Archive for August, 2011


Marijuana growers find cover on tribal lands

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

Thousands of marijuana plants have been seized from tribals lands in Washington in the past year and the jump in the findings means the backcountry of some reservations is now a hot spot for federal drug agents as well.

The Seattle Times has the report on the pot plant invasion, which officials suspect is mainly spearheaded by Mexican cartels.

    Law-enforcement officials say Mexican drug cartels are responsible for many of the grow operations found on reservations.

    “We’ve gotten better at border interdiction,” said Rodriguez, citing the ramped up security at the Canadian and Mexican borders since the Sept. 11 attacks. “Years ago, the cartels would smuggle B.C. Bud and Mexican marijuana across the border, but now they’re bypassing the border altogether.”

    It’s easier, less dangerous and more profitable for cartels to grow closer to their market, Rodriguez says. Washington soil is conducive to cultivating higher quality, and therefore more expensive, pot.

Tribal officials say there’s just too much space and not enough man power to adequately patrol the reservations.

    Harry Smiskin, tribal chairman of the Yakama Nation, is at Washington’s epicenter for marijuana production. In the past five years, more than 500,000 pot plants have been found on the reservation — more than any other tribe in the state, according to State Patrol numbers.

    In 2008, the high point for pot seized on the reservation, Yakama Tribal Police and a collaborative drug task force recovered more than 204,000 marijuana plants at more than two dozen grow sites, according to the State Patrol. The State Patrol could not say whether there were any arrests.

    . . .

    Tribal reservations, some with hundreds of square miles of rugged backcountry, have become the front line for law-enforcement eradication of marijuana grow operations in Washington, says Rich Wiley, who heads the State Patrol’s Narcotics Division. Growers are targeting the outskirts of Indian country for their marijuana farms, knowing tribal lands are sparsely populated and less policed, he said.

Jenna Cederberg

Here’s the latest from the Great Falls Tribune: on the oil spill that polluted waterways on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana in July.

By Karl Puckett:

A six-week cleanup of an oil spill on the Blackfeet Reservation is complete with federal regulators planning to visit the site this week.

Up to 20 barrels of oil spilled from a flow line 3 inches in diameter in June and made its way through a ravine to the shores of Cut Bank Creek.

Gabe Renville, owner of Indian Country Environmental Associates in Browning, the cleanup contractor hired by pipeline owner FX Energy of Salt Lake City, said the work was finished Sunday.

He’s said the company did a satisfactory job cleaning oil from soil, pools of water and rocks.

“I’m thinking the tribe and EPA will be pretty satisfied, too,” Renville said. “I don’t anticipate any problems.”

Collected from the site were 20 55-gallon barrels of oil/water mixture. That mixture will be recycled by an on-site portable oil/water separator, Renville said.

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A 7 year old girl was one of the three rescued from a plane crash that killed 12 after an Inuit-owned plane crashed in Canada, ICTMN reports.

Two others were pulled from the crash of the Boeing 737 near Resolute Bay. The cause is still under investigation.

Among the rescuers were a group of Joint Task Force North’s Operation Nanook Arctic personnel scheduled to take part in a simulated plane-crash rescue, which was canceled after the wreck.

    En route from Yellowknife, the chartered jet was going to head on to Grise Fiord on Ellesmere Island, the Associated Press reported. Instead the plane came down within reach of ATVs, military helicopters and other vehicles. People rushed to the scene and pulled a 23-year-old woman, a 48-year-old man and a seven-year-old girl from the burning craft.

    The man and child were transferred to Ottawa for treatment, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told reporters on Sunday, while the 23-year-old remained in Iqaluit. All three were in stable condition, police said. The airline was not giving out more information pending notification of kin, and did not release the name of the chartering organization.

Jenna Cederberg

Kerr Dam operates with all gates open last May in preparation for record snowmelt. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, on whose reservation the dam sits, is preparing for the probable takeover of the dam from PPL Montana in 2015. (Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian)

The people of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in northwestern Montana are preparing to regain control of one most essential assets on their reservation: One that controls water but was built without their consent and controlled by a out-of-state company for 25 years.

CSKT is getting ready to take back Kerr Dam.

Here’s the full story from the Missoulian’s Vince Devlin:

POLSON – The clock has been ticking since 1985, and these days, Brian Lipscomb admits, it seems to tick a little louder with each passing day.

Lipscomb, hired a year ago as the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ first Department of Energy director, is overseeing the tribes’ probable takeover of Kerr Dam from PPL Montana in 2015.

There’s likely to be an arbitration process to determine the price the tribes will pay PPL Montana for the dam – the two sides disagree on that right now by more than $40 million – but CSKT chairman E.T. “Bud” Moran says generations of tribal leaders have worked for this day.

And Lipscomb says it will happen.

“The tribes negotiated for the right to buy the dam in 1985,” he says, “and they have been planning for it since, and saving for that.”

Lipscomb says the dam sits on tribal land on the Flathead Reservation that is culturally significant to Indian people, many of whom opposed its construction in the 1930s.

“From a tribal perspective it was devastating,” he says. “There was no tribal government at the time, but it was quite controversial.”

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Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

So far, most of the government’s austerity movement has been theoretical. We know the federal budget is shrinking, but the evidence of that has been slow to surface.

Proposals to wipe out the Bureau of Indian Affairs (and replace it with what?) remain little more than spin. Kentucky Sen. Paul Rand’s bill, for example, has no co-sponsors, no hearing schedule and no chance.

But real budget cuts, the kind that will have deep and lasting impact in Native American communities across the country, are starting to take shape.

Last week the Office of Management and Budget sent a memorandum to agencies outlining an approach to the coming budget.

“In light of the tight limits on discretionary spending starting in 2012, your 2013 budget submission to OMB should provide options to support the President’s commitment to cut waste and reorder priorities to achieve deficit reduction while investing in those areas critical to job creation and economic growth,” writes Jacob J. Lew, OMB’s director. “Unless your agency has been given explicit direction otherwise by OMB, your overall agency request for 2013 should be at least 5 percent below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation. As discussed at the recent Cabinet meetings, your 2013 budget submission should also identify additional discretionary funding reductions that would bring your request to a level that is at least 10 percent below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation.”

Lew writes that two budget scenarios give the president enough information to “make the tough choices necessary to meet the hard spending targets.”

Further, the agencies are told they have to make these reductions “without across-the-board reductions or reductions to mandatory spending in appropriations bills, reclassifications of existing discretionary spending to mandatory, or enactment of new user fees to offset existing spending.”

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Buffalo Post pic of the week: New nickname for UND

   Posted by: admin    in Sioux

Courtesy of ICTMN

Could this be UND’s new logo? It’s not over quite yet, but the University of North Dakota’s logo shown above is mostly likely the new symbol of the university that finally retired its fighting Sioux nickname. A North Dakota law passed attempted to force the university to keep the nickname some found offensive, but NCAA regulations against offensive mascot names seems to have won out. The Forum of Fargo-Moorehead has the latest.

The university’s athletics website still features the old name and logo. shown below.

old Fighting Sioux logo

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Crow Fair a celebration of culture, new beginnings

   Posted by: admin    in Crow Tribe

Junior Miss Crow Nation Pixie Real Bird, right, and Nicole Real Bird Cummins will be featured at Crow Fair this year. (Photo by DAVID GRUBBS/Gazette Staff)

The Crow Fair has always been a time for new beginnings, as Susan Olp from the Billings Gazette reports:

    “We kind of consider Crow Fair like what you’d think of New Year’s,” said Nicole Real Bird Cummins, parade manager for the event, which (started) Thursday and runs through Tuesday.

    Goals are set for the next year. And, as with any holiday, families get together for food and fun and to catch up on news.

As the people of the Crow Indian Reservation in eastern Montana recover from massive spring floods, the idea of a fresh start is more important than ever. The daunting work of cleaning up began earlier in anticipation of the annual event.

    This summer, getting ready for the 93rd annual Crow Fair has been a bit more of a challenge, said April Toineeta, Crow tribal liaison, who has helped efforts in the aftermath of the spring flooding that deluged the reservation town.

    Water flooded the campsite, Toineeta said, damaging the entrance road and electrical outlets. That’s all being fixed in time for the start of Crow Fair, she said.

    Austin Little Light, this year’s Crow Fair manager, said part of his job has been to repair the arbor where the powwow takes place.

    “We bought lumber and redid the roofs and the benches,” Little Light said.

ICTMN also has a story about the “a giant family reunion under the Big Sky.”

Jenna Cederberg

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Santa Clara Pueblo Gov. Walter Dasheno says it could be years before some prayer sites damaged by the fire and floods are reopened. (Jane Phillips/The New Mexican)

By Julie Ann Grimm, of the Santa Fe New Mexican:

It’s been a heartbreaking summer for Walter Dasheno and the people of his pueblo.

When the Santa Clara Pueblo governor drove the bumpy road leading into the ancestral sacred lands in a steep canyon this week, he kept repeating a simple refrain: “It never used to be like this.”

Santa Clara saw 17,000 acres of forest damaged when the Las Conchas Fire ripped through part of the pueblo’s land. Now, the pueblo faces threats from flooding.

Sixteen miles of Santa Clara Creek and four man-made ponds along the length of its canyon are choked with mud. Fast-moving runoff from rainstorms has eaten away at the creek bed, causing cliff-like edges that continue to fall in with each new storm.

This week, as he was looking over a spot where he liked to sit by the creek and fish for trout, Dasheno, 64, could see chocolate-colored, churning water and bare ground where grasses and wildflowers should be.

“It was never like this before.”

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Russell Means (Courtesy of Native Sun News)

By Jesse Abernathy, Native Sun News Staff Writer

PORCUPINE – Russell Means may well be facing the toughest adversary in all of his almost 72 years on this earth: cancer.

As announced in a personal video posed on his Russell Means: Freedom website, the political activist, actor, writer, producer, and sometimes musician was recently diagnosed with terminal esophageal, or throat, cancer and has decided against aggressive and standardized medical procedures that could optimally prolong his life – choosing instead to face this “white man’s disease” through the spiritual connectedness held with his Lakota people, both past and present.

The man the Los Angeles Times once described as the “most famous American Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse,” is steeling himself for the fight of his life. And Means intends to put up a good fight in the remaining few months his doctors have prognosticated [or predicted] he has left.

In a candid interview via telephone from his ranch near Porcupine, Means – with his voice now affected and made husky by his affliction – spoke proudly of his people and of his most cherished accomplishments in life including the founding of a Lakota immersion school; the co-founding of both a community health clinic and a radio station; his instrumental and continued involvement in the Republic of Lakotah; and his most recent filmmaking endeavors.

Means was not inclined to make mention of his former leadership involvement in the initially militant American Indian Movement, of which he is no longer a widely recognized or accepted member of or substantially affiliated with, having resigned from the organization an unprecedented six times since 1974, according to AIM’s website.
His final resignation came in 1988, amid allegations that he had assaulted his one-time father-in-law. Means is best-known for calling to national – as well as international – attention the plight of indigenous peoples in the United States throughout the late ‘60s and early ‘70s as a prominent fixture of AIM.

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The gray whale that lived for seven weeks in the Klamath River was nicknamed "Mama" by concerned observers. (Photo by Ashala Tylor)

The reason why she came to the Klamath River, then left the earth there, remains a mystery, but the people of the Yurok Tribe were nonetheless honored by the seven-week presence of the giant female gray whale that died near their land this week.

Nicknamed “Mama” the whale swam up the river on June 24 with her calf. She remained in the river after her calf returned to the ocean, ICTMN reports.

The tribe and government officials attempted to determine why Mama may have stayed in the river as hundreds of curious residents watched her long swim in the river.

    The 40-foot long whale beached herself around 6:30 p.m. Monday and perished at 4:19 a.m. Tuesday. The cetacean’s health had been deteriorating in the past two days, most likely because of the lengthy stay outside of its natural, saline habitat, according to a news release from the Yurok Tribe. The whale was spotted in the river in late june; the seven-week stay is believed to be the longest period of time that a whale has ventured outside of its normal saltwater habitat in California waters.

    “To have such a large animal in our presence for so long was a great gift, but now nature has taken its course,” said Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas O’Rourke Sr. “It is truly unfortunate that she didn’t try to make it back to her home.”

As ICTMN reports, photographer Ashala Tylor documented the whale extensively on her blog. She wrote there that Mama may have suffered an injury her left pectoral fin.

Jenna Cederberg