The National Congress of American Indians placed CEO Dante Desiderio on administrative leave just as the organization starts its mid-year conference in Anchorage.
In a written statement, NCAI President Fawn Sharp called the timing of the action “inopportune”, but says it’s “necessary and proper to fulfill governance duties and to abide by NCAI’s policies and procedures.”
The statement declined to provide any additional details. NCAI’s conference in Alaska is the organization’s first in-person conference in almost two-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, Indianz.com paints a picture of dissatisfaction with NCAI from member tribal leaders and points to an inability to connect with members, slow progress with hiring goals, and continued high staff turnover.
NCAI says Desiderio is not separated from the organization and that team leaders from the executive committee will take over day-to-day duties and ensure the mid-year conference continues operations as expected.
In Oklahoma, a Cherokee Nation gaming subsidiary will pay $450 million for a Mississippi casino, currently owned by MGM Resorts.
KODE and the Las Vegas Review Journal report the tribe plans to expand gaming outside of Oklahoma with the purchase. The Gold Strike Tunica casino is located on the Mississippi River about 30 minutes from Memphis and has over 1,100 luxury rooms. It features high stakes gaming as well as a conference center and dining.
Cherokee Nation Entertainment Gaming already owns and operates the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa and nine other tribal casinos. It’s also pursuing another casino in Arkansas after regulators issued the state’s final casino license to the tribe in late 2021.
The U.S. Army has begun another disinterment at the site of the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School to reunite the remains of eight Native American children with family members.
WITF reports the children were from the Washoe, Catawba, Umpqua, Oneida, Ute, and Alaskan Aleut tribes.
It’s the fifth such disinterment with the remains of 21 Native American children returned to date. The school was operated by the Department of Interior from 1879 until 2018 with the motto “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”
More than 10,000 children attended the school from approximately 50 different tribes and more than 180 died from hunger and disease.
Starting in 2016, some remains began being returned as tribes reached out to the Department of the Army.
The Army reimburses families for their travel to participate in a transfer ceremony. It also funds the cost for transport and reinternment.
The Portland Museum of Art and tribal leaders held a transfer ceremony recently to return nine objects of cultural patrimony to the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.
The museum said the objects were collected by a school superintendent in Wrangell and Skagway, AK between 1921 and 1944. After his death, the museum purchased them from a dealer in 1948.
The Central Council and the Wrangell Cooperative Association claimed the items in 2002 under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
The objects included a Killer Whale Hat from the original Chief Shakes House Flotilla, robes, a Mudshark hat, Mudshark shirts, and the Storm Headdress.
Kathleen Ash-Milby (Diné) is curator of Native American Art for the museum.
She said in a press release that by returning these objects, the museum can begin to “repair a complicated history between Indigenous people and museums.”
The bodies of a missing Brazilian Indigenous expert and a British journalist may have been found in the Amazon rainforest.
The Guardian reports Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips went missing a week ago when they were returning from a reporting trip. An aide to the Brazilian ambassador to the UK gave the news to Phillips’ family and said the men were tied to a tree.
But federal police are apparently denying the aide’s comments. However, they did confirm personal belongings of the men and “biological material” had been found. That discovery was due to a small but determined Indigenous search team.
Pereira had faced threats for his work in the region where he helped 26 Indigenous tribes monitor and protect their land from illegal loggers, miners, hunters, and fishers.
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