The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, September 22, 2013

September 22, 2013

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

NO VERDICT FOR AIM FOUNDER: Clyde Bellecourt, an American Indian Movement founder, saw a deadlocked jury determine it could not reach a verdict in his trespassing trial following an arrest on Christmas Eve.

SKINS, SKINS, SKINS: Debate over the Redskins team name continued, with a post about an imagined team called the "Blackskins" causing passionate reactions from readers, and a response from author Gerard Miller. Sportswriter Rick Reilly was roundly condemned for a piece defending the name, Apple banned the word from iTunes, and the Today Show covered the ongoing controversy.

NATIVE NOMINATED: Responding to widespread requests from tribal leaders and Indian legal advocates, President Barack Obama has nominated a Native American to serve on the federal bench. The president announced September 19 that Diane J. Humetewa is a nominee for the U.S. District Court for Arizona.

SENECA SMOKES: In the latest clampdown on the Indian tobacco economy, a federal district court has granted New York City’s request for a preliminary injunction against Seneca Indian Nation-based tobacco wholesalers that stops them from advertising, selling or shipping cigarettes without tax stamps or monthly reports of sales.

CELTICS PROSPECT: Power forward Damen Bell-Holter, Haida, had expected to begin his professional basketball career in Germany when he got a more exciting offer: The Boston Celtics have invited him to training camp.

AFTER THE FLOOD: Boulder, Colorado collectively shouldered the job of cleaning up after flooding from torrential rains that fell for days, overrunning parched fields and inundating homes in a 17-county area and prompting one American Indian to point to global change as the culprit. The deluge was, depending on the source, a 100-, 500- or 1,000-year record flood that left at least eight people confirmed or presumed dead, including an American Indian youth.

MURKOWSKI OBJECTS: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is expressing strong concern at the Obama administration’s plan to cut contract support cost (CSC) reimbursements to tribes in the federal budget’s continuing resolution being considered by Congress.

SEALASKA GRANT: To increase the number of fluent Tlingit speakers under 60 years old by 300 percent over three years, the Sealaska Heritage Institute has received a federal grant to fund a Tlingit language Mentor-Apprentice program in Southeast Alaska.

MEGALOADS BARRED: In the wake of a federal court’s ruling requiring consultation with the Nez Perce and other tribes over the transport of mega-loads, the U.S. Forest Service has closed the federally protected scenic stretch to the humongous shipments.

SHAWNEE GRANTED CUSTODY: At a closed-door hearing last week in Oklahoma County, Judge Allen Welch granted custody of the infant girl “Deseray” to the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and ordered her return to Oklahoma.

INDIAN MISS AMERICAS, THEN AND NOW: Miss New York Nina Davuluri has been crowned the new Miss America. Davuluri is Indian-American, which inspired racists and morons (and racist morons) to register their complaints on Twitter. ICTMN looked back at the first American Indian Miss America, Norma Smallwood.

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