From the examiner.com, November 26, 2008

American Indian tribes have filed lawsuits challenging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s plan to stop providing money to maintain lease-to-own houses on reservations after 25 years.

Housing agencies for 14 tribes filed lawsuits in federal court Wednesday alleging losses totaling about $46 million. Three other tribes filed similar suits the day before.

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New York Times, November 27, 2008

Corn, beans and squash — the “three sisters” of Native American agricultural tradition — will appear on the nation’s one-dollar coins next year, in a design to be announced Friday by the United States Mint.

By the dictates of an act that Congress passed last year, the reverse side of the gold-colored Sacagawea dollars will bear a new design each year starting in 2009, as part of a thematic series showing Native American contributions to the history and development of the United States.

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Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced more than $6.2 million in grants will go to 38 Native American projects in 18 states to fund a wide range of conservation projects nationwide.  Two southeastern tribes, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, will receive grants.

“Tribal Wildlife Grants are much more than a fiscal resource for tribes. The projects and partnerships supported by this program have enhanced our commitment to Native Americans and to the United States’ shared wildlife resources,” Secretary Kempthorne said.

More than $34 million has gone to Native American tribes through the Tribal Wildlife Grants program in the past six years, providing funding for 175 conservation projects administered by 133 participating
Federally-recognized tribes.  The grants provide technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of efforts that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat, including species that are
not hunted or fished.    read more

Michigan officials today announced the settlement of a long-running dispute with two American Indian tribes over the portion of gambling revenues paid to the state.

The new deal announced by Gov. Jennifer Granholm with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians will pump millions of dollars into funds used to boost economic development in the state.

The tribes, based in the northwest part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, contended that the Michigan Lottery’s Club Keno game violated an exclusivity clause their 1998 compacts with the state. The tribes withheld revenue sharing payments to the state as a result, starting in 2003 and 2004, and the dispute wound up in court.   full story

Few University professors require a prayer pipe and wild rice for in-class activities. In fact, Dennis Jones may be one of the only ones.Jones, who prefers to use his native name, Pebaamibines, teaches first- and second-year Ojibwe language in the American Indian studies department.

“It’s part of the language revitalization movement to honor your traditional name, as opposed to the colonized names,” Pebaamibines said.

Pebaamibines used the materials in a special ceremony last week to honor the spirit keeper of the language, and invited his students to bring traditional food to class.    read more

American Indian plaintiffs say the United States owes them $58 billion in a long-running lawsuit over government mismanagement of lands.Plaintiffs in the 12-year-old lawsuit submitted the filing to federal court this week after U.S. District Judge James Robertson asked for their input.

The suit, first filed in 1996 by Blackfeet Indian Elouise Cobell, claims the government has mismanaged billions of dollars in royalties held in trust from American Indian lands dating back to 1887.    full story

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 136-2 for a measure to honor Native Americans by making the day after Thanksgiving American Indian Heritage Day.
“Given the contributions and rich history of Native Americans to the fabric of our society, I thought it was only fitting to designate the day after Thanksgiving as American Indian Heritage Day,” said bill sponsor Talmadge Branch, D-Baltimore.
The day already is a holiday for state employees, even though it does not have a name.
“When the Pilgrims first arrived, American Indians worked with them to educate them about the land, plant life and medicines available, which helped to establish the healthy and prosperous country we know today,” Branch said.
The bill now heads to the Senate.
Other states also are considering the designation.    Native American Times