The first Native American U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will be in western Montana Saturday to help celebrate the return of the Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. MTPR’s Aaron Bolton has more.
The tribes earlier this year officially took over management of the Bison Range which was illegally taken by the U.S. federal government in the early 1900s. Sec. Haaland is scheduled to speak at the Salish Kootenai College Saturday afternoon.
Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Director Martha Williams, and Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras (R-MT) will be on hand as well to celebrate the return of the land with CSKT leaders.
“For us at CSKT, this is a step forward in the right direction. It was really righting a wrong in our history. We’re really happy to be reunited with our bison herd and the land out there and the resources,” said CSKT spokesperson Shane Morigeau.
The celebration will take place on Saturday. A community lunch and powwow will be held at the Bison Range on Friday.
Members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe will have free access to the beach in Massachusetts that bears the tribe’s name.
The Providence Journal reports the Narragansett Town Council narrowly approved the measure after a contentious four hour public meeting this week. The popular beach typically requires a $12 access fee plus parking.
The measure was unpopular with many of the town’s residents who say the beach is already overcrowded. Resident Joe Cardello reflected many people’s opinion that the action is poorly thought-out.
“To give a blanket three thousand—I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if it’s the Indians or anybody else. But I will tell you this. If you’re going to be giving a free pass to anybody in this town, it should be the taxpayers, because we pay the taxes.”
Narragansett tribal member Bella Noka reminded those at the meeting that the word Narragansett is not a town or a beach, but the name of a thriving nation. She says access is not about recreation or sunbathing.
“That is where we go to grandfather ocean in ceremony. Your homes, your big, beautiful homes. You dug up our ancient burial grounds to build them.”
The original idea came up during a roundtable meeting in February with tribal members and others.
A trial is underway in Alberta where two white men are charged with the murder of two Metis hunters two years ago. Roger Bilodeau and his son Anthony Bilodeau shot and killed Jacob Sansom and his uncle Maurice Cardinal after an encounter along a country road.
The Bilodeaus forced the confrontation because they suspected the two Indigenous men were thieves. The two men did not call authorities following the shooting.
Attorneys say the defendants opened fire in self-defense.
In California, the state senate confirmed the first Native American to hold a district judgeship.
Courthouse News reports Sunshine Suzanne Sykes was confirmed by a vote of 51 to 45. She would also be the first Article III judge in the country who is a member of the Navajo Nation.
Article III judges have lifetime appointments on federal district and circuit courts, as well as the Supreme Court. Sykes was previously a judge on the Superior Court of Riverside County in California.
The University of California Berkeley School of Law announced it will cover all tuition for current and future students who are both California residents and members of federally recognized tribes.
Reuters reports administrators say they want to make Berkeley Law a destination for Native American students. They hope to expand the program to students from federally recognized tribes who are not California residents.
Native Americans made up just 1% of first year law students around the country this academic year.
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