Native Vets Memorial Planned for National Mall:
A memorial on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian will acknowledge the military sacrifice of Native Americans, who served in the U.S. military at a higher per capita rate than any other ethnic group in the 20th century. Museum staff have met with tribal leaders to discuss a design that will include the 567 federally recognized tribes and their spirituality. Source: cbsnews.com.
Tribes Challenge Discriminatory Voting Practices:
Native American advocates are gathering stories from Indian Country that show a wide range of obstacles to voting, including election sites far from reservations, poll workers who don't speak tribal languages, unequal access to early voting sites, intimidation of tribal members at polling places, and voter ID requirements. If working with local election officials doesn't work, tribes may turn to the 1965 Voting Rights Act to try to force changes. Source: seattletimes.com.
Line 3 Construction Could Begin This Summer:
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commissioner (PUC) voted unanimously in January to set an April briefing deadline, which means a decision on issuing a permit to Enbridge Energy could come as early as May or June. On January 2, five Minnesota Ojibwe tribes — Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, Leech Lake, White Earth, and Red Lake — filed a petition asking the PUC to delay the permitting process until a cultural survey on the proposed route was finished. Although the route avoids reservations, tribes argue that their off-reservation treaty rights give them reason to oppose the pipeline.
Dakota Tribes File Suit Against Drug Companies:
Three tribes from South Dakota have joined the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in filing suit against manufacturers of opioids, saying they concealed and minimized the risk to tribal communities. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate sued 24 manufacturers alleging the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on all of South Dakota's nine tribes. Native Americans have the highest rate of opioid overdose, and one in 10 Native youth age 12 or older used prescription opioids for non-medical purposes in 2012 — double the rate for white youth. Source: brainerddispatch.com.
Water Clarity May Be Hurting Walleyes:
Attendees at the DNR Roundtable in January heard from scientist Gretchen Hansen, who is trying to understand the decline in the Mille Lacs walleye population by studying food webs, invasive species, and other factors. She said water clarity has increased more dramatically than water temperature, which may be forcing small walleyes into deep water, where they are preyed upon by larger walleyes. Source: stcloudtimes.com.