work with partners to promote indigenous languages in public education. It also directs the state to use traditional Alaska Native place names on public signs and instructs commissioners to designate a tribal liaison tasked with producing a plan to boost collaboration with Alaska Native partners. Walker thanked the state Legislature, which urged the decision, and acknowledged the state’s role in undermining and discouraging the use of Indigenous languages generations ago. Source: theguardian.com.