Good morning, NUNAverse:
The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing a drilling program approved by the Trump administration. The order by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland follows a temporary moratorium on oil and gas lease activities imposed by President Biden on his first day in office. The President’s January 20 executive order suggested a new environmental review was needed to address possible legal flaws in a drilling program approved by the Trump administration under a 2017 law enacted by Congress.
South Dakota lawmakers tasked with redrawing legislative districts indicated they will focus on the state’s two largest cities, as well as reservations. Both the House and Senate committees that are redrawing legislative boundaries decided to create sub-committees tasked with gathering input from Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and “tribal areas.” Lawmakers are readying to receive data from the 2020 Census, develop boundary lines for legislative districts, and approve them by December 1.
Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat, won the open seat congressional seat on Tuesday that was vacated when Interior Secretary Deb Haaland resigned on March 16 to join the President’s cabinet. Stansbury, a New Mexico state representative, beat New Mexico state Senator Mark Moores, her Republican opponent, by a landslide. Stansbury captured 60 percent to 36 percent for Moores.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Supreme Court Rules Tribal Police Can Detain, Search Non-indigenous People On Reservations
AP News, Andrew Kennard, June 1
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday in favor of tribes in a case about the authority of tribal law enforcement in situations where non-Indigenous people may pose a threat to the health and welfare of the tribe. According to the opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court ruled that tribal law enforcement can stop and search a non-Indigenous person “traveling on public rights-of-way running through a reservation for potential violations of state or federal law.” The ruling vacated the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings based on an exception in the 1981 Supreme Court ruling Montana v. United States. Breyer’s opinion says this exception gives tribes jurisdiction over non-Indigenous people “‘when [their] conduct threatens or has some direct effect on the political integrity, economic security, or the health and welfare of the tribe.’”
Unanimous: Supreme Court Rules For Tribes
Indian Country Today, Kolby Kickingwoman, June 1
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday that a tribal police officer can temporarily detain and search non-Natives on public rights of way that go through tribal land. The case, United States v. Cooley, involved Joshua James Cooley, a non-Native man parked on the side of Highway 212 that runs through the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana. Crow tribal police officer James Saylor approached the truck and found “watery, bloodshot eyes” and two guns lying on the front seat of the vehicle. After ordering Cooley out of the truck and a subsequent patdown search, Saylor saw a glass pipe and plastic bag containing meth inside the truck. A federal grand jury indicted Cooley on drug and gun offenses but he moved to have the evidence found by Saylor suppressed claiming that it was found during an illegal search.
Supreme Court: Tribal Police May Detain Non-Native Americans On Reservation Highways
USA Today, John Fritze, June 1
A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that tribal police may detain non-Native Americans on highways running through their reservations, overturning an appeals court that said such powers were out of bounds absent an “apparent” crime. The case stems from an interaction that took place in 2016. James Saylor, a highway safety officer for the Crow Police Department, approached a vehicle stopped on U.S. Route 212 in the Crow Indian Reservation in southern Montana. As Saylor began to question the driver, Joshua Cooley, he grew suspicious of his answers. Saylor noticed two semiautomatic rifles on the passenger seat of Cooley’s truck.
Joe Biden Suspends Oil Leases In Arctic Refuge
AP News, Matthew Daly, June 1
The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing a drilling program approved by the Trump administration and reviving a political fight over a remote region that is home to polar bears and other wildlife — and a rich reserve of oil. The order by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland follows a temporary moratorium on oil and gas lease activities imposed by President Joe Biden on his first day in office. Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order suggested a new environmental review was needed to address possible legal flaws in a drilling program approved by the Trump administration under a 2017 law enacted by Congress.
Democrat Melanie Standbury Wins Congressional Seat Vacated By Deb Haaland
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 1
Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat, won the open seat congressional seat on Tuesday vacated when Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) resigned on March 16 to become the first Native American to hold a secretarial cabinet position. Stansbury, a New Mexico state representative, beat New Mexico state Sen. Mark Moores, her Republican opponent, 63.2 percent to 33.0 percent. Moores is a Hispanic and a former football star at the University of New Mexico.
Data Privacy Could Diminish Accuracy Of 2020 Census In Indian Country, Leaders Say
The Oklahoman, Molly Young, June 1
The census has historically undercounted Native Americans. Now advocates worry it could make people living on rural reservations disappear. More than half of federally recognized tribes could face amplified error rates in the first set of census figures set to be released this fall. The Census Bureau is required to make it impossible to identify people by combing through census data. More privacy means less accuracy, particularly for small communities. In recent trial runs, the privacy protections have changed some populations of 500 or fewer people by 5% to 10%. A tribal nation with 450 citizens, for example, could lose 45 people in the census redistricting numbers. Some tribal nations could be erased altogether from the data, according to an analysis by the National Congress of American Indians. Undercounted communities could lose political representation or tens of thousands of dollars in annual federal funding.
South Dakota Redistricting To Focus On Cities, Reservations
AP News, Stephen Groves, June 1
South Dakota lawmakers tasked with redrawing legislative districts indicated Tuesday they will focus on the state’s two largest cities, as well as Native American reservations. Both the House and Senate committees that are redrawing legislative boundaries decided to create sub-committees tasked with gathering input from Sioux Falls, Rapid City and “tribal areas.” Lawmakers are readying to receive data from the 2020 Census, develop boundary lines for legislative districts and approve them by Dec. 1. But the districts in urban areas and Indian reservations could have the most hiccups, according to Matt Frame, a lawyer with the Legislative Research Council that is guiding the redistricting process.
Fire Officials Aim To Avoid Megafires
AP News, Matthew Brown, June 1
U.S. officials said they will try to stamp out wildfires as quickly as possible this year as severe drought tightens its grip across the West and sets the stage for another destructive summer of blazes. By aggressively responding to smaller fires, officials said they hope to minimize the number of so-called megafires that have become more common as climate change makes the landscape warmer and dryer. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told firefighting personnel Thursday to brace themselves for another challenging year amid what scientists describe as one of the West’s deepest droughts in more than 1,200 years.