The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, August 3, 2014


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

DEAL, WITH TERMS: The Environmental Protection Agency has green lighted the Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona to operate until 2030 on the condition that its owners – the Bureau of Reclamation, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Arizona Public Service, NV Energy, Tucson Electric Power and Salt River Project – shut down one of the plant’s three 750-MW generators or cut output at the plant by that amount by 2020.

NATIVE STYLE ON TV AGAIN: Lifetime TV's Project Runway is underway yet again, and not one but two designers of Indigenous heritage are looking to follow in the footsteps of Patricia Michaels. Michaels, Taos Pueblo, made it to the finals of Project Runway season 11.

MORE TALK: Longtime CBS sports broadcaster James Brown says the Washington NFL team should “Do the right thing” and change its name. Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in as well: “I think it’s insensitive,” Clinton said. “And I think that there’s no reason for it to continue as the name of a team in our nation’s capital."

MEANWHILE: The Redskins have hired a PR firm to help them continue to drown out the Native (and other’s) voice against their team’s name. The first project is the website, which bills itself as the effort of a community of "passionate Washington Redskins fans and others who support the team's use of its name and logo."

NEW ERA: Arizona’s Yavapai Nation plans to strike out on its own after nearly 10 years in partnership with the Radisson hotel chain. Opened in 2005 as a 246-room Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Hotel, the tribe will re-launch and re-brand that property in September as the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center.

ACT PASSED: U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) announced July 30 that the Native American Languages Reauthorization Act successfully passed out of the Indian Affairs Committee and will now head to the Senate Floor.

LONG WALK: Ronald R. Cooper, Comanche, will be embarking on a 535-mile journey this September—the same journey the Navajos were forced to take in the 1860s. The Navajo were forced to march from their traditional homelands in northeastern Arizona to join the Apache in Bosque Redondo at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

HARD QUESTIONS: Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) wants to know why the leadership of the Indian Health Service (IHS) has failed to hire permanent directors in one-third of its regional offices. Tester, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), highlighted his concerns in a letter sent July 24 to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

NO NUKES: The Navajo Nation has blocked a backdoor deal that would have allowed uranium mining to restart, despite lingering waste from past mining and a reservation-wide ban that’s been in place since 2005. But opponents of the thwarted deal say they plan to stay vigilant, to make sure the uranium industry doesn’t get a foothold.

BEGAY HONORED: Notah Begay III, Navajo/Pubelo, a four-time PGA Tour winner and one of the only Native Americans to play in the Tour, will be inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame in October. Begay graduated from Stanford in 1995, and turned pro that same year.

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