Russell Means, 1939-2012

The Most Important Stories of 2012

December 31, 2012

The most widely read stories aren't always the most important ones. We recently published our list of 2012's most popular stories by page views. While some of these stories were undoubtedly important, many other important ones were omitted. What that list missed, this list will cover.

Russell Means Walks On

One of the most important and influential Indians of the 20th century passed away October 22.

Elizabeth Warren

Controversy reigned in Warren's and Scott Brown's campaign for Massachusetts senator, a race ultimately won by Warren.

Idle No More

The grassroots movement was gaining traction as 2012 came to a close.

Violence Against Women Act

This 1994 act was reauhtorized in April.


Payouts and appeals kept this story at the forefront all year long.

Arizona Snowbowl

This ski area near Flagstaff has been the site of a contentious environmental battle.

Pe' Sla

The historic purchase of Indian lands in the Black Hills.

Grand Canyon Escalade

The Navajo plan for a transport to the Canyon's floor has been met with opposition.

Keystone XL Pipeline

The proposed pipeline, that Mitt Romney said he would approve if he were elected, has been hotly contested since its inception.

Kateri Canonized
Mohawks celebrated the canonization of the first Native American, Kateri Tekakwitha, who died in 1680.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Answer Questions From Indian Country

In historic question-and-answer sessions, both President Obama and his GOP challenger responded to our questions.

Navajo Child Remains With Non-Indian Guardians

In early September, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that a Navajo child can stay with his non-native, non-relative guardians, despite a federal law that directs otherwise.

Supremes’ Ruling Opens Floodgates to Challenges of Indian Land Trust Acquisition

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an individual has standing to sue the Interior Department for taking land into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe to build a casino in Wayland County, Michigan.

Passing of a Legend
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Chairman Stanley R. Crooks was remembered by many in all parts of Indian country.

Washburn Gets Nod
Kevin Washburn, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, was nominated by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.

President Obama Signs HEARTH Act
On July 30, President Obama signed into law the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act, which will allow federally recognized tribes to develop and implement their own land-leasing regulations without the prior approval of the Secretary of the Interior.

Carnage on the Plains
Beer profiteers are fighting an Oglala lawsuit that seeks to control alcohol sales in one of the boozy border towns ringing the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is being pummeled by a generations-long, alcohol-related public-health crisis.

Echo Hawk Goes Mormon
On March 31 Larry Echo Hawk, the leading Native American voice in the Obama administration, stepped down as Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs to fulfill a calling to join the leadership of the Church of Latter-day Saints.

White Buffalo Hunt Shut Down
A lodge near Kerrville, Texas that advertised on its website “the opportunity to hunt and harvest the Authentic and Rare White Buffalo,” found itself on the wrong end of a passionate grassroots campaign mounted by concerned Natives on Facebook and via e-mail.

No Charges Filed Against Officer Who Shot John T. Williams
On January 13, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington announced it would not pursue criminal charges against police officer Ian Birk for the August 2010 shooting of John T. Williams in Seattle.

Oregon Joins Wisconsin in Banning Native American Mascots

Slowly but surely, use of Indians in naming athletic teams is being phased out.

Sen. Daniel Inouye Passes Away at 88

The distinguished career of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye came to an end December 17. Inouye died of respiratory complications.

Iroquois Nationals Beat Team USA in Bowhunter Cup Lacrosse Match

The Iroquois prevail 12-10 in a thrilling game played in Rochester, New York.





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