Maine Again Down to Just One Tribal Representative 

Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Only one of Maine's Native American tribes plans to send a representative to the Legislature next year, down from two this year, as two top Democrats promise to address strained state-tribal relations.

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians has declined to send a tribal representative to the Legislature next year, joining the Penobscot Nation, which pulled its tribal representative in 2015. The Passamaquoddy Nation also withdrew its tribal representative in 2015, but the tribe elected to send a representative back to the Legislature in 2016.

Maine's sole tribal representative next year will be Rep. Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Nation, who didn't respond to requests for comment.

``It's difficult as a sovereign nation when we have a state government that pushes back on things continually,'' said Houlton Band of Maliseets Chief Clarissa Sabattus, whose tribe could decide to send a tribal ambassador to meet with state and federal governments.

The departure of another Maine tribal representative comes amid increasingly tense relations between tribal nations and the state over tribal sovereignty, tribal gambling and fishing and clean water rights. In 2015, outgoing Republican Gov. Paul LePage _ whose office didn't respond to request for comment _ revoked his 2011 executive order aiming to promote cooperation between Maine and tribes.

Several leaders of Maine's four federally recognized tribes said they hoped Democratic Gov.-elect and Attorney General Janet Mills and incoming Democratic Attorney General Aaron Frey fulfill their promises to meet with tribal leaders, unlike past politicians.

``The relationship? There really isn't one at this point,'' said William Nicholas, chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township Reservation. He said he hopes Mills' administration respects tribal sovereignty and his tribe's wishes to be left alone.

Rep. Henry Bear, who previously represented the Houlton Band of Maliseets, said he's tired of the state's ``paternalistic'' attitude toward tribal nations. He led unsuccessful efforts this year to have Maine's high court consider allowing casinos on tribal land.

The controversy dates to 18th-century treaties and a 1980 settlement of tribes' claim to perhaps two-thirds of Maine's lands.

That 1980 law made Maine's relationship with tribes unlike that of most other states.

Under the law, the tribes agreed to be subject to Maine's laws and jurisdiction, except for ``internal tribal matters'' and hunting and certain fishing rights on tribal land. Congress has to specifically state whether a federal law applies to Maine tribes.

Mills' office has argued in court that means Maine has environmental regulatory authority over tribal lands.

Tribal leaders and liberal and environmental groups have criticized Mills for her role in the state's lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over Obama-era rules that heightened water quality standards in rivers fished by tribes. A federal judge allowed EPA officials to make ``substantive changes'' to water quality standards, while keeping in place the stricter standards for now.

Mills' office also defended Maine in the Penobscot Nation's unsuccessful federal lawsuit claiming ownership over the Penobscot River. This spring, Mills called for a review of a federal court ruling that backed tribal fishing rights in Washington, which was later upheld.

Mills, who has authority to decide whether to legally represent the state, has said she respects tribal sustenance fishing rights.

But her office has argued the state's water quality standards are already high and should apply the same to all Maine waters. Mills' campaign spokesman Scott Ogden stated she wants to work with tribes on issues including economic development, health care and removing ``offensive'' mascot names.

``The governor-elect believes that there is much that can be accomplish by working together and engaging in communication rather than litigation,'' Ogden stated.

Tribal leaders said the underlying issue is the wording of the 1980 law, which they said has far-reaching effects.

Houlton Band of Maliseets Chief Sabattus said the wording means tribal members need a state permit to hunt on tribal lands. Aroostook Band of Micmacs Chief Edward Peter-Paul said the law, passed before his tribe was federally recognized in 1991, hinders his tribe from accessing economic incentive programs available to tribes nationwide.

Incoming Attorney General Frey said this week he has promised to start a public dialogue with tribal leaders about their concerns over the 1980 law.

``We need to figure out where the conversation went wrong,'' he said.


North Dakota National Guard proposes Camp Grafton Expansion

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) _ The North Dakota National Guard is proposing a plan to expand its training center in a northeastern county to accommodate more military members.

The Minot Daily News reports that Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrman says the state's National Guard plans to seek input from neighboring landowners, counties, cities and the Spirit Lake Nation on the proposal to expand its Camp Grafton Training Center-South in Eddy County.

Dohrman says they'd like to expand Camp Grafton by at least 6,000 more acres to build a new range complex.

Military members in North Dakota often have to travel to Camp Guernsey in Wyoming and Camp Ripley in Minnesota for training.

Dohrman met with Minot officials last month about the training center not being adequate in size to support range and maneuver functions.


Information from: Minot Daily News,


University of New Mexico Project Works to Save Zuni Language

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ The University of New Mexico Libraries is working to preserve the Zuni language as part of a new digital initiative.

The school recently announced it has digitized books and posters published by Zuni Pueblo's bilingual education department.

Arin Peywa, a student and a member of Zuni Pueblo, says the new collection will be a great tool for those who use the Zuni language and who want to keep it alive for future generations.

She says some of the materials already added to the collection are quite sensitive to the Zuni culture and only fluent Zuni language speakers will be able to read them.


Archaeologist Claims State Parks Disregarding Native Sites

PHOENIX (AP) _ A former state archaeologist is accusing the agency that oversees Arizona's state parks of prioritizing development over protection of Native American sites and artifacts.

Will Russell, a former compliance officer and tribal liaison for Arizona State Parks and Trails, filed a complaint earlier this month with the Arizona Department of Administration.

Russell says he resigned in protest over Parks and Trails' deliberate disregard for regulations.

One example he cited was the building of updated restroom facilities and beachfront cabins in Lake Havasu State Park. He says no care was taken to prevent damage of Native American antiquities.

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Megan Rose says they are reviewing his accusations but declined to comment further.

The agency's director, Sue Black, is facing one of the worst employee turnover rates.


IU Gets $300K Grant to Preserve Angel Mounds Artifacts

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ Indiana University researchers have landed a $300,000 federal grant to preserve a treasure trove of artifacts excavated from ancient Native American earthen mounds in southwestern Indiana.

The grant from the National Park Service and other agencies will allow the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology to fully address preservation threats to artifacts recovered from the Angel Mounds State Historic Site.

That 603-acre site along the Ohio River in Evansville encompasses 11 mounds that were once part of a fortified, walled city Native Americans occupied until about 1450.

The Angel Mounds Collection at IU's Bloomington campus comprises 2.8 million objects recovered there from 1939 to 1983, including artifacts made of ceramic, bone, shell and copper.

Laboratory director April Sievert says the grant is just the first step in safeguarding the collection.


Cleveland Indians Donate to Sockalexis Statue in Maine

CALAIS, Maine (AP) _ A Maine man who's creating a monument to a Penobscot Nation baseball star says he's received a $10,000 donation from the Cleveland Indians.

Ed Rice, director of Louis Sockalexis Monument Fund, said the 8-foot bronze sculpture in Maine is estimated to cost between $80,000 to $100,000.

Rice said he'll be traveling across the state, starting in November, to drum up support.

The author of the 2003 biography ``Baseball's First Indian'' says Sockalexis inspired the nickname for the Cleveland Indians in spring training in 1897. The team was called the Cleveland Spiders during the time that Sockalexis played three seasons in the outfield.


Judge's Decision on Dakota Access Study Likely Months Away

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ A federal judge's decision on whether a year's worth of additional study of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline adequately addresses American Indian concerns appears weeks if not months away.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late August completed additional study ordered by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in June 2017, saying the work substantiated its earlier determination that the pipeline poses no significant environmental threats to tribes.

However, the Corps didn't immediately release its lengthy analysis so that it could be reviewed by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for sensitive information that shouldn't be publicly disclosed. That has been completed, and tribes and Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners now have the document.

Boasberg on Tuesday gave the parties until Nov. 1 to submit proposals for how to proceed in the case that's lingered since the Standing Rock Sioux sued in July 2016 over the pipeline built to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.

The pipeline has been operating since June 2017, but Standing Rock and three other Sioux tribes that later joined the lawsuit hope to get it shut down.

Standing Rock attorney Jan Hasselman expects Boasberg to give the tribes an opportunity to challenge the Corps analysis before making a final decision on whether it's sufficient. Any tribal challenges could extend the case for months, he said.


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US Marshals Museum Searches for Bass Reeves' Relatives

The Southwest Times Record

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) _ The U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith has an impressive collection of guns and documents related to famed Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves. Almost a year out from a planned opening of the new $60 million museum, it's the lawman's family tree the curator wants most.

Dave Kennedy, curator of collections and exhibits, said recently the museum is still in search of Bass Reeves's descendants, the Southwest Times Record reported.

At this point, with a downtown Fort Smith statue of Reeves erected in 2012, along with several True West Magazine stories and a 1992 induction in the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, it would be peculiar if someone asks ``Who's Bass Reeves?''

The question, however, opens up an opportunity to talk about one of the best stories around: Born into slavery in Crawford County; escaped servitude during the Civil War; possibly fought for the Union with the Keetoowah Cherokees; survived dozens of gunfights riding for Judge Isaac C. Parker as one of the first black U.S. deputy marshals west of the Mississippi; acquitted of murder for the death of his cook; arrested his son, Benjamin, for shooting his wife, Castella, in a jealous rage. These are just a few of the incredible stories of a man who hunted down men nobody else could capture.

After serving as a valiant marshal's deputy, Reeves worked as a policeman in Muskogee for two years, 1907-1909. He died in 1910. Kennedy pointed to ``racist sentiment on the part of incoming state officials,'' as well as the Congressional delegation and the incoming U.S. marshal when Oklahoma became a state in 1907 as reasons Reeves lost his job with the Marshals Service. Other reasons, Kennedy adds, included Reeves' age.

Thought to have been born in the summer of 1838, by the year 1880, Bass and Jennie Reeves had eight children: Sally, Robert, Harriet, Georgia, Alice, Newland, Edgar and Lula. All were two years in age apart. In 1887, Reeves had to sell his home and farm in the Catcher Community near Van Buren to pay for his first-degree murder defense with attorneys William H.H. Clayton, formerly the U.S. Attorney in Judge Parker's court, and William M. Cravens. The Reeves family moved to North Twelfth Street, Park Place, in 1889.

As noted in Art Burton's 2006 book, ``Black Gun, Silver Star,'' Reeves has been known to historians for quite some time and was even mentioned in Larry McMurtry's 1997 novel ``Zeke and Ned.'' But Reeves is left out of the picture in S.W. Harmon's 1898 book ``Hell on the Border.'' However, as early as 1901 writer D.C. Gideon detailed Reeves in his book ``Indian Territory.''

``Among the numerous deputy marshals that have ridden for the Paris (Texas), Fort Smith (Arkansas) and Indian Territory courts none have met with more hairbreadth escapes or have affected more hazardous arrests than Bass Reeves, of Muskogee,'' Gideon writes. ``His long muscular arms have attached to them a pair of hands that would do credit to a giant and they handle a revolver with the ease and grace acquired only after years of practice. Several `bad' men have gone to their long home for refusing to halt when commanded to by Bass.''

Tom Wing, history professor with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, feels that Reeves was so well respected by local lawmen that he was offered a ``light duty'' job with the Muskogee Police Department.

As noted by the U.S. Park Service in a history of Bass Reeves, Judge Parker ``believed that black men would make great officers of the law in the Indian Territory, due to shared mistrust that existed between Indians and blacks toward the white man.'' That entry also notes that racial tensions were particularly high at the time and ``caused whites to feel anger toward a black man who had the power to arrest them.''

Until just a few years ago, it was more likely that only readers steeped in the lore of the west or Parker's court knew much about the deep-voiced man who sang softly before going into a gunfight. Reeves was also known to love racing his sorrell horse, and would go to extremes to serve writs. Once, he walked 28 miles dressed as a beggar and fooled two men and their mother into letting him stay the night. The men with a $5,000 bounty on their heads woke up in handcuffs.

In ``Black Gun, Silver Star,'' Burton recounts some stories from Adam Grayson, a former resident of Indian Territory, saying that Reeves tore up at least one warrant for a prisoner who outraced his sorrel steed.

Claude Legris, executive director of the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission and a member of the U.S. Marshals Museum's board of directors, said Burton told Reeves' story at a Fort Smith National Historic Site Descendant's Day event in the early 2000s and helped Reeves receive the notoriety for his bravery and incredible career as a lawman. The U.S. Marshals Service also started doing these events in 2012 in conjunction with the Cherokee Nation.

Sebastian County Circuit Judge Jim Spears, now retired, is credited with leading an effort to prominently enshrine the folk hero in bronze. After five years and several hundred thousand dollars in fundraising, Spears and his committee saw the unveiling of the large bronze ``Bass Reeves Legacy Monument'' by H. Holden at Ross Pendergraft Park in downtown Fort Smith in May 2012.

Spears said Bill Black presented the idea for a Bass Reeves statue after Spears' effort for a statue of President Zachary Taylor did not get traction. Spears is now leading an effort to erect a bronze statue of Judge Parker downtown.

Many U.S. Marshals who rode for Parker have received fame over the years: Paden Tolbert bringing in Ned Christie, for example. And ``The Three Guardsmen'' was a name given to a group who became legendary in their pursuit of many outlaws of the late 19th century: Deputy U.S. Marshals Bill Tilghman (1854-1924), Chris Madsen (1851-1944), and Heck Thomas (1850-1912).

``But they didn't stay there for 30 years,'' Spears said of the trio with Parker's Court. ``I think Bass Reeves' claim to fame is his persistence, and he bounced back after the murder trial.''

Spears also agreed with the National Park Service notes that point out that although Reeves is often credited with as many as 3,000 arrests and as many as 20 outlaws killed in the name of the law, the numbers ``have to be used with historical caution.'' Kennedy said they have only been able to verify five people were killed by Reeves, including his cook, which was most likely an accident.

``Bass Reeves was born a slave, but died a respected lawman, having served in the Indian Territory (and later Oklahoma), Arkansas and Texas,'' the National Park Service states. ``His career stretched from the U.S. Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas in 1875 until two years after Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907.''

Barton quotes many sources in his book, and many times Reeves is credited with bringing in about a dozen prisoners or more at a time from the Indian Territory to the District Courthouse in Fort Smith.

The ``Court Notes'' of the July 31, 1885, Fort Smith Weekly Elevator for example states ``Deputy Bass Reeves came in same evening with eleven prisoners, as follows: Thomas Post, one Walaska, and Wm. Gibson, assault with intent to kill; Arthur Copiah, Abe Lincoln, Miss Adeline Grayson and Sally Copiah, alias Long Sally, introducing whiskey in Indian country; J.F. Adams, Jake Island, Andy Alton and one Smith, larceny.''

The legend of Bass Reeves will only continue to grow as more discover his story.

The Fort Smith National Historic Site has a room dedicated to the history of black lawmen and local military units.

``We may never know exactly how many black men served as Deputy U.S. Marshals,'' a placard at the Historic Site reads. ``There is no indication of race on federal records. Their names are listed side by side with other Deputy U.S. Marshals. All face the same hardships and dangers.''

The known black deputy U.S. marshals, however, are listed as Rufus Cannon, Bill Colbert, Bynum Colbert, Cyrus Dennis, Wiley Escoe, Neely Factor, Robert Fortune, John Garrett, Edward D. Jefferson, Grant Johnson, John Joss, Robert Love, Zeke Miller, Crowder Nicks (Nix), Charles Pettit, Bass Reeves, Ed Robinson, Dick Roebuck, Isaac Rogers, Jim Ruth, Dick Shaver, Morgan Tucker, Lee Thompson, Eugene Walker and Henry Whitehead.

The U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, which is in the process of constructing a building on the Arkansas River in Fort Smith for a national museum, has among its collection of artifacts a Spencer rifle Reeves took from a Civil War battlefield and two pistols Reeves purchased later during his career. The Three Rivers Museum in Muskogee also has several artifacts from Reeves' career as a lawman.

More U.S. marshals died in service while hunting down fugitives in the Western District of Arkansas than any other place. Eighty-two of the U.S. deputy marshals are buried at Oak Cemetery in Fort Smith. It's not known exactly where Bass Reeves is buried, but in the 1990s the Oklahombres organization placed a small marker bearing Reeves' name in the Old Agency Cemetery in Muskogee.

From 1920-1970, Kennedy explained, the name Bass Reeves, as well as those of Grant Foreman and Robert Fortune were forgotten outside the circle of family and local history.


Information from: Southwest Times Record,


Minnesota Regulators Postpone Line 3 Meeting after Protests

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Minnesota regulators postponed a meeting Tuesday on Enbridge Energy's planned Line 3 replacement after pipeline opponents disrupted the meeting with a bullhorn and a boombox.

Protests erupted as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met to discuss whether Enbridge met conditions earlier imposed by the panel. The PUC approved the project in June, giving Enbridge a green light to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across Minnesota.

Opponents in the back of the PUC hearing room took out a bullhorn and made speeches aimed at the commissioners, the Star Tribune reported.

``You should all be ashamed,'' one protester said.

PUC Chairwoman Nancy Lange recessed the meeting but eventually canceled it when a protester playing music on a boombox refused to turn it off.

Several opponents sat with their backs facing the commissioners. Their shirts featured slogans such as ``Enbridge lap dogs.''

In a statement, Enbridge said it was ``unfortunate that a small group of people derailed'' the meeting. The Canadian-based company said the conditions that were up for discussion were intended to ``protect Minnesotans.''

``We acknowledge that the process has been long and difficult and raised many passionate interventions. But what happened today crossed the line,'' Enbridge said.

State Rep. Dan Fabian, a Roseau Republican who chairs the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, also criticized the protesters.

``Minnesota is better than this nonsense,'' Fabian said in a statement. He called on Gov. Mark Dayton's administration, the PUC and local law enforcement ``to do whatever necessary to prevent disruptions like this from happening in the future.''

Line 3 runs from Alberta, Canada, across North Dakota and Minnesota to Enbridge's terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the line, which it built in the 1960s and is running at only about half its original capacity. The replacement would restore its original capacity. But Native American and environmental activists contend the new line risks spills in fragile areas.


Information from: Star Tribune,


Massachusetts Unveils Plans for Mayflower Commemoration

BOSTON (AP) _ State and local officials have formally launched preparations to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's landing in modern-day Massachusetts.

The commemoration known as Plymouth 400 will feature events throughout 2020, including a maritime salute in Plymouth Harbor in June, an embarkation festival in September, and a week of ceremonies around Thanksgiving.

The Mayflower II, a replica of the famed ship that carried the Pilgrims to the New World, will sail to Boston in the spring and to Provincetown in the fall. The Pilgrims first landed in what is now Provincetown Harbor and signed the Mayflower Compact there.

Several events are also planned to honor the Wampanoag Indian tribe. The tribe's ancestors helped the settlers through their early years, though violent conflicts would erupt in the decades to follow.

Chickasaw Nation Company Makes Oklahoma State Chocolate Bars

DAVIS, Okla. (AP) _ A confectioner owned by the Chickasaw Nation has partnered with Oklahoma State University to produce collegiate-branded chocolate bars.

Gourmet chocolate bars made by Bedre Fine Chocolate are wrapped in packaging that bear OSU's logo and orange and black colors. They're sold at Bedre's retail store in Davis, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City, online at Bedre's website and are available to wholesalers for distribution across the U.S.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby says the partnership is another way the Oklahoma-based tribe shows support for higher education in the state. Anoatubby says the Chickasaw Nation has supported OSU students in academics, research and athletics for many years.

OSU President Burns Hargis says the new partnership makes Bedre Fine Chocolate the university's chocolate of choice.

USDA Awards UC and Karuk Tribe $1.2 Million for Research and Education

As California and the nation grapple with the implications of persistent drought, devastating wildfires and other harbingers of climate change, researchers at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources and the Karuk Tribe are building on a decade-long partnership to learn more about stewarding native food plants in fluctuating environmental conditions. UC Berkeley and the Karuk Tribe have been awarded a $1.2 million USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant for field research, new digital data analysis tools and community skill-building aimed to increase resilience of the abundant cultural food and other plant resources – and the tribal people whose food security and health depend on them.

Jennifer Sowerwine, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley and co-founder of the Karuk-UC Berkeley Collaborative, and Lisa Hillman, program manager of the Karuk Tribe’s Píkyav Field Institute, will co-lead the xúus nu'éethti – we are caring for it research project.

UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Karuk Department of Natural Resources will support the project with postdoctoral researchers, botany, mapping and GIS specialists, and tribal cultural practitioners and resource technicians. The San Rafael-based nonprofit Center for Digital Archaeology will help develop a new data modeling system.

Project activities include expanding the tribe’s herbarium (a research archive of preserved cultural plants launched in 2016 with UC Berkeley support), developing digital tools to collect and store agroecological field data, and helping tribal community members and youth learn how to analyze the results.

"For the xúus nu'éethti – we are caring for it research project, UC ANR’s Informatics and Geographic Information Systems (IGIS) team will lead hands-on workshops and consultations to build Karuk Tribal capacity to assess, monitor and make management decisions regarding the agroecosystem," Sowerwine said. "Workshop curricula for tribal staff and community members will include GIS training, 360 photospheres and drone images, and storymapping techniques. IGIS will also provide technical analysis of historical land use and land cover records to support researchers' understanding of agroecological resilience over time."

"We are delighted to continue our connection with UC Berkeley through this new project," said Hillman. "Through our past collaboration on tribal food security, we strengthened a network of tribal folks knowledgeable in identifying, monitoring, harvesting, managing for and preparing the traditional foods that sustain us physically and culturally. With this new project, we aim to integrate variables such as climate change, plant pathogens and invasive species into our research and management equations, learning new skills and knowledge along the way and sharing those STEM skills with the next generation."

The research team will assess the condition of cultural agroecosystems including foods and fibers to understand how land use, land management, and climate variables have affected ecosystem resilience. Through planning designed to maximize community input, they will develop new tools to inform land management choices at the federal, state, tribal and community levels.

The new project’s name, xúus nu'éethti – we are caring for it, reflects the Karuk Tribe’s continuing commitment to restore and enhance the co-inhabitants of its aboriginal territory whom they know to be their relations – plants, animals, fish, water, rocks and land. At the core of Karuk identity is the principle of reciprocity: one must first care for these relations in order to receive their gifts for future generations.

This work will be supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Resilient Agroecosystems in a Changing Climate Challenge Area.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers and educators draw on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. Learn more at

Tribal Leaders Question Maine AG on Water Rights

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Maine tribal leaders and environmental groups are criticizing Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills for calling for review of a federal court ruling backing tribal fishing rights in Washington.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review a federal court order that could force Washington to pay billions of dollars to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration. The ruling stems from a 2001 lawsuit filed by 21 tribes and the Justice Department.

The lawsuit says tribes are being deprived of fishing rights guaranteed by treaties. Maine tribes and other critics say Mills' efforts threaten such rights and clean water rules.

Mills says she respects sustenance fishing rights of the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribes. Mills, who's running for governor, argues the Washington case is about federal overreach.

Biologist Says Caribou Herd May be Extinct

 SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ A biologist says the south Selkirk mountain caribou herd may be extinct after aerial surveys found only three remaining animals.

Bart George, wildlife biologist for the Kalispel Tribe, says two aerial surveys in March found only three female caribou. Last year there were about a dozen of the endangered animals.

The Spokesman-Review says that less than 10 years ago there were about 50 animals in the herd.

The south Selkirk caribou herd was the only herd living in both the United States and Canada. It ranges along the crest of the Selkirks near the international border, north of Spokane. The remaining 14 or so herds are all in Canada. It's estimated that less than 1,400 mountain caribou are left in North America.

Efforts to save the animals began decades ago.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review,

Kansas governor signs bill protecting tribal regalia rights

Editors Note APNewsNow.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed a bill protecting the right of native Americans to wear tribal regalia and other cultural objects at public events.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the bill was sponsored by Rep. Ponka-We Victors. The Wichita Democrat is a member of both the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona.

She contends some states have enacted similar laws in response to policies enforced at events like high school graduations where officials sometimes insist on strict dress codes.

The new law bars any state agency, school district or local government from prohibiting any individual from wearing tribal regalia at events or meetings.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

Lawsuit seeks protected areas for West Coast humpbacks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A new lawsuit accuses the Trump administration of failing to follow the law on protecting humpback whales.

Two environmental groups and a nonprofit that represents Native American tribes filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in San Francisco.

There have been increasing reports of humpback whales tangled in fishing gear that cause some to die. Federal authorities have designated three groups of West Coast humpbacks as endangered or threatened.

The lawsuit says that obligates federal officials to designate special areas of the ocean as critical to protecting the humpback whales. It says authorities missed the legal deadline for doing so by 2017.

Spokeswoman Jennie Lyons of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the agency does not comment on litigation.

EPA settles with company to assess uranium sites on Navajo

CAMERON, Ariz. (AP) _ Federal officials have reached a settlement to have eight abandoned uranium mines assessed on the Navajo Nation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says EnPro Holdings Inc. will install fencing and signs warning residents and visitors of potential radiation exposure at sites in northeastern Arizona near Cameron and Tuba City. The company also will assess for radiation and conduct biological and cultural surveys ea.

The work is expected to cost $500,000 and be complete by the end of the year.

EnPro is the successor to the A&B Mining Corp, which operated on the reservation in the 1950s.

Uranium was mined extensively from the Navajo Nation for use in Cold War weapons production. Hundreds of mines were abandoned without being cleaned up.

The tribe has banned uranium mining and processing since 2005.

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