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Another Indigenous human rights defender has been killed in Honduras.
The activist’s body was found last week in a river located in a region his community had succeeded in gaining back from land grabbers.
Maria Martin reports.
Martín Morales Martínez was a leader of the Garifuna community of Triunfo de La Cruz in northern Honduras.
The activist was a member of a committee in charge of implementing a property agreement in favor of his community as a result of a ruling by the International Court of Human Rights.
Morales had been receiving death threats for several months and had asked for government protection.
At least four other human rights defenders in the area have been killed or disappeared this year alone.
Human rights organizations say the Garifuna community of Triunfo de La Cruz has been the victim of reprisals and violence since they began an effort to reclaim their ancestral lands.
Honduras is the fifth most dangerous country worldwide for Indigenous environmental and land defenders.
The University of Montana has hired a new coordinator to lead efforts to return Indigenous remains held at the college back to tribal custody.
Montana Public Radio’s John Hooks has more.
Courtney Little Axe began working on the repatriation of Indigenous remains and artifacts held at the University of Montana as an intern in the Anthropology Department in 2015.
This Spring, she returned to her alma mater as the first official coordinator of the university’s efforts.
“Watching it grow from 2015 to now, it’s pretty powerful, and it’s pretty meaningful for me to be able to fill this position.”
Little Axe is Northern Cheyenne, Absentee Shawnee, and Seminole, and grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeastern Montana.
She has degrees from UM and Haskell Indian Nations University.
Little Axe said it is crucial to have Indigenous people leading the effort to return their cultural artifacts.
“Because if you don’t understand where these items come into play in a certain culture, then I don’t think you’ll understand the significance or importance of why we need to get them back.”
A database of Indigenous remains, created by ProPublica, shows UM has made the remains of 42 Indigenous people available to return to tribes, while at least 25 are still being studied to determine tribal identity before they can be returned.
A law passed in 1990 requires federally funded institutions like UM to endeavor to return Indigenous remains and other artifacts to their tribes.
So far, the university has struggled to bring itself into compliance with the law without a dedicated coordinator.
The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) must follow state anti-discrimination laws.
The ruling revives an anti-discrimination lawsuit involving an incident at an Albuquerque high school in 2018, where a teacher is accused of cutting a Native student’s hair and calling another student a bloody Indian on Halloween in the classroom.
The American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit accuses APS and former teacher Mary Jane Eastin of creating a hostile learning environment and discriminating against Native American students.
It also alleges that APS failed to properly train teachers on the harms of racism and to provide for its students’ safety.
The incident sparked outrage from the Native community – students, family members, and grassroots groups held protests at school board meetings.
The appeals court overrules a district court 2021 decision.
The lawsuit has been remanded to the district court for a hearing on the merits of the case.
Albuquerque Public Schools is said to be considering an appeal.
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