Good morning, NUNAverse:
Winona LaDuke and Tara Houska, two leaders of protests against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, recently sued Hubbard County and Sheriff Cory Aukes for repeatedly blocking a driveway to a home near Menahga in north-central Minnesota. Last week, a Minnesota district judge issued a temporary restraining ordered against the Hubbard County sheriff, ruling that the county must stop obstructing access to the property used by opponents of the pipeline project.
Meanwhile, federal regulators say they plan to fine the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline $93,200 over pipeline safety violations. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration say the violations pertain to physical aspects of the pipeline and monitoring systems. There is no indication any of the violations have resulted in oil leakage. Some of the violations cited by the agency include improper placement of valves for storm water drainage on tanks at six facilities in western North Dakota, as well as a failure to correct a condition related to the line’s ability to relieve pressure. The pressure issue is partly to blame for triggering more than 9,000 alarms within Energy Transfer’s systems since oil began flowing through Dakota Access in 2017.
Last week, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development presented its Native American Business of the Year Award to the Tlingit and Haida Tribal Business Corporation at the Reservation Economic Summit held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company “reached $100 million in annual revenue in 2019. We will be around $170 million this year, and we expect to exceed $200 million (annually) … within the next 12 months,” said Richard Rinehart (Tlingit), CEO of the company and its first employee. “Our goal is to reach $500 million in annual revenue in the next five years.”
Also in Las Vegas, actor Mark Wahlberg and his brother, chef Paul Wahlberg, announced a newly formed partnership between their company, Wahlburgers Franchising, and Little River Holdings, LLC, an enterprise of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, based in Manistee, Michigan. The agreement allows Little River Holdings to develop Wahlburgers restaurants in tribal casinos and resorts or non-gaming business locations. The goal is to develop 125 Wahlburgers restaurants within the next few years throughout Indian country.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Cleveland’s Baseball Team Goes From Indians To Guardians
Indian Country Today, July 23
Down goes another Native-themed mascot. Since 1915, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team has been known as the Indians. The team is now renamed the Guardians. The ballclub announced the name change Friday — effective at the end of the 2021 season — with a video on Twitter narrated by actor Tom Hanks. The decision ends months of internal discussions triggered by a national reckoning by institutions and teams to permanently drop logos and names considered racist. The choice of Guardians will undoubtedly be criticized by many of the club’s die-hard fans. Team owner Paul Dolan said last summer’s social unrest, touched off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, spurred his intention to change the name.
Cleveland MLB Team Name To Change From ‘Indians’ To ‘Guardians’
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 23
The Cleveland Major League Baseball team announced on Friday it will drop the “Indians” name after over a 100 years at the end of the current baseball season. The team will be named the Cleveland Guardians next season. The Cleveland MLB franchise announced the name change with a video on Twitter narrated by actor Tom Hanks. The fight to have the “Indians” name dropped by the team began over 50 years ago by the Cleveland American Indian Movement (AIM) in response to the wishes of the local Native community, elders and leaders in the Nations, according the organization’s website. The team’s decision comes seven months after its decision to retire its long-used “Indians” name and mascot, a decision it reached following an extensive process to engage with and learn from tribal leaders, leading scholars, local and national Native organizations, and community stakeholders.
‘Not A Moment Too Soon’: Native American Community Welcomes Cleveland Baseball Team Name Change
ABC News, Deena Zaru, July 23
Following decades of backlash from the Native American community, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team announced that the franchise will change its name from the Indians to the Guardians. The team initially announced its intention to change its name in December 2020, but the new name was shared on the team’s official Twitter account Friday morning in a video narrated by actor Tom Hanks, a longtime fan. The new name is a nod to the Guardians of Traffic, the city’s iconic statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge and is set to take effect at the end of the 2020 season. The final decision was a product of interviews with fans, community leaders, a survey of 40,000 fans and team brainstorming sessions, which generated 1,198 name options that were winnowed down through 14 rounds of vetting, according to a Friday MLB press release.
Long Overdue: Cleveland MLB Team Renamed The “Guardians”
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 23
The fight to have the “Indians” name dropped by the team began more than 50 years ago by the Cleveland American Indian Movement (AIM) in response to the wishes of the local Native community, elders and leaders in the Nations, according to the organization’s website. In my personal view, the logo of the Chief Wahoo that the Cleveland team retired, a silly looking Native, was one of the most offensive and disrespectful caricatures ever used by a professional sports team. Proponents often say it is an honor for a team to use American Indian imagery or a Native name. Chief Wahoo provided no honor to American Indians. Fortunately, the team dropped the caricature by the beginning of the 2019 baseball season. Here again, the world didn’t end. Even with Chief Wahoo gone, the team still felt pressure from American Indians to drop the name. Last December, the team announced it would retire the “Indians” name.
Trump Says Cleveland’s Name Change To Guardians A ‘Disgrace’ Against Native Americans
Newsweek, Alexandra Hutzler, July 23
Donald Trump slammed Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team for changing its name, arguing it’s a “disgrace” against Native Americans. The franchise announced Friday it was shifting from the Indians to the Guardians, marking the the first time in more than 100 years that the Ohio team has chosen a new identity. “Can anybody believe that the Cleveland Indians, a storied and cherished baseball franchise since taking the name in 1915, are changing their name to the Guardians? Such a disgrace, and I guarantee that the people who are most angry about it are the many Indians of our Country,” Trump said in a statement.
Sheriff Must Stop Blocking Property Used By Pipeline Foes
AP News, July 24
A Minnesota district judge has issued a temporary restraining ordered against the Hubbard County sheriff, ruling that the county must stop obstructing access to a property used by opponents of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project. The Star Tribune reports Winona LaDuke and Tara Houska, two leaders of protests against the oil pipeline, recently sued Hubbard County and Sheriff Cory Aukes for repeatedly blocking a driveway to a home near Menahga in north-central Minnesota. The property is one of several camps near the pipeline route used by “water protectors,” as Line 3 protesters call themselves. Houska, the house’s tenant and caretaker, and LaDuke say that on June 28, Sheriff’s Office squad cars arrived at the home, and its occupants were told their driveway would soon be “barricaded.” Sheriffs’ deputies have continued to obstruct access to the property, the lawsuit said.
Montana Tribes Sue Over Indian Education For All Compliance
AP News, Amy Beth Hanson, July 23
Montana tribes and the parents of 18 students filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging state education leaders are violating a constitutional requirement to teach about the unique culture and heritage of Native Americans. The lawsuit, filed in District Court in Great Falls, seeks an order to require the Board of Public Education to create specific educational standards for the Indian Education for All program and to require the superintendent of public instruction to ensure schools meet those standards and accurately report how they are spending money allocated for the program. The complaint argues a 2015 evaluation of how well Indian Education for All was being implemented found Montana did not have sufficient standards, reporting requirements or accountability for spending the funding. It said implementation of IFEA in some school districts was “very minimal.”
ACLU Sues OPI, Alleging Indian Education Shortcomings
Montana Free Press, Alex Sakariassen, July 23
The ACLU of Montana and Native American Rights Fund filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Montana Office of Public Instruction, state Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, the Board of Public Education and board chair Darlene Shottle alleging widespread failure by the state to meet legal and constitutional obligations in Indian education. The filing, brought on behalf of five Montana tribal communities and more than two dozen Indian and non-Indian students and parents, requests that a Cascade County District Court judge immediately direct OPI to establish standards for schools to comply with Indian Education for All and cooperate with tribal communities to provide educational instruction.
Stitt Taps Tulsa Man For Attorney General Despite ‘Not Qualified’ Rating
AP News, Sean Murphy, July 23
A Tulsa attorney whom the American Bar Association rated as “ not qualified ” to serve as a federal judge was tapped Friday by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt to serve as the state’s next attorney general. After a two-month search that began in May after Republican Mike Hunter stepped down suddenly, Stitt selected John O’Connor, 66, to fill the vacancy, giving the governor an ally in his increasingly contentious relationship with some of the Native American tribes in the state. Stitt and Hunter, both Republicans, occasionally clashed on various matters, including over Stitt’s decision to renegotiate the state’s gaming compacts with Native American tribes. O’Connor clearly sides with the governor in his opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in McGirt v. Oklahoma that a large swath of eastern Oklahoma remains an Indian reservation. He said he hopes the high court reverses its position in the landmark tribal sovereignty case.
Interior Secretary: Drought Demands Investment, Conservation
AP News, Patty Nieberg, July 23
Confronting the historic drought that has a firm grip on the American West requires a heavy federal infrastructure investment to protect existing water supplies but also will depend on efforts at all levels of government to reduce demand by promoting water efficiency and recycling, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Thursday. Haaland told reporters in Denver that the Biden administration’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget includes a $1.5 billion investment in the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages water and power in the Western states, and more than $54 million for states, tribes and communities to upgrade infrastructure and water planning projects.
Chief Wants Kansas Site Included In Unmarked Graves Search
AP News, Margaret Stafford, July 23
The leader of an American Indian tribe is concerned that a former Kansas boarding school will be left out of a federal initiative seeking to determine whether thousands of Native American children were buried at schools across the country in the 1800s and early 1900s. Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes said federal authorities have not indicated whether the the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kansas, would be part of the investigation U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland launched last month. Barnes said he and others worry the Kansas school could be overlooked because it was run by the Methodist church, rather than the federal government, as were many other boarding schools for Indigenous children.
Wahlberg Brothers Are A Big Hit At Indian Gaming Tradeshow And Convention In Las Vegas
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 24
Actor Mark Wahlberg and his brother, chef Paul Wahlberg took center stage the National Indian Gaming Association’s Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 21, to announce a newly formed partnership between their company, Wahlburgers Franchising and Little River Holdings, LLC, a wholly owned enterprise of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, based in Manistee, Mich. The announcement came in the Chairman’s Lounge at the tradeshow where hundreds of people gathered around to get a glimpse of the celebrity Wahlberg brothers. The agreement allows Little River Holdings to develop Wahlburgers restaurants on Indian casinos and resorts or non-gaming business locations. The goal is to develop 125 Wahlburgers restaurants within the next few years throughout Indian Country.
Regulators Plan To Fine Pipeline Operators For Safety Issues
AP News, July 23
Federal regulators say they plan to fine the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline $93,200 over pipeline safety violations. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration say the violations pertain to physical aspects of the pipeline and monitoring systems. There is no indication any of the violations have resulted in oil leakage. Some of the violations cited by the agency include improper placement of valves for storm water drainage on tanks at six facilities in western North Dakota, as well as a failure to correct a condition related to the line’s ability to relieve pressure, the Bismarck Tribune reported. The pressure issue is partly to blame for triggering more than 9,000 alarms within Energy Transfer’s systems since oil began flowing through Dakota Access in 2017.
Tlingit, Haida Start-Up Snatches Business Of The Year
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, July 23
An Alaska Native start-up company, with revenues that skyrocketed in the last seven years, was recognized for its success and excellence in corporate citizenship this week. The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development presented its Native American Business of the Year Award to the Tlingit and Haida Tribal Business Corporation at the Reservation Economic Summit held in Las Vegas, Nevada. He added the company has been paying off debt and reinvesting profits in the company to grow but it expects to be able to issue dividends to the Tlingit & Haida tribe, which owns the corporation, in the “very near term.” The tribe’s executive council will determine how the money will be used to support tribal government for more than 32,000 Tlingit and Haida people worldwide. Much of the fast-growing tribal company’s success is due to the Small Business Administration’s development program for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people.
‘We Had To Keep Going’: After COVID Setbacks, Navajo Police Chief Looks Forward
Cronkite News, Beth Wallis, July 23
The increased demands of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated issues in the Navajo Nation Police Department, Francisco said: chronic understaffing, dispatch systems that trail technology by 50 years and archaic facilities that include 71-year-old administrative buildings and a converted post office. The 200-member department polices a rural area larger than West Virginia, he said, with dirt roads and houses so remote they don’t have addresses and can be out of range of police radios. During the pandemic, officers often worked 16- to 24-hour shifts to fill in for sick or quarantined colleagues. Francisco and his department commissioned a study, released this spring that recommends the department needs 500 to 775 personnel to handle services, which range from domestic violence and public intoxication calls to reinforcing the reservation’s COVID-19 curfew and distributing personal protective equipment.