State and Local News Briefs
Grief and anger follow Little Earth shootings: Gunfire broke out in the Little Earth neighborhood of Minneapolis May 2, injuring six people ages 14 to 46. A 14-year-old boy and a 21-year-old man were arrested in connection with the shooting. Residents say shootings (including the April shooting death of 19-year-old Alexander LaGarde) have picked up in recent years as a result of the opioid epidemic and gang activity. Activist Clyde Bellecourt said, “I think it’s a lot of neglect. I think it has to do with a lot of racism and ignorance by the city of Minneapolis with regards to the Indian community.” Source: startribune.com.
Bellecourt steps aside after 48 years: In early May, Clyde Bellecourt announced his retirement from the Legal Rights Center board after serving for 48 years. Long-time activist Bellecourt was instrumental in creating the center, which provides criminal defense for low-income people, especially those of color. The center was created by the American Indian Movement, of which Bellecourt was co-founder, and The Way, a black community organization from the north side of Minneapolis. Rep. Keith Ellison was among the speakers who honored Bellecourt at an invitation-only program following his retirement announcement. Source: startribune.com.
Lawsuit costs continue to rise for Mille Lacs County: The Mille Lacs County Board voted in April to hire a lobbyist to oppose a bill that would allow the Mille Lacs Band Tribal Police to operate without an agreement with the County. The $20,000 bill is another blow to taxpayers, who have already spent $242,940 on legal fees related to the Band's lawsuit against the County, which came in response to the County's decision to rescind its law enforcement agreement with the Band. Source: Mille Lacs Messenger.
Enbridge holds firm on new route for Line 3: Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said the company will continue to lobby for a new corridor for its Line 3 replacement project. Administrative Law Judge Ann O'Reilly concluded in an April report that the pipeline should be built in the old corridor. The new corridor crosses wild rice watersheds of importance to the Mille Lacs Band; the old corridor crosses through the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac Reservations. Source: startribune.com.
Housing planned for homeless young Native Americans: The Ain Dah Yung Center, a St. Paul nonprofit, and housing developer Project for Pride in Living broke ground in May for a supportive housing project on University Avenue aimed at homeless American Indians between the ages of 18 and 24. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency provided $9.4 million in tax credits for investors, covering most of the $11.3 million construction costs. Source: startribune.com.
New estimate shows healthy Mille Lacs smallmouth population: The Minnesota DNR announced last month that an estimated 67,000 smallmouth bass are thriving in Mille Lacs Lake, according to a study conducted by the DNR and supported by the Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance and Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation. Though anglers have been allowed to keep more bass since 2013, creel surveys indicate that interest in keeping bass is low. The average number of bass kept each year is about 2,800. In recent years, anglers have caught and released more than 125,000 bass. Source: news.dnr.state.mn.us.
National News Briefs
Sacred pipe returned to Sioux: A clay pipe linked to the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 will be returned to the Sioux, thanks to an anonymous gift from a generous donor. The pipe was auctioned off in Boston after the Lower Sioux Indian Community tried unsuccessfully to stop the sale, but the buyer, who paid $40,000 for the pipe — nearly twice its estimated value — donated the pipe to the tribe. Source: twincities.com.
University apologizes after cops called on Native Americans: Two Native teenagers touring the campus of Colorado State were questioned and searched by police after the mother of another prospective student said they made her nervous. The university apologized to Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, 19, and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, 17, and offered to repay the family's trip expenses and give them "an all-expenses-paid VIP tour." Source: mprnews.com.
Historic number of Native women running for office: State Representative Peggy Flanagan, a Democrat representing the Minneapolis suburbs in the Minnesota House, was among the women featured in an article about Native women
running for office. Flanagan, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on Tim Walz's ticket, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. If elected, she will be the highest-ranked Native state office holder and the first person of color to hold a constitutional office in Minnesota. Also featured was Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo member running for U.S. Congress in New Mexico. Source: elle.com.
Trump supports changes that would sabotage treaty rights: The Trump administration is arguing that tribes are a race rather than sovereign governments and should therefore not be exempt from Medicaid work rules. The new policy on Medicaid work requirements “does not honor the duty of the federal government to uphold the government-to-government relationship and recognize the political status enshrined in the Constitution, treaties, federal statutes, and other federal laws,” said Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. “Our political relationship is not based upon race.” Source: indiancountrymedianetwork.com.
Natives worry thousands could lose healthcare: The Trump administration has been seeking to implement a work requirement for Medicaid, which would hit Native American communities especially hard while marking a dramatic shift in federal policy. Thousands of Native Americans would lose benefits under the plan due to high unemployment rates in Indian Country. Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by the Koch Brothers, is pushing the proposal in Minnesota. Source: fox9.com.
Tribes fear they will be left out of sports betting growth: Before the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) last month that limited sports betting, the National Indian Gaming Association announced that it passed a resolution at their convention calling on Congress to repeal PASPA and pass legislation allowing tribes to offer sports betting at both tribal casinos and via mobile and online. Tribes fear a repeal of PASPA that would allow commercial interests to operate sports betting nationwide, threatening tribal gaming revenue. Source: cdcgamingreports.com.