A federal commission held a hearing this week in northern Arizona as part of a national effort to combat the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
The Not Invisible Act Commission met near Flagstaff for the third in a series of hearings throughout the U.S. Members were appointed by the departments of the Interior and Justice.
They heard emotional testimony from family members of missing and murdered Indigenous people along with tribal law enforcement and victim and family service providers.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty is a member of the commission.
“What I want to see from the commission is federal partners either recognize that they play a part in this or to provide that funding so the nations can to that work themselves. We don’t want this to be a political matter. We want this to be a human issue.”
The commission heard recommendations for how to better coordinate responses to missing persons cases and provide better communication and funding for family and victim assistance on tribal lands.
Those who testified also called for more accountability of public officials in solving missing persons and murder cases.
The 2019 Not Invisible Act was sponsored by then-U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), who now serves as Interior Secretary and is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico.
The commission will develop recommendations and submit a report to Sec. Haaland, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Congress.
More mines are being proposed in the Western U.S. to provide metals for the expected growth in electric vehicles, as well as for large storage batteries for power generation and other high-tech products aimed at reducing climate change.
The Nez Perce Tribe is worried about one of the mines proposed for central Idaho.
Chuck Quirmbach of station WUWM reports.
Perpetua Resources wants to develop an open pit gold and antimony mine at a former mining site near a fork of the Salmon River.
Antimony is used in solar panels and is expected to have a big future in battery storage units near solar and wind farms.
Perpetua spokesperson McKinsey Lyon says what her company calls the Stibnite Project would be a source of metals now often brought in from overseas.
“The most important thing we can do is bring mineral production home. Because when it is home, there are impacts we can control here. We can regulate, moderate and have oversight of, whereas if we are mining anywhere else in the world, we are not in control of the environmental impacts of that production.”
But environmental groups are raising concerns about the Stibnite proposal.
So is the Nez Perce Tribe, as the tribe has treaty-reserved rights and natural resources, cultural resources, and sacred sites in the area.
Shannon Wheeler is tribal vice-chairman.
“Ta’c meeywi, Good Morning, everyone. Appreciate you being here.”
Wheeler recently met with about 50 members of the Society of Environmental Journalists to talk about his concerns with the Stibnite project — the main one being the fate of endangered salmon that return from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho waters to spawn.
“Generally, there are five year-old fish coming back to the area. And so, it’s truly important we keep that water as clean, fresh and as cold as possible for them, because they have a gauntlet to go through. Dams, reservoirs, predation.”
Perpetua hopes to be granted a mining permit in the next year or so, and open the Stibnite mine within four years.
The Federation of Sovereign Indian Nations is calling for cultural sensitivity training in all areas of sports after an ESPN broadcaster mocked an Indigenous hockey player’s name.
Anchor John Anderson compared Zach Whitecloud’s name to toilet paper Monday night, then later apologized to the Golden Knight’s player.
First Nations leaders applauded the apology, but said the training is needed.
Whitecloud accepted the apology telling reporters this is something the anchor and others can learn from saying that he’s proud of his culture.
Breaking news: Navajo Nation mourns the loss of 101-year-old Diné World War II veteran Steven Harrison.
Navajo Nation leaders are paying “tribute to the life and military service of the late Steven Harrison… who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 101”.
A Navajo Nation release says Harrison was originally from Kimbeto, NM, located within the Nageezi Chapter, and was Bit’ahnii and born for Tsenabahi ł nii.
“We cherish our Diné warrior’s service to our people and country. We are saddened by the loss of Mr. Harrison, but we recognize that he leaves behind a lasting legacy based on his honorable military service in World War II. On behalf of the Navajo Nation Council, we honor his life and offer prayers for strength and comfort for his family and loved ones as they lay him to rest,” said Speaker Crystalyne Curley.
The Navy man served between 1944 to 1946, including on the USS Texas, earning several honors including two bronze stars.
The Navajo Nation release adds that following his military service, Harrison worked for two railroads and built homes in the Farmington, N.M. area.
“The First Lady and I deeply respect and appreciate the sacrifices made by our veterans. We extend our condolences to Mr. Harrison’s family during this difficult time. Losing a veteran is a loss not just for the family but for the entire Navajo Nation. His invaluable service to our great country will live on forever in memory. The countless lives he’s touched and the freedom he helped to protect. May his legacy endure, and his service to our country always be remembered with gratitude and respect,” said Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren.
Harrison is survived by his five daughters and one son.
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