The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, August 24, 2014
It's our recap of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:
ICWA UPHELD: The Second District Court of Appeals in California unanimously ruled against a non-Native foster couple seeking to adopt the Choctaw child in their care. The three-judge panel rejected their argument that they have the same constitutional rights and standing as biological parents, and ruled that the application of the “existing Indian family exception” did not apply in the case.
PROF FIRED: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has fired a tenured professor in the American Indian Studies program after he tweeted comments criticizing Israel and its actions in Gaza.
NO FISH KILL: After weeks of lobbying by tribes and experts monitoring water levels and temperature in the Klamath River, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has authorized the release of water from its largest tributary to avert a fish kill.
BIG GIG: Neil Young and Willie Nelson, and Lakota rapper Frank Waln will perform a benefit concert on Sept. 27 on a farm near Neligh, Nebraska that is on the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and also crosses the historic Ponca Tribe “Trail of Tears.”
TRAGEDY: Calls are being renewed for a national inquiry into the vulnerability of aboriginal women to violence in the wake of the murder of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba, last Sunday.
MARKET WEEK: The Santa Fe Indian Market, the year's biggest event in the Native American art world, kicked off (as did the upstart rival Indigenous Fine Art Market). Lola Cody won Santa Fe Indian Market's coveted Best of Show award for her large woven rug.
NO TERMINAL: Tribes opposed to the transport of coal by rail through their territory are celebrating the decision of the Oregon Department of State Lands to reject a permit application for a coal terminal along the Columbia River—not least of all because the decision was partly based on treaty and fishing rights considerations.
PRICKLY DITKA: ESPN analyst and former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka isn’t falling in line with the growing number of sportscasters, journalists and sundry public figures who refuse to use the name of the Washington NFL team. Instead, he says people who oppose the team’s name are "asinine."
SCHOOL VISIT: On Monday, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan toured the Beatrice Rafferty School, which is partially funded by the Bureau of Indian Education and is located on the Passamaquoddy Tribal Reservation of Pleasant Point. Jewell and Duncan toured the school to get a first-hand look at conditions in BIE-funded schools and to see what additional funding is needed for rehabilitation.
REMAINS FOUND: Teeth and bone fragments were found near Sacramento, and officials say they belonged to a prehistoric Native American.
COLLEGE COMING: The establishment of San Carlos Apache Tribal College will stand out as a major milestone in the tribe’s history and in people’s lives, said Chairman Terry Rambler. On August 11, the tribal council approved the articles of incorporation and bylaws for the proposed college and is now putting together a board of directors and a board of regents, with the hope of opening the school’s doors in August 2015.
WON'T PERFORM: A Nunavut actress and throat-singer has declined to perform for a member of the Canadian Parliament because she is disappointed in the MP's inaction on the issue of seismic testing in Baffin Bay.
TASER AN 8-YEAR-OLD?: In October 2013, An 8 year old Rosebud Sioux girl was shot by a stun gun when Pierre Police arrived on scene and were not able to obtain a paring knife the young girl was holding. In the days that followed, the family of the little girl reported she was suffering from trauma, while the Pierre Police Chief Bob Granpre said the actions of the Police were justified.
SITES IN DANGER: Indigenous people, primarily the Chumash, inhabited the Channel Islands as far back as 13,000 years ago. Historic village sites in the islands are at danger of being lost forever, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Times was recently on Santa Cruz Island, where 11 historic village sites have been identified.
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