Author Topic: A Victory for Native Americans?  (Read 7683 times)

Offline Battle

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2021, 07:33:14 pm »
The Lumbee don’t have an official clan system, Nakai says, but children are expected to live near the land where they were raised.

When Nakai and her husband moved back to Robeson from Rockville, Maryland, last year, no plot was available for them to build a house on the dirt road where 35 of her relatives live.

Instead, they moved into a country club development about half an hour away — shocking fellow Lumbees, who asked Nakai, “They let Indians live there?”

In 2015, Robeson County had the highest poverty rate in North Carolina, with 32 percent of its population living below the poverty line.

It also had the highest rate of violent crime.

Nakai doesn’t think the Lumbee can fully tackle these problems until their political status is resolved.

Federal recognition would allow them to protect their land and alleviate the costs of housing and health care — in addition to enjoying the economic boom a casino might bring.

“It’s like a cloud hanging over us that most people aren’t even aware of,” she says.

“Right now, I’m still arguing about whether I exist or not.”

Brittany Hunt is also accustomed to defending her Native American identity.

She’s a PhD student in educational research at UNC-Charlotte, hoping to become a professor who will bring more indigenous perspectives to classes on race and education.

At 27, Hunt has hazel eyes, dark hair and a smattering of freckles.

She smiled broadly when I asked her why she’s so proud of her Lumbee heritage.

“I think being Indian is just the best,” she said.

But it is “amazing and terrible at the same time.”

Hunt’s mother fought for her to attend gifted and talented classes in Robeson County schools, after the principal told her that no one from her side of Lumberton would qualify for the program.

When Hunt enrolled at Duke University in Durham, she was the only Lumbee undergraduate on campus, she says.

She quickly learned how to defend her identity.

“I felt like I was on trial for my Indian-ness a lot of times,” she recalls.

At school Hunt befriended her Black classmates because she felt they had similar experiences with discrimination.

Still, they had trouble accepting her native identity.

Some would point out that Lumbees had Black ancestors.

“That’s true, but I don’t have any family members who identify as Black and I don’t identify as being that,” she would respond.

Others would insist she was Black or call her “light-skinned.”

And she would argue, “No, I’m not light-skinned, I’m Lumbee.”

Questions of race and culture don’t just affect whether a tribe can gain recognition as Native American; they also influence which individuals can feel at home in — or join — a particular tribe.

In Hunt’s view, cultural traditions — shared norms like humor, food, devotion to land and family — are more important aspects of Lumbee identity than race.

Yet she concedes that Lumbee children with one black parent might not feel accepted by the tribe.

“There’s a lot of racism that exists within native tribes,” Hunt says, left over from the days when segregation was used to “divide and conquer” people of color.

Jacobs, the UNC-Pembroke professor, points out that many mixed-race children who were raised as Lumbee moved away from Robeson County and left their Indian identity behind.

“Plenty of people left and became white and left and became Black,” she says.

But if they came home regularly, kept their ties to family and community, and identified as Indian, they were considered Lumbee.

Such racial conundrums are not unique to the Lumbee.

Wealthy members of the Cherokee Nation once owned slaves, and their African American descendants were treated as equal citizens of the Oklahoma tribe for decades — until 2011, when the tribe stripped thousands of Black Indians of their enrollment rights on the grounds they could not prove their “Indian blood.”

(In August 2017, after a lengthy legal battle, a U.S. District Court restored their citizenship rights.)

Before Native Americans were forced to prove their identity to the U.S. government, they formed a sense of identity through kinship — if your mother or father was part of the group, then you were, too.

If outsiders married or were adopted into the group, they became part of that lineage.

But once the federal government began forcing them onto reservations, redistributing their land and doling out benefits, they began to care about “blood quantum” — that is, how many direct ancestors were listed as members of their tribe on official government tallies.

To enroll and receive benefits from a recognized tribe, members now have to use historical census documents and “base rolls” to prove that they have some fraction of Indian ancestry.

They submit this information to the tribe, and each tribe relies on a different fraction to meet their enrollment standard.

“I don’t know of a single tribe that doesn’t require biological relationships with ancestors on the base rolls,” says Kim TallBear, an associate professor of native studies at the University of Alberta, who has written extensively about race, genetics and Native Americans.

“But we do have very active debates on how much culture should matter.”

The problem, she says, is that “being the culture police isn’t going to be any easier” than tracing bloodlines.

How, after all, do you evaluate if someone is culturally Indian?

Lumbees focus on both culture and kinship when enrolling members in their tribe.

Applicants must have at least one ancestor listed as a member of the “Indian Population” on the 1900 or 1910 Census, and prove that they maintain current ties to the Lumbee tribe.

In the tribe’s view, familial ancestry is not the same as racial ancestry.

Government officials devised the categories of white, black or Indian, and then decided how much white or black “blood” was acceptable for a person to be called Indian.

Lumbees couldn’t always squeeze themselves into those categories, and, as Malinda Maynor Lowery notes, “we’ve suffered mightily for it.”

What many tribes fear — particularly those who oppose Lumbee recognition — is losing their identity.

They want their members to be able to trace their ancestry to a single tribe that had a documented, indigenous culture and customs that are still practiced today.

Lumbees can’t do that, because they began mixing with other tribes and races very early on.

Southern Utah University’s Miller points out that when the Lumbee were “discovered” by colonists in the mid-18th century, they were already farming, wearing European clothing and speaking English.

Some leaders of recognized tribes view this as “you guys were always assimilating racially and culturally,” Miller says.

In theory, DNA tests to determine a person’s overall Native American heritage could solve some of these quandaries, but both TallBear and Lowery say such tests are irrelevant to most tribes.

When Lumbees contact her, alarmed that biological tests don’t reveal their native DNA, Lowery reminds them that the companies doing the testing don’t have base samples of their ancestors’ DNA.

“People are allowed to be African American in this society and not have 100 percent African DNA,” Lowery says.

“Are the Lumbee being held to a different standard?”

Eight decades after it was conducted, the Seltzer study continues to haunt Lumbees.

The BIA still cites it: In a June 2012 letter to Nakai, Eastern Regional Director Franklin Keel told her one of the reasons she didn’t qualify for “Indian preference” was because she was not among those “Original 22.”

“Right now,” Nakai said of the BIA, “they are sitting somewhere, trying to figure out how to make an argument that says that I am not an Indian under the law because no one ran a pencil through my hair without it getting tangled.”

There are two ways for a tribe to become recognized: by an act of Congress or by petitioning the BIA for acknowledgment.

In 1987, when Nakai was 7, the Lumbee prepared a lengthy petition for the BIA, only to have it rejected two years later.

Since then, at least 27 bills to fully recognize and extend federal benefits to the Lumbee have been introduced in Congress.

The closest they’ve come to success was in 2010.

President Barack Obama had courted the Lumbee vote en route to winning North Carolina narrowly in 2008, and a recognition bill passed the House with the support of his administration.

But it died in the Senate after news broke that Lumbee tribal leaders hired a gaming consultant company to lobby for them — even though the bill promised no casino would be built on their land.

Indeed, gaming is a major hurdle to Lumbee recognition.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates a casino in the mountains of western North Carolina, and its profits provide individual members of the tribe with $8,000 to $10,000 in annual payments, Miller writes in his book “Claiming Tribal Identity.”

No other tribe has a casino in the state.

In 2009, the Eastern Band, along with other powerful southeastern tribes, used its casino profits to lobby against Lumbee recognition, according to Miller.

That year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost $786 million over a four-year period to extend federal benefits to the Lumbee.

Other recognized tribes balked at that number; they don’t want their share of BIA funding to shrink.

As Principal Chief Richard Sneed argued in the Cherokee One Feather newspaper last September, Lumbee recognition “has some staggering implications” for the Eastern Band’s economy.

“The increase in competition for federal funding will grow exponentially if the Lumbee and their estimated 50,000 members gain recognition,” he wrote.

“This will impact our housing and roads money among other federal funds which are dwindling with the proposed budget.”

BIA officials have stoked such fears by holding meetings with powerful tribes in western states and warning that their federal funds will be “significantly lessened if the large Lumbee tribe secures status,” Miller writes.

For their part, the Lumbee have no casino profits to use in their lobbying efforts.

And yet, a glimmer of hope arrived in December 2016, when the then-solicitor of the Interior Department admitted that Nakai was right — sort of.

In a 19-page opinion, Hilary Tompkins wrote that the Lumbee Act did not disqualify all individual Lumbees from federal benefits.

The BIA was wrong to automatically reject Nakai’s request for Indian preference simply because she was Lumbee, Tompkins wrote, and must reconsider her application.

She went on to say that the Lumbee tribe could apply for federal recognition from the BIA, and if recognition was granted, they would qualify for all the benefits offered to other tribes.

For Nakai, this was a small victory: She had changed the government’s stance toward her tribe.

But she still hadn’t won her case.

She now had to supply even more documentation to the BIA, showing that she has “one-half degree or more of Indian blood.”

As of July 2018, her case was still pending.

Meanwhile, the Lumbee are hoping Congress will grant them recognition.

In the summer of 2017, two Republicans from North Carolina — Senator Richard Burr and Representative Robert Pittenger — introduced bills to give the Lumbee full federal recognition.

Pittenger, whose district includes Lumbee territory, cited the millions of dollars of damage done to homes, schools and businesses in Robeson County during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

He argued that some of the damage could have been prevented if the Lumbee had better access to emergency funds reserved for federally recognized tribes in advance of the storm.

“The Lumbee tribe is not asking for special treatment,” Pittenger said.

“They are asking for parity and consistency in the way that the federal government views them.”

When tribal chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. testified before a House subcommittee in September 2017, he noted that recognition would “greatly aid” economic development in his rural part of North Carolina.

“We would be able to create a police force to address the violent crime and drug problems riddling our community,” he said.

“We could build schools for our children that teach our culture and our history.”

Yet officials who oppose Lumbee recognition have argued that the relatively prosperous tribe — which at one point claimed to have more PhDs than any other Native American group — should not rely on federal assistance.

In 1988, Ross Swimmer, a former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and then-assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, told Congress that providing BIA services to “a sophisticated, well-educated” tribe would create a “pocket of paternalism” in Robeson County.

Gaming presents its own complications.

Pittenger’s recognition bill prohibits gaming on Lumbee land, but Burr’s would allow it.

Arlinda Locklear, a prominent Lumbee attorney in Washington who represented the tribe in its 2009 recognition quest, says the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians still poses a formidable impediment to the bill.

The “Eastern Band of Cherokee has money and we do not,” she says.

“Their ability to lobby on this bill far exceeds the Lumbee ability to match that.”

Solicitor Tompkins’s opinion could also hurt the bill’s chance of passing.

Until now, the Lumbee could argue they had no choice but to go through Congress, because the BIA refused to recognize their tribe.

But now that Tompkins has made clear that they can petition the BIA for recognition, Congress may think a law is unnecessary.

“It really kind of makes it harder, rather than easier, for us to get the legislation through,” Locklear says.

Nakai, however, remains determined to win her battle with the BIA.

She wants to make sure future generations of Lumbee don’t have to argue with the government over their “blood quantum.”

She and her husband moved back to Robeson County last year so their daughter could grow up knowing more about her heritage.

“Everywhere she goes, people reaffirm not just who she is, but her place in her tribe and in her community,” Nakai says.

Strangers who meet the 4-year-old at church or school can identify “her people.”

They can look in her brown eyes and see the generations that came before her.

“That’s what it feels like to be Indian,” Nakai says.

“To be Lumbee is to know that, come what may, you have a place that you belong.”

On the first weekend in July, Nakai took her daughter to the 50th annual Lumbee Homecoming parade.

More than 20,000 people would be attending.

Lumbee Homecoming started in 1968.

Many Lumbees had begun moving to cities in search of factory jobs, but they still came home to visit their families during the summer.

The festival was a way to celebrate their return and foster pride in their heritage.

The week-long event included the Miss Lumbee beauty pageant, a golf tournament, a play about Lumbee history and a powwow.

Vendors were selling jewelry and handmade pottery, along with T-shirts that said

“Make America Native Again.”

Among those marching in the parade were North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

At one point, a small group of people marched by carrying a banner that read,

“Full Federal Recognition Now!”

They were campaigning with Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate for the 9th Congressional District, which includes Robeson County.

Pittenger lost the Republican primary in May, and Democrats now hope to flip the House seat, which has been held by the GOP for more than five decades.

When the festivities paused to allow a train to pass through downtown Pembroke, Nakai walked over to introduce herself to McCready.

Amid the roar of the crowd, McCready made clear he would advocate for the Lumbee.

“We’d love to talk about that,” he told Nakai.

Nakai looked at him, taking in his eagerness to please.

She’s devoted six years of her life to a legal battle that no politician has ever won.

Her people have been disappointed by government officials for more than 130 years.

Yes, she would be happy to meet with one of McCready’s staffers — but first she had a parade to attend.

“I’ve got some ideas,” she said, and walked back to join her people.

« Last Edit: March 28, 2021, 03:01:22 am by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2021, 08:46:41 am »
Tuesday, 22nd June  Twenty One
Representative Sharice Davids to Discuss Priorities for Congressional Native American Caucus

(WASHINGTON)Representative Sharice Davids, democrat from Kansas City, and tom cole of Oklahoma who serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus, met this week to discuss priorities for the 117th Congress and what they hope to accomplish as co-chairs.

Cole is a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and represents Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District.

Davids represents Kansas’ Third Congressional District and is a tribal citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

As part of its mission to encourage dialogue about issues affecting Native Americans, the caucus regularly convenes briefings, considers the impact of legislation on tribal nations and provides a forum for members on both sides of the aisle to exchange information, ideas and research.

According to Davids’ congressional office, Cole and Davids agreed that this Caucus has and always will remain bipartisan because the issues that matter to Indian Country and the government-to-government relationship are not and have never been partisan.

The members of the caucus aim to educate their congressional colleagues about the inalienable trust relationship each member has with Indian Country.

Members host briefings for other congressional members and staff to help them better understand Indian Country and sharing important research.

At a high level, the caucus’ priorities are working to ensure Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are included in appropriations, infrastructure, access to healthcare, and more.

“I look forward to advancing tribal voices and working with the Congressional Native American Caucus on matters vital to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, such as addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing access to quality healthcare, investing in infrastructure like broadband, and combatting the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people,” Davids said.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 05:41:47 am by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2021, 03:46:56 pm »
Wednesday, 23rd June  Twenty One
U.S. Mint to feature Wilma Mankiller on 2022 quarters
by Emily Farris

(TULSA, Oklahoma) — The first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and other notable American women are soon going to be stamped onto the 2022 quarters, the U.S. Mint announces.

Wilma Mankiller is one of five women who will start appearing on quarters in 2022.

This is a part of the American Women Quarters Program that "celebrates the accomplishments and contributions made by women to the development and history of our country," according to the U.S. Mint.

The program is expected to last four years, starting in 2022 until 2025.

Up to five new reverse designs will be released each year of the program.

Other distinguished women joining Mankiller on quarters in 2022 are:

  • Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American film star in Hollywood
  • Adelina Otero-Warren, a suffrage movement leader in New Mexico
  • Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space
  • Maya Angelou, celebrated author and poet

Offline Battle

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2021, 04:47:54 pm »
Saturday, 24th July  Twenty One
Oklahoma reels after Supreme Court ruling on Indian tribes
by Annie Gowen, Julie Tate and Robert Barnes

Kyle Willis hadn’t seen Kimberly Graham in years, since the day she was sentenced to 107 years in prison after she drunkenly plowed her truck into a group of motorcyclists in Tulsa, killing five people, including his mother and stepfather.
So it was a shock when he saw her at a court hearing last month — tanned, dressed in a frilly purple top and jeans and laughing — a free woman.

Graham, who is Native American, was let out of prison in April after a Supreme Court decision last year that found that a large part of eastern Oklahoma is still Indian country.

Despite a century of state and local prosecutions, the court ruled that crimes there were the province of federal and tribal courts.

“She’s enjoying life as if nothing ever happened,” said Willis, 34, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, who said the sight of Graham left him numb.

“It’s bizarre. It’s crazy.”

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma said prosecution of Native Americans for crimes in the expanded Indian country must be carried out in federal and tribal courts, rather than by state or local officials.

It was celebrated across the country by Native Americans last July, who saw it as a historic affirmation of treaties signed with the U.S. government in the 1800s.

But in the year since, the ruling has upended Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, imperiled convictions in thousands of cases, sowed confusion for police and emergency responders and led to the direct release of more than 50 criminals convicted on charges including second-degree murder and child abuse, state records show.

And there may be wider impacts for the region, which covers 19 million acres in eastern Oklahoma, includes a portion of the state’s second-biggest city, Tulsa, and is home to 1.8 million people.

A local power plant is challenging an increase in its property taxes.

The state is fending off a move by the federal government to strip its ability to regulate mines on Indian land.

The state has also raised concerns about a potential loss of tax revenue.

The fallout has exacerbated long-standing tensions between Oklahoma’s republican governor, Kevin Stitt, who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and the leaders of five tribes involved.

Stitt held a community forum on the issue this month that degenerated into raucous shouting, with attendees booing and chanting,

“Treaties are the law of the land!”

“We are living a nightmare out here,” said Ryan Leonard, the Oklahoma governor’s special counsel for Native American affairs.

“It’s complete, dysfunctional chaos in the state of Oklahoma.”

Leaders of the tribes have pushed back against Stitt, saying that the state stoked fear by alleging that criminals are being released and that state officials have overestimated the number of cases that may have to be revisited — about 79,000, by the state’s count.

“People see McGirt as this drastic change in the law, but the tribes don’t see it that way,” said Sara Hill, the attorney general of the Cherokee Nation.

“They see it as affirming and restoring authority to the tribes.”

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says that courts have dismissed or vacated convictions in 129 cases because of McGirt.

The total includes at least 57 people who were released after being earlier convicted of crimes including child abuse, robbery, manslaughter, second-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill, lewd acts with a child and burglary.

With the state forced to step back, the tribes have expanded their legal operations, adding new prosecutors, marshals and victims services coordinators.

The Cherokee Nation, for example, has added six prosecutors, two district court judges and 13 marshals in recent months, filing 1,300 cases this year.

The Cherokees support proposed federal legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Tom Cole, a republican from Oklahoma, that would allow them, as well as the Chickasaw Nation, to forge an agreement with the state to resolve jurisdictional issues.

But other tribal leaders are loath to make any concessions after the ruling affirmed the binding nature of commitments made to their forebears generations ago.

“The McGirt decision has created so many opportunities for improved safety and security for all citizens of Oklahoma,” David Hill, the principal chief of the Muscogee Creek Nation, said in a statement.

“We have continually sought collaboration with state and local officials to realize this new promise. But rather than work together, some politicians seem determined to return to the broken system of the past.”

Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch invoked the nation’s troubled past when he cast the deciding vote in McGirt last summer.

The ruling came after lawyers for a convicted child molester, Jimcy McGirt, argued that the state did not have jurisdiction to prosecute him because he was a Native American on tribal land.

“On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise,” Gorsuch wrote, alluding to the forced relocation of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole nations in the 1800s.

“Forced to leave their ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the West would be secure forever.”

He concluded:

“Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.”

Gorsuch said the objections by Oklahoma and the federal government that such a finding would throw law enforcement in the area into chaos were not enough:

“Dire warnings are just that, and not a license for us to disregard the law.”

Gorsuch, the only member of the Supreme Court to have served on a federal appeals court in the West, has been a strong vote for Native American interests on the court.

Although a consistent conservative, he sided in McGirt v. Oklahoma with the court’s then-four liberals, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.

However, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. warned in his dissent that “the State’s ability to prosecute serious crimes will be hobbled and decades of past convictions could well be thrown out. On top of that, the court has profoundly destabilized the governance of eastern Oklahoma.”

This spring, Oklahoma filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court and said Roberts’s prediction had been prescient.

In applying the McGirt decision, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals threw out the state conviction of a man convicted of murder in the killing of a Native American woman and her two children in what is now considered Indian country and opened the door for others to contest their convictions.

The federal government intends to retry Shaun Michael Bosse and others convicted in the most serious cases, including inmates on death row.

Those prisoners are unlikely now to face the death penalty, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
According to federal law, tribes have to opt in for the death penalty, and none of the five tribes has done so.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Oklahoma said it had reviewed 2,460 cases by mid-July, accepting 826 for prosecution and referring approximately 1,474 to tribal prosecutors.

It has had to expand its staff by more than 58 percent as caseloads have doubled.

But not all cases will head back to court, and then-Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter told the Supreme Court that significant numbers of convicts would be released.

“It appears likely that 27% of convicts who raise McGirt postconviction claims have a good chance of going free without re-prosecution by the federal government,” Hunter said in the emergency application this year.

“Given the hundreds of post-conviction cases now accumulating in district courts, the public safety considerations are frightening.”

Hunter asked the justices to put the state court’s ruling on hold while the state prepared for another try at the Supreme Court, and the court agreed, without explaining its reasoning.

The court’s three liberals dissented.

The court’s willingness to grant the stay in the Bosse case may indicate that some of the justices are willing to reexamine or limit the McGirt ruling, analysts said.

The court’s balance on the issue has shifted, with the liberal Ginsburg replaced by conservative Amy Coney Barrett.

The state is preparing a formal petition to the court to accept the case for additional briefing and oral arguments.

The court’s stay in the Bosse case has granted the state some breathing room, but law enforcement officials and emergency responders say the McGirt ruling continues to cause complications.

Charlie D. Peoples, an emergency response dispatcher, said McGirt has meant that he is now required to ask 911 callers if they are members of a federally recognized tribe.

If they are, he transfers the callers to the Muscogee Creek Nation, where they are “sometimes met with a hold tone and music because the call volume is so high,” he said

Law enforcement officers responding to a scene have seen tribal license plates on cars, then spent time sorting out who was Native American and who was not, Peoples said.

“The rules are very unclear, and we have no formal training,” he said in an interview.

“It’s very confusing, and it’s very taxing on all first responders, honestly.”

In recent weeks, family members of victims like Willis have organized protests as they grapple with fresh wounds from traumatic chapters of their lives they believed were closed or at least finally adjudicated long ago.

“We are retraumatizing victims at a perilous rate. That is not anywhere close to justice,” said Steve Kunzweiler, the district attorney for Tulsa County.

Federal and tribal prosecutors will have to retry some cases for which key witnesses have died, and in which memories have faded and evidence has been lost.

Tribal courts can sentence up to a maximum of three years per count and can order those sentences to be served consecutively, for up to nine years in some instances.

Tessa Williams, 50, of Owasso, is steeling herself for the federal retrial of Clarence Rozell Goode Jr., who was given the death penalty after he was convicted of killing her sister, brother-in-law and 10-year-old niece Kayla with two accomplices during a family dispute in 2005.

A lead detective in the case has died, along with several witnesses, including Williams’s mother, who found the bodies when she stopped by the home to give Kayla her cheerleader uniform.

“Some days I don’t even remember why I go into the kitchen, but I can tell you every detail of what happened then, the things you heard and what was done in that courtroom,” Williams said.

“I don’t want to see it again; I don’t want to hear it again.”

But, Williams said, “there’s nothing we can do about it but stay strong and do our part and make sure justice is carried out.”

Graham, the woman who was released in April, was convicted in 2008 on five counts of manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident after she allegedly drank alcohol and drove her truck into a group of people, including Willis’s mother, DeAnna Rosser-Coatney, a fourth-grade teacher.

A witness later testified that Graham left an “explosion of bodies” in her wake as she left the scene.

Federal prosecutors cannot retry the case because of a five-year statute of limitations on manslaughter.

The tribal court has a limit of seven years.

But after family members, including Willis, waged an extensive campaign of telephone calls, emails and TikTok videos, prosecutors for the Creek Nation agreed to take up the case.

They argued in filings that the statute of limitations should be suspended because of the unusual circumstances of the McGirt decision.

Graham is free on a $52,000 cash bond.

Her lawyer, Richard 0’Carroll, said she did not want to give an interview.

“She’s moving on with her life,” he said.

He said she was unlikely ever to spend another night in jail in the case.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2021, 06:00:19 pm by Battle »

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2021, 10:17:18 am »
Saturday, 14th August  Two Thousand & Twenty One
Pascua Yaqui Tribe to receive early voting site till 2024
by Emma Gibson

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Pima County Recorder's Office announced Friday they've reached a settlement in the case to reinstate the tribe's early voting site.

For the last three years, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has been advocating for the recorder's office to reinstate an early voting site in its reservation, going so far as to file a lawsuit against the recorder's office in 2020.

According to the settlement that was signed Thursday, for every statewide primary and general election from now till the end of 2024, the tribe will have an early voting site within its reservation.

For the moment, gone are the days of two-hour round-trip commutes for residents wanting to vote early, but only having access to the bus.

A deadline to keep them on track is in February 2022 — that's when the tribe and recorder must agree upon a location.

Pascua Yaqui Chairman Peter Yucupicio said, "The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it is just as important in Arizona Indian Country and the Pascua Yaqui reservation as it is in Pima County."

Former Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez closed the site in 2018 a little over a month before the primary election, citing low voter participation and a lack of physical and IT security.

When Gabriella Cázares-Kelly won the election for recorder last year, she promised the community that an early voting site for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe would be one of her top priorities.

“The closure of the Pascua Yaqui early voting site is a clear, modern day example of how Native American voting rights continue to remain under threat," Cázares-Kelly said.

"It reminds us that we do not all start from the same starting line and some communities have to work harder to exercise our most basic and fundamental right."

« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 09:41:42 am by Battle »

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2021, 02:50:22 pm »
Monday, 16th August  Two Thousand & Twenty One

Press Release
Representative Sharice Davids, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus and enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, joined Co-Chair and member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), to introduce the Frank Harrison, Elizabeth Peratrovich, and Miguel Trujillo Native American Voting Rights Act of 2021 (NAVRA).

This landmark voting rights legislation will protect the sacred right to vote and ensure equal access to the electoral process for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and voters living on Tribal lands.

Companion legislation was introduced by U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), who previously led the House re-introduction of NAVRA during the 116th Congress.

The United States has a trust responsibility to enact voting rights legislation to protect the constitutionally-guaranteed right of Native Americans to vote.

However, Native American voters have historically faced unique challenges when exercising their right to vote.

Geographic isolation, non-traditional mailing addresses, lack of residential mail delivery, lack of affordable and reliable broadband service, limited transportation, less access to polling and registration sites than those not located on Tribal lands, Native language translation needs, and poverty are just some of the distinct issues confronting Native voters that demand a legislative solution.

Now, as the Native American population in the U.S. reaches the largest size in modern history, NAVRA would enact key measures, such as allowing Tribes to specify the number and locations of requested voter registration sites, drop boxes and polling locations on Tribal lands, and authorizing Tribal ID cards for voting purposes.

The bill would also help establish state-level Native American voting task forces to address the unique voting issues faced by voters on Tribal lands by authorizing a $10 million Native American Voting Rights Task Force grant program.

It would also require prior Tribal notice and consent before States and precincts could remove, consolidate, or otherwise reduce access to voting locations on Tribal lands.

More than 30 voting rights and Tribal organizations endorsed the legislation.

“Voting is the very foundation of our democracy, yet Native voters face repeated barriers at the ballot box, from considerable distance and unequal operating hours at polling places to lack of voter education.
This bill further fulfills our federal trust responsibility to protect and promote Native Americans’ exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote,” said Representative Davids.

“I am proud to continue what Senator Luján advanced during his time in the House along with my Congressional Native American Caucus Co-Chair Tom Cole. I stand with my colleagues from both the House and the Senate on introducing this important and comprehensive piece of legislation that will ensure Native Americans and Alaska Natives have equal access to our democracy.”

Offline Battle

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2021, 04:05:45 pm »
Tuesday, 14th  September  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
Squaw Valley Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe to change name from the 'racist and sexist slur'
by Cheri Mossburg

The Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort has announced it will change its name to Palisades Tahoe, effective immediately.

"Today marks the first day of the next chapter of our resort's storied history," the resort wrote in a message posted to its website and social media accounts.

"While the name may be new, the legend and legacy of these valleys continue on, now as Palisades Tahoe."

The Washoe Tribe was part of the decision-making process on the new name.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort will be changing its name after the 2021 spring ski season, acknowledging that the word "squaw" is considered a "racist and sexist slur," according to a statement posted on the resort's website and social media accounts.

The company decided to drop the derogatory name after outreach to Native American groups, including the local Washoe Tribe.

When the resort was named in 1949, there was no intent to be derogatory or offensive, the Tahoe-area resort stated.

The word "squaw" was introduced by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and used by early fur traders and trappers, according to the University of Idaho.

In today's social context, Native Americans understand the term to be a slur.

"With the momentum of recognition and accountability we are seeing around the country, we have reached the conclusion that now is the right time to acknowledge a change needs to happen," said Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

"While we love our local history and the memories, we all associate with this place as it has been named for so long, we are confronted with the overwhelming evidence that the term 'squaw' is considered offensive."

The mountain resort is known for its skiing and snowboarding and provided venues for the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.

"As much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, we must accept that these emotional attachments do not justify our continuing use of a word that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur," Cohen said.

"We will find a new name that reflects our core values, storied past, and respect for all those who have enjoyed this land."

The process to determine the resort's new name is scheduled to begin immediately.

A renaming project team lead by resort leadership will manage the selection and an announcement is planned for 2021.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 11:02:37 am by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2021, 08:52:41 am »
Thursday, 25th  November  Two Thousand & Twenty One


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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2021, 09:05:00 pm »
Monday, 13th  December  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
Rugby-Warriors ask Chiefs fans not to wear Native American headdresses
by Reuters

Glasgow Warriors have called on fans of Champions Cup opponents Exeter Chiefs to avoid wearing Native American headdresses and refrain from their 'Tomahawk Chop' chant on Saturday.

The Chiefs' logo features a Native American and some fans of the club who wear faux headdresses during games have been accused of cultural appropriation.

Exeter reviewed the club's branding in the wake of a petition seeking an end to their use of "harmful imagery" last year and though they said that the use of the logo was "highly respectful" they agreed to retire their mascot Big Chief.

"Glasgow Warriors are asking visiting fans from Exeter Chiefs not to attend the game on Saturday with faux Native American headdresses or chant the 'Tomahawk Chop' during the match," Warriors Managing Director Al Kellock said in a statement.

"The club has informed Exeter Chiefs and European Professional Club Rugby of our request and has the full support of Scottish Rugby on taking this position."

The Warriors said that they had made the request out of respect for the Native American community around the world.

The petition against the Chiefs came in the wake of the NFL's Washington team retiring its "Redskins" name and logo after 87 years, which had long been criticised as racist by Native American rights groups.

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Re: A Victory for Native Americans?
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2021, 05:50:49 pm »
Thursday, 30th  December  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
Māori journalist becomes first person with facial markings to present primetime news
by Jeevan Ravindran

A Māori journalist has made history in New Zealand by becoming the first person with traditional facial markings to host a primetime news program on national television.

Oriini Kaipara made headlines worldwide after hosting her first 6 p.m. bulletin for Newshub on the TV channel Three, with many lauding the milestone as a win for Māori representation.

"I was really elated. I was over the moon," Kaipara told CNN of the moment she found out she would cover the primetime slot.

"It's a huge honor. I don't know how to deal with the emotions."

Kaipara's Christmas Day presenting role was the first of six consecutive days covering for the primetime news show's permanent anchors, although her stint will continue into early January and she said she may be called again in the future.

The 38-year-old is already the permanent anchor of the 4:30 p.m. "Newshub Live" bulletin, and previously made history in 2019 while working at TVNZ, when she became the first person with Māori facial markings to present a mainstream TV news program.

In the tradition of the Māori people, who are the indigenous people of what is now New Zealand, facial markings are tattooed on the chin for women and known as moko kauae, while for men they cover most of the face and are known as mataora.

Kaipara got her "moko" in January 2019, which she says was a personal decision she made for grounding reasons, to remind her of her power and identity as a Māori woman.

"When I doubt myself, and I see my reflection in the mirror, I'm not just looking at myself," Kaipara told CNN.

"I'm looking at my grandmother and my mother, and my daughters, and hers to come after me, as well as all the other women, Māori girls out there and it empowers me."

Having begun her career in 2005, Kaipara said hosting the primetime news slot was the "pinnacle" of her journalistic dreams, although it was a "bittersweet moment" because her mother, who recently passed away, couldn't share the moment with her.

Despite all the positive comments, there have also been negative reactions to Kaipara's presenting, especially as she often uses Māori phrases such as "E haere ake nei" (still to come), "Ū tonu mai" (stay with us) and "Taihoa e haere" (don't go just yet).

The Māori language is hugely important to Kaipara.

Her ultimate goal, she said, is encouraging people to speak the language that was "beaten out of my grandmother's generation" and reclaim it for Māori people.

"We still haven't addressed a lot of intergenerational traumas and colonization and for Maori, that's very, very pertinent and poignant as well," Kaipara said.

"Not much in terms of race relations here has changed in a very long time."

However, the "enormity" of the occasion was not lost on her and in many ways it was a full circle moment for Kaipara, who was inspired by Māori TV news presenter Tini Molyneux when she was a young girl.

"She was my idol," Kaipara told CNN.

"She had the same skin color as me... she sounded like me, she looked like me. And she comes from where I come from originally, my family, whakapapa (ancestors), where are ancestral ties are to our land."

Kaipara hopes young Māori girls will take inspiration from her story as a sign that times are changing.

"For a long time our people, our ancestors, our tipuna, and us now, have done so much work to get to where we are," Kaipara told CNN.

"As a young woman, as a young Māori, what you do today influences and affects what happens tomorrow. So all I ask is that they see the beauty in being Māori and they embrace it and acknowledge that and do what they can with it for positive change."