Repatriation of Tribal Sacred Objects (NEWS)

Secretary Jewell Advances Discussion on Repatriation of Tribal Sacred Objects with French Authorities

PARIS, France – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell met today with French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira to express the United States' concern about tribal sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony that are sold at French auction houses, and to seek cooperation in working to repatriate objects to Indian tribes in the United States.

In the meeting, Secretary Jewell and Minister Taubira discussed their shared commitment to helping tribes repatriate their sacred cultural objects that, under tribal customary law, are owned by the tribe as a whole and cannot be legally sold by individuals. The Secretary and Minister agreed to explore pathways that might provide greater protections for U.S. tribes seeking to repatriate their cultural property.

Secretary Jewell also met with President Catherine Chadelat of the Conseil des Ventes Volontaires, France's auctioneering association and regulator.

Paris auction houses have recently held a series of auctions that included Native American sacred objects such as ceremonial masks. The next such sale is scheduled for December 7 and includes items of concern to several tribes. In the meeting, Jewell noted U.S. tribes’ requests for greater transparency from French auction houses about the origins of objects being sold.

At the request of tribes, the U.S. Department of the Interior has worked closely with the Department of State, including the U.S. Embassy in Paris, to engage French authorities and raise public awareness. Only certain objects are considered “not for sale” by tribes, including objects that are sacred, used for religious or healing purposes, and deeply important to tribal identity.

In the meetings, Secretary Jewell also emphasized the unique legal and political relationship between the federal government and federally recognized tribes in the United States. Federally recognized tribes have their own governments within the U.S. political system, with the power to make contracts, own property, regulate their territory, to sue and be sued in court, and to appear in proceedings of administrative bodies, the same as any other sovereign nation.

White House Update (information/news)

Good morning,

In this update, you will learn about some of the ways in which President Obama and his Administration continue to address the interests, concerns, and needs of the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) community.

Please visit us online to learn more about the White House Office of Public Engagement, theWhite House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the White House's work with the Native American community. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates!

Best regards,

Raina Thiele
Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
The White House

P.S. -- If you're on Twitter, you can follow Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett at @VJ44, Public Engagement Director Paulette Aniskoff at @PAniskoff44, and Director of Specialty Media Shin Inouye at @Inouye44!

Department of the Interior Offers Nearly $100 Million to Reduce Fractionation of Tribal Lands

On August 28, the Department of the Interior announced that purchase offers have been sent to more than 4,000 individual landowners with fractional interests at the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. These offers, totaling nearly $100 million, will give eligible landowners with interests in tribal priority tracts the opportunity to voluntarily sell their land to be held in trust for each tribe.

With these offers, Interior's Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) has sent more than 37,000 purchase offers to owners of fractionated interests. The Program has successfully concluded transactions worth nearly $97 million and has restored the equivalent of almost 265,000 acres of land to tribal governments.

The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value within a 10-year period.

You can read the full press release here.

Click here to learn more about the Land Buy-Back Program.

Treasury Department Awards More Than $195 Million to Organizations Serving Low-Income and Native Communities

On August 26, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) awarded 185 organizations more than $195.4 million today through the fiscal year (FY) 2014 rounds of the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program). These awards will enable Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Native CDFIs across the country to increase their lending and investments in low-income and economically distressed communities, including Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities (Native Communities). The awards announced will help these CDFIs and Native CDFIs build their capacity in order to better meet the investment and lending needs of the communities they serve.

Click here to learn more about the recently announced funding.

Department of Justice Releases Report to Congress on Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions

On August 26, the Department of Justice released its second report to Congress entitledIndian Country Investigations and Prosecutions, which provides a range of enforcement statistics. The Department of Justice is required to issue this report to comply with the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The report also serves to communicate the progress of the Attorney General's initiatives to reduce violent crime and strengthen tribal justice systems.

The report details the voluntary progress three tribes have made implementing the Violence Against Women Act of 2013. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon, and the Tulalip Tribes of Washington will be the first tribes in the nation to exercise special criminal jurisdiction over crimes of domestic and dating violence, regardless of the defendant's Indian or non-Indian Status.

Click here to read more about the report.

Click here to learn more about the Justice Department's efforts to increase public safety in Indian Country.

Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the Four Corners Conference

Associate Attorney General Tony West speaks at the Four Corners Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona, August 26, 2014. (Photo by the U.S. Department of Justice)

On August 26, Associate Attorney General Tony West spoke at the Four Corners Conference. Mr. West detailed how the Indian community effectively confronted the reality of high rates of violence against Native women and girls in Indian country. Mr. West stated that the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act helped push forward legislative recommendations to help tribes protect Indian women from domestic violence. He detailed other initiatives and encouraged the Indian community to remain committed to this cause.

On the same day, Mr. West also announced the release of $3 million in grants to address violence against women in rural and tribal communities in the Bakken region. These grants are meant to increase local and tribal capacity to prosecute crimes of violence against women and provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking in the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.

Click here to read Associate Attorney General West's entire statement.

Click here to read more about the Bakken region grants.

Click here to learn more about the Justice Department's efforts to combat violence against women.

FEMA Releases a New Tribal Consultation Policy

On August 26, Administrator Craig Fugate announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Tribal Consultation Policy, which begins a new phase of engagement and collaboration with American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. The new policy establishes a process for regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials on Agency actions that have tribal implications, and it emphasizes the importance of consulting with Indian Country.

Click here to read the full policy.

Click here to learn more about FEMA Tribal Affairs.

Department of the Interior Issues Secretarial Order Affirming American Indian Trust Responsibilities

Last month, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued a Secretarial Order reaffirming the Department of the Interior's trust responsibilities to federally recognized Indian tribes and individual Indian beneficiaries and providing guidance for Interior agencies in carrying out their obligations to them.

"This Order reaffirms the Department's obligations and demonstrates our continuing commitment to upholding the important federal trust responsibility for Indian Country," said Secretary Jewell, who chairs the White House Council on Native American Affairs.

Secretary of the Interior Jewell, Secretary of Education Duncan Visit Indian School in Maine

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan take a picture with students and faculty at the Beatrice Rafferty School in Perry, Maine, August 18, 2014. (Photo by the U.S. Department of the Interior)

In August, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited the Beatrice Rafferty School in Perry, Maine on the Passamaquoddy Tribe's reservation to discuss ongoing educational reform initiatives to ensure students attending schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) receive a high-quality education delivered by tribal nations.

Click here to learn more about the Secretaries' trip to Maine.

EPA Issues Policy Supporting Tribal and Indigenous Communities

On July 25, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new policy supporting environmental justice for tribal and indigenous communities. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the EPA Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples, reinforcing the agency's commitment to work with tribes on a government-to-government basis when issues of environmental justice arise.

You can read the full policy here.

Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (news)

Secretary Vilsack Appoints Members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching

USDA Office of Communications sent this bulletin at 09/08/2014 11:00 AM EDT
Secretary Vilsack Appoints Members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching
Council will continue to provide recommendations that encourage Native American participation in USDA programs

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2014--Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the re-appointment of eight members and the appointment of three new members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching. As an advisory committee, the Council provides recommendations to the Secretary on changes to Farm Service Agency (FSA) regulations and other measures that would eliminate barriers to program participation for Native American farmers and ranchers.

"Over the previous two years the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching has provided recommendations meant to help tribal governments, businesses, farmers and ranchers partner with USDA to create jobs, drive economic growth and strengthen tribal communities, and I look forward to a continuation of their progress," Vilsack said.

The Council will continue to promote the participation of Native American farmers and ranchers in all USDA programs and support government-to-government relations between USDA and tribal governments. The Council is a discretionary advisory committee established under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture in furtherance of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack settlement agreement, which was granted final approval by the District Court for the District of Columbia on April 28, 2011.

The Council consists of fifteen members, including four USDA officials and eleven Native American leaders and reprsentatives. Members of the Council are appointed for two-year terms by the Secretary. The appointees include: Native American (American Indian and Alaska Native) farmers or ranchers; representatives of nonprofit organizations that work with Native farmers and ranchers; civil rights professionals; educators; tribal elected leaders; senior USDA officials; and other persons the Secretary deems appropriate.

The following individuals are appointed to the Council:

John Berrey, Chairman of Quapaw Tribe, (Quapaw), Sperry, Okla.

Tawney Brunsch, Executive Director of Lakota Funds, (Oglala Sioux), Kyle, S.D.

Gilbert Harrison, Rancher, (Navajo), Shiprock, N.M.*

Henry Holder, Farmer/Rancher, (Choctaw), Soper, Okla.*

Derrick Lente, Attorney and Farmer/Rancher, (Sandia Pueblo), Sandia Pueblo, N.M.

Jerry McPeak, Farmer/Rancher and State Legislator, (Muscogee Creek), Warner, Okla.*

Angela Sandstol, Natural Resources and Conservation Official, (Native Village of Tyonek), Tyonek, Alaska*

Edward Soza, Rancher/Tribal Council Member (Soboba), Banning, Calif.*

Mary Thompson, Farmer/Rancher, (Eastern Band of Cherokee), Cherokee, N.C.*

Sarah Vogel, Civil Rights Attorney and Former two-term Agricultural Commissioner for North Dakota, Bismarck, N.D.*

Mark Wadsworth, Natural Resources/Range Management, (Shoshone-Bannock), Blackfoot, Idaho*

(*Denotes those re-appointed)

Four (4) USDA officials are also appointed to the Council:

Chris Beyerhelm, Director, Farm Loan Programs, Farm Service Agency;

Val Dolcini, Administrator, Farm Service Agency;

Dr. Joe Leonard, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights;

Leslie Wheelock (Oneida), Director, Office of Tribal Relations.

The Council will hold its next meeting during the fall of 2014. The Council will continue to work closely with the Office of Tribal Relations, Farm Service Agency and other USDA agencies to improve the success of Native farmers and ranchers who access USDA's entire portfolio of programs to build and achieve profitability in their businesses.

Idle No More:Growing Resistance Across Turtle Island (news/community)


In the past few weeks, thousands of people across Turtle Island have been organizing major campaigns to protect Indigenous sovereignty, land, water, and, territories.  

NO to Northern Gateway

First Nations and non-First Nations gave a resounding NO when the Harper Government approved Enbridge Northern Gateway Project this week. People have joined in a wide variety of actions such as legal cases, mass rallies, and peaceful sit-ins in local MP’s offices. This is just the beginning!! There will be a wall of resistance as First Nations groups and other concerned citizens have vowed to fight the Canadian government’s approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline. The ongoing failure to consult First Nations violates Indigenous inherent rights. Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, a $7 billion pipeline, would carry tar sands oil from the province of Alberta to the coastal town of Kitimat, British Columbia, where the oil will be loaded onto tankers and transported along the coastlines.

As BC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip stated “It will not be the voice of lawyers that will defend the future legacy of our children and grandchildren – rather it will be what we as indigenous people, as British Columbians, collectively standing up in solidarity, side-by-side to fight and protect what we all treasure in this province – the lands and the waters.”

Onion Lake Walkers

Women Rising Up! Iskwewak Pasikowak! from the Onion Lake Cree Nation, Treaty 6 territory, conducted a day long ceremony reasserting inherent jurisdiction over land and water.  Indigenous people have been impacted by federal government policies such as the Indian Residential Schools, the Indian Act, The Child Welfare system, and the inaction on Missing and Murdered Women, which individually and together meet the criteria provided at the UN of genocide.  

Onion_Lake_WalkersjpgIn a symbolic “walking away” from Parliament, the Onion Lake and Kitigan Zibi women took back the power that Parliament affects over the honouring of all Treaties made with Indigenous peoples with the British Crown and Canada being the successor State.

Idle No More Organizer Lynda Kitchikeesic called the day of ceremony a symbolic “pushing back” against the Conservative government and believes it conveys the message of a turning point for First Nations. (Photo Credit: Clayton Thomas-Muller)

Athabasca Regions Healing Walk

Idle No More in solidarity with Athabasca Region Healing Walk

Healing Walk PosterNext weekend indigenous peoples and allies from across Turtle Island will gather in Fort McMurray, Alberta in the heart of the Canadian tar sands not to protest, but to pray for healing. We invite you to join us for the 5th and Final Tar Sands Healing Walk (June 27th-29th), to walk with us and pray for the land together. The Final Healing Walk is a part of a new beginning, to spread the healing to other communities who are impacted by resource extraction. No matter where you are there is something you can do to contribute to this year’s Healing Walk.

Encuentro2014 - Montreal

This year, the northern part of Turtle Island (Canada)  was chosen as the sight for Encuentro because Idle No More has had such a powerful impact on the world!! The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and Concordia University invite scholars, activists, and artists of all disciplines to examine the practical, ethical, aesthetic, theatrical, and performative dimensions of manifests and manifestations throughout the Americas at the ninth Encuentro, to be held in Montréal, Québec, June 21-28, 2014.

For More information on the Encuentro:

Encuentro: Getting ready to manifest!

Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance Event June 27th

Idle No More Manitoba

Lake Winnipeg Water Walk

In 2013, Lake Winnipeg - the 10th largest fresh water lake in the world, was nominated “Most Threatened Lake” by Global Nature Fund. It was suggested that in 10 years this lake could die if action is not taken to help her heal. From July 12 - August 8, 2014, community members from all walks of life will come together to take part in the “Lake Winnipeg Water Walk” to help her begin that healing process. We have a fundraising goal of $20,000.00 to support the walk. Cash and cheques can be made out to Lake Winnipeg Water Walk, or online donations can be made through  Through community leadership and commitment, we can work collectively to ensure that our life giving water continues to flow and sustain future generations.  We are all responsible for the health of our waters - the time is now. “Ingah Izitchigay Nibi Onjay”- (I will do it for the Water)

Water Wednesdays Return!

> Wednesdays, 5:30pm @ Memorial Park in front of the Legislative Building <

Idle No More Winnipeg & Got Bannock are inviting the public to learn about water issues and participate in solutions to protect water for all people in Winnipeg and the world. We will share resources, have speakers, create art projects and have a different action every week to talk about this issue. In a new twist this year, we will also be collecting donations every week for GOT BANNOCK?, supporting Althea Guiboche “The Bannock Lady” as she continues to feed the hungry in honour of the village we once had. "Water and Love make Bannock" - Bring a donation for The Bannock Lady

Happy Solstice from Idle No More!!

Fake Headdress (cultural appropriation/news)

Fans of franchises with Indian team names often show up to games dressed as fake Indians. Sometimes fans do the same even if the teams are named Giants and Padres: This week a white male fan attended a game in San Francisco wearing a phony headdress, apparently because Monday was Native American Heritage Night.

Things did not go well after that.

April Negrette, who is real Native American, approached a group of men who were passing around the headdress and told them it was disrespectful, according to an account she posted on Facebook: “The guy asks/yells at me because he’s getting embarrassed and flustered, ‘What do you want from me?’ So I said ‘Give me the headdress’ and he did.”

She declined to return it and security was called. Kimball Bighorse, another Native American, took video of some of this — he later posted it on Tumblr — and both were forcibly handcuffed and detained by security, who returned the headdress. No arrests were made.

The group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry issued a statement that says in part: “It is our feeling that Native Americans should be able to not only attend sporting events free of harmful cultural misappropriation, but also be able to speak out about the desecration of Native cultures, people, and items. … Ignoring Native peoples’ concerns is indicative of the fact that Native people are treated as relics of the past, non-existent, and we hope (the Giants and police) will treat cultural misappropriation as hate speech, as that is the way it feels to have sacred items mocked

Story at:

SF Giants Native American Heritage Night (cultural appropriation/news)

Full Story at:


First of all, I don't wanna be on fb buuut....gotta spread the word somehow - so fb friends, help me out! Tonight was Native American Heritage Night at AT&T Park for the San Francisco Giants vs Padres game. There was a group of mostly white guys that were passing around a headdress. I went over to one guy and asked him to take it off, and after much convincing that is was disrespectful he agreed to take it off. Minutes later, another guy in the group has it on. Another native guy (Kimball Bighorse) sitting next to me went over with me and as we were attempting to explain to the group of drunk guys why it wasn’t ok - especially on Native Heritage Night - security gets calls. I started crying because I was so upset that people are idiots/the genocide of our people/cultures and the guy asks/yells at me because he’s getting embarrassed and flustered “what do you want from me?” so I said “give me the headdress” and he did. Security shows up and are some sad ignorant people of color that couldn’t comprehend what was happening and demanded I give them the headdress back because the “native” friend the group came with showed up and wanted it back and called police over. At that point I was like YOU CAN ARREST ME IF YOU THINK I’M GOING TO HAND THIS FAKE ASS CRAFT STORE DISRESPECTFUL HEADDRESS BACK TO SOME DRUNKEN WHITE GUY AND SAD TOKEN. So me and my friend get ushered back to the food stands and are getting kicked out. 2 cops ripped the headdress out of my hands and refuse to tell us if/why we are being arrested and why we are being asked to leave. then one tough guy cop goes “if you’re not going willingly we’ll make you” and 2 cops grab me by my arms and twist them and pull them up behind my back so far I think they are going to pop out of socket. we walk about 40 feet and I’m squirming and yelling the whole way that they’re hurting me and then one of them grabs me by my hair and throws me on the ground. as I’m getting cuffed i see my friend, Kimball Bighorse, (who was recording all this) laid out on the ground with 4 cops on him. they take us out of the game and let us go an hour later because they had ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO ARREST US. I am beyond disgusted at the guys at the game, the people (including native around us who said nothing), the giants security for allowed that “headdress” inside to begin with, the police, and the San Francisco Giants organization as a whole for trying to host a heritage night without some type of cultural sensitive training. I would appreciate any help spreading the word about this and holding the team accountable and hopefully providing evidence for the native mascot issue that is under heavy media attention and fire right now. Thanks! April
——video——-> and

Getting in touch with the San Francisco Giants:  Call community relations at (415) 972-2000 ext.5 for other, and then ext.3 for community relations.  Also tweet: Text the word FAIR (for a comment / compliment) followed by your message to 69050. A discreet and effective response will be forthcoming.  

Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian R. Sabean, Security Manager Charles Allen, Senior Director, Security Tinie Roberson.

San Francisco Giants
AT&T Park
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 972-2000

Email Message to Giants:

Yurok Style Justice (community/news)

Tribal judge works for Yurok-style justice

Abby Abinanti metes out a more community-based form of justice for tribal members — starting with the question, 'Who's your mom?'

Abby Abinanti squints at her docket. "The court is going to call — the court is going to put on its glasses," she says dryly, reaching to grab her readers and snatch some candy from a staff member.

As chief judge of the Yurok Tribal Court, Abinanti wears no robe. On this day, she's in jeans and cowboy boots, her silver hair spilling down the back of a black down vest. In contrast to her longtime role as a San Francisco Superior Court commissioner, she doesn't perch above those who come before her; she shares a table with them.

"Hi, big guy. How are you doing?" she softly prods a 29-year-old participant in her wellness court, which offers a healing path for nonviolent offenders struggling with substance abuse.

Abinanti has watched Troy Fletcher Jr. battle bipolar disorder and methamphetamine addiction, land in jail and embrace recovery under the tribe's guidance. She's known his grandmother since before he was born.

If the link isn't clickable please copy and past to the address bar of a new blank tab.