The National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund are hosting a virtual roundtable for tribal leaders to discuss potential impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta.
The high court Wednesday, ruled 5-4, Oklahoma can prosecute non-Indians for crimes against Indians in Indian Country.
The decision is a reversal of the precedent set by the court in its 2020 landmark McGirt decision, which held states do not have authority.
National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp called the ruling an attack on tribal sovereignty.
John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, agrees, saying the unauthorized and unconsented intrusions on tribal sovereignty are antithetical to tribal sovereignty and tribal treaty rights.
The Native organizations are continuing to analyze the decision saying the consequences for tribes, the federal government, and states will take time to unravel.
The tribal leader roundtable is scheduled to take place next week.
The newest group of Navajo Nation police officers recently graduated from the tribe’s training academy. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, they’ll join a department tasked with patrolling the largest reservation in the United States.
Ten men and women attended a ceremony in Crownpoint, New Mexico last Saturday to receive their police badges.
They make up the 57th Navajo Nation Police Training Academy Class, and will now work on the 27,000 sq. m. reservation that includes parts of northern Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
The 28-week training course that recruits undergo focuses on academics, crime scene management, de-escalation techniques, and several other areas of policing.
Navajo Police Chief Daryl Noon attended the ceremony and said 32 people began the course last December. It comes as the Navajo Police Department has faced myriad challenges like officer retention and funding.
A report last year called for several major reforms including doubling the number of officers who patrol the vast reservation in order to improve public safety.
Navajo President Jonathan Nez, who also attended the graduation, said the tribe has raised police salaries in order to retain officers, and has also created a new enforcement program to fight drug use and sales as well as bootlegging and violent crimes.
President Nez also said the force has begun incorporating traditional Navajo beliefs into how it addresses substance abuse, suicide, missing and murdered Indigenous people, and other persistent issues that officers commonly face on the reservation.
The Onondaga Nation, the state of New York, and the U.S. Interior Department announced Wednesday, an agreement to return more than 1,000 acres of land back to the tribal nation.
The agreement, which stems from a 2018 settlement with the company Honeywell, directs the company to transfer the land in Central New York’s Tully Valley to the Onondaga Nation.
It’s said to be one of the largest returns of land by any state to a tribe. Plans are to restore and manage the land, which includes wetlands, forests, floodplains, and fields.
The Pointe-au-Chien Tribe in Louisiana is working to create a culturally reflective French immersion school.
Last week, tribal and state leaders took part in a ceremonial signing of bill HB 261, which creates the school.
In recent years, the tribe has made it a priority to maintain the Indian French language after previous efforts to establish an immersion school failed.
The tribe is focused on creating a school to incorporate the local dialects of Indian French and Cajun French into the curriculum.
The bill passed the legislature without opposition.
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