The state of Utah is suing the Biden administration for restoring the size of two national monuments reduced by former President Donald Trump.
In a joint statement, Utah’s political leaders say the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments are simply too big to be properly managed by the federal government, and that they draw unmanageable numbers of visitors.
They further allege Biden’s move does not comply with the Antiquities Act, which states that land protected by the law should be “confined to the smallest area” necessary for the care and management of the land.
The Hill reports groups allied with the administration argue presidents have historically used the law to protect important landscapes such as the Grand Canyon, and that the monuments need to be preserved and protected from threats like oil and gas extraction.
The state’s Attorney General filed the suit on behalf of Governor Spencer Cox, other state officials and the entire congressional delegation.
President Trump reduced the monuments by more than 2 million combined acres in 2017. Biden then restored the original boundaries a year into his presidency.
He referenced tribal rights when restoring the areas, calling Bears Ears a place of healing that is “revered” and “sacred” to several tribes.
The Biden administration signed a historic cooperative agreement with five tribes to co-manage the monuments.
Tribal gaming has rebounded substantially despite the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing in a record $39 billion of revenue in 2021.
That’s according to numbers from the National Indian Gaming Commission. It’s up 13% over 2019, and 40% over 2020, marking a record single year increase.
In a press release, NIGC says all areas showed some positive growth since reopening after pandemic-related closures brought on the largest decrease of revenue on record.
But the NIGC recognized the industry rebounded strongest on the coasts, and that rural tribes are still struggling to get back on their feet.
NIGC chairman Seqouah Simermeyer says the organization will continue to provide support to struggling tribes, offering training and applying regulatory lessons that have worked in other areas.
Tribal gaming accounts for more than 40 percent of all gaming revenue nationally, which comes to $92 billion total.
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are celebrating the return of burial lands.
Danielle Kaeding reports nearly 200 Ojibwe graves were removed from the burial grounds on a strip of land in Lake Superior.
The tribe settled on the sandbar stretching nearly three miles along Lake Superior as early as 400 years ago.
By the mid-19th century, Chief Joseph Osaugie was leading a small but thriving community there. But, in 1918, Osaugie descendant and Superior native Lorrie Madden says the community and the remains of her ancestors were wrongfully removed.
“They took 198 graves and they moved them by scow down the Nemadji River to St. Francis Cemetery where then they put them into graves there.”
The remains were reburied elsewhere to make way for U.S. Steel’s plans to put up ore docks that were never built. And the removal was paid for with federal funds intended to benefit tribal members.
Now, the city of Superior has returned the tribe’s sacred burial sites.
Fond du Lac Tribal Chairman Kevin Dupuis searched for words to capture the feeling of the moment.
“I just want to go in the woods. I think I should be at Wisconsin Point right now, or St. Francis Cemetery, telling them that what we did.”
Now, Dupuis says their people can finally be left to rest.
The last member of an uncontacted Indigenous group in Brazil has died.
Authorities found his body in a hammock outside a straw hut. Officials say it appears he died of natural causes.
The BBC reports the man’s name is not known but outsiders referred to him as the Man of the Hole because he was known to dig large holes to hide in or to capture animals.
He had not been contacted by outsiders for nearly three decades but officials monitored his whereabouts for his own safety.
He was the last of a group whose other six remaining members were killed in 1995, presumably by ranchers, miners, or loggers wanting to expand their land.
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