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Monday, October 04, 2004

articles-october 4

Bilking of tribes could shake D.C.
By John Aloysius Farrell
Denver Post Washington Bureau Chief

Sunday, October 03, 2004 -

Washington - The opening of the new Smithsonian museum honoring American Indians has been a cause of joy and celebration here.

But the good news has overshadowed emerging revelations about a sleazy political extortion scheme, allegedly launched by big-shot Republican lobbyists, aimed at exploiting Indians.

Throughout U.S. history, "every kind of charlatan and every type of crook has deceived and exploited America's native sons and daughters," says Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "What sets this tale apart, what makes it truly extraordinary, is the extent and degree of the apparent exploitation and deceit."

The unfolding scandal touches some of the GOP's most influential elected officials and lobbyists and could rock the capital before it's over. full article

Tribe says it will sue lobbyists over huge fees
10/4/2004, 7:52 a.m. CT
The Associated Press

ELTON, La. (AP) — Leaders of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana say they plan to sue Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations consultant Mike Scanlon to get back $32 million the tribe paid them for lobbying.

Coushatta Tribal Council chairman Lovelin Poncho and council members William G. Worfel and Leonard Battise made the comment in a two-page statement released Saturday.

Last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held hearings into huge fees that tribes paid Abramoff and Scanlon, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas. full article

U.S. Is Ordered to Tell Indians Before Selling Trust Property

ASHINGTON, Oct. 2 - A federal judge has ruled that the government must notify American Indian landowners before it seeks to sell property from a trust it manages that collects revenue from oil, timber and grazing leases and other activities on Indian land.

It is the first time such a practice has been required, the Indians say, in the nearly 120 years that the Department of the Interior has administered the fund, called the Indian Trust.

The ruling on Wednesday is part of a complex class-action lawsuit filed in 1996 by Elouise Cobell, a banker and Blackfoot from Montana, on behalf of nearly a half-million Indians who contend that during more than a century the government has cheated them of about $137 billion in royalties from the leases. The government pays beneficiaries a total of more than $500 million each year from the fund, which exceeds $3 billion dollars. full article

DOI Accused of Retaliating Against Indians

Saturday October 2, 2004 1:31 AM

By JOHN HEILPRIN

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - An angry federal judge denounced Interior Secretary Gale Norton on Friday after officials in her agency weighed cutting off federal checks to American Indians suing the government for past royalties.

Attorneys for Indians seeking billions of dollars in the suit asked for an emergency hearing before the judge, citing Interior Department memos directing a temporary halt to all communications with Indians. One memo said some payments had already been stopped and another said they might have to be stopped.

``Has Secretary Norton decided to declare war on the Indians in this litigation?'' Lamberth barked at Sandra Spooner, the Justice Department lawyer representing Norton and her department. ``It comes across as absolute, direct retaliation.'' full article

Amnesty slams treatment of Cdn. native women
CTV.ca News Staff

A report from Amnesty International says Canada isn't doing enough to protect aboriginal women from violence.

The report says aboriginal women face double the risk of violence, compared with Canadian society as a whole.

"Many are missing, some have been murdered and Canadian authorities are not doing enough to stop the violence," says the report entitled, "Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada." full article

Visitor center under new management
Ben Shouse
Argus Leader

published: 10/4/2004

Southern tourist stop now run by tribe

PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION - The Oglala Sioux Tribe has taken over management of the southern visitor center at Badlands National Park, a small increase in responsibility that officials say is the start of a major new effort to attract tourists to the reservation.

Tribal members staffed the White River Visitor Center from August until its seasonal close last week. The center is in the park's south unit, which now attracts several thousand visitors a year, far fewer than the

1 million who visit the north unit. full article

SDG&E would buy electricity produced by 38 large turbines
By Chet Barfield
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
October 4, 2004

A Texas company has signed contracts with two East County tribes to develop what would be the region's first wind-energy project to produce and sell electricity to SDG&E.

Superior Renewable Energy says it plans to erect at least 38 large wind turbines by 2006 on the Campo and Ewiiaapaayp reservations. Each three-blade turbine would be taller than a 20-story building and generate up to two megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 2,000 homes.

Pending approval by state and federal authorities, the $80 million project would create the nation's largest wind farm on Indian land, said Superior CEO John Calaway. full article

Smoking ban now in effect – but not everywhere

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's provincewide smoking ban came into effect today. And most of the debate surrounds the fact it does not apply on native reserves.

The government says it wanted to make sure the smoking ban would stick and that's why it brought in the law with some exceptions.

• Jurisdiction not clear in some areas •

Healthy Living Minister Jim Rondeau says the province does not have clear jurisdiction on reserves or in federal buildings.

"We did not want to have a law that started off, was struck down – was in legal limbo. What we wanted to do was move forward sure-footedly in the areas where we had clear jurisdiction." full article

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