Here’s the full story from the Associated Press:

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A Bureau of Indian Affairs worker who was driving along a highway in Blaine County says a person in a car heading in the opposite direction fired a shotgun at his pickup.

Ralph Page, a BIA rangeland management specialist from Chinook, was not injured but the blast shattered the driver’s side window. If the window had been rolled down, he likely would have been shot in the head.

“It would have killed me, but I think that glass is just tempered enough,” he said.

Page, 57, said he was driving along U.S. Highway 2 just after noon on Wednesday, headed toward Harlem to pick up a load of hay. The blast came from a gray car headed east just near the Milk River Bridge.

Page did not get the license plate number and did not know how many occupants were in the car, Blaine County Undersheriff Pat Pyette said Thursday.

“I’ve been here nine years and this is the first time that anything like that has happened,” Pyette said.

Pyette said his department was investigating the shooting.

Page doesn’t know whether the attack was random or if someone was targeting him. He said he’s tried not to let himself think about how close he came to being injured or worse.

“Life’s a little different up here,” he said. “I mean I’ve had a few fights, over there at my job, but nothing more than that.”

And while he said he didn’t get too worked up over the incident, Page’s wife and five children — ages 27 to 35 — were upset.

“She wasn’t happy,” Page said.

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Indian Country Today raises a question that badly needs asking: Where’s the outrage over New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crack that New York Gov. David Paterson should “grab a cowboy hat and a shotgun” and go collect cigarette taxes from the Seneca Nation? (See previous post here.)

When New York Mayor Bloomberg asked Gov. Patterson to act like a cowboy to shut down the Seneca tobacco industry, little was heard from mainstream America to condemn such an outrageous statement.

As Indian Country Today’s editorial points out:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (AP photo)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (AP photo)

    The image of the cowboys shooting and killing Indians, defending settlers and moving them off their lands is the stuff of American legend. Indians were the villains of American expansionism and it created Manifest Destiny to justify their elimination. …

    Bloomberg’s blindness to our history must not be limited to only him. The rest of America seems not to care very much.

    If the mayor had suggested that the Klu Klux Klan be sent in to collect taxes in Seneca territory, there would be outrage. His suggestion for the governor to act like a cowboy is comparable to sending in neo-Nazis to settle the “Jewish problem.”

    Shocking as that may sound, this is the image from a Native American perspective.

Maybe someday it’ll be the image from a human perspective. But not, apparently, quite yet.

Gwen Florio

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Here’s the story from the Associated Press:

Salish Kootenai College hosted the Indian college basketball tournament in 2009. (Missoulian photo)

Salish Kootenai College hosted the Indian college basketball tournament in 2009. (Missoulian photo)

GREAT FALLS (AP) — Six schools have agreed to form the Montana Tribal Colleges basketball league this fall.

Fort Belknap College in Harlem, Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Stone Child College in Box Elder and Fort Peck Community College in Poplar will be adding men’s and women’s basketball programs.

Those schools will join squads from Salish-Kootenai College in Pablo and Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency.

The league will tip off Nov. 6 on the campus of Stone Child College in Rocky Boy for a two-day, round-robin tournament.

Gerald Stiffarm of Fort Belknap College says representatives from the schools will be meeting this week to finalize league rules and regulations.

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92nd annual Crow Fair starts today!

   Posted by: admin   in Crow Tribe, Powwow

Crow dancers enter the arbor for the first grand entry at last year\'s Crow Fair. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

Crow dancers enter the arbor for the first grand entry at last year\'s Crow Fair. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

Susan Olp of the Billings (Mont.) Gazette has the story here:

A multitude of teepees, and powwow singers and dancers from around the U.S. and Canada, will draw thousands of people to Crow Agency this week.

The 92nd annual Crow Fair kicks off Thursday and runs through Monday. As in the past, the five-day fair will feature a powwow, morning parades, a rodeo and horse races.

Equally as fascinating to many are the many teepees that dot the landscape, as Crow families gather together for the annual event.

“It’s one of the largest encampments in the world,” said Mark Denny, Crow Fair general manager. “And we’re the only tribe that puts on something like this.”

Denny said he knows of tourists coming to the fair from as far away as Italy and Germany, as well as from throughout Canada. He expects more than 3,000 people, not including tribal members.

It’s a special time for the Crow Nation, he said.

“It basically brings families together to enjoy themselves, celebrate together, have a good time, put away their troubles and just cut loose,” Denny said. “This is the one week out of the year the Crow people get to come together all in one area to form one large family.”

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The federal judge who extended the deadline for congressional approval of the $3.4 billion settlement in the Indian trust case says the judgment is “well deserved” and that he’s disappointed it hasn’t been approved.

On Tuesday, Senior Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia extended the deadline for the necessary congressional approval to Oct. 15. It’s the sixth extension since the settlement was announced in December.

But, he said, “The disappointment of not having the legislation implemented is great,” and urged the Senate “to act as promptly and as expeditiously as possible,” according to this National Law Journal story by Mike Scarcella:

Elouise Cobell (AP photo)

Elouise Cobell (AP photo)

    The suit, filed in 1996 by plaintiff Elouise Cobell, who attended the status conference Tuesday, seeks a historical accounting of individual Indian money accounts managed by the Interior Department. The settlement, which includes $1.41 billion in compensation for the plaintiffs, stalled in the Senate earlier this year. Concern was raised over attorney fees in the case. Fees are capped at $100 million. …

    Robert Kirschman Jr. of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said in court the administration remains “very committed” to the settlement. “We are hopeful the settlement legislation will be enacted and will be enacted in the near future,” said Kirschman, deputy director of the Commercial Litigation Branch.

Dennis Gingold of Washington, D.C., lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said that “We want this to be done or too many people will suffer.”

Gwen Florio

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Somehow hats and Razorbacks and a firing led to this headline:

Sprints Is Beginning to Think Fayetteville Is Native American for ‘Insane Asylum’

‘Nuff said.

Gwen Florio

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Darrell Dorgan, executive director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, says the hall traditiionally celebrates the National Day of the Cowboy in July.

leather_logoThis year, it’s adding a celebration of Native American culture, which will be held this weekend and feature three members of tribes located within North Dakota, according to the Hall of Fame’s Cathy Langemo.

“It’s time to begin recognizing the truly rich heritage American Indians brought to the Plains of North Dakota and the struggle they face to preserve their legacy for future generations,” Dorgan says.

Those giving presentations include:

Amy Mossett, who is Mandan-Hidatsa from the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, and whose work on Sacajawea has received national recognition.

Phil Baird, who is Sicangu Lakota and is the academic dean of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck. Baird, a recognized scholar on rodeo, will talk on “Indian Rodeo Cowboys of the Dakotas.”

And Wallace “Butch” Thunderhawk, a Hunkpapa Lakota of Bismarck, who will talk on “The Re-Emergence of Native American Ledger Art.”

In additional, KSIB-AM reports here:

    Cecil Mashburn, (Red Elk) will also appear at Saturday’s showcase. Mashburn is a member of the Cherokee Nation and the Warrior Society, a Traditional Dancer and world-renowned artist. He has a commissioned painting of Brad Gjermundson, of Marshall, North Dakota, and a four-time world saddle bronc champion and many other art productions of rodeo personalities.

All events take place Saturday. The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame is in Medora, (701) 623-2000.

Gwen Florio

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (AP photo)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (AP photo)

The Seneca Indian Nation in upstate New York says New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg should resign – or at least apologize – over “inflammatory and racially insensitive” remarks, the New York Daily News reports here:

    Bloomberg infuriated Senecas by suggesting Gov. (David) Paterson collect disputed cigarette taxes while wearing a cowboy hat and wielding a shotgun.

    The tribe is asking a federal judge to block Paterson’s push to collect state cigarette taxes sold on reservations next month.

But the governor sees no reason to apologize, says Bloomberg’s spokesman, Stu Loeser, adding that several Supreme Court decisions back Bloomberg’s move to collect taxes on Native-made cigarettes sold to non-natives.

The tribe’s officials have given Bloomberg and New York Attorney General Andre Cuomo until tomorrow to announce a delay in the Sept. 1 start day for collecting the taxes; otherwise, they says, they’ll sk a federal court to decide the validity of those taxes, according to this Buffalo Business First story and several others.

Gwen Florio

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Navajo Times reporter Jason Begay, whose excellent work has often been featured on Buffalo Post, is returning to the University of Montana as the most recent addition to the School of Journalism faculty.

As Missoulian editor Sherry Devlin writes here in her Missoula Editor blog:

    I got to know Jason a number of years ago, while teaching Public Affairs Reporting at the journalism school. He was a student in my class and an inspiration to everyone in the class – myself included. He is truly one of the most gifted journalists I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.

Begay, who will be an assistant professor at UM and also direct the RezNet online news feed, has worked at the New York Times, The Oregonian, Duluth News Tribune, the Wichita Eagle and The Oakland Tribune.


Gwen Florio

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Mark Trahant is a Kaiser Media Fellow examining the Indian Health Service and its relevance to the national health care reform debate. He is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and writes from Fort Hall, Idaho. Comment at His new book is “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant

A single phrase is often used to define the Indian health system: “Government-run.” Add those two words to any discussion about health care or reform and most people reach an immediate conclusion about the merits of the agency.

Now it is time for the phrase to disappear because it no longer accurately describes the Indian health system. After all, tribes or tribally authorized nonprofit agencies administer more than half of the IHS budget, through the Self-Determination Act or Self-Governance compacts.

Certainly the federal government plays a huge role in this health care delivery system – across the country. “As in all industrial nations, the U.S. government plays a large role in financing, organizing, overseeing, and, in some instances, even delivering health care,” said a report last August by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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