Tulalip’s NWIC Hosts a Teach In about Idle No More

By Monica Brown, Tulalip News staff


January 11, 2013 Northwest Indian College’s extension site at Tulalip hosted a Teach In/potluck at noon for students and staff to talk about what Idle No More is, how it came to be and what it means for all of the indeigenous cultures around the globe.


Idle No more, NWIC students and staff at Tulalip College Center
Idle No more, NWIC students and staff at Tulalip College Center

Tulalip's NWIC Students and Staff

Watch Video’s here of their meeting,

What is Idle No More from Tulalip News on Vimeo.

What is Idle No More from Tulalip News on Vimeo.

VAWA still standing

Article by Monica Brown

Sections of the 18 year old Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was built from grassroots and Human rights efforts, were left to expire during the 112th Congress that adjourned without reauthorizing the entire VAWA. The failure of Congress to pass the updates VAWA is due to different political oppositions on sections of the Act they deem to be without need. While the Republican-sponsored House version favors the reduction of services to illegal immigrants and LGBT individuals they have also refused many revised drafts concerning tribal courts ability to prosecute non-natives after committing acts of violence on Native Americans.

In a letter to Majority leader Eric Cantor from the National Congress of Indian Americans (NCIA) stated,

“Tribal leaders viewed the draft as a construct that would bolster the ability of abusers to game the criminal justice system, the very problem we are now trying to solve. The system outlined in the proposed draft would make a dangerous system even worse.” The proposed draft requires case referral to the U.S. Attorney in order to be tried as a felony while the U.S. Attorney, which currently declines 67 percent of sexual abuse and related cases may decide to prosecute, an event that takes months, or to send the case back to Tribal courts as a misdemeanor – where the defendant can immediately remove the case back to the U.S. Attorney for a dismissal.

The VAWA would protect women and men from self governed tribal reservations who are attacked on the reservation from non-tribal member offenders. The Act would also protect immigrants and homosexuals from domestic violence. Within the Act services and programs provided are:

  • Federal rape shield law limits a defendant’s ability to cross-examine rape complainants about their past sexual behavior. The term also refers to a law that prohibits the publication of the identity of an alleged rape victim.
  • Community violence prevention programs
  • Protections for female victims who are evicted from their homes because of events related to domestic violence or stalking
  • Funding for female victim assistance services, like rape crisis centers and hotlines
  • Programs to meet the needs of immigrant women and women of different races or ethnicities
  • Programs and services for female victims with disabilities
  • Legal aid for female survivors of violence

The 2005 version of VAWA is still in operation but the loopholes still leave many victims without a source of refuge or protection they can rely on. As the 113th Congress has been sworn in at the beginning of this year actions are being taken to draft a revised VAWA to be signed into place.

Navajo Generating Station gains support from government agencies

Interior, Energy, EPA Commit to Cooperative Working Group to Achieve Shared Goals on Navajo Generating Station in Arizona

Release Date: 01/04/2013, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, press@epa.gov

WASHINGTON – Today the Department of the Interior, Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency released a joint statement that lays out the agencies’ shared goals for Navajo Generating Station (NGS) and energy production in the region served by NGS.

In the statement, the three agencies agree they will work together to support Arizona and tribal stakeholders in finding ways to produce “clean, affordable and reliable power, affordable and sustainable water supplies, and sustainable economic development, while minimizing negative impacts on those who currently obtain significant benefits from NGS, including tribal nations.”

In addition to identifying shared goals, the statement announces specific activities the agencies intend to take jointly to help achieve those goals. These actions include: 1) creating a long-term DOI-EPA-DOE NGS working group; 2) working with stakeholders to develop an NGS roadmap; 3) committing to complete the second phase of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s report on clean, affordable, and sustainable energy options for NGS; and 4) supporting near-term investments that align with long-term clean energy goals.

A copy of the Joint Statement is available at http://epa.gov/air/tribal/pdfs/130103_statement_ngs.pdf.

NGS is a coal-fired power plant located on the Navajo Indian reservation approximately 15 miles from the Grand Canyon and owned partially by the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). Power from the facility is distributed to customers in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Reclamation’s share of the power is used to move water to tribal, agricultural, and municipal water users in central Arizona.

The Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency oversee other federal responsibilities or interests that relate to NGS. These include tribal trust responsibilities, protection of national parks and wilderness areas, visibility and public health protection, and clean energy development.

Pink Salmon Broodstock Spawned to Protect Elwha Run

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe hatchery technician Keith Lauderback sorts through pink salmon eggs at the tribe’s hatchery.
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe hatchery technician Keith Lauderback sorts through pink salmon eggs at the tribe’s hatchery.

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Pink salmon are the most abundant salmon species in the Northwest, but the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe didn’t want to risk losing the Elwha River pink population with the current removal of the river’s two fish-blocking dams.

The deconstruction of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams are part of the massive project to restore the Elwha River after nearly 100 years of blocked flows and degraded salmon habitat. One result of the project is that high levels of sediment once trapped trapped behind the dams are now flowing downriver.

“We weren’t sure how the pinks were going to be affected by the dam deconstruction activity, so we wanted to take precautions to protect them,” said Larry Ward, the tribe’s hatchery manager. “The historical population of pinks in the Elwha River was 400,000 to 600,000. The current run is 200, making it a chronically depressed stock of fish.”

While pinks have a lower commercial value, they play an important role in a properly functioning ecosystem by providing food for other animals and contributing nutrients to the watershed.

“The habitat in the lower river for pinks wasn’t great when the dams were in place, but they were using it,” Ward said.

Pinks returning to the Elwha River in 2011 were collected and spawned. The fertilized eggs were incubated at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Hurd Creek Hatchery, then sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Manchester Research Station, where they were reared to adults. The fish, 300 males and 132 females, were then brought back to Elwha in August for spawning.

A portion of the fertilized eggs from this fall’s spawning will go back into the pink salmon broodstock program, while the rest will be reared to smolts and released from the Elwha Hatchery into the river in spring 2014. The broodstock program is expected to continue through the 2015 pink salmon cycle.

The tribe’s partners in this program are NOAA, WDFW, Olympic National Park, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and citizen volunteers.

EPA Awards $65,000 to the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma to Improve and Protect Its Water Quality

Release Date: 12/21/2012
Contact Information: Jennah Durant or Austin Vela, 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov.

(DALLAS – December 21, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma $65,000 to provide continued support for the tribe’s water pollution control program. The funds will be used to take samples to assess surface water quality on tribal lands, compile data which may show changes over time and determine if a more thorough watershed management program is needed. Sampling data will determine whether water quality standards are being met, note any changes in the quality or condition of the tribe’s water, and provide planning tools to improve the function and health of stream ecosystems.

The mission of the EPA is to protect public health and the environment. The EPA supports efforts to improve the quality of tribal land watersheds. This cooperative spirit supports work to protect water quality that ensures the health of watersheds that cross state and tribal boundaries.

Additional Information on EPA grants is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/gandf/index.htm

More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

Deborah Parker issues Clarion call

Press Release, Communities Against Violence Network, December 19, 2012

Today, Tulalip Tribal Vice Chairwoman Deborah Parker remains united with all 12 Democratic female U.S. Senators in demanding immediate passage of the bipartisan, Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization.

“This issue must absolutely transcend partisan politics, “said Vice Chairwoman Parker, a survivor of abuse in Indian Country, who went public with her story this year in support of the VAWA. “It is one of our fundamental human rights; the right of each and every American woman to live free from threats or acts of physical harm.”

Parker continued: “A woman’s class of origin or race and physical location at the time of sexual assault or physical abuse should not dictate her protection under the U.S.  Constitution. All women and children must be protected, especially the original women of this continent.” It is widely reported that House Leadership is holding up the bill, by objecting to provisions in the Senate VAWA that would restore to tribal governments the limited power to prosecute non-≠‐Indians who enter Indian Country and commit violence against Indian women.

I urge all of my fellow Americans to call Rep. Eric Cantor’s office and urge that he agree to guard against any more Native women being sexually or physically abused in Indian Country,” Parker concluded.

The direct number to Rep. Cantor’s Office is (202) 225-8208;2815.

Department of Justice announces Eagle Feathers Policy

Possession or Use of the Feathers or Other Parts of Federally Protected Birds for Tribal Cultural and Religious Purposes

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department; Photo by Brandi Montreuil

On October 12, 2012, the Department of Justice announced a policy addressing the ability of members of federally recognized Indian tribes to possess or use eagle feathers, an issue of great cultural significance to many tribes and their members. Attorney General Eric Holder signed the new policy after extensive Department consultation with tribal leaders and tribal groups. The policy covers all federally protected birds, bird feathers and bird parts.

The policy provides generally that the Department of Justice will not prosecute members of federally recognized tribes who:

  • Have or use the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds.
  • Pick up naturally fallen or molted feathers found in the wild, without disturbing birds or their nests.
  • Give or lend the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds to other members of federally recognized tribes.
  • Exchange with other members of federally recognized tribes, without payment of any kind, the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds for other such items.
  • Give the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds to craftspersons who are also members of federally recognized tribes to be fashioned into cultural or religious items. Craftspersons may be paid for their work, but no payment may be made for the feathers or other parts of the eagles or other migratory birds.
  • Travel in the United States with the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds.
  • Travel internationally with the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds, subject to permit requirements.

The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute tribal members and nonmembers alike for:

  • Buying or selling the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds or trading them for goods or services (or attempting to do so).
  • Killing federally protected birds without a permit. Tribal members can apply to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for permits to take (including kill) eagles for religious purposes.
  • Members of federally recognized tribes do not need permits to possess the feathers or other parts of eagles or other migratory birds or to engage in the other activities listed above (with the exception of certain international travel).

The Department Policy for Federally Recognized Tribal members PDF can be viewed here.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve the protection of Indian sacred sites

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department

News Release

Release No. 0354.12
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Interior Sign Memorandum to Collaborate to Protect Indian Sacred Sites

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Also Participates

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2012—Four cabinet-level departments joined the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation today in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve the protection of Indian sacred sites. The MOU also calls for improving tribal access to the sites. It was signed by cabinet secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy and Interior. It was also signed by the chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

“The President is insistent that these Sacred Sites be protected and preserved: treated with dignity and respect. That is also my commitment as Secretary of USDA,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I know my fellow Secretaries share in this commitment. We understand the importance of these sites and will do our best to make sure they are protected and respected.”

“American Indian service members are fighting to protect America on distant battlefields,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “I’m pleased this new agreement will help protect Indian sacred sites here at home.”

“Protecting America’s air and water and our nation’s heritage is an important part of the Energy Department’s commitment to Tribal Nations across the country, particularly those that are neighbors to the Department’s National Laboratories, sites and facilities,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “I look forward to continuing this important work and collaborating with other federal agencies and Tribal Nations to protect Indian sacred sites throughout the United States.”

“We have a special, shared responsibility to respect and foster American Indian and Alaska Native cultural and religious heritage, and today’s agreement recognizes that important role,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Inter-agency cooperation fosters our nation-to-nation relationship with tribes, and that’s certainly true when it comes to identifying and avoiding impacts to the sites that tribes hold sacred.”

“Through collaboration and consultation, the signatory agencies will work to raise awareness about Indian sacred sites and the importance of maintaining their integrity. The tools to be developed under this MOU will help agencies meet their Section 106 responsibilities,” said Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, ACHP chairman. “The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is very pleased to be part of this historic initiative to address the protection and preservation of Indian sacred sites.”

The MOU will be in effect for five years and requires participating agencies to determine inter-agency measures to protect sacred sites. It also sets up a framework for consultation with tribes, creation of a training program for federal employees to provide educational opportunities concerning legal protections and limitations related to protection of the sites, creation of a website that includes links to federal agency responsibilities regarding sacred sites and the establishment of management practices that could include collaborative stewardship of those sites.

The MOU calls for development of guidance for management and treatment of sacred sites including creation of sample tribal-agency agreements. It sets up a public outreach plan to maintain, protect and preserve the sites, and calls for identification of impediments to federal-level protection of the sites. Additionally, the MOU provides for outreach to non-federal partners, tribal capacity-building efforts and it establishes a working group to implement the terms of the agreement.

Source: http://usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/12/0354.xml&contentidonly=true


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