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NativeLegalUpdate.com was the domain name associated with a blog on Native American Issues from a legal perspective. Offered by a major law firm, it ran from 2008 through 2016. After that the law firm restructured, merging with another law firm, and discontinued its blog offerings, now simply providing information on its services.
We thought this content serves as a great record, chronicling a piece of history in the relations of the Native Americans to the rest of the United States. As such, this website revives that old content. Our plan calls for new content on this same issue as it warranted. We have an idea on covering some of the earliest legal history, the Jay Treaty and how that works out today. Let’s see if we can get this going.
In the mean time, you can get-in-touch if you wish.
ESPN Films has released a new film by Daniele Anastastion and Nathan Golon entitled “I am Yup’ik” – a powerful portrait of life in an Alaska Native community on the Bering Sea coast. The film can be viewed HERE.
US Department of Interior Allocates $3 Billion for Native Programs in 2017
Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has presented Congress with the Department’s overall budget request of $13.4 billion for 2017, which earmarks nearly $3 billion for Native American programs — a $137.6 million increase above the enacted level for the 2016 budget. It asks for a $1 billion investment to support native youth education and $278 million to fund contract support costs.
Secretary Jewell stated that the budget expands economic opportunities for Native Americans and promotes responsible energy development. “It gives us the tools to help communities strengthen resilience in the face of climate change, conserve natural and cultural resources … promote a balanced approach to a safe and responsible energy development and expand opportunities for Native American communities,” Jewell said. “These areas are core to our mission and play a vital role in job creation and economic growth.”
In response to questions about the department’s priorities for Indian Country and tribal policy, Jewell identified education as being “critically important.” One-third of DOI-supported Native American schools are in “poor condition,” Jewell said, adding that the department has begun a pilot program within schools to train parents and provide youth programs to address deep, persistent issues that have led to an epidemic proportion of suicides among Native Americans. The proposed 2017 budget also strives to provide 100 percent support for contract costs with the Indian Health Service and other agencies to address concerns about funding shortfalls from tribes working to attain self-determination, Jewell said.
Congressman Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. has stated his support for the proposed budget: “The budget requests that the secretary submitted would result in more than $10 billion in revenue flowing into the pockets of American taxpayers,” Grijalva said. “The request also includes legislative proposals that, if enacted by the Congress, would result in another $4.5 billion in revenue. In other words, if Congress just got out of the way and enacted this budget request, the department would pay for itself and have more than a billion dollars left over.”
The first story of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s new “History of Magic in North America” series has offended some indigenous scholars and members of Native American communities. The story, which chronicles wizards from the 14th to the 17th centuries, was criticized for lumping all Native Americans into one group, appropriating their stories and “completely re-writing these traditions,” in the words of Cherokee scholar-blogger Adrienne Keene.
In Rowling’s story, published on the Pottermore website, wizards existed among Native American tribes, though some faced the same scrutiny and stigmatization as their European peers. Some were “skin walkers,” people who could change into animal form, like the Animagi in Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. “It’s not ‘your’ world. It’s our (real) Native world. And skin walker stories have context, roots, and reality,” Keene wrote.
Navajo writer Brian Young added: “My ancestors didn’t survive colonization so you could use our culture as a convenient prop.”