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Showing posts from October, 2016

Big Government Gone Wild—How the U.S. Helps Outside Interests Plunder Indian Land

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This article was first published in In These Times m agazine in September 2016. It was the result of a six-month investigation revealing that the Bureau of Indian Affairs—tasked with negotiating the best possible deals for Native landowners—instead often makes it easy for outsiders to exploit Native resources. “ T hey attacked my aunt like a bunch of coyotes attacking sheep in a corral,” says Navajo tribal member Roberta Tovar. “They were going, ‘Mary, Mar y, just go ahead and sign it.’ ”  The “coyotes” included representatives of Western Refining, a Texas-based oil company. One of the company’s pipelines carries 15,000 barrels of crude a day from oil fields in the Four Corners region to a refinery near Gallup, N.M. On the way, the line crosses a 160-acre plot of Navajo reservation land, shown at top, owned by 88-year-old Mary Tom, shown left, and dozens of family members. Western Refining’s right of way expired in 2010. After years of negotiations with family members, th

Victory Lap for Paiutes and the Native Vote

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These two articles first appeared on  Indian Country Today Media N etwork   in September and October 2016 . Milestone Victory for Nevada Tribes   Sept. 2016—An emergency injunction will open early-voting offices on the Walker River and Pyramid Lake Paiute reservations, in Nevada. Plaintiffs, including tribal chairmen Bobby Sanchez and Vinton Hawley, respectively, told the federal court that tribal members travel inordinate distances to register and vote, curtailing their access to the ballot box, while off-reservation communities have numerous nearby options. A Department of Justice “Statement of Interest” backed these claims, saying they relied on “well-established precedent.” The judge ’ s decision clarified application of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, among other legal issues. “Everyone is very excited and happy,” said lead plaintiff Sanchez, shown left, about reaction on Walker River, adding that arrangements for the early-voting offices were still under discussion.

Victory Lap for Paiutes and the Native Vote

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These two articles first appeared on Indian Country Today Media N etwork   in September and October 2016 . Milestone Victory for Nevada Tribes   Sept. 2016—An emergency injunction will open early-voting offices on the Walker River and Pyramid Lake Paiute reservations, in Nevada. Plaintiffs, including tribal chairmen Bobby Sanchez (shown left) and Vinton Hawley, respectively, told the federal court that tribal members travel inordinate distances to register and vote, curtailing their access to the ballot box, while off-reservation communities have numerous nearby options. A Department of Justice “Statement of Interest” backed these claims, saying they relied on “well-established precedent.” The judge ’ s decision clarified application of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, among other legal issues. “Everyone is very excited and happy,” said lead plaintiff Sanchez, shown left, about reaction on Walker River, adding that arrangements for the early-voting offices were still unde