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Monday, 20 November


The Road to the NBA through Grand Rapids for Two American Indian Basketball Players Native News Online

Derek Willis, left with Bronson Koenig, right

Published November 19, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN Derek Willis and Bronson Koenig have some things in common. Both graduated from college with distinguished careers with the dream to play professional basketball. Both are American Indians: Willis is Southern Arapahoe, Pawnee and Creek; Koenig is a tribal citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

And, both now play for the Grand Rapids Drive, a NBA G League team, affiliated with the Detroit Pistons.

On Saturday night, the Grand Rapids Drive hosted the Canton Charge. The game went into overtime, with the Drive losing 107-104.

Derek Willis sports an American Indian headdress on his left shoulder.


Bronson Koenig signed with the Grand Rapids Drive on November 8, 2017.



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Sunday, 19 November


The Paris Agreement Does Not Recognize Indigenous Rights Native News Online

Published November 19, 2017

BONN, GERMANY   On Friday, November 17, 2017, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) has come to an end. And while progress has been made on the UNFCCC traditional knowledge Platform for engagement of local communities and Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples rights are not fully recognized in the final platform document of COP 23. The burden of implementation falls on local communities and indigenous peoples.

Tom BK Goldtooth from the final day of the Climate Talks in Bonn Germany. The primary work of the Indigenous Caucus within the UN climate conference focused on a platform that was established in Paris in 2015, in the Paris Agreement. This platform is through decision 1/CP.21 paragraph 135, with a mandate to facilitate the integration of indigenous and local knowledge systems as well as the engagement of Indigenous peoples and local communities related to climate change action, programs and policies. The challenge for our Indigenous Caucus is that the countries that are parties to this UN climate conference are very cautious on the process and rules for inclusion of Indigenous peoples in a decision-making role in the operationalizing of the platform. We need to be clear that on the final day of this two week 23rd Session of the Conference the Parties (COP 23), of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has not recognized our rights. The final document from the parties to this conference says they only will consider their respective obligations on the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

Alberto Saldamando, Attorney and Expert on Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples, IEN  We are not waving the victory flags yet, the local communities and Indigenous peoples platform does not recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples in the human rights sense of the term recognize. It only recalls the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples in its preamble. Given the resistance of States during these negotiations to fully recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples, the task for a greater recognition of our rights as peoples will be difficult Saldamando further says, The platform for traditional knowledge is merely that. It should allow Indigenous knowledge holders to advise and inform the U...


Here We Go Again: The Congressional Attack on Health Care, Higher Education Native News Online

Guest Commentary

Published November 19, 2017

Here we go again. The Congress is hell bent on wrecking the Affordable Care Act.

This time the mechanism is the so-called tax reform bill that will be voted in the U.S. Senate. The logic is rich (and, yes, rich is absolutely the right word and sentiment) because this tax cut will wreck the individual health insurance market so that the rich will pay less in taxes. But the problem gets at the core of insurance itself. How do you make sure there is a large enough pool to cover high cost patients? The Affordable Care Act did this by requiring everyone to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. Without that provision people who are healthy are free to skip out. But sick people always want coverage. And that creates an imbalance that does not work.

Senate Republicans added the provision because it saves money, some $338 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office. It estimates 13 million people will drop health insurance.

Were optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

The Senate bill is now being shaped into its final form. Wait. Thats funny. Thats what they say. But both the Senate and the House will change these tax bills all the way up until the final vote (unless its a sure thing, anyway). One of the reasons the bill will evolve is whats called the Byrd Rule. This Senate is using the reconciliation process, like the Affordable Care Act repeal bills, so only 50 votes are required to pass. But that means the bill has limit of $1.5 trillion in new debt over 10 years and cannot add more after that. None of the bills, so far, accomplish that.

So the health care fight is back. And the Senate majority is confident this time they have the votes to pass the legislation.

There are other provisions in Senate tax bill that will impact American Indians and Alaska Natives.

One of the key ideas is to increase the size of the standard deduction so that fewer taxpayers will have to itemize. But to pay for that the simplicity the Senate bill is getting rid of some popular deductions, including the ability to deduct state and local taxes from your federal tax return. The bill also gets rid of deductions for dependents. The math works out so that families with fewer than three children will pay about the same. But if yo...


Data Shows Huge Reduction in Din Speakers Native News Online

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
A poster emphasizing the Din language is on display at the Din Language Teachers Association Fall Conference at San Juan College in Farmington on Oct. 26.

Published November 19, 2017

WINDOW ROCK  Language loss and revitalization arent new topics in Indian Country. Over the last couple of decades, the Navajo Nation has watched as other languages, like that of the Eyak, an Alaskan tribe, or the Lake Miwok, a tribe in California, became extinct or dormant.

While the Navajo language has 7,600 Navajo-only speakers and over 171,000 fluent speakers worldwide, according to Ethonologue: Languages of the World, its considered at risk.

Data shows huge reductions in native Navajo speakers, said AnCita Benally, the program manager for the Office of Standards, Curriculum and Assessment Development.

The office is under the Department of Din Education and works to develop Navajo language and cultural competency among Navajo students.

Based on the rate of decline, how it has been accelerating, the guess is maybe by 2020, which is in three years, when they do the Census, (Navajo language speakers) will be down to 30 percent, Benally said.

This estimate is based on Census data that was studied by Florian Johnson, a cultural specialist at Rock Point Community School.

In 1980, 93 percent of Navajos spoke the language. Ten years later, in 1990 it had declined to 84 percent. Then in 2000 the percentage of Navajo speakers decreased to 76 percent.

Another decade later, in 2010, the Navajo language showed its most stark decline to date, to 51 percent.

In the span of just 10 years the percentage of Navajo language speakers dropped 25 percent, according to Census data.

In 2030 we might be down to 10 percent or so, Benally said. Its very alarming.

According to research by Wendy Greyeyes, an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, the decline in Navajo speakers is more substantial for those 39 and under meaning they are less likely to speak Navajo.

For those 40 and over the decline is considered slight.

The younger the generations are, the less likely they are to speak Navajo, Benally said. By the time you get down to kindergarten there are none.

Editors Note: This article was first published in the...


Community to Gather Nov. 20 to begin Trail of Lights with Festivities Native News Online

Wintersmith Santa Stroll and Christmas Tree Lighting
Wintersmith Park, Ada, Oklahoma on November 22, 2016. Photograph by Jacqueln Sparks

Published Novmeber 18, 2017

ADA, OKLAHOMA  The Chickasaw Nation and City of Ada will usher in the holiday season with a number of winter festivities 6-8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 20, at Wintersmith Park.

Attendees will take a Santa Stroll together around the upper trail after meeting behind the lodge at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby will illuminate the 30-foot tree near the Wintersmith lodge.

In doing so, Gov. Anoatubby will mark the beginning of Adas yearly display of lights around the park, town and Chickasaw Nation Headquarters.

After the lights come on, activities will be available in and around the lodge. There will be crafts, cookies and coloring for children until 8 p.m. Courtesy of the Diamond K Kiwanis Club, Polar Express rides on the train and hot chocolate will be available at no charge. Santa himself even plans to make an appearance.

The post Community to Gather Nov. 20 to begin Trail of Lights with Festivities appeared first on Native News Online.


Jorge Barrera // How a Facebook lie about Thunder Bay woman killed by trailer hitch spread - CBC News | Indigenous Aboriginal News Group Newswire

How a Facebook lie about Thunder Bay woman killed by trailer hitch spread - CBC News | Indigenous: Earlier this month, the Crown prosecutor announced he was upgrading the charge against Brayden Bushby, 18, to second-degree murder in connection with the trailer hitch incident. Bushby, who turned himself into police shortly after the January incident, was initially charged with aggravated assault.

Nicholaichuk said she decided to act after the Crown's announcement. She noticed a Facebook comment from someone debunking a long-shared lie that Kentner had been previously involved in an assault on a 15-year-old boy that left him with a caved-in eye-socket. Nicholaichuk said she wanted to get to the "bottom of this" and began sifting through posts, primarily from the Real Concerned Citizens of Thunder Bay Facebook group.


Yair Rosenberg // Top U.S. Envoy Slams Hamas For Holding Mentally Ill Ethiopian Jew Hostage in Gaza Tablet Magazine Aboriginal News Group Newswire

Top U.S. Envoy Slams Hamas For Holding Mentally Ill Ethiopian Jew Hostage in Gaza Tablet Magazine: For a time, Mengistus predicament was kept under gag order, in the hopes that not publicizing and politicizing his predicament would make it easier for Hamasthe U.S. and E.U.-designated terrorist group that controls Gazato release him. But over three years later, Hamas has still refused to return Mengistu to Israel, and mediation through the Red Cross has repeatedly failed.

In the face of this cruel abuse of an unwell mans human rights, Greenblatt invited Mengistus family to the White House to raise awareness for his cause and ratchet up the international pressure on Hamas. Though doubtless a powerful gesture, it seems unlikely to produce results, given that Hamas has previously held onto Israel hostages for years while using their likenesses in sadistic propaganda videos.


Legislation Introduced to Address Health Disparities for Native Americans Living Off the Reservations Native News Online

Vice Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Tom Udall D New Mexico

Published November 18, 2017

WASHINGTON  On Thursday, U.S. Senator Tom Udall and Congressman introduced bicameral legislation to improve Medicaid for Native patients who receive services at Urban Indian Health Programs. The Urban Indian Health Parity Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) is the primary federal agency responsible for providing health care to American Indian and Alaska Natives through federally operated facilities that provide services directly on reservation lands, Tribally run facilities, and urban Indian nonprofit run facilities. All three types of facilities are available in New Mexico.
Federally and Tribally operated IHS facilities are reimbursed at a higher rate for Medicaid patients than their urban Indian health counterparts. This bill would balance the scales by providing 100 percent parity in reimbursement rates for all three types of facilities, allowing urban facilities to expand care and services for their Native American patients.
The federal government has a treaty responsibility to ensure every Native American has access to quality, affordable health care whether they live in an urban community like Albuquerque or Farmington or on a reservation, Udall said. This legislation is a common-sense measure to ensure parity between IHS facilities so Native Americans on and off the reservation have access to the care they need.


AMERIND Risk Celebrates Native American Heritage Day & Month Native News Online

November is National Native American Heritage Month

Published November 18, 2017

SANTA ANA PUEBLO In honor of Native American Heritage Month, AMERIND Risk recognizes our determined and resilient Tribal members, who are dedicated to fostering Tribal sustainability and the economic growth of Indian Country. We are united in a movement to protect and empower Tribes.

In the spirit of Native American Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Day on November 24, 2017, and always, AMERIND Risk encourages you to support Native-owned businesses and vendors. AMERIND makes it a priority to do business with Native-owned companies whenever possible. As members of Indian Country, we are stronger together.

AMERIND is committed to improving conditions in Native communities and creating opportunities for greater success, as well as supporting organizations that serve Tribes through advocacy, community outreach and scholarships for Tribes.

AMERIND also understands and meets the unique needs of Tribal Governments and Businesses, designing property, liability and workers compensation coverages to cater to each Tribal entity, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all model. Its a great time-saving, cost-saving measure, Marvis Vallo, comptroller for the Pueblo of Acoma Accounting Office, said in an article published in the...

Saturday, 18 November


Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman on Keystone Oil Spill: Trump Administration Lies About Pipeline Safety Native News Online

PHOTO Courtesy: Frank Waln

Published November 18, 2017

EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA  American Indian tribes have opposed the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline since it was announced. The tribes have longed fear the danger of oil leaks which are inevitable.

After the existing Keystone oil pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of oil on Thursday, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chariman Harold Fraizer released the following statement:

On November 16, 2017, the existing Keystone pipeline spilled more than 210,000 gallons of Alberta tar sands crude oil within miles of the Lake Traverse Sioux, our sister Tribe.  This was the third pipeline spill in the State of South Dakota this year alone.  It was also the largest Keystone spill to date in South Dakota. I condemn this oil spill, the company that built this pipeline and anybody associated with it. The evidence speaks for itself.

Chairman Frazier makes  speech before NCAI General Assembly last month. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

On Monday, the State of Nebraska will decide whether to approve the new Keystone XL Pipeline, which is planned to cross within three short miles of my Reservation and through countless miles of Lakota Treaty lands.  Like the Dakota Access Pipeline, which my Tribe is still fighting, the KXL poses a critical threat to our resources and our very way of life.

Over and over, the states, the United States, the courts, and, of course, the oil companies have mocked our fear that these pipelines might fail and befoul our sacred lands and resources.  They tell us, dont worry our pipelines are safe.  This pipeline is supposed to be safe and the chance of an oil spill was quoted as astronomical.  All 1,100 miles will be perfectly constructed....


Three Native Program Alumni Invited to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Native News Online

Andrew Okpeaha MacLeans On the Ice (2011 Sundance Film Festival)

November is National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month

Published November 18, 2017

National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month has been observed every November since 1990. During this month and throughout the year, Sundance Institute through its Native American and Indigenous Program recognizes and supports the immense talent and ongoing accomplishments of Indigenous storytellers in the Americas and globally.

Sundance Institute has been committed to the Native and Indigenous presence in film since the Institutes founding in 1981. Throughout the history of the Institute, the Native Program has played an important role in elevating the work of Native and Indigenous storytellers to national and international acclaim.

Visibility and appreciation of Native and Indigenous films and the artists responsible for their creation has been steadily increasing over the years. One of the best examples of Native storytellers coming into their own in the mainstream was the 2016 invitation to five Native Program alumni to join the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

This year, three Native Program alumni were invited to join the Academy: Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit), Andrew Okpeaha MacLean(Iupiaq) and Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki). Kunuks short film, Home (Angiraq), screened at the 1996 Festival in Beyond Borders: New Native Cinema. Kunuk was invited to join the Directors Branch of the Academy.

Andrew Okpeaha MacLeans short film, Natchiliagniaqtuguk Aapagalu, screened at the 2005 Festival. His dramatic short film Sikumi won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Filmmaking at the 2008 Festival. His feature film On the Ice, which he directed and wrote, screened in 2011 in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. MacLean also served as a Creative Advisor...


Department of the Interior Searches for 17,000 American Indian Individuals to Claim Accounts Before November 27 Deadline Native News Online

The late Elouise Cobell met President Obama in Oval Office of the White House

Published November 18, 2017

WASHINGTON  The Department of the Interior announced today it is taking the final steps in its efforts to identify the whereabouts of approximately 17,000 American Indians to provide compensation as part of the Cobellsettlement.  The settlement of the Cobell lawsuit has reached an important deadline and the Department needs Class Members, or the heirs of Class Members, to provide documentation of their status to the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) and/or the Garden City Group (GCG), the Cobell claims administrator, by November 27, 2017, which is a court-imposed deadline for claiming settlement compensation so that payment may be made.

In 1996, Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, and four other Native American representatives filed a class-action lawsuit against two departments of the United States government: the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Treasury.  The plaintiffs claimed that the government had incorrectly accounted for income derived from Indian trust assets, which are legally owned by the U.S. government but held in trust for individual Native Americans (the beneficial owners).

In 2009, the parties to the suit negotiated a settlement in the case, and in 2010 Congress passed implementing legislation designating $3.4 billion for the settlement: $1.4 billion was allocated to be paid to the plaintiffs and $1.9 billion was allocated for a Land Buy-Back Program and a newly created educational scholarship fund for American Indian and Alaska Native students. 

The settlement payment process is being handled by the GCG with the cooperation of the Interior Department.  Class members all over the country have received detailed information about their legal rights and options via the United States Postal Service.  Information was also provided through an extensive media campaign which included Nativ...


Native Tribes & Organizations: Recent CFPB Action Could Set Dangerous Precedent for Tribally Owned Businesses, Tribal Sovereignty Native News Online

NAFSA advocating on Capitol Hill: Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Quannah Davis, NAFSA Executive Executive Director Gary Davis, and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)

Published November 17, 2017

Tribes and Native organizations join forces in letter to CFPB expressing concern about recent consent order

WASHINGTON A recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) action is deeply troubling for tribal sovereignty and tribal economic development, according to the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) and a wide array of American Indian and Alaska Native organizations and tribes. The group recently sent a letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray expressing their concerns and requesting clarification regarding sweeping language used in a September consent order entered into with a non-Native owned loan lead generator that the CFPB had deemed to be in violation of the Bureaus regulations. The letter was sent before Director Cordray announced that he plans to resign his post before the end of November.

Though it does not pertain to a specific tribe, tribally owned business, or member of NAFSA, the consent order nevertheless barred the company from working with any entity that may take into consideration any contention that state or federal law is inapplicable, or that lenders are not subject to state or federal law, because of lender sovereignty or a lenders foreign, offshore, or tribal status or affiliation, or because of choice of foreign or tribal law.

The language suggests that state law should apply to the conduct of a federally recognized tribal nation, and that the CFPB...

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