Thanking You On Thanksgiving!
Although Thanksgiving is a bittersweet time for Indians across the nation, we at INDN’s List nevertheless want to take the opportunity to send out huge thanks to all of you. As the holiday season approaches, we are reflecting on the work of a long and successful year, none of which would have been possible without your continued contributions, voluntarism, and all-around enthusiasm for our work. Your support has truly sustained us and kept us always moving forward through 2006.
From our first birthday party in Washington, D.C. that saw luminaries like Congressman Mike Honda (CA) and DNC Chairman Gov. Howard Dean, to Election Day where we proudly watched at least 18 of our candidates win election across the country, we have made it a priority to include all of you in our successes. You are true stakeholders in our organization, and we are committed to building on a fantastic 2006 to make an even better 2007 and beyond.
Kalyn Free was interviewed recently for an article in Indian Country Today, where she reflected on the past year and laid out our goals for 2007. INDN’s List is committed to electing Indians to speak for Indians, to supporting Indian activists to work for Indian Country, and to leveraging the power of Indian voters to influence elections.
First, we are committed to recruiting and training more candidates in more places from more tribes. INDN’s List supported 24 candidates in 11 states from 20 tribes this cycle, and will look to expand even farther for the 2008 election. Second, we will host an even bigger Campaign Camp in 2007, focusing on both Indian candidates and campaign staffers. And we are planning an unprecedented gathering of Democratic presidential candidates for a forum on Indian issues. Third, INDN’s List hopes to build its Native American Network, a network of paid organizers in states around the country that will work for a full year to register Indians and get them to the polls.
Those are some ambitious goals, but we have shown over 2006 that we can achieve our aspirations with your ongoing support. If you are thankful for the 18 Indian candidates that will speak for Indians across the nation, please give now so we can continue building on our successes for the future. We hope you will have a happy holiday season with your loved ones, and we know you will continue to be a part of the INDN Family.
TRIBE WANTS CONTROL OF BISON
Submitted by Ann VanWert
By MATT GOURAS Associated Press Writer
HELENA, Mont. - The American Indian tribe that has shared management of the nation's only federal wildlife refuge for bison wants to ditch the unusual arrangement and take over full management.
The two-year joint management agreement between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Interior Department expired in September, and the tribe said it has submitted a proposal seeking full management of the 19,000-acre National Bison Range in northwestern Montana under a contract in which the federal government would pay the tribe for its work.
The joint agreement was a compromise for the tribe, which has been seeking full management of the bison range near Moiese for years. The tribe's proposal comes just months after the release of a performance report that indicated some of the work the tribe was responsible for wasn't getting done.
"Instead of two heads running it, there would be one head. We found it a little bit awkward this style of management," tribal spokesman Rob McDonald said Tuesday. "The original deal that was offered to us wasn't perfect, but we decided to take it and show how we could run it."
The bison range, within the borders of the Flathead Indian Reservation, was created in 1908 on Indian land the government bought to save bison from extinction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was charged with managing it prior to the two-year joint agreement.
"We've always had interest in being managers of this completely and this is our solution to get there," McDonald said of the tribe's proposal.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not immediately return calls Tuesday seeking comment.
The tribe's proposal would phase in full management over three years under a federal contract starting in 2007. The proposal calls for the tribe to be paid $1 million a year for its work.
Under the joint agreement, the tribe performed some of the activities on the range, including bison roundups, weed control, fire suppression and collection of federal public use fees. About half of the range's 24 employees were under the tribe's supervision.
Negotiations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are ongoing, and the proposal is sure to have its critics.
Federal employees at the range recently complained that work conditions there have deteriorated since the tribes got involved in running it. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says staff members want the tribe's involvement ended.
Earlier this year, a performance report indicated much of the tribe's assigned work wasn't getting done. And environmentalists worry the tribe's management could lead to reduced stewardship.
McDonald said those worries are unfounded, and are based on subjective and arbitrary reports of the tribe's work."We can't deny that some of the areas showed weakness, but they were not substantial at all," he said.
INUPIAT FAMILY SUES U.S. GOVERNMENT OVER BP LAND USAGE
Submitted by Riley Tisinger
By David Litterick in New York
November 20, 2006
The Daily Telegraph
FRESH from settling a lawsuit over last year's fatal explosion at its Texas City oil refinery, BP looks set to become embroiled in a legal battle in Alaska over royalties paid on oil production in Prudhoe Bay.
The family of Andrew Oenga, an Inupiat who lived on the North Slope in Alaska until his death a decade ago, is suing the US government, claiming his eight descendants are owed $40m ( pounds 21m) in back rent. In the 1970s, Mr Oenga was allotted property in Alaska under a federal government programme for native Indians. The allotment, administered by the Bureau for Indian Affairs, does not include rights to the oil under the surface, but does provide for payments if the oil companies make use of the area underground.
BP applied to run a road and pipeline on the surface, and has since paid the Oengas - via the US government - over $650,000.
However, the lawsuit filed earlier this year claims BP also operated oil production facilities on the 10-acre site that were not covered by the lease, and as such, the Oengas are entitled to about $40m in back payments.
The family is suing the US government for breach of its fiduciary duty, claiming it incorrectly drew up the lease so that BP has paid the family less than 0.1pc of the $1.6bn of oil produced at the site, rather than the 4pc they claim they are entitled to.
The government denies the claim, saying BP was entitled to use the land for production. However, lawyers say that if the government loses the case, it could sue BP for any damages awarded. "We're just seeking justice for the wrong they've done,'' Joseph Inuquruq Delia, Mr Oenga's grandson said. "My grandfather couldn't speak or read English. The government betrayed him. BP has profited from it and we just want the same justice that others have got.''
BP has intervened in the lawsuit, but notes that the company itself is not a target.
"We have always paid the lease amount that the Bureau of Indian Affairs determined,'' a spokesman said. "We have intervened to keep our options open.''
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