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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

articles-November 2

Colville tribes, utility settle fight over dam

By SHANNON DININNY
The Associated Press

YAKIMA — The Douglas County Public Utility District and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation announced an agreement yesterday in a nearly two-year dispute involving payment for use of tribal land near Wells Dam.

The PUD holds the license for the 840-megawatt dam, which was built in 1967 on the upper Columbia River. The license requires that the utility make annual payments to the Colvilles for use of tribal lands.

The two sides have differed over how much compensation has been paid over the years, as well as which land the Colvilles own.

Last year, the tribe sought $950 million from the utility district as compensation for fishing grounds flooded by the dam. full article

AIM case hearing set for December

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — An American Indian Movement activist charged with murder in South Dakota almost 30 years ago may learn more next month about the strength of the U.S. case against him.

John Graham is charged with first-degree murder in the 1975 killing of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a fellow AIM member, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Another man, Arlo Looking Cloud, was convicted in February and was sentenced to life in prison.

Witnesses at Looking Cloud's trial testified that Graham shot Pictou Aquash in the back of the head as she begged for her life. full article

Rumors of vote buying continue
By Kevin Woster, Journal Staff Writer

The Tripp County auditor and her deputy have charged a Republican poll watcher with being disruptive at a satellite voting station on Rosebud Indian Reservation, a charge the man denies.

In addition, Auditor Kathleen Flakus said in a signed statement sent to reporters Monday that she heard Republican poll watcher Paul Brenner of Burke, Va., tell voters coming to the station last week that they could be paid $10 to vote.

Brenner presents a different version of the incident in his own affidavit, also sent Monday to the Journal. He claims to have found evidence of vote buying on the Rosebud Reservation on behalf of Democrats.

Brenner said he was discussing the issue with voters who said they expected to be paid for their vote, as well as a driver who said she sometimes had to split the money she received for hauling voters to the polls with some of those voters. full article

Let the games begin -- Extortion in Minnesota
Posted: November 02, 2004
by: Tom Wanamaker / Indian Country Today

Pawlenty's price tag - $350 million

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty finally tipped his hand. Since January the Republican has pressured the state's gaming tribes to renegotiate - ''voluntarily'' of course - their compacts to include revenue-sharing provisions. After recently claiming that the 18 casinos operated by 11 of Minnesota's tribes are a $10-billion business, a figure he seems to have pulled out of thin air, the governor has announced his version of the tribe's ''fair share'' - $350 million annually.

According the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Pawlenty informed the tribes in an Oct. 12 letter that in return for a total annual payment of $350 million, they would enjoy gaming exclusivity in the state for a ''time period to be agreed upon.'' He invited tribal leaders to meet with him on Oct. 27 to contemplate a new arrangement between state and tribal governments to replace the current compacts, signed in 1989. Those agreements mention neither revenue sharing nor exclusivity, but do mandate that the tribes pay $150,000 in regulatory expenses. They have no expiration date and are supposed to be re-negotiated only if both parties agree to do so.

The Star-Tribune on Oct. 22 reported that Pawlenty's $350-million price tag exceeds revenue generated by Minnesota's motor vehicle sales tax, and equates to slightly more than half of the state's projected corporate income tax payments for 2004. The governor also reportedly sent his chief of staff on a recent trip to Las Vegas to meet with officials from several commercial casino operators, including MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Harrah's, to explore their interest in Minnesota. full article

Onboard with the Zapatistas
Posted: November 01, 2004
by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today

Reporter's notebook

The toughest Indians in the world

HERMOSILLO, Mexico - Seated on the motel bed with her backpack ready, Maria Garcia, great-grandmother who packs sack lunches for these trips, said she was prepared to die for this cause, the struggle for indigenous rights in Mexico.

The year was 1995. The Zapatistas had emerged in armed struggle the year before, and now, the military and paramilitary were executing Mayans in remote villages. Garcia was on an indigenous delegation to Chiapas and all were volunteering to serve as human shields. They were also delivering thousands of pounds of food to mountain villages.

But all things go better with good friends, even looking down the barrels of the Mexican military's automatic weapons on isolated dirt roads.

Maria's husband Jose Garcia, Tohono O'odham, was joined by Dennis Ramon, then chairman of the Tohono O'odham Legislative Council in Sells, Ariz. and Tohono O'odham tribal councilman Mike Flores of Gu:Vo.

With them were Jose Matus, Pascua Yaqui ceremonial leader and border rights activist; Guy Lopez, Dakota activist; Larry Gus, Navajo-Hopi photographer; supporter Bruce Black and this reporter. full article

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