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In Oregon, the Klamath Tribes are considering legal action to stop the release of Klamath River water to farmers downstream. The tribe opposes the US government plan to release water from the federally run reservoir, the Upper Klamath Lake. Severe drought in the area has been ongoing for three years and exacerbates the competing demands for water – farmers, fish and tribes. Even with the water release, farmers are getting 15 percent of what they normally would.
Last weekend, officials released water from the reservoir to the river to bolster salmon populations already devastated by parasites that grow in low, slow moving water. But tribes say that’s half the normal amount. Sucker fish and salmon have been dying out because of the lack of water from the reservoir to support the health of the Klamath River.
Klamath Tribes blames the current water crisis on what it calls “120 years of ecosystem mismanagement at the hands of settler society.”
“We have nothing left with which to ‘compromise,’ ” the Klamath Tribes statement says.
Calling it the ‘rebirth of a nation,’ Chippewa Cree tribal leaders welcomed the birth of the first bison in more than 20 years. The Rocky Boy Buffalo Project announced the birth of the bison calf this week and released a video showing the newborn wobbling, standing and nursing.
Bison haven’t roamed the Rocky Boy Reservation in north central Montana since the early 1990s. In the 1800s, white settlers, traders and trappers killed millions of bison. Also the U-S military ordered the slaughter of bison to devastate Native communities dependent on the animal for food, clothing, shelter and cultural ceremonies.
Last fall, the tribe celebrated the placement of 11 bison on the Rocky Boy Reservation thanks to gifts from conservation organizations and other tribes.
The Chippewa Cree sustainability leader Jason Belcourt tells the Great Falls Tribune “With this birth, we are witnessing the rebirth of a nation.
After days of veto speculation, Maine’s governor signed a bill that significantly expands sovereign control over water regulation for the Passamaquoddy tribe. The new law eliminates barriers set up in the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, which treated tribes like municipalities rather than sovereign nations.
Governor Janet Mills insisted on wording that limits the tribe’s control to its own territorial boundary. The legislation returns those sovereign rights that other federally recognized tribes already enjoy. The law was prompted by Passamaquoddy’s efforts to find a viable source of clean drinking water. The requirement they get approval from the state to drill wells on their own land prevented them from moving ahead.
The interim head of Michigan State University’s Native American Institute maintains the university discriminated against her and did not adequately respond to her sexual harassment complaints about a colleague. M-Live reports Christie Poitra responded this week to a motion by the university to dismiss her lawsuit, saying officials continuously exposed her to discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Poitra is a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians descendant. She says, among other things, that MSU denied her equitable pay and failed to resolve her interim status for the past two years. And she says the university shrunk the budget and even threatened to dissolve the Native American Institute.
The University of Oklahoma is elevating its tribal outreach efforts. The O-U Daily reports the university hired Tana Fitzpatrick in the new position of associate vice president of tribal relations. Originally from Norman, Fitzpatrick is a lawyer and a member of the Crow Nation. She has also served as senior counselor to the assistant secretary of Indian affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
One member of the hiring search committee told the paper Fitzpatrick stood out as someone who understood the issues of sovereignty, and could develop a strong vision for how the university might enhance relationships with tribes and serve indigenous communities.
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