The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, October 20, 2013
It's our weekly roundup of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:
NO FRACKING WAY: Chaos erupted as Chief Arren Sock and council members from Elsipogtog First Nation were among at least 40 people arrested by riot-gear-clad police raiding a Mi'kmaq blockade protesting shale gas exploration in New Brunswick. On Friday, support for the protesters spread throughout Turtle Island, as events were held as far away as Vancouver and New York City, and the Sierra Club announced its solidarity with the anti-fracking demonstrators.
GAME ON: Controversy continued to swirl around the Washington Redskins, with comments from sportscaster Bob Costas, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, and Hall of Fame NFL coach Marv Levy all raising eyebrows by publicly advocating a name change. Meanwhile, ICTMN's Gyasi Ross called for Natives to voice their own feelings on the subject, and artist Gregg Deal pursued a similar goal with a new video project. An Oneida Nation poll found that 59% of respondents support changing the name.
NOTHING TO CELEBRATE: Columbus Day came and went on Monday, and many Natives took a few minutes to reflect on Columbus' legacy of brutality and oppression. Links were shared, videos were watched, and perhaps -- just perhaps -- a few people learned something about a man who really does not deserve a national holiday. At Columbia University, students staged a "Die-In" to mark the occasion.
NEW CASINO: The Eastern Band of Cherokee held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $110-million Harrah's Murphy Casino & Hotel, based in Cherokee County just outside the town of Murphy, North Carolina.
FAIR PAY: The Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians has raised the minimum wage for hourly employees on the 1,500-acre reservation in Amador County to $10.60 an hour (starting in 2014), a rate higher than that of any local, state or tribal government.
DAMAGE DONE: Republicans in the U.S. Congress accepted a plan to fund the federal government until January 15 and to raise the nation’s debt limit until February 7. While Indian country leaders are widely glad to see the government open and for it not to default, many are dealing with the aftershocks of the 16-day closure.