This Week in Native American News - June 10, 2016

This week in Native American News - 6/10/16

Oil Spill Threatens Native Land

Oil Tankers derailed in Mosier, Oregon. Photo credit: Associated Press/Brent Foster

Oil Tankers derailed in Mosier, Oregon. Photo credit: Associated Press/Brent Foster

The Yakama Nation of Southern Washington is concerned about an oil spill caused by a train that derailed last Friday. The overturned oil tankers leaked oil into the nearby Columbia River but the spill wasn't noticed until the following morning. The Yakama rely heavily upon the Columbia River for their livelihood and worry about the long-term effects this may cause.

Oil spills due to derailing trains have increased in previous years, and many people in Mosier, along with the Yakama, are fighting to avoid another incident like this. Read the full story here.


Native American Wills & Estates Confusing Even for Law Students

Law students help Crow tribal members to get their estate in order. Photo credit: Reuters/Ellen Wulfhorst

Law students help Crow tribal members to get their estate in order. Photo credit: Reuters/Ellen Wulfhorst

In a culture that shuns speaking about death or those previously deceased, the creation of a will can be complicated, but a team of law students is helping residents of the Crow Indian Reservation of Montana to work through the process. Law students studied the Crow culture prior to the workshops to better understand how to work with the Crow. Read the full story here.

While working through the will process, however, many of the Crow elders struggled. Not with cultural differences, but because of historical administrative confusion. Because the allotment of land to Native Americans was not uniform or always well documented, some people found acres of land they hadn't known they owned. Others found differing amounts based on different resources. Despite the confusion, most of the Crow members who took part in the workshop were happy with the outcome. Read the full article here.


News Tidbits

Native pipe

Another auction house is in the news, this one in Texas. A private owner is auctioning off over 100 Native artifacts and some tribes, namely the Sioux, are angry about a few items including Chief Red Cloud's pipe. As a reminder: it is illegal to sell Native American ceremonial artifacts or any items attained illegally. The private owner claims all of these items are legal, but people still want to see it shut down. Read the full article here. The items are currently on the auction house website, scheduled to close tomorrow morning.

Oren Lyons

Oren Lyons (Onondaga) is scheduled to speak today at Muhammad Ali's memorial service. Lyons has been a strong voice for Native American rights since the 1970s. He met Ali at the end of the "Longest Walk," a 3,600-mile walk from San Francisco to Washington D.C. to raise awareness for Native Rights. Read the full story here.

kuspuks in court

State lawmakers in Alaska, Alaska Native or not, are turning Casual Friday into Native Friday. As a nod to the nearly 20% of the population that is Alaska Native, lawmakers, clerks, and pages now wear the traditional kuspuk into sessions on Fridays. Read the full article here.

Sanilac petroglyph

Sanilac Petroglyphs State Park in Cass City, Michigan is taking steps to better preserve and share the knowledge of the ancient petroglyphs of the Great Lakes Native American tribes. In the future: new railings, educational signage (in English and Anishinabemowin, the native word for the Chippewa language), and a scan of the stones to preserve them as they are, Read the full article here.