Current News

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge in Washington, D.C., will accept arguments over the next month on whether the developer of the Dakota Access pipeline must stage equipment near an American Indian reservation in southern North Dakota to respond to any oil spill under the Missouri River.

The idea is part of a fallback plan proposed by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in August in case U.S. District Judge James Boasberg eventually decided to allow the four-state pipeline to continue operating while federal officials do more study on the $3.8 billion project's impact on the tribe.

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke applauded President Donald J. Trump's nomination of Tara Mac Lean Sweeney, a prominent Alaska Native leader and acclaimed businesswoman with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, to be the department’s next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Sweeney, a member of the Native Village of Barrow and the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, would be the first Native Alaskan and only the second woman in history to hold the position.

The Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs oversees Interior’s manifold responsibilities to enhance the quality of life, promote economic opportunity and provide quality educational opportunities for American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives, while protecting and improving their trust assets.

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke applauded President Donald J. Trump's nomination of Tara Mac Lean Sweeney, a prominent Alaska Native leader and acclaimed businesswoman with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, to be the department’s next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Sweeney, a member of the Native Village of Barrow and the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, would be the first Native Alaskan and only the second woman in history to hold the position.

The Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs oversees Interior’s manifold responsibilities to enhance the quality of life, promote economic opportunity and provide quality educational opportunities for American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives, while protecting and improving their trust assets.

WASHINGTON – The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will add to its exhibition on treaties, “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations,” an 11.5-foot-tall mile-marker post created by activists who came to North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“When more than 12,000 activists and hundreds of Native Nations assembled in North Dakota during 2016 to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, treaties were at the heart of the issue,” said Kevin Gover, director of the museum. “As the largest gathering of Native Americans in protest, it was truly a historic event and one that should be addressed in the National Museum of the American Indian.”

Cherokee citizen to lead agency serving 567 Tribal communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the selection of Bryan Rice, a veteran federal administrator and citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, as the new Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the federal agency that coordinates government-to-government relations with 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States.

“Bryan has a wealth of management expertise and experience that will well serve Indian Country as the BIA works to enhance the quality of life, promote economic opportunity, and carry out the federal responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives,” Secretary Zinke said. “I have full confidence that Bryan is the right person at this pivotal time as we work to renew the department’s focus on self-determination and self-governance, give power back to the tribes, and provide real meaning to the concept of tribal sovereignty.”

There is a fear in my mind that transcends words and since I make my living using words this presents an extreme dilemma.

My fears are based on the facts that our elected officials in Washington have become players in a giant reality show. They have a leader who thinks nothing of threatening another country with destruction without realizing the consequences. Are these threats real or figments of a fractured imagination? These days it is hard to distinguish the difference.

Here is my dilemma: We have people serving in the Senate and Congress who listen to these threats and say nothing, that is with the exception of one or two like Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. When Corker spoke up it had to be assumed by most sensible people that others would follow, but instead elected officials like Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) and House of Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) retreated into a corner of silence.

TAMA, Iowa (AP) - The Meskwaki Nation in Iowa is expanding its business interests from its casino and bingo hall into tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Tribal leaders are looking to diversity their revenue so the tribe is less reliant on casino profits, the Des Moines Register reports.

Meskwaki Inc. will soon open a 30,000-square-foot factory and warehouse just off Highway 30, within walking distance of both the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel and the Meskwaki Travel Plaza.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The family of a 14-year-old South Dakota girl who killed herself at a Native American boarding school has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government, which runs the school.

The family filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in South Dakota. It seeks unspecified compensation for funeral expenses, attorney fees, and pain and suffering.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Dakota Access oil pipeline can continue operating while a study is completed to assess its environmental impact on an American Indian tribe.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s decision will come as a blow to the Standing Rock Sioux, who have argued that an oil spill from the pipeline under Lake Oahe – from which the tribe draws its water – could have a detrimental effect on the tribal community.

“Today’s decision is a disappointing continuation of a historic pattern: Other people get all the profits, and the tribes get all the risk and harm,” said Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice attorney representing the tribe in an ongoing federal lawsuit through which Standing Rock and three other tribes still hope to shut down the pipeline.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Attorneys for the Trump administration said a federal judge has no authority to second-guess a presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline as they seek to stop a lawsuit that would block the project.

Justice Department attorneys are due in U.S. District Court in Montana on Wednesday to defend the administration’s March approval of the 1,179-mile pipeline – a lightning rod in the debate over what to do about climate change.

The TransCanada proposal would transport Canadian crude oil through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with an existing system of lines to carry oil to Gulf Coast refineries.