Haskell Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director

Lawrence, Kan. - The Haskell Foundation is pleased to announce that Aaron Hove has joined the organization as Executive Director.

Hove provides key leadership skills and will oversee support services for the foundation's efforts to financially promote Haskell Indian Nations University, an institution of higher learning for members of federally recognized Native American tribes in the U.S.

Aaron earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kansas, and also earned a Juris Doctorate from University of Kansas School of Law. For 25 years he acted as an attorney for Payless Shoesource; lastly as the Vice President of International Legal, with significant involvement in International operations. During his career at Payless, Aaron developed the business organization skills and integrity that the Executive Director position requires.

As an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Haskell Foundation provides means for other organizations, tribal communities, foundations, agencies and individuals to contribute monetary support to Haskell Indian Nations University.

 

Oklahoma City Mayor Proclaims Oct. 8 Indigenous People's Day

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt has proclaimed Oct. 8 as Indigenous People's Day, adding the city to dozens around the nation that acknowledge Native Americans on the day known nationally as Columbus Day.

At least three Oklahoma cities, Tulsa, Norman and Tahlequah already recognize the day, but efforts to do the same in Oklahoma City have failed.

Holt, who is a member of the Osage Nation, wrote that arguments over whether to declare an Indigenous People's Day in the city was unfortunate due to the city's indigenous population and that other cities have already done so.

The Oklahoma City Council repeatedly turned down requests for the day in recent years. City spokeswoman Kristy Yager says Holt's proclamation eliminates the need for the issue to go before the council again.

 

New Culture Center to Honor Shoshone Killed in 1863 Massacre

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation is on a mission to make sure hundreds of tribal members who were killed by U.S. troops in the 1863 Bear River Massacre are never forgotten with a new cultural center in southeastern Idaho.

Darren Parry said he developed a deep respect for the site from frequent visits with his grandmother.

``She would say that if you're here at just the right time in the evening sometimes you can hear the cries of the little ones for their mothers,'' he said. ``She instilled in me a love for my people.''

Parry and other tribal council members are working with GSBS Architects in Utah to develop the Boa Ogoi (Big River) Cultural Interpretive Center, the Deseret News reported earlier this month.

He hopes the center will teach others about Shoshone history, so they can appreciate it the way he does.

The tribe purchased about 1 square mile (3 square kilometers) of the massacre site for $1.75 million last January, two days before Perry and the Shoshone Nation commemorated the 155th anniversary of the Bear River Massacre. Between 250 and 500 Shoshone men, women and children were killed by Col. Patrick Connor and his federal troops on Jan. 29, 1863.

The site is designed to be minimalistic by being built into the earth.

Michael Gross, a tribal councilman and Parry's cousin, said incorporating the landscape into the design was key. He thinks it will help to foster education and understand his people's story.

``Everything they did was based off the land. That's how they survived. The land was of great importance for a lot of reasons,'' Gross said. ``The design encapsulates everything we're about.''

The Shoshone Nation is also working with the Utah State University College of Natural Resources to clean up the site and return it to the state it was in in 1863, with more willows and vegetation.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

 

US House Backs Bill Giving Montana Tribe Federal Recognition

By MATTHEW BROWN
Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ The U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday that would give federal recognition to Montana's Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians following a decades-long effort.

Federal recognition would validate the Little Shell's identity and make its roughly 6,000 members eligible for government benefits ranging from education to health care. The tribe was recognized by the state of Montana in 2000.

Little Shell Chairman Gerald Gray said he was optimistic a companion measure would now advance through the Senate and be signed into law.

``I feel very optimistic. It's the first time we've ever had a House bill come out of the chamber,'' Gray said.

The bill was approved by a voice vote. A companion bill was endorsed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in May 2017 but has yet to receive a vote from the full Senate.

Montana U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, the first-term Republican lawmaker who sponsored the bill, said it became clear to him after his election that the Little Shell had suffered an injustice in being denied recognition.

``This is a big milestone,'' Gianforte said. ``This recognition is really due them through a treaty arrangement that dates back a long period of time.''

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester issued a statement calling on the chamber's Republican majority to take up the measure with ``no strings attached.''

Both the House and Senate versions would require the U.S. Department of the Interior to acquire 200 acres (80 hectares) for the Little Shell's members that could be used for a tribal government center, housing or other purposes.

The Little Shell evolved from a group of French and Indian hunters and trappers affiliated with the historical Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians.

The tribe has been without a recognized homeland since the late 1800s, when Chief Little Shell and his followers in North Dakota broke off treaty negotiations with the U.S. government. Tribe members later settled in Montana and southern Canada.

Tribal leaders first petitioned for recognition through the Interior Department in 1978. Gray and other members trace their other attempts back to the 1860s, when the Pembina Band of Chippewa signed a treaty with the U.S. government.

The Interior Department gave preliminary approval to recognizing the Little Shell in 2000 but rescinded the move in 2009. The agency denied recognition for the Little Shell again in 2013.

There are more than 500 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.

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Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at www.twitter.com/matthewbrownap

 

Sculpture Planned for Native American Cemetery to be Moved

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) _ A new sculpture planned for the entrance of a Native American burial site in western Michigan is being relocated after a tribe raised concerns it would disturb sacred ground.

Construction was already underway to place the 16-foot (4.9-meter) granite sculpture titled ``All My Relations'' in the Old Indian Cemetery in Muskegon. The sculpture was crafted by Anishinaabe artist Jason Quigno.

Members of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians recently expressed disapproval of the decision and advocated for a different location.

Cemetery caretaker Joseph Genia says the cemetery is a sacred place to the Ottawa people. He says placing a statue in the cemetery would ruin its integrity.

City Manager Frank Peterson says groups reached a consensus to find a new location for the sculpture. The new site is expected to be announced soon.

 

River Raisin National Battlefield Redevelopment Begins

MONROE, Mich. (AP) _ The River Raisin National Battlefield Park in southeastern Michigan is undergoing an estimated $100 million redevelopment to turn the historical site into a tourist destination.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and private partners will fund the redevelopment project in Monroe at the location of the Battle of Frenchtown, an important battle in the War of 1812, The Detroit Free Press reported .

The project launched Monday will begin with the purchase of 20 houses that will be demolished to make room for a recreation of historic Frenchtown and a $20 million education center.

Officials estimate the changes will attract more than 1 million visitors annually, including 100,000 school children. The area had 239,000 visitors last year, said Park Superintendent Scott Bentley. Monroe has a population of about 20,000 and lies 35 miles south of Detroit.

``Fourteen million people live within three hours' drive of the park,'' said Mark Cochran, Monroe development coordinator. ``We've been working on gearing our economy more toward tourism. We've got Lake Erie, the River Raisin, the battlefield and a heritage trail.''

Bentley said the Battle of Frenchtown was an important moment in U.S. history that went on to shape U.S. policy toward Native Americans and led to westward expansion.

``It was the greatest defeat for the U.S. in the entire War of 1812,'' he said.

Native American tribes fought alongside British and Canadian soldiers to capture Fort Detroit before taking over Frenchtown. The Canadian and Native American troops later withdrew from the town. The Native American tribes brought about 500 U.S. prisoners with them during the retreat and killed between 20 to 100 soldiers who couldn't walk.

Bentley said that event led to the forced removal of native populations.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

Advocates: Ruling Holds Promise for Native American Students

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ It's being billed as a landmark ruling that could reshape New Mexico's education system and how it gets funded.

And some advocates say Native American students are among those who could benefit the most as the state has been tasked by a district judge to follow through with promises made years ago under New Mexico's Indian Education Act.

Adopted in 2003, the act calls for an equitable and culturally relevant learning environment in schools that serve Native American students.

Regis Pecos with the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School says the recent court ruling provides a monumental opportunity for tribes to define their vision of education in New Mexico and elsewhere.

State officials plan to appeal, arguing that spending on education has increased. They also say Native American students are now seeing record academic gains.

Solicitor General: Supreme Court Should Hear Crow Case

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ A top official within the U.S. Department of Justice says the U.S. Supreme Court should review a case in which a Crow tribal member and game warden from Montana is asserting his treaty right to hunt elk in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming.

Clayvin Herrera was found guilty of killing an elk in the forest in January 2014. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $8,080.

The Wyoming Supreme Court declined to hear his case, saying the issue was decided by a federal appeals court in 1995. That ruling was based on an 1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said tribal treaty rights ``are irreconcilable with state sovereignty.'' The 1896 Supreme Court ruling has since been overturned.

The Billings Gazette reports U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco said Idaho and Montana recognize tribal hunting rights and the Supreme Court should resolve the disagreements.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

Postage stamp to honor Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore 

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) _ Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan will be honored with a postage stamp being released this year.

The illustration features a sweeping view of a sandy beach, lapping Lake Michigan waves and towering dunes for which the park is famous.

The U.S. Postal Service says the Priority Mail Express stamp will cost $24.70.

ABC's ``Good Morning America'' named Sleeping Bear Dunes the nation's most beautiful spot in 2011. More than 1.1 million people visit annually to wander the park's 35 miles of shoreline, climb the dunes, hike forest trails and tour historic structures including former lifesaving stations.

The park also includes the North and South Manitou Islands, both popular with campers.

Its name was inspired by a Native American legend of a mother bear and her two cubs.

 

Ancient DNA gives glimpse of ancestors of Native Americans

By MALCOLM RITTER
AP Science Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ DNA from an infant who died in Alaska some 11,500 years ago is giving scientists the best look yet at the genetics of the ancestors of today's native peoples of the Americas.

Decoding the infant's complete set of DNA let researchers estimate the timing of key events in the ancestral history of today's Native Americans and indigenous peoples of Canada and Central and South America.

Expert said that while the new work doesn't radically change the outlines of what scientists have thought, it provides more detail and better evidence than what was available before.

The infant girl was buried about 50 miles southeast of Fairbanks, and her remains are the earliest known in the far north of North America, said anthropologist Ben Potter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He reports the analysis along with others in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature.

The first Americans were descended from Asians, and they reached the New World by way of Beringia, a now-submerged land bridge that used to connect Asia to Alaska. Recent research suggests they followed the shorelines of Beringia and the Pacific Coast as they spread into the Americas by at least 15,000 years ago.

The new paper supports a theory that the migrants from Asia spent thousands of years in isolation, either in Beringea or Asia, before entering the Americas. During that time they developed unique genetic signatures that are now found in natives of the Americas.

The DNA analyzed by Potter and his colleagues came from a skull bone. The infant's remains, along with remains of a fetus, had been uncovered in 2013 in a circular pit that showed signs of ritual burial. The fetus was related to the infant, perhaps a cousin, but contained too little DNA for a full analysis of it.

By comparing the genetic details of the infant to those of genomes from other populations, the researchers were able to estimate the times of key events in the ancestral story of today's indigenous Americans. For example, they calculated that the ancestors completed their split from Asians by about 25,000 years ago.

Ancestors of the Alaskan girl split away from this group about 20,000 years ago. So her DNA allows a direct glimpse of the ancient population that led to today's native peoples, said Jennifer Raff of the University of Kansas, who didn't participate in the study

Much of the research in this area has been based on DNA that tells only about a person's maternal ancestors, she said. A complete genome is more informative and allows scientists to have more confidence in their time estimates, she said.

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Follow Malcolm Ritter at (at)MalcolmRitter His recent work can be found at http://tinyurl.com/RitterAP

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