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The FBI has opened an investigation into government-funded group treatment homes in Arizona that could be taking advantage of their clients.
As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, organizers of the homes have allegedly targeted Indigenous people in the Southwest.
FBI officials say the group homes based in and near Phoenix purport to serve adults with substance abuse and mental health problems.
Organizers frequent flea markets, trading posts, and medical centers to pick up clients who are often intoxicated or offered alcohol.
When the clients return to a functional state, they don’t know where they are or how they got there and have trouble finding their way home.
As a result, local law enforcement agencies have received several missing persons reports.
According to the FBI, organizers of the homes single out Native Americans from the Navajo Nation and other tribal lands in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota.
The facilities reportedly receive government funding to provide mental health and substance abuse therapy, but often no services are provided.
In addition, those running the homes allegedly tell tenants to change their ID cards to Arizona to receive Medicaid benefits and food assistance, which is used to provide for the residents or as rent payment.
FBI officials are searching for those recruited to the Phoenix group homes from January 2020 until the present time and ask they complete an online questionnaire, which can be found on the bureau’s Phoenix office website.
A partnership between the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, local universities, and ecological consultants is looking to heal the Bear River Massacre site, both culturally and ecologically.
Aimee Van Tatenhove reports.
One hundred and sixty years ago, the United States Army attacked a Shoshone village in Northern Cache Valley, ID, killing nearly 500 adults and children.
The attack was one of the largest slaughters of Native Americans in U.S. history.
In 2008, the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation purchased part of the property in an effort to transform the site into a place of healing.
Then in 2018, Darren Parry, the former chairman of the Northwestern Shoshone, approached Utah State University with the goal of returning the land to what it was like before the pioneers arrived.
Despite years of ecological degradation, Northwestern Shoshone spiritual leader Rios Pacheco explains the site is still important ecologically.
“Today it’s still valuable, because there’s still resources there. But it’s just that we’re not taking care of the water coming into that place that’s always been plentiful…and we’re not using the natural ways of filtering the water. We’re using other ways to rush that filtering process.”
Brad Parry, the vice chairman of the Northwestern Shoshone, details plans for the site.
“We received a little over $5 million dollars from various agencies in the federal, state and local governments…it will help our drought situation, it will help the situation in the Great Salt Lake and will help us bring some peace.”
Great Salt Lake is facing rapid ecological collapse as its waters recede and salinity levels skyrocket.
Historically, the Bear River emptied into Great Salt Lake, but with much of its water now going to agriculture, water from the Bear River rarely makes it to the lake.
Water rights tied to the massacre site and removal of thirsty non-native trees will help put water back in the lake.
Other plans include planting native and medicinal plants used by the Shoshone and creating high-quality habitat for migrating birds.
Conversion of incised streams to broad floodplains will bring back wetlands to the area as well.
A hearing is set for a case against the United States by the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota over claims the government has failed to honor treaty obligations to provide adequate law enforcement officers.
The tribe says the lack of officers has led to a drastic increase in violent crimes on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and contributes to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People crisis.
The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning in federal court in Rapid City.
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