Thursday, October 29, 2009

November: American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

November 2009 is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. A little history: The U.S. Census Bureau states that the first American Indian Day was observed in May 1916. Later, President George H.W. Bush designated November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month” when he signed a joint congressional resolution.

For American Indian and Alaska Native population facts, please click here to view the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Facts for Features.”

Falmouth Institute to Present at NNAHRA Conference

Two of Indian Country's top experts in human resources and finance will present at the National Native American Human Resources Association Annual Conference, held November 3-5, 2009 in Tulsa, OK.

Richard Phelps, CEO of Falmouth Institute, will lead the How HR Contributes to Tribal Fiscal Health session; and Rick McGee, Falmouth Senior Faculty Member and Principle Attorney, Law Office of Richard McGee, will present the Keynote Address: Employment Law Update.

For details on the NNAHRA conference, please click here. For more information on Falmouth Institute, please click here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New California Law Provides for Tribal Customary Adoptions

On Oct. 11, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that provides for tribal customary adoptions.

Traditionally, the adoption of a Native American child requires the termination of parental rights of the biological parents. Many Native children end up being placed with non-Native families, which can be culturally detrimental to tribes and the adopted children.

“Customary Adoption” is defined as "a traditional tribal practice recognized by the community which gives a child a permanent parent-child relationship with someone other than the child's birth parent."

This bill (AB1325), sponsored by the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians and introduced by Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, requires the court and social workers “to consider and recommend tribal customary adoption, as defined, as an additional permanent placement option, without termination of parental rights, for a dependent child.”

The bill also provides “that a tribal customary adoption order would have the same force and effect as an order of adoption.”

Monday, October 26, 2009

San Manuel Casino to Host Second-Annual Ante Up for Africa

Hollywood celebrities and poker stars will gather on Oct. 29 at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in Highland, Calif., for the second-annual Ante Up for Africa poker tournament.

Ante Up for Africa was founded by Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle, World Series of Poker bracelet winner Annie Duke and Norman Epstein to raise money and awareness for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Africa.

Among the confirmed Hollywood celebs who will be attending are Don Cheadle, George Lopez, Marlon Wayans, Mekhi Phifer and Casey Affleck. They will be betting alongside some of professional poker’s best players, including Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow and Phil Gordon. Nearly 300 players from the general public will also be participating.

This is the second year that the San Manuel tribe has hosted the event. As it did last year, the tribe has pledged a donation of $500,000.

“Our decision to continue partnering with Ante Up for Africa is rooted in the shared history of survival among the California Indian people,” San Manuel Chairman James Ramos said in a press statement. “We must turn the tide to stop atrocities against all people in the world where we can.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Environmental Protection Agency Disallows $663,321 in Costs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is questioning $663,321 in costs due to a grantee not following required procedures when purchasing A/E services.

The West Rankin Utility Authority allegedly didn't conduct a detailed cost analysis when reviewing proposals for a construction project under an EPA award. The audit also claimed the grantee didn't have an adequate procurement system in place and lacked proper policies and procedures.

The audit finding once again demonstrates how critical it is that grantees comply with all requirements published in OMB A-102.

To access the audit report, please click here.

Don't miss Falmouth Institute's Indian Country Construction Conference, November 17-18, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ.

Job Announcement: Chief Financial Officer Position

Job announcement: Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewas seek a Chief Financial Officer. Please click here for details and contact information.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Funds for HazMat Training and Preparation

The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that it is awarding $20.9 million to states, territories and Native American tribes to improve the nation’s response to transportation incidents involving hazardous materials. The grants will help train first responders to react to incidents involving hazardous materials and to meet the safety challenges posed by new chemicals and alternative energy products such as ethanol.

More information on the HMEP grants program can be found at:

Falmouth Institute is offering a Hazardous Materials Management class, January 28-29 in Las Vegas. For more information go here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

President to Meet with Tribal Leaders

President Obama will meet with leaders from the 564 federally recognized tribes on November 5 at the White House Tribal Nations Conference. American Indian and Alaska Native leaders will be invited to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference.

"I look forward to hearing directly from the leaders in Indian Country about what my Administration can do to not only meet their needs, but help improve their lives and the lives of their peoples," the President said in the White House announcement. "This conference will serve as part of the ongoing and important consultation process that I value, and further strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

News from the Department of Justice

Robert Darryl War Club Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Court (U.S. Attorney For the District of Montana)
Bill Mercer, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, announced that on Oct. 1, 2009, in Great Falls, after a four day federal district court trial before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, Robert Darryl War Club, a 49-year-old resident of Wolf Point, was found guilty of first degree murder. Sentencing is set for Jan. 7, 2010. He is currently detained. War Club faces possible penalties of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and 5 years supervised release.

Former Casino Employee Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
Adam Thomas Vega, 31, of Tucson, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson on Oct. 1, 2009, to 37 months in prison. Vega was also ordered to pay $644,422 in restitution. Vega, a former casino worker, pleaded guilty on April 10, 2009, to one count each of theft by an officer or employee of a gaming establishment on Indian Lands and attempted evasion of assessment and payment of his 2006 federal individual income taxes. Vega admitted that between October 2005 and July 2007, while employed as a slot floor person at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, he created 585 fraudulent jackpot override tickets. All of the false jackpot tickets were for amounts under $1,200 to avoid generating a W-2G federal tax withholding form. Vega submitted a total of $644,422 in jackpot tickets to the casino cage cashiers which were all cashed over the three year period.

Summer Lee Many White Horses Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
Bill Mercer, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls on Oct. 1, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, Summer Lee Many White Horses, a 32-year-old resident of Browning and Great Falls, pled guilty to Social Security fraud. Sentencing is set for Dec. 28, 2009. She is currently detained. Many White Horses applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on behalf of her son on September 18, 2007. Her son was eligible for federal assistance based upon his speech and language delays. This claim was approved and Many White Horses was selected to serve as her son’s representative payee, meaning she would receive and manage her son’s money for him. During an interview with law enforcement officials, Many White Horses told detectives her son had died on May 29, 2008. Following this interview, detectives retrieved her son’s badly decomposed body from the trunk of Many White Horses’ car. Many White Horses was recently convicted of negligent homicide for the death of her son in state court. She faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

ACLU Finds Pervasive Voting Rights Violations in Indian Country

American Indians continue to face discriminatory policies and actions that deny them their constitutional right to vote, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union. The report provides a historical overview of systemic discrimination against American Indians limiting their ability to participate in local, state and national elections and highlights ACLU litigation challenging unlawful election practices on behalf of Indians in five western states: Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.