The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, March 16, 2014

ICTMN Staff
3/16/14

It's our roundup of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:

BISON CONTROVERSY: The slaughter of bison in Yellowstone National Park has been declared finished for the year, but the controversy is far from over. A season that saw acrimony erupt between two tribes, as well as the arrest and arraignment of a young activist, was topped off by a U.S. government study that said bison don’t have to be slaughtered to prevent the spread of brucellosis.

DRAFTED FOR ANOTHER WAR: In a sad turn of events, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has managed to snare the endorsement of seven Native American World War II veterans. After months of courting support in Indian country, Snyder finally chalked up a big success: Seven octogenarian Navajo Code Talkers have endorsed the Redskins name and mascot.

HERE WE GO AGAIN?: Non-Native actress Rooney Mara, most famous for her edgy portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, has been cast as Tiger Lily in the forthcoming Pan, a live-action prequel to the story of Peter Pan told most memorably in a 1953 animated Disney film. Concerned Natives and culture-watchers of many ethnicities are decrying the choice as yet another redface travesty.

GRANT FOR HYDROPOWER: The Crow Tribe has received a $655,000 grant for its Yellowtail hydropower project, one of 19 tribes netting 21 grants totaling $3.2 million under the federal Energy and Mineral Development Program Awards, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced on Friday March 14.

GAMING ON THE KAW NATION: The Interior Department has approved an application to take 21 acres of land into trust for gaming purposes for the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma.

PELOSI DECRIES REDSKINS NAME: On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the word “redskins” should not be a protected trademark, saying "We all respect freedom of speech, but the [U.S. Patent and] Trademark office has rejected names which are considered offensive and they should do it now."

WASHINGTON WOLVES: Wolves on the Colville Reservation in northwestern Washington are getting a closer look thanks to a $187,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The reservation has a land base of 3.1 million acres.

HOOPS TOURNEY: Twenty-five teams from throughout Indian country gathered at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) on the Flathead Reservation, in Pablo, Montana, in early March to decide the basketball champions for schools in the AIHEC Tribal College National Basketball Championship. The host, SKC, came up winners in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

AN ABORIGINAL SURVIVOR: Eddie Ahyakak, Iñupiaq, and his two teammates won National Geographic Channel's Ultimate Survival Alaska. Known as Team Endurance, the group consisted of Ahyakak, dog musher Dallas Seavey, and Sean Burch, a mountain climber and marathoner.

DNA DATA: Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and Texas A&M have analyzed the DNA of the remains of a young boy ceremonially buried some 12,600 years ago in Montana. Their new data undercuts recent attempts by archaeologists to deny the antiquity of Indians and thus avoid the political and legal repercussions of disturbing ancient burial sites or mistreating ancient human remains.

HANGING ON: The Pacific lamprey, culturally significant to the Umatilla and other tribes, now has a shot at making it past the McNary Dam to spawn. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is supplementing the fish ladder of the dam’s Oregon shore with an additional structure that offers water velocities more conducive to lamprey migration.

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