A Nebraska commission revokes the liquor licenses for controversial stores near the Pine Ridge Reservation
Student leaders at a California university vote to keep their Aztec mascot
A rock band is changing its name after complaints it’s offensive to Inuit people
The Kalispel Tribe takes a rival casino plan to federal court
An oil developer is suing the federal government over a land lease cancellation in the Badger Two Medicine area
The U.S. Attorney General announces measures to boost tribal law enforcement efforts
Group from Fort Peck reservation starts prayer walk as permits approved for Keystone XL Pipeline
Senator McCain questions why no charges filed against federal workers for Gold King Mine waste spill
Tribal college students from across the country show skills in both academic and athletic competitions
A Native American legal group is encouraged by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s record
Dakota Access Pipeline backers are keeping the project’s status under wraps
The Nez Perce tribe expresses concerns over sovereignty and other interests
By Jim Kent
The families of 17 Standing Rock Sioux veterans are receiving Congressional Gold Medals in honor of the men’s service as code talkers during World War I. The men were among those fighting in the trenches along the Western Front in France seven years before Native Americans were granted citizenship by the United States government. Standing Rock Sioux Veterans Service Officer Manaja Hill says the tribe’s World War One code talkers served to defend their people and ancestral lands.
“Their commitment and their willingness to fight for, truly, our way of life, and our land, their families, their relatives,” Hill said. “Truly that’s what it was because there was none of this patriotic stuff that goes on now. We weren’t citizens. They weren’t citizens. What they fought for was what they believed in and that came from the heart. It can’t come from anywhere else.”
Hill also adds that for the Lakota, it was less a matter of talking in code than of simply speaking their own language to each other..
“During this period of time I think very few of our ancestors knew the English language,” he said. “The people who were listening – even on our side – couldn’t understand what they were saying. So I think the term code talker is misinterpreted to a large degree because our ancestors didn’t know how to speak English.”
The Standing Rock Sioux was among nearly three dozen tribes that used their Native languages as an unbreakable code to communicate vital information during World Wars One and Two. The code talkers were often not recognized at the time and for decades after because the strategy was classified. The program that used Navajo speakers during World War II was among the first to go public. They were honored by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and their story was popularized in the fictionalized 2002 film The Wind Talkers.
The Standing Rock code talkers were first honored by Congress in 2008. In all, 63 Standing Rock Sioux veterans were awarded Congressional Gold Medals.
By Lee Strubinger
Following the massive, months-long protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, lawmakers in South Dakota enacted laws curtailing protests in that state. The legislation is in anticipation of demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Now that it’s in effect, the bill stiffens penalties for protesters, expressly restricts blocking highways, and allows the governor to establish temporary ‘safe zones’ where access is limited.
The law went into effect immediately after the governor’s signature because of an emergency clause included in the language. That language initially hampered progress of the bill as it worked through the legislature. State Democrats opposed it, and conservative Republicans viewed it as a power grab by the governor.
Some House Democrats, like Representative Dan Ahlers, changed their stance after public safety officials briefed them on potential actions against the Keystone XL pipeline.
“I talked to our local sheriff and collected a little more info and data and decided I wanted to hedge on the side of safety and continue to work,” Ahlers said. “Hopefully with this letter from the governor to the tribes, to get them together and meet, maybe we can mend a few fences there too.” Ahlers wouldn’t comment on what information he received.
Other Democrats didn’t budge. Representative Shawn Bordeaux represents portions of the Rosebud reservation.
“I think what we’re doing is sending a message to the tribes that we don’t care what they think,” he said.
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard sent letters to all nine tribes in the state encouraging communication on how to handle looming pipeline protests.
Authorities name a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Navajo Nation police officer
A federal appeals court rejects claims that a California tribe denied members land access and casino revenues
Native organizations work with Congress and the Trump administration to advance Indian Country
The appointment of Ryan Zinke as U.S. Interior Secretary has landless Montana tribe optimistic about federal recognition
Tribes opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline continue their legal fight
South Dakota lawmakers approve an emergency measure to restrict protests
Business leaders want to modernize regulations to boost economic development