Friday, October 31, 2008

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Attack Ads: Bad for Democracy, Good for Big Media?

Attack Ads: Bad for Democracy, Good for Big Media?
Attack ads may be bad news for our democracy -- but Big Media companies are laughing all the way to the bank, raking in $3 billion in political ads this season. (Video 1:00)
Free Press

News from Indianz.Com

Ron Allen: No longer endorsing Sen. McCain (10/31)

Charles Trimble: Pawnee Nation reburies ancestors (10/31)

Jodi Rave: Tribal enrollment a touchy issue (10/31)

Jodi Rave: NCAI leads voter protection effort (10/31)

Robert Moore: Tribes worked hard for IHCIA (10/31)

Linda Grover: Looking forward to Thanksgiving (10/31)

Sen. Obama reaches out to Navajo grandmothers (10/31)

Oneida Nation donated $4600 to Sen. Obama (10/31)

Still no agreement on land-into-trust hearing (10/31)

The Australian: Sacred soil on the Navajo Nation (10/31)

Children started fire that killed two Native boys (10/31)

Neal McCaleb cites 'worldwide' economic woes (10/31)

Blog: 'Lavish' spending by Rick West at NMAI (10/31)

Pala Band wins treatment as state from EPA (10/31)

Little Traverse Bay Bands tightens its belt (10/31)

Ex-Rosebud officer charged with sexual abuse (10/31)

Paper highlights DUI death of Ho-Chunk man (10/31)

Gila River Indian Community to elect governor (10/31)

Spotlight: Carl McGhee, oldest Poarch Creek (10/31)

AFN chief disputes meddling with commission (10/31)

Column: Four Corners loses two of its own (10/31)

Sen. Murkowski won't abandon Sen. Stevens (10/31)

Oneida Nation latest to cut gaming jobs (10/31)

Saginaw Chippewa Tribe to expand casino (10/31)

Opinion: Sen. McCain a pro-gaming candidate (10/31)

Opinion: Vote against tribal casino supporters (10/31)

More headlines...

31 Oct 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael Moore on the Election, the Bailout, Healthcare, and 10 Proposed Decrees From a New White House
With the election four days away, we spend the hour with Academy Award-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore. His film Fahrenheit 9/11 took on the Bush administration. Sicko took on the health insurance industry. His first film Roger and Me targeted General Motors. Moore joins us from Michigan to talk about the election, the bailout as “robbery,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the changing political climate in his home state. Moore also shares his ten proposed decrees for a new administration’s first ten days in office. [includes rush transcript–partial]

30 Oct 2008: Native News from

Diaz unhappy with Sycuan (CALIFORNIA) -- In what has become the deepest division in terms of marketable boxers, two-time IBF lightweight champion Julio Diaz is wondering why he's taking on a fighter who will do nothing to help his stock.

'Lavish' Spending Not Found Elsewhere At Smithsonian (WASHINGTON, DC) -- A long-awaited audit of expense reports for Smithsonian museum directors and governing board members is expected to be released later this year, but will not reveal the kinds of excesses found recently among other executives, the institution's inspector general said today.

Aboriginals left behind in education, study shows (CANADA) -- The gap in high-school graduation rates for aboriginals and non-aboriginals has grown in recent years, while the percentage of aboriginal people with a university degree has increased only slightly compared with a massive boom among the general population, new research shows.

B.C. natives take complaint to international group (VANCOUVER) -- A group of B.C. native chiefs hopes to persuade a Washington-based human-rights organization to hear its complaint that Canada has refused to play fair in treaty negotiations concerning a swath of now-private land.

Strip-club bouncer charged in tribal leader's death (CALIFORNIA) -- An employee of a Denver topless bar was charged today with reckless manslaughter in the death of American Indian tribal leader Gabriel Pico.

City: Massive Operation in Indian Reservation Cigarette Sales (NEW YORK) -- Last month the city filed a federal lawsuit against eight of the biggest cigarette dealers on the 50-acre Poospatuck reservation in Mastic, Long Island, where 11.3 million cartons of untaxed cigarettes where sold last year alone.

Native youth voters express interest in electoral process (WASHINGTON, DC) -- At campaign rallies, on Internet message boards and in almost every other avenue available for voter participation, young Indians are out in force this year.

More headlines...

DNC Native American Caucus Chair: 'Barack Obama has Stood With Us and it is Now Time That We Stand With Him'

DNC Native American Caucus Chair: 'Barack Obama has Stood With Us and it is Now Time That We Stand With Him'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stating that "Barack Obama has stood with us and it is now time that we stand with him" Frank LaMere of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska urged Native voters this week to come out in record numbers on Tuesday "to restore the country and the First Nations, and to acknowledge that we must give voice to the generations to come."

LaMere, the Chairman of the Native American Caucus of the Democratic National Committee who guided the Native American delegation at the national convention, is optimistic about the expected turnout and impact of the Indian vote. "Indian country has responded to the Democratic message of change and the need for urgency. From Maine to California and from Washington to Florida the Native focus on the political process is unprecedented. This attention can manifest itself with the election of Barack Obama and countless Democratic state and local candidates who will enjoy Native support but there is much work to be done. We must ignore the negativity of the Republicans that is designed to raise doubts in our minds and to intimidate voters like us. We know the truth about what the Republicans have brought us because we see how it affects our children and grandchildren every day. Let us remain mindful of this through our every action and through our participation in this political process till Tuesday."

"Let there be no mistake about this my relatives", LaMere added. "Every vote will count and will decide much about your future. Cast it proudly and carefully. We have young relatives in harm's way right now who have paid our way to enter the election booth."

"We have many who go without because our leaders have failed us. This election means much to them. Barack Obama understands this while others remain oblivious. Let us, as Native people, help him."

Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee,

This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Source URL:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

American Stories, American Solutions: 30 Minute Obama Special

30 Oct 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Arrest of Neo-Nazis in Obama Assassination Plot a Reminder of Enduring White Supremacist Culture in US
Is a potential Barack Obama presidency bringing white supremacist subculture out of the shadows? Following the arrest of two neo-Nazis for plotting to assassinate Obama, we speak to investigative journalist James Ridgeway, author of Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads and the Rise of a New White Culture. [includes rush transcript]

Following Deadly US Attack on Syria, Questions of Bush Admin Motives in its Waning Months
The Syrian government has condemned a deadly US military raid near the Iraqi border as “terrorist aggression.” The Bush administration has remained mum, stoking fears it could be trying to provoke further conflict in its remaining months in office. We speak to Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation magazine and University of Oklahoma professor Joshua Landis. [includes rush transcript]

Can Dems Reclaim the South? Once Solidly GOP, Virginia and N.C. Emerging as Battleground States
Four years ago, President Bush swept the Southern states, but polls show Barack Obama could win North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. We speak to Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies.

News from Indianz.Com

Federal Register: Indian irrigation rates (10/30)

Federal Register: Census Bureau Nativepolicy (10/30)

Voter: Gov. Palin a 'freezer' in Indian Country (10/30)

Sen. Dorgan: Good news and bad news for tribes (10/30)

Kevin Abourezk: Means shifts sovereignty stance (10/30)

Video: Sherman Alexie on The Colbert Report (10/30)

Rhode Island governor angry over hearing impasse (10/30)

SCOTUSBlog: Jockeying for land-into-trust hearing (10/30)

Sen. Stevens helped Alaska Native corporations (10/30)

Puyallup Tribe holds rally for Gov. Gregoire (10/30)

Oneida Nation seeks to increase voter turnout (10/30)

Two children killed in fire on Manitoba reserve (10/30)

Manslaughter charge for death of Pechanga leader (10/30)

Crow court dismisses charges against Indian sheriff (10/30)

City rejects offer to settle Navajo man's shooting (10/30)

Four immigrants die in Gila River incident (10/30)

Judge saves Mille Lacs man from banishment (10/30)

Prairie Island Tribe seeks hearing on nuclear site (10/30)

Meeting held on residential school commission (10/30)

Study: Native graduation rates low in Canada (10/30)

Army to study suicide in hopes of preventing it (10/30)

George Will: McCain, Palin and potato chips (10/30)

Few seek help after Mashantucket job cuts (10/30)

Twelve arrested in Connecticut tribal casino scam (10/30)

More headlines...

Nearly 30 minutes of NPR Angola 3 Coverage

Nearly 30 minutes of NPR Angola 3 Coverage: Over the course of the last few months Laura Sullivan of NPR's All Things Considered put together an amazing, in-depth, comprehensive 3 part story that fleshes out the complexities of Angola and the setting for this tragedy in a way that no other single media story on the case has before. Please listen when you get a chance. Thanks again to everyone from the A3 team who made the story possible. It is a really masterful piece of storytelling. Here are direct links to each part:

Part 1: Doubts Arise About 1972 Angola Prison Murder

Part 2: Favors, Inconsistencies Taint Angola Murder Case

Part 3: Why Did Key Angola Witness Go To The 'Dog Pen'?

Herman's House Comes Home To New Orleans: Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace's groundbreaking art exhibit, The House that Herman Built, will occupy the premier opening spot of Prospect One (the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States: The installation will be housed in the main exhibit building, the Contemporary Arts Center at 900 Camp St in New Orleans starting at noon on Saturday, November 1st and then during regular CAC hours through January 18th. Please go and visit the show next time you are in New Orleans!

From InterContinental Cry

InterContinental Cry
Brazil: Tupinamba Community Assaulted by Police
Posted: 29 Oct 2008 11:31 AM CDT
On the morning of October 21, a group of 120 heavily armed police attacked the Tupinamba community of Sierra Padeiro in the Brazilian state of Bahia. According to an open letter from the community, the police marched into their territory a day earlier. The Tupinamba immediately requested a meeting with FUNAI, Brazil’s department of [...]

Chagos Islanders Denied the Right of Return
Posted: 28 Oct 2008 02:58 PM CDT
The British House of Lords has overturned a 2007 high court ruling that allowed the original inhabitants of the Chagos Islands to return to their homes in the Indian Ocean archipelago. “There are a lot of Chagossian people in front of the court today (Oct. 22) and we are very sad about this decision,” said Hengride [...]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

29 Oct 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Lawsuits, Machine Malfunctions and Missing Absentee Ballots Among Voting Rights Issues Facing Jittery Election
With the election less than a week away, the battle is on for voting rights. Early voters across the country are reporting long lines and problems with electronic voting machines. Republicans, meanwhile, continue to file lawsuits that could stop thousands from voting. We speak to Harvey Wasserman of Free Press and Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog. [includes rush transcript–partial]

Jane Mayer on "The Insiders: How John McCain Came to Pick Sarah Palin"
Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has cast herself as an antidote to the elitist culture inside the Beltway. But a new article from New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer says Palin’s sudden rise to prominence owes more to members of the Washington elite than her rhetoric has suggested.

News from Indianz.Com

Jodi Rave: Racial overtones in Montana campaign (10/29)

Tulalip Tribes encourage members to vote (10/29)

BIA hosts law enforcement summit in Montana (10/29)

New York City seeks smokeshop injunction (10/29)

Blog: Menominee man wins with contracting (10/29)

Appeals courts shift to conservative grounds (10/29)

Oglala Sioux Tribe holds presidential debate (10/29)

Samish Nation seeks trust status for land (10/29)

Arrest of suspect in Native abuse cases (10/29)

Inter-American Commission hears Native case (10/29)

County debates Paskenta Band donation of $300K (10/29)

NMAI to open Fritz Scholder retrospective (10/29)

Appreciation: Tony Hillerman knew New Mexico (10/29)

J.B. Tanner, respected Indian trader, dies at 84 (10/29)

Penobscot Nation provides teacher training (10/29)

Soboba Band receives lead reduction grant (10/29)

Socialist Worker: Indigenous uprising in Colombia (10/29)

McCain-Palin call on Sen. Stevens to resign (10/29)

Muscogee Nation plans $160M casino resort (10/29)

Fort Mojave off-reservation casino up for vote (10/29)

City reaps benefits of Lytton Band casino (10/29)

Column: Connecticut tribes free to sue but not be sued (10/29)

Forest County Potawatomi Tribe shares revenues (10/29)

More headlines...

Black Mesa project controversy rises

Black Mesa project controversy rises
A waning administration’s actions may contribute to a tribal mining dispute
By Carol Berry, Today correspondent

Story Published: Oct 25, 2008
Story Updated: Oct 28, 2008

BLACK MESA, Ariz. – A push to approve a Peabody Western Coal Co. project in northern Arizona may be dividing the Hopi Tribal Council and fueling an attempted ouster of the tribal chairman.

“They have suspended my authority and one of the principal reasons is they want to ramrod the [Black Mesa project] EIS [environmental impact statement] through,” said Ben Nuvamsa, who asserted Oct. 17 that he plans to file a motion to quash an arrest warrant issued by a tribal judge over his contested chairmanship.

“They want to get it through before the presidential election and before a new administration takes office,” Nuvamsa said by telephone.

At issue are varying perceptions of Peabody Coal and its motives, and the pros and cons of the Black Mesa project itself, which would incorporate nearly 19,000 acres associated with the Black Mesa mining operation into an expanded permit area that now includes the Kayenta Mine.

The mines, which sit atop the vast coal reserves of Black Mesa, are different things to different interests: a potential source of jobs for Native miners, an economic boost for the area’s tribal nations, a concern for some traditionalists and for various environmental groups, a source of profit for Peabody and a headache for others, including the U.S. Office of Surface Mining.

Above all, Black Mesa appears to have been a contentious issue in Hopi country, dividing communities and the tribal council itself, whose very ability to function is viewed differently by opposing factions in a conflict described by one observer as “totally political.”

“It’s a very controversial project,” conceded Rick Holbrook, who is overseeing the OSM’s Black Mesa Project EIS, due to be finalized in November.

But there has been no particular pressure from the administration to rush completion of the environmental study, which represents the government’s final decision on the project, said Holbrook, who is in OSM’s regional office in Denver.

“We’re just moving along, trying to get it done,” he said by telephone. “From our perspective, it’s time to bring it to a close and make a decision.”

Others disagree, however, among them a Sierra Club tribal partnership program spokesman.

“In the waning days of the Bush administration, they’re pushing that through as part of a fire sale,” said Andy Bessler by telephone. “But it’s not fair to the Hopi and Navajo communities to push it through like that.”

Vernon Masayesva, founder of Black Mesa Trust and a former Hopi tribal chairman, said he didn’t know about direct administration intervention in the EIS process, but “one of the persons on the cooperating agency team supposedly said they were under a lot of pressure to do the EIS before the next administration comes in.”

Lame-duck urgency aside, it is clear that there are other concerns about the proposed mine extension itself, whose purpose Holbrook described as continuing to supply coal to the Navajo Generating Station near Page via an approximately 75-mile railway. The station serves electricity customers in Arizona, Nevada and California.

“We are the owners of the resource and we should not be in a situation where we are a cooperating agency but not a decision-making entity,” said Nuvamsa, who is concerned that, in addition to the preferred EIS alternative, other potentially damaging alternative plans remain in the EIS.

The environmental study of this coal delivery system – scaled down from earlier versions – arose from Peabody’s request to OSM to “wrap the permit boundary around the area that heretofore had not been permitted: the Black Mesa mining area,” Holbrook said.

Extension of the boundary would permit the use of joint office and other facilities in an area now shared with the permitted Kayenta Mine in the Black Mesa Complex, he said, but no customer has been identified for any additional coal that might be produced – raising questions about the purpose behind the company’s request to include Black Mesa within the wider, long-term mining permit.

The EIS process requires OSM to identify the most likely future condition in order to assess project impacts; but, Holbrook said, “there’s no potential customer in the future that we could positively identify,” noting Peabody could be thinking of a coal conversion plant or “they could be talking to Asian countries – who knows?”

Since there is no identified customer for Black Mesa coal and since there is sufficient existing coal to continue supplying the Navajo Generating Station until 2026, “it appears [to Black Mesa Trust] they are doing that [extending the permit to wider coal reserves] to add value to their portfolio so they can sell it to China. China and Russia are buying up reserves all over the world,” Masayesva said by telephone.

“No customer means no project – you can’t do an EIS unless you have a real project, yet OSM is going ahead with getting a life-of-mine [renewable] permit. What’s the justification?

The haste some perceive in finishing the EIS, coupled with an embedded mistrust of both Peabody Western Coal Co. and federal agencies on the part of other tribal members, has created what Masayesva terms a “dysfunctional” tribal government that could not officially approve the Black Mesa Project final EIS.

Historical mistrust extends back at least a half-century, encompassing a tribal attorney’s complicity with Peabody, controversies around the Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area and anger at the use of billions of gallons of high-quality aquifer water for coal slurry (since discontinued), down to the possibility today that the current Supreme Court will reverse a lower court finding of U.S. liability for inadequate royalties in Navajo coal leases.

At the same time, mine revenues have provided tribal income – by one estimate, closure in 2005 of the Mojave Power Plant and coal slurry line in Nevada cost the Hopi Tribe up to 40 percent of annual revenue – and much-needed jobs to tribal members.

The Hopi Tribe has been involved with the Black Mesa EIS since the beginning in a “very collaborative” relationship with Peabody and other cooperators, she said, noting that the company gave team members tours during which they looked at areas reclaimed by the coal company and at reintroduced vegetation, including traditional plants. The company also consulted Navajo medicine men and the Hopi cultural preservation office, said Jolynn Roberson, Navajo/Hopi, a private consultant who was hired by the Hopi water/energy team for the Black Mesa Project EIS.

Peabody has made a number of efforts to inform the tribal council about the federal laws involved, reclamation of mined land, agreements about domestic wells and other issues, she said.

Among those involved in the Black Mesa issue is Hopi Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma, who, along with others on the tribal council, has opposed Nuvamsa in a back-and-forth controversy conducted in council meetings and tribal courts. Honyaoma was unavailable for immediate comment.

As the EIS process draws to a close, issues of control have come to the forefront: “We can no longer serve in a lesser/lessee relationship,” Nuvamsa said. “Equity ownership is what we want.”

If, in fact, the EIS is being rushed through, various remedies are being tossed about: seeking an official oversight hearing, calling in the BIA to “straighten out” tribal government, or asking the Interior Department to suspend action on the EIS. None has been implemented to date. Correction

CORRECTION: The article "Black Mesa project controversy rises" (Posted Oct. 26, 2008) should have identified Jolynn Roberson as a consultant who has been hired by the Water and Energy Team of the Hopi Tribe.

28 Oct 2008: Native News from

Menominee Indian Finds Key to Success in Contracting (WASHINGTON, DC) -- Every entrepreneur has an inspiration they draw on to make a business journey -- whether that journey is geographical, psychological, or both.

Bennett: Why Minnesota tribes should support Sen. Norm Coleman (MINNESOTA) -- I have been an advocate for tribal issues for over two decades. I have had the privilege of serving as the president of my tribe, the Prairie Island Indian Community, and have also worked on the national level serving as an officer with the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Gaming Association.

Judge rules forfeiture of $377,237 in tribal funds (KANSAS) -- A federal judge rules that the Kaweah (kuh-WAY'-uh) Indian Nation must forfeit more than $377,000 in a scheme to defraud immigrants.

Governor Orders Flags Lowered For Hillerman (NEW MEXICO) -- Gov. Bill Richardson said he will order flags around New Mexico to be lowered in honor of author Tony Hillerman, who died in Albuquerque over the weekend.

San Manuel Band donates $1 million toward Havasupai tribe’s flood recovery efforts (CALIFORNIA) -- Today, as the result of a $1 million contribution made by the California-based San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, the Havasupai Tribe of Arizona announced a comprehensive Economic Recovery Plan to help the Tribe begin to re-build following the devastating August flash floods in the Grand Canyon that wiped out their economic infrastructure.

Tribe to celebrate historic sites (MONTANA) -- The Northern Cheyenne plan to celebrate the recent designation of two historic battlefields as national historic landmarks at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Allen Rowland Gymnasium in Lame Deer.

Regulation of wells goes to tribes (MONTANA) -- Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation will become the nation's first to take the place of the federal government in regulating a type of well associated with oil and natural gas development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.

Students, staff, Tribal Council turn out for Red Ribbon in Browning (MONTANA) -- Students and supporters of Browning Public School proudly wore red Monday, but they weren't cheering on the high school's Browning Indian's teams.

More headlines...

28 Oct 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Republican Senator Ted Stevens Convicted on Corruption Charges
Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the Senate’s longest-serving Republican in US history, was convicted yesterday of violating federal ethics laws for failing to report tens of thousands of dollars in gifts he received from friends. A jury in Washington, D.C. found Stevens guilty on seven felony counts, each with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The 84-year-old Stevens is one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress and is the first sitting US senator to go on trial in more than two decades. [includes rush transcript]

Drilling and Killing: Landmark Trial Against Chevron Begins Over Its Role in the Niger Delta
A landmark trial has begun against the oil giant Chevron. A San Francisco district court is hearing a case brought by Nigerian plaintiffs who accuse Chevron of recruiting and supplying Nigerian military forces involved in the May 1998 shooting and killing of protesters in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The protesters were occupying a Chevron-owned oil platform called the Parabe, demanding jobs and compensation for environmental damage to their communities. We play an excerpt of Democracy Now!‘s award-winning documentary, Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship, and we speak with two activists. [includes rush transcript]

Van Jones on "The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems"
In a new book, the well-known community activist and attorney Van Jones lays out a plan for a green economy he says could help solve the nation’s economic inequality while also addressing the long-term environmental threats to our survival as a planet. [includes rush transcript]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Indigenous Peoples Caucus meets in Geneva

Indigenous Peoples Caucus meets in Geneva
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Indigenous Peoples Caucus met in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month to discuss the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

United Nations general assembly adopted the declaration last year but Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States -- the countries with the most significant indigenous populations -- voted against it.

"We are finding that the primary reason the U.S. did not sign on is the provisions on self-determination and land ownership," Duane "Chili" Yazzie, a member of the
Navajo Nation, told The Farmington Daily Times.

Three tribal members, including Yazize, went to the meeting to discuss implementation of the declaration. The delegation asked for assistance with sacred sites and racism in border towns.

Get the Story:
Navajo reps join global discussion on human rights (The Farmington Daily Times 10/28)

Related Stories:

Indigenous Peoples Caucus meets in Geneva (9/25)
Jodi Rave: Indigenous rights declaration up for vote (9/13)

Indian Country Today Endorses Obama

Indian Country Today: Obama for president
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Indian Country Today endorses Barack Obama for president. This election is a remarkable opportunity for change in policy direction and leadership style. As a person, Obama exhibits humility and grace, and his story inspires creativity and action. As a candidate, Obama redefined American politics. The first African-American candidate for president deftly inspired legions of disenfranchised and first-time voters to participate in the democratic process. His campaign avoided divisive politics, instead finding common-ground issues like education and the economy to bring minds together. American Indian voters, especially those who support Obama, seized their right to vote like never before and have embraced political participation as a new ethic. We are certain that Native voters will make a noticeable difference in the presidential race and in local ones as well.

Throughout this long campaign, Obama did not just talk about Indian issues; he talked with Native peoples and brought their messages to the national stage. Sen. John McCain made no appearances in Indian country during his campaign despite requests by several tribes. Obama’s successful outreach efforts that included visits with tribal councils and speeches on reservations rendered McCain practically invisible.

This was unfortunate and ill-advised. McCain has been a respected leader and advocate for Indian issues, serving twice as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He won his party’s nomination by opposing unpopular Bush policy on immigration, torture and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – all issues that won him praise from Indian supporters. But the “maverick” strategy is failing, mostly due to a disappointing campaign that baits the right-wing conservative base with negative ads and McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate."

News from Indianz.Com

Indian bar association offers election day help (10/28)

Indian Country Today: Obama for president (10/28)

Mother Jones: Obama's play for Indian Country (10/28)

Sen. Clinton touts Obama on Indian issues (10/28)

Audrey Bennett: Re-elect Sen. Norm Coleman (10/28)

Frank Rich: GOP clueless on 'real' America (10/28)

Fight over land-into-trust hearing continues (10/28)

Judge rejects injunction in Chehalis tax case (10/28)

Eleven indicted in St. Croix crack cocaine ring (10/28)

Two dead, officer shot on Flathead Reservation (10/28)

Election day victory for Chippewa Cree man (10/28)

Navajos grateful for Hillerman's focus on culture (10/28)

Northern Cheyenne Tribe marks historic battle sites (10/28)

Indigenous Peoples Caucus meets in Geneva (10/28)

Editorial: Sen. Johnson proven on Indian issues (10/28)

Sen. Stevens vows to fight guilty verdict (10/28)

Rival's ad links Sen. Cornyn to Abramoff scandal (10/28)

Editorial: Gambling on a new administration (10/28)

Lawsuit filed over revenue-sharing in Michigan (10/28)

Quechan Nation brings in new casino management (10/28)

Graton Rancheria casino affected by economy (10/28)

Soboba Band concerned about traffic around casino (10/28)

More headlines...

Monday, October 27, 2008

27 Oct 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Puerto Rican Labor Struggle: Teachers Vote Against Joining SEIU
It’s a major victory for the forty-two-year-old Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico, or FMPR. It was Puerto Rico’s largest union, representing over 40,000 teachers. But earlier this year, after many months of trying to negotiate with the governor, the FMPR was decertified over its refusal to comply with a ban on strikes by public employees. [includes rush transcript]

Why Don't Barack Obama and John McCain Talk About the Working Class?
With the economy the number one issue on the campaign trail, major party candidates John McCain and Barack Obama discuss their tax plans, jobs and the financial bailout on the stump. But are they really addressing the needs of the working class? A new study from the Center for the Study of Working Class Life suggests that neither McCain nor Obama have adequately spoken to the needs of one-fifth of the population—the 60 million Americans who are barely surviving in this economy.

Kambale Musavuli on the "Forgotten War" in the Congo
The latest round of fighting in the Congo has seen a dramatic rise in the number of rapes, and some 200,000 people have been displaced since August, according to the World Food Program. That’s in addition to the nearly 1.5 million people already displaced since 2007. Bringing attention to the dire situation in the Congo and the role of Western corporations in fueling the conflict was the focus of Congo Week, an awareness-raising week of events on campuses across the country that concluded Friday.

News from Indianz.Com

Suzan Harjo: Sen. Obama's words matter more (10/27)

Sen. Thune: Addressing meth in Indian Country (10/27)

Column: Native people less evolved than others (10/27)

Yellow Bird: Negative ads poison Senate race (10/27)

Jodi Rave: Chippewa Cree election in tribal court (10/27)

Letter: Sen. Obama's Indian policy divides country (10/27)

Gaming donations pour into McCain campaign (10/27)

Michigan tribes seek to increase voter turnout (10/27)

Alaska halts Native voter language assistance (10/27)

Opinion: Compensate Native singers for their time (10/27)

Aquash murder defendant raises 'Indian' issue (10/27)

Police investigate Crow chairman's accident (10/27)

Tony Hillerman, award-winning author, dies at 83 (10/27)

Turtle Mountain Band passes ban on abortion (10/27)

Indian veterans in New Mexico question tax refund (10/27)

Chehalis Tribe sues over county property taxes (10/27)

Editorial: Yakama Nation guest-worker program (10/27)

Editorial: Indian smokeshops and organized crime (10/27)

Column: Families follow Indian athletes in Montana (10/27)

Editorial: Speed-reading at the Interior Department (10/27)

Penobscot Nation has plans for gaming facility (10/27)

Court won't rehear California compact lawsuit (10/27)

Opinion: Quechan Nation's hypocrisy on casino (10/27)

Editorial: Casinos a bad deal for Ohio's economy (10/27)

More headlines...

Use It... Or Lose It!

Obama-Biden Tax Calculator

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will cut taxes for 95% of working families, and provide at least three times as much tax relief for middle class families as John McCain and Sarah Palin. The Obama/Biden plan provides $1,000 of tax relief for workers and new tax benefits to help families pay for college, childcare and save for retirement.

Find out your Obama tax cut:

In South Dakota, Native Americans Face Voting Roadblocks

In South Dakota, Native Americans Face Voting Roadblocks
by Charles Michael RayListen to Full Story Here [4 min 7 sec]

http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php?storyId=96154277

All Things Considered, October 26, 2008 · Early voting in the United States is giving voters easier access to the polls. But if you're a Native American on the Rosebud or Pine Ridge reservations in South Dakota, early voting is not so easy. Most South Dakotans have the option to vote early in person at their local county courthouse or polling place. But this is not an option offered to these two reservations, which can't afford courthouses and are too poor to hire a full time country auditor. Voting rights advocates are crying foul.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

26 Oct 2008: Native News from

Palin talks to investigator on Troopergate / MONEGAN FIRING: Conclusion may not come before election. (MISSOURI) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin testified for two hours Friday in an abuse-of-power investigation that has been a distraction to her Republican vice presidential campaign.

Palin testifies in ethics dispute (MISSOURI) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin testified before an independent investigator Friday about allegations she abused her powers during a long-running personnel controversy that has now distracted from her Republican vice presidential campaign.

Palin pipeline terms curbed bids, AP probe finds (ALASKA) -- Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment - a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 - emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Corporations rally at AFN convention (ALASKA) -- Alaska Native corporations want to tame the ambitions of a powerful Democratic congressman seeking to restrict the controversial government program that has made many of them wealthy.

OST candidate challenges unsuccessful (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- Despite challenges by other candidates, Theresa "Huck" Two Bulls and Alice Perkins will be on the ballot for the Nov. 4 Oglala Sioux Tribe election.

More headlines...

NCAI delegates rally with Phoenix Natives for Obama ’08

NCAI delegates rally with Phoenix Natives for Obama ’08
By Gale Courey Toensing

Story Published: Oct 25, 2008

PHOENIX – Dozens of delegates from the National Congress of American Indians’ five-day convention took a break from meetings and joined scores of people at Sen. Barack Obama’s Arizona campaign headquarters to participate in a Natives for Obama ’08 rally Oct. 22.

More than 100 people gathered outside the headquarters building for an energetic hour and a half of speeches from tribal leaders, local and state politicians, and other dignitaries who expressed their support for Obama with both ardor and a sense of urgency.

Obama has garnered widespread support in the Southwest and universal support from the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The rally took place a day after the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution endorsing the Illinois senator for president.

President Joe Shirley Jr., who attended the rally, endorsed Obama about a month earlier in his individual capacity as president. He is actively urging other nations to support Obama.

“So now we can say that as a nation we are supporting Sen. Obama; and as their leader I’m reaching out across space and time and what separates us to all Native American tribal leaders, all of the family members that are out there, to let’s get together and unify behind Sen. Obama and Sen. Joe Biden for the presidency and vice presidency of the great United States of America.

... Navajo Nation endorses Obama

The Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution Oct. 21, endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president.

The endorsement came about a month after Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. individually endorsed Obama: “So now we can say that
as a nation, we are supporting Sen. Obama,” he said.

The Navajo resolution also followed about a month after the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, threw their support behind the Illinois senator in an unprecedented endorsement. In both cases, tribal members said one of the reasons for the endorsement was that Obama visited their nations on several occasions while McCain rebuffed their invitations to meet with them.

The resolution was passed as an “emergency” measure at a council meeting at Window Rock.

“The Navajo Nation finds that the Navajo Nation’s timely endorsement and support of Sen. Barack Obama for president of the United States of America constitute an emergency matter and failure to express this endorsement from the governing body of the Navajo Nation prior to the Nov. 4, 2008, election day directly threatens the Navajo Nation’s exercise of Navajo Nation sovereignty.”

Among these threats, the resolution says, are an unemployment rate of close to 70 percent; a health care system in dire need of facilities and programs to treat diabetes, cancer, substance abuse, elderly care and teen suicide; and federal land use legislation that has prevented the nation from improving the living conditions and economic lives of its people.

The resolution further states that the nation has compared the experience, qualifications and political platforms of both candidates and, after meeting personally with Obama, concluded that he would best “lead our country into a new era of cooperation and progress for all Americans, including Navajos and Indians of all nations.”

Listed in the resolution are a number of actions for Obama to undertake “upon election,” which include, among other things:

• respecting and upholding the Navajo Treaty of 1868;

• supporting the allocation of water rights for the Navajo people;

• providing full and continued funding for the tribe’s economic development, job opportunities, housing and infrastructure;

• providing full funding for new detention facilities, law enforcement and tribal courts and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act;

• increased funding for the IHS; and

• full funding for contracts and grants established by law, including the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

With a population of 300,000, the Navajo Nation is the largest tribal government in North America.

“Native Americans haven’t been treated very well by the current administration. The country is upside down. It’s not doing very well because of the current administration. That’s got to change. [There’s] got to be change and we can help it along by unifying, by coming together, and getting out the vote here in Arizona.

He said he has been told the race will be close in the state.

“Native Americans have made a difference in a close race, so we can once again make a difference; and that’s why, as president of the Navajo Nation, I’m reaching across space and time to all my brothers and sisters to vote for change and vote for Barack Obama for the next president of the United States.”

Navajo Nation delegate Leonard Tsosie cited the environment as another reason to vote for Obama.

“Native America is hurting from a lack of jobs, but Mother Earth is hurting, too; and we had an administration for eight years that didn’t really care about it, and we’re beginning to see the results of eight years of that failed policy and I think that’s one of the many reasons why Native America is going for Barack.”

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. made the claim to fame that his nation was the first to formally endorse Obama back in January.

Like many other tribal leaders, Norris expressed a visceral belief that Obama identifies and empathizes with Indian peoples. He said he has spoken to Obama a number of times and “felt the truth in his words. I’ve sensed his willingness to want to change and his willingness to help people and his commitment to do so. Most of all, what I feel from this candidate is the sincerity in his word. This man knows what it feels to be without, to be hungry.”

About a month earlier, Norris had the opportunity to ask Obama for permission to give him some political advice.

“He chuckled a bit and said, ‘Sure’; and I said, ‘The advice I offer you is that when you get to the White House, that you continue to talk from your heart, because that is how many people see you today. You’re a man of honesty. We need you in the White House, but we need you to continue to speak from your heart.”

San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Wendsler Nosie sang an Apache song of celebration that signified “a new beginning, a new day, a celebration of life and that’s what we’re doing here for Barack Obama.”

He also announced San Carlos’ endorsement of Obama.

“At one point, whether you were Republican or Democrat didn’t matter because, as an Indian tribe, we were run over. Now we have to look at candidates and what they stand for and their character; and for the first time, the Apache people, the last tribe in the state of Arizona to put down their arms, came out in support of a candidate in this election.”

Nosie, a tribal councilman since 2004 who was elected chairman in 2007, said his visits to Capitol Hill have been disappointing but he expects that to change under an Obama administration.

“With Obama, I really feel this government-to-government relationship will work because we’ll have someone in the White House who will address the great needs of the people. I’m certain that were going to have someone who will help the wound of America. There are so many issues he’s going to face from all the tribes from the east to the west, to the north and to the south, but when you meet people you can know when they’re true in the heart.”

Darrell Flyingman, governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, a retired marine and Vietnam Army veteran, said he took his time in deciding who to vote for. “I have a lot of respect for Mr. McCain, but it’s going to take more than a war hero to run this nation and I think Obama has pointed us in the right direction.”

Even though Oklahoma is a “red” state, he said, “I would say most of the tribes in Oklahoma do support Obama.”

With an apology to Alaska Native Mike Williams, Flyingman suggested that Alaskans need to keep Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain’s Republican vice presidential running mate, in Alaska.

But the remark held no offense for Williams, a tribal leader for 30 years and chairman of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, which represents 229 tribes.

Palin makes an appearance in a video McCain made for the NCAI convention. During her introduction for McCain, she talks at length about her meetings with the Alaska tribes.

But Williams said no meetings have taken place. “We have requested to meet with her to discuss our sovereignty, our children, our health care, our law enforcement issues and many other issues that affect us, but up to this date we have not received an answer.”

He said he believes Obama would respect such requests from Indian country.

Source URL:

More Native Americans urged to cast votes

More Native Americans urged to cast votes
108 commentsby John Faherty - Oct. 25, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Jacqueline Johnson Pata thought about the question and ran her hand through her hair.

It's a question that keeps her up at night and motivates her all through the day.

Is it harder to get an 80-year-old Native American to vote or a 20-year-old?

"An 80-year-old Indian," she said slowly, "but they are both kind of challenging.

"An 80-year-old has felt enough disenfranchisement to have a reluctance to engage. A 20-year-old has a sense of hopelessness. That's difficult to get past, too."

Johnson Pata is executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, which is trying to increase voter participation among Indians heading into the Nov. 4 election.Her efforts are best represented by a simple button that appeared on nearly every chest at this week's NCAI conference in Phoenix.

The button says: "I'm Indian and I vote."

Making sure that actually happens is not going to be easy.

"Indians do not vote in high numbers," said Ken Poocha, Arizona's executive director for Indian affairs. "It has gotten better in recent elections, but we have a long way to go."

Analyzing low turnout

One reason for low turnout is geography, as many Indians in the state and across the country live in rural areas.

That can make just getting to the ballot box difficult, Poocha said.

The Arizona Secretary of State's Office is precluded by law from tracking the voting patterns of any race, ethnicity or gender, department spokesman Kevin Tyne said.

But he said the office is actively trying to encourage increased voter participation "across the board, and particularly on reservations."

Those efforts include registration-outreach programs and education through town halls across Arizona, Tyne said.

A total of 224,846 Native Americans in Arizona are old enough to vote, according to Native Vote, the nonpartisan voting program run by the NCAI.

They represent a potentially significant voting bloc. But only if they vote.

"I see a lot of Native peoples not voting. They think nothing is going to change, so why bother?" said Al Thomas Spencer, 34, of Mesa, who is of Navajo, Hopi and Zuni ancestry. "But, of course, nothing will change if you don't vote."

Johnson Pata hopes to eventually get Native Americans to participate in non-Indian politics as much as they do in Indian politics.

"We show up to vote in tremendous numbers for reservation politics. It can be up to 90 percent," she said. "But there is a disconnect."

Native Vote has encouraged tribes to hold their elections on the same day as general elections as a means to increase participation.

That will be the case this year on the Navajo Reservation, where ballots will also be available in the Navajo language.

The Indian vote's impact

The NCAI points to two recent campaigns where Indian voting appeared to significantly influence the outcome of elections.

In 2002, Sen. Tim Johnson won his seat in South Dakota by a margin of just 524 votes out of more than 330,000 cast. Johnson campaigned aggressively for Indian votes. In 2006, Sen. Jon Tester won his seat in Montana by 3,500 votes, also after working hard to garner votes on Indian reservations.

Results like these give some Indian voters hope.

Emma Polelonema, 54, a Hopi living in Phoenix, was picking up an "I'm Indian and I vote" button at the NCAI conference at the Phoenix Convention Center. "We're not visible enough," she said. "We need to push our young people to vote. And our elders, who are not likely to vote, we need them, too."

Aanya Smallcanyon, 25, a Navajo from Kayenta, said she plans to vote in November, and, as a volunteer for Native Vote, she hopes to get more of her generation to join her. "It matters so much," she said. "If we don't vote, we are just throwing this time, this opportunity, away."

Source URL:

FBI hurting for agents

FBI hurting for agents
Switch to counterterrorism leaves agency short of financial-crimes investigators
Sun, Oct 26, 2008 (2:07 a.m.)

When the FBI announced in September that it was widening its criminal probe of the nation’s financial turmoil to include four major Wall Street firms, the reaction of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman was probably similar to the reaction of most Americans.

“The U.S. government is on the hook for anywhere from $800 billion to $1 trillion. And if people were cooking the books, manipulating, doing things they were not supposed to do, then I want people held responsible,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., had said.

The quote, printed in The Wall Street Journal, exuded a sense of confidence that if the FBI is on the case, the people responsible will be prosecuted.

There is a question now, however, if that confidence in the agency’s crime-fighting ability is well placed anymore. After 9/11 the Bush administration gave a new responsibility — counterterrorism — to about one-third of the FBI’s criminal investigators.

That move was understandable, but the FBI’s budget was never subsequently augmented to replenish its resources for investigating regular offenses, including financial crimes. So although it was comforting to learn that the FBI would be investigating some of the biggest players in the financial meltdown — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and American International Group — the reality is that the agency is hamstrung by a shortage of financial investigators.

A lengthy story on this issue was written last week by The New York Times. The newspaper reported that the FBI, since 2004, had been warning of an impending and massive mortgage crisis but that its requests to the Bush administration for more money to hire urgently needed agents for nonterrorism investigations were rebuffed every year.

A study by researchers at Syracuse University was cited in the Times story. From 2000 to 2007, the number of white-collar crime cases investigated by the FBI and handled by federal prosecutors dropped 50 percent, the report stated.

It was a mistake to leave the FBI so short-handed that its ability to effectively investigate financial and other nonterrorism crimes has been shattered. An emaciated FBI will be one of many Bush administration problems the next president will inherit.

Source URL:

[Blog Editor's Note: And in the emphasis on so-called counterterrorism, how many of the FBI's targets have been/are dissident citizens... the very thing we were told would not occur when the Patriot Act became law.]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Early Voting Glitches in 2 Counties in GA, TN

This doesn't bode well
(AP) - Elections officials were untangling early voting glitches in at least two states Friday after a Tennessee county reported some voters had gotten ballots for the wrong district and an Atlanta-area county discovered problems with some of its absentee ballots.

This Week from Indian Country Today

NCAI delegates rally with Phoenix Natives for Obama ’08
PHOENIX – Dozens of delegates from the National Congress of American Indians’ five-day convention took a break from meetings and joined scores of people at Sen. Barack Obama’s Arizona campaign headquarters to participate in a Natives for Obama ’08 rally Oct. 22.
Read more »


‘Spiritual terrorism’ against indigenous people still occurs, Lutheran pastor says
NIGA acknowledges passage of Native American Heritage Day bill
Earl Devaney: insights on Indian country
Tribes gear up for child welfare provisions
Animas-La Plata water project moves to N.M.
Quapaw Tribe contracts with firm employing disabled people
Ground blessing held near potential drilling site
NAFOA honors two pioneers for their lifetime achievements
Women in Film celebrates indigenous short films
Iron Cloud confident about race for South Dakota House of Representatives seat
White Earth Band is writing a new criminal code
NIGA honors New Mexico tribal leader with John Kieffer Sovereignty Award
Indigenous women confront Columbus Day parade
Mashantuckets, UAW to discuss labor contract under tribal law
Supplier diversity leaders headline speakers at NMSDC conference
Soboba Band facing public scrutiny
Sacred lands returned to Oregon tribes
Issues around a ceremonial bald eagle killing have been taken to the U.S. Supreme Court
BIA keeps surges on Pine Ridge, Standing Rock
Creek Nation hikes minimum wage
‘Sky canoe’: new perspective on the Penobscot River
Top judge’s remarks trigger investigation request from tribe
‘Panoply of concerns’ raised over the latest NIGC regulations
Hogen foresees fears realized in economic downturn
Comprehensive gaming almanac now available


Great Lakes


Obama: A full partnership with Indian country
For 20 months now, I’ve traveled this country, often talking about how the needs of the American people are going unmet by Washington. And the truth is, few have been ignored by Washington for as long as American Indians. Too often, Washington pays lip service to working with tribes while taking a one-size-fits-all approach with tribal communities across the nation.
Read more »

25 Oct 2008: Native News from

Fuel costs top the list of AFN village worries (ALASKA) -- In the Norton Sound village of Koyuk, it takes gas to catch fish and hunt for seals and birds. Melvin Otton, a carpenter and village council president, estimates that fuel costs have doubled in the past year, meaning two or three hunters sometimes pool their money for a single trip.

Palin forms group to address Alaska Native issues (ALASKA) -- Gov. Sarah Palin is forming an administrative group to address issues in largely Native, rural parts of the state.

Obama's Native Vote Director Takes Stand (WASHINGTON, DC) -- Much like the dog soldiers of his people, the Rosebud Lakota, Wizipan Garriott has planted his staff and doesn't plan to budge - at least not until the end of the election.

Obama: A full partnership with Indian country (WASHINGTON, DC) -- For 20 months now, I’ve traveled this country, often talking about how the needs of the American people are going unmet by Washington. And the truth is, few have been ignored by Washington for as long as American Indians.

McCain and Obama deliver video messages to NCAI (ARIZONA) -- With just two weeks before the November 4 presidential election, John McCain and Barack Obama made an appeal to Indian voters on Tuesday as they head into final stretch of the campaign.

Palin to testify on Troopergate (ALASKA) -- A deposition by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin over the firing of her state's public safety commissioner would be the first time the Alaska governor has spoken at length or under oath about the lingering controversy.

Ninth Circuit Revives Indian’s Charge in Cigarette Trafficking Case (WASHINGTON) -- Members of the Yakama Indian tribe in Washington may be exempt from prosecution for trafficking in contraband cigarettes, but they face racketeering charges if they conspire with nonmembers to do so, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday.

Black Mesa project controversy rises / A waning administration’s actions may contribute to a tribal mining dispute (ARIZONA) -- A push to approve a Peabody Western Coal Co. project in northern Arizona may be dividing the Hopi Tribal Council and fueling an attempted ouster of the tribal chairman.

Arrest warrant for Hopi chairman quashed (ARIZONA) -- An arrest warrant issued against the Hopi tribal chairman in an ongoing political dispute has been quashed at the chairman's request.

Crow Butte uranium mine’s license renewal protested (MONTANA) -- Opponents of the Crow Butte Resources uranium mine near Crawford used a two-day hearing in Chadron last week to try and convince a panel of Nuclear Regulatory Commission judges that the mine’s operation poses a danger to area water supplies, and may be causing significant health effects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

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