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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First Nations members march in protest against the development of the Alberta oil sands. (Photo to CTV courtesy of Keepers of the Athabasca)

First Nations members march in protest against the development of the Alberta oil sands. (Photo to CTV courtesy of Keepers of the Athabasca)

Hundreds of First Nations and Metis people staged a 13-kilometer walk this weekend in what they called the first annual such event protesting development of the tar sands by Alberta.

An area the size of Florida, surrounding Fort McMurray, is being developed by several multinational oil companies in an effort to extract oil from the sands.

As Jessica Earle of CTV-Edmonton reports here:

    The event, which organizers say is not a protest, was put on by Keepers of the Athabasca. Participants say the region currently occupied by Suncor and Syncrude plants used to be their prime berry-picking and hunting ground.

    “Mother earth needs our help to protect and heal the land and water that is being decimated by tar sands,” said Cleo Reece, co-organizer of the walk, in a press release.

The marchers said nearby First Nations communities are suffering ill effects from the tar sands development, including high cancer rates and water pollution.

Gwen Florio

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James Wooden Legs, left, and Loretha (Rising Sun) Ginsell demonstrate the sign for car in Plains Indian sign language at North Park in Medicine Lake on Aug. 7. Grinsell, who is deaf, grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation using Plains Indian sign language to communicate with her foster grandmother. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

James Wooden Legs, left, and Loretha (Rising Sun) Ginsell demonstrate the sign for car in Plains Indian sign language at North Park in Medicine Lake on Aug. 7. Grinsell, who is deaf, grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation using Plains Indian sign language to communicate with her foster grandmother. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

Indian sign language in danger of being lost
Loretha (Rising Sun) Grinsell is deaf, but from the time she was a toddler was easily able to communicate with her hearing family. That’s because Grinsell, who is Northern Cheyenne, had a foster grandmother fluent in “hand talk,” also known as the sign language with which Plains Indians communicated for centuries. Both Grinsell and her cousin, James Wooden Legs, who is also deaf, used it before they went to school and learned the more commonly taught American Sign Language, Donna Healy of the Billings Gazette writes. Plains Indian sign language is now recognized as endangered, much like many spoken tribal languages, Healy writes.

Smithsonian returns sacred artifacts to Yurok Tribe
For more than 100 years, the Smithsonian Institution has stored 217 sacred items belonging to the Yurok Tribe, whose members live along the Klamath River in what is now California. The return of the necklaces, headdresses, arrows, hides and other regalia is believed to be one of the largest repatriations of Native American ceremonial artifacts in U.S. history,the San Francisco Chronicle reports here. “It’s awesome. It’s a big thing with our people,” tribal chairman Thomas O’Rourke tells the Chron.

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation gets pilot prosecuting program
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Peterman, who helped Russia develop a better criminal justice system, is trying to do the same thing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. When Peterman went to Russia as part of the Department of Justice’s Overseas Professional Development Assistance and Training program, Mary Garrigan of the Rapid City Journal writes here, he thought the same sort of program should be applied to tribal court systems. Now he’s leading the new Community Prosecution Strategy pilot program on Pine Ridge, Garrigan writes.

Program puts Native American teachers in Indian reservation schools

Sixteen students among the more than 1,000 University of Oregon students will use their master’s degrees to teach in Native American communities. The 16 Native students, graduates of the Sapsik’wala Project, are required to teach at least a year in Native schools, according to this KEZI story (click on link for video). The story says Native Americans comprise just .4 percent of all teachers.

Navajo Nation eyes major new casino

Navajo gaming officials say they’ll likely break ground his fall on a major casino, which could lead to the creation of 400 jobs, to be built in the Upper Fruitland Chapter in northwest New Mexico. The tribe hopes the project leads to the creation of 400 jobs. The Navajo Nation, which faces 56 percent unemployment, got into gaming decades after tribal gaming became legal, and is now making it a high priority, according to this AP report in the Arizona Daily Star in Flagstaff. The tribe has two smaller gaming projects already under way, in the Hogback chapter in New Mexico and in Chinle, Ariz.

Gwen Florio

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