Friday, February 26, 2010

NCAI to Honor Six for Their Service to Indian Country

The National Congress of American Indians will honor six leadership award recipients for their extraordinary service to Indian Country, according to a press release issued by NCAI.

Awardees were selected for their exceptional commitment and dedication that has provided an array of opportunities in the areas such as economic development, justice, health and Indian affairs, with their contributions providing an invaluable service in promoting sovereignty and government relations.

The award recipients are: Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet), lead plaintiff in Cobell v. Salazar, who will receive the Native American Leadership Award; Dr. Stephen Cornell, co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and director or Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona, and Professor Joseph P. Kalt, co-director of Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, who will receive the Public Sector Leadership Award; Dr. Eric Broderick, deputy administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, who will receive the Governmental Leadership Award; U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D - CA), who will receive the Congressional Leadership Award; and Marie Howard, staff director for the House Resources Committee - Office of Indian Affairs, who will receive the Special Recognition Award.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Actress Leaves Indian College Fund $100,000

The late actress Bea Arthur left $100,000 to the American Indian College Fund for the Bea Arthur Scholarship Fund, according to a press release issued by the Fund.

Arthur, who died last April at the age of 86, may be known best for her roles as Maude in the television show Maude and Dorothy in Golden Girls, but she is also pretty famous for her generosity toward those in need.

"She believed that education was the key to empowering people to have faith in themselves and to overcome the hardships and injustices in their lives," said her son, Matthew Saks.

The Fund will match Arthur’s estate gift up to $100,000 for all new donations.

"Thanks to Bea Arthur and her vision, American Indians across America will have the opportunity to earn a college education, giving them, their families, and their communities hope for a better future," said Richard B. Williams, the Fund’s president and CEO.

Supporters can give by mail, donate online at or call 1-800-776-386 from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (MST).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oil Brings Prosperity to North Dakota Reservation

While many tribes have oil on their lands, no reservation is booming more than the million-acre Fort Berthold reservation in North Dakota, and this boom has meant a lot of money and jobs for a community that has struggled with poverty for more than 100 years.

An AP article published today takes a look at the transformation that has taken place on Fort Berthold, which sits on billions of barrels of oil. It tells how lease payments of more than $179 million have been paid to the tribe and its members, with millions more in royalties and tax revenue coming in too. There are plenty of job opportunities on the oil rigs (dozens of wells have already been drilled and another 500 or so will be operation over the next five years. Even its Four Bears Casino is now booming; casino revenues increased from $4.5 million in 2008 to $7.2 million in 2009.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Falmouth Institute at RES 2010

Visit Falmouth Institute at RES 2010 - the Reservation Economic Summit & American Indian Business Trade Fair - at the Las Vegas Hilton, through Wednesday, February 24. Visit us at Booth #703 for information on training and technical assistance that Falmouth can provide to strengthen and support tribal enterprises.

For details on RES2010, please click here. For information on Falmouth, please click here.

Native American Inmates’ ‘Strip Search’ Complaint Rejected

In a three to two ruling, the Montana Human Rights Commission rejected a discrimination complaint filed by about 30 Native American inmates at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby who were subjected to strip searches before and after participating in sweat lodge ceremonies in 2008, as reported in an AP article published on Feb. 19 by

Prison officials believed the ceremonies were used to move contraband, though none was ever found in these searches; therefore, they maintain, there was no discrimination.

The case may go to state or federal court, the inmates’ attorney told the AP.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Klamath Dam Removal Agreements Signed

It took five years to reach them, but two agreements that lay out the details for the removal of four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California were signed yesterday, according to an AP article published by the Redding Record Searchlight (

One of the agreements lays out a roadmap for removing the dams, with the first one coming down in 2020, while the other outlines how to share water between fish and farms and restore the ecological balance of the basin, the AP story said.

Tribes in the area, as well as conservation groups and salmon fishers, fought for decades for the removal of the dams because they block salmon from hundreds of miles of spawning grounds.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Geronimo Honored on 100th Anniversary of His Death

Arizona State Sen. Sylvia Allen read a proclamation on the Senate floor in honor of the legendary Apache leader Geronimo on the hundredth anniversary of his death, according to a post published yesterday on the official web site of the state’s Senate Republican Caucus.

San Carlos Apache Chairman Wendsler Nosie, who was present for the reading, accepted a statue from former Sen. Lester Pearce. The statue was created by former Senate Majority Leader Rusty Bowers.

Geronimo, born in 1829, was a leader/warrior of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. He died in 1909 at Fort Sill, Okla.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Justice Department Announces Streamlined Grant Solicitation for Tribal Communities

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced today that the Justice Department’s grant-making components have created a streamlined approach for American Indian and Alaska Native tribal communities to apply for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 funding opportunities. The Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) will serve as a single solicitation for existing tribal government-specific grant programs administered by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). This move comes after consultation with tribal leaders, including sessions at the department’s Tribal Nations Listening Session last year.

"This is a direct result of what we heard from tribal leaders at the department's listening session. Tribal leaders have made it clear that a single application would significantly improve their ability to apply and receive critical federal funding, which so many of their communities depend on," said Associate Attorney General Perrelli. "This comprehensive approach is another step in our efforts to work more effectively with tribal communities to improve public safety in those communities."

The Justice Department solicited input from tribal leaders on how to make a change to a single application process that would work most effectively for tribal grant applicants. For the FY2010 grant process, American Indian and Alaska Native tribal communities will submit a single application for all available tribal government-specific grant programs. This coordinated approach will allow the department’s grant-making components to consider the totality of a tribal community’s overall public safety needs. OJP, COPS and OVW will then coordinate in making award decisions to address these needs on a more comprehensive basis. The Department of Justice has begun providing information about the new process to tribal communities this week, with an expected solicitation process launch in mid-March.

Native communities and tribal consortiums may be eligible for other non-tribal government-specific grant-funding opportunities and are encouraged to submit a separate application to any grant programs for which they may be eligible. OVW’s "Grants to Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions" will not be included in the single solicitation and application; OVW will release a separate solicitation and application and eligible applicants must apply separately for this grant program.

Today’s announcement is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing initiative to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

DOJ Unveils Plan of Action for Consultation/Coordination with Tribes

The Justice Department has unveiled its plan of action, submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to improve consultation and coordination between the department and tribal nations, as directed by President Barack Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation, which was signed on Nov. 5.

The plan, submitted to OMB on Jan. 27, identifies the steps DOJ will take to develop a comprehensive consultation and coordination policy with tribal nations.

The plan includes: expanding the role of the Office of Tribal Justice; creating a Tribal Nations Leadership Council to ensure ongoing communication and collaboration with tribal governments; convening consultations between tribal leadership and U.S. Attorneys whose jurisdictions include federally-recognized tribes; mandating annual meetings between the department's grants offices and tribal leadership to discuss grant policies, concerns or funding priorities; creating a new federal-tribal taskforce to develop strategies and guidance for federal and tribal prosecutions of crimes of violence against women in tribal communities; and publishing a progress report within 270 days of the Presidential Memorandum evaluating the implementation of these reforms.

To view the plan, go to:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Montana Tribe Could Lose Stimulus Funds Due to Accounting Practices

The Little Shell Tribe in Montana could lose about $400,000 in federal stimulus funds due to concerns the state’s Department of Commerce has over the tribe’s accounting practices, as reported by the Great Falls Tribune on Feb. 11.

The tribe was supposed to receive $617,000 in stimulus funds. The money it may not be getting was to be used to renovate the tribe's Great Falls offices and to build a new office in Havre.

The funds now may go into the state's general fund, which could use it, or it could be re-distributed among other tribes, the paper said.

The tribe is still is eligible for the remaining $200,000, but it must show improvements in its accounting procedures.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tribe Sues State of California Over Lost Profits

The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, which owns Valley View Casino in Valley Center, Calif., has filed a $115 million lawsuit against the state of California for lost profits, according to a press release issued by Stephen Warren Solomon, the law firm representing the tribe.

The damages are alleged to be a consequence of Governor Schwarzenegger's refusal to allow the California Gambling Control Commission to issue all of the slot machine licenses to which the tribe is entitled to under its 1999 contract with the state.

The tribe contends that the state breached its contract and is illegally interfering with its ability to provide slot machine play for its patrons, the release said.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oglala Sioux Tribe Makes Hair Follicle Drug Testing Mandatory

At a tribal council meeting held on Jan. 26, the Oglala Sioux tribe approved an ordinance that requires mandatory drug testing using hair follicles for tribal employees, as reported by the Rapid City Journal on Feb. 5. The ordinance affects more than 750 people.

Although the hair follicle testing method is more effective than the traditional urine test, it is also more expensive, costing about $125 per test. Funding is an issue for the tribe, but it seems confident that it will find the resources.

The council has 30 days from when the ordinance was approved to come up with an implementation plan, the article said.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pechanga Defrauded in Insurance Scheme

A Riverside County, Calif., grand jury indicted James Riley and Ryan Robinson, the former an insurance broker and the latter an ex-financial officer for the tribe, for allegedly defrauding the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians out of millions of dollars, according to an article that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday.

Riley, the article said, overcharged the tribe by $4 million for insurance premiums from 2006 to 2007; and Robinson was allegedly paid more than $100,000 “to look the other way.”

The men are scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 18.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Campaign Urges Native Parents to Protect Preteens with Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indian Health Service have jointly launched a campaign to educate American Indian and Alaska Native parents and other caregivers about the importance of a preteen medical check-ups and vaccines.

One goal of this campaign is to encourage parents to take their preteens in for an 11- or 12-year-old check-up, during which the doctor takes a complete medical history, screens for diseases like diabetes, discusses teen issues (such as puberty) and ensures that immunizations are up to date.

Three vaccines are specifically recommended for the preteens: MCV4 (meningitis); Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or “whooping cough” booster); and for girls, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (protects against cervical cancer). Annual seasonal flu shots and vaccination against H1N1 are also recommended for preteens.

Posters and flyers educating parents about the preteen check-up and preteen vaccines were developed and can be ordered or downloaded from the campaign Web site:

Other campaign activities include outreach to Native media, partnerships with American Indian and Alaska Native organizations that reach parents and healthcare providers and a community-based education project in New Mexico.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Contract Support Funding to Rise by $64 Million

The FY 2011 budget requests of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service have a combined increase of over $64 million for contract support costs. These funds are used to fund tribes' indirect costs associated with P.L. 93-638 contracts and compacts.

It is important for tribes to prepare their FY 2011 indirect cost proposals in a manner that insures full recovery of allowable overhead costs. For information or assistance in preparing these proposals, please contact Tom Wilkins at 800-992-4489, ext. 119 or

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Proposed FY 2011 Indian Affairs Budget Highlights

President Obama’s proposed FY 2011 budget includes $2.6 billion for Indian Affairs, a net decrease of $3.6 million from the 2010 enacted level.

But, as stated in a press release issued yesterday by the Interior Department, the budget targets more than $70 million in program increases to strengthen tribal management of federally funded programs and to enhance energy, education and public safety programs that will bring jobs to Indian Country.

FY 2011 Proposed Budget Highlights:

Operation of Indian Programs gets $2.4 billion, $58.7 million (2.5 percent) more than the 2010 enacted level.

Includes $115.7 million for Construction, $51.6 million less than the 2010 level: $52.9 million for Education Construction; $11.4 million for Public Safety and Justice Construction; $42.2 million for Resource Management Construction; $3.8 million for the Safety of Dams program; and $9.3 million for Other Program Construction.

Includes program increases of $21.5 million for contract support and the Indian Self-Determination Fund. (So, now is the time to ensure your proposals are in on time and crafted to maximize contract support recoveries. Mark your calendar for Falmouth’s IDC Summit next month).

Tribal Priority Allocations gets a net increase of $28.0 million, 3.4 percent more than the 2010 enacted level.

DOI’s New Energy Frontier Initiative has an increase of $2.5 million for Indian Affairs to help tribes explore and develop lands that have active and potential energy resources.

Nearly $47 million goes to Resolving Land and Water Claims.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Yakama Provide Money from Gaming to Members for College

For the first time, the 10,000-member Yakama Nation is devoting some of it gaming profits to help tribal members pursue a higher education, according to an article published today in The Daily Herald.

In the state of Washington, just 13 percent of Native Americans have a bachelor’s degree — half the rate of the state’s white population, the paper said, attributing the statistics to a report called Pathways for Native Students, based on research conducted by colleges in western Washington.

Of the Yakama, only 6.5 percent of tribal members age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree; and just 35 percent of adults are high school graduates.