Monday, December 31, 2012

Help ring in the New Year!!

 
At this time of year, we all like to reflect on events that took place in the year just ended, as well as look forward to the hopes, dreams and resolutions for the 12 months to come.  NARF is no different.  Although we enjoyed numerous successes in the last year (in addition to a few setbacks), there are many unmet needs in Indian Country, many new battles for justice for NARF to undertake.

2012 was a great year for NARF and the Tribes we serve.  Highlights included:
  • $ millions in trust fund settlements for more than 40 tribes
  • First round victories in Klamath Basin Adjudication
  • Federal grants for Native education pilot programs 

Looking forward, 2013 will present a number of new challenges.
  • Protection of Native sacred places
  • Protections against strip mining devastation for tribes in Alaska and Wisconsin
  • Finding a “Carcieri fix” for tribes hoping to take land into trust
  • Search for a path to boarding school healing
  • Defending Native voting rights 
And so much more.  Please help us meet the challenges of the new year by sending you year-end contribution today.

You can be proud that as our advocate you preserve tribal existence, protect tribal natural resources, promote Native American human rights, make governments accountable to Native Americans, develop Indian law and educate the public about Indian rights, laws and issues.

On behalf of the Attorneys, Board, Staff & Clients of the Native American Rights Fund, I ask you to give your most generous year-end gift now.

Best Wishes for a New Year filled with Peace, Happiness and Hope!


 
John E. Echohawk
Executive Director





 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Make Your Year-End Gift Today to Support the Native American Rights Fund


For Native American youth, families, individuals and tribes who rely on your generosity, every dollar makes a difference in their battle to win justice now and for future generations.

Native Americans are still the poorest of the poor in this country. They have the lowest incomes and often the least amount of education. So many do not have the resources they need to fight for their own rights and that is why they come to NARF.

As the need for our services increases, our financial resources are being seriously drained. So I am counting on you to support the people we serve through your most generous donation to NARF today.

Your donation is 100% tax-deductible and will create a lasting impact throughout Indian Country!

You can be proud that as our advocate you preserve tribal existence, protect tribal natural resources, promote Native American human rights, make governments accountable to Native Americans, develop Indian law and educate the public about Indian rights, laws and issues.

On behalf of the Attorneys, Board, Staff & Clients of the Native American Rights Fund, I ask you to give your most generous year-end gift now.

Best Wishes for a New Year filled with Peace, Happiness and Hope!

 
John E. Echohawk
Executive Director




 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Help Defend the Rights of Native Americans Now

 
Since 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has fought to defend the rights of Native Americans and indigenous peoples. NARF has won numerous and significant victories that have preserved the continued existence of tribes, their sovereign rights, traditional lands and cultural and spiritual lifeways. While much has been achieved, considerable work remains.

Times are hard for everyone this Holiday Season. Nonprofit organizations like NARF are feeling a dramatic and negative impact from the recession. Now, more than ever we need your support. We respectfully ask that you consider giving what you can by December 31st. Every dollar makes a difference in our battle to ensure justice and a brighter future for Native Americans. Every gift is 100% tax deductible. Again, any level of support can make a big difference for Native American rights in 2013.
 
Help Defend the rights of Native Americans now
We thank you for your time, consideration and for the support you have given to NARF this past year that has helped us achieve so much for Native Americans. As we look ahead to the New Year we hope that you will pledge once again to help NARF to continue to stand firm for justice for Native Americans in 2013.



 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tribal Water Codes Webinar


If you are interested in Tribal Water Codes - what they are and why they are important – please tune in to this webinar on Friday, December 14th from 2-4 pm eastern time (11-1 pacific, 12-2 mountain and 1-3 central) to hear tribal water resources experts on these important issues. The webinar is hosted by the National Congress of American Indians, the Native American Rights Fund, the Tribal Water Working Group and the Utton Center.  For more information contact Derrick Beetso or Greg Haller.

 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Make Your Year-End Gift Today to Support the Native American Rights Fund (NARF)


For Native American youth, families, individuals and tribes who rely on your generosity, every dollar makes a difference in their battle to win justice now and for future generations.

Native Americans are still the poorest of the poor in this country. They have the lowest incomes and often the least amount of education. So many do not have the resources they need to fight for their own rights and that is why they come to NARF.

To meet these growing challenges, the Native American Rights Fund has committed to providing even more legal services to tribes and Indians in the coming year. So I am asking you to help us serve Indian Country through your most generous donation to NARF today.

Your donation is 100% tax-deductible and will create a lasting impact throughout Indian Country!

You can be proud that as our advocate you preserve tribal existence, protect tribal natural resources, promote Native American human rights, make governments accountable to Native Americans, develop Indian law and educate the public about Indian rights, laws and issues.

On behalf of the Attorneys, Board, Staff & Clients of the Native American Rights Fund, I ask you to give your most generous year-end gift now.

Best Wishes for a New Year filled with Peace, Happiness and Hope!








John E. Echohawk
Executive Director

Monday, December 3, 2012

NARF Files Cert Petition in Eyak Case


NARF Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth at the oral argument 
before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
 en banc panel, September 2011.

Last week NARF filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of its tribal clients in Native Villages of Eyak, Tatitlek, Chenega, Nanwalek, and Port Graham v. Evans.  In this case, NARF represents five Chugach villages that sued the Secretary of Commerce to establish aboriginal rights to their traditional-use areas on the Outer Continental Shelf of Alaska, in Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska.  To learn more about this case and to read the Tribes’ petition, click here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

More Estate Planning Questions Answered

Please join Morgan O’Brien and Don Ragona December 5 for the second installment of our estate planning series, Circle of Life Show.  In addition to a review of estate planning basics, we will discuss non-cash gifts, such as stocks, real estate, motor vehicles and other assets.

If you haven’t reviewed your estate planning documents recently, year end is a good time to make sure everything is in order.  Many life events—children graduating, buying or selling a house, contemplating retirement—could have an impact on your will, estate taxes or other plans.   They could also impact your year-end financial planning.

Join us for a free, 1-hour session where we answer your questions directly.  Click below to sign up today.

Title:  Circle of Life Show

Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time:    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM MDT

Join us for a Free Webinar!

Space is limited:

Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/887518062

This hour-long session with Don Ragona and Morgan O'Brien will offer an exploration of wills and general estate planning questions.  The session will include opportunities for questions and answers.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server


Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer


Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

Celebrate Heritage Month: Focus on Climate Change

November is American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month. Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.  It’s also an opportunity to highlight the important contributions of Native peoples and the shared histories between tribal nations and other communities.
 

Throughout Heritage Month, the Native American Rights Fund has looked at different elements of Native heritage from both an historical and contemporary perspective.  Our final installment looks at climate change.

Native Peoples & Climate Change:
Why Indigenous peoples need to be at the table.

 

"If you are not at the table, you are on the menu."

Indigenous communities now find themselves at ground zero in a fight that may well determine the survival of their way of life and as sovereign nations.  A fight where it is imperative that they be given a voice and a seat at the table.

Indigenous peoples, who historically have left a negligible carbon footprint, are suffering disproportionately from the effects of climate change.  They have few resources available to mitigate the effects of climate change and to adapt to them.  What they do have is a resource that could change the debate and lead to affirmative solutions—eons-long understanding of climate and adapting to its changes.

The cultural heritage of most Native American and Alaska Native peoples incorporates considerable knowledge and experience of the natural world, including meteorological and ecological phenomena.  Native Americans have had a practical understanding of chemistry, physics, agronomy, meteorology and astronomy since long before the sciences themselves were developed.

In fact, Native Americans have known for thousands of years that there was a black hole located through the center of the bowl in the big dipper. NASA discovered it just a few years ago.  Maize is the result of many years of cultivation and domestication of a wild grass known as teosinte. It is also believed that the domestication of maize is directly related to the rise of civilization in Mesoamerica.  Because cedar wood has a negative charge which repels the negative charge of lightening, throwing the cedar into the fire reduced the risk that lightening would strike the area where the people were.

Human beings act upon and are acted upon by their environments.  Current debates over global warming indicate the limitations of current scientific theories to account with absolute precision for natural phenomena.  This mutual interaction is a process that shapes both environment and culture.

People of European ancestry have gradually awakened to the profound nature of indigenous knowledge accumulated over many millennia.  Only recently has the realization dawned on some of them that the scientific knowledge of indigenous cultures holds information of tremendous importance for the planet.  Mother Earth is definitely in crisis and indigenous knowledge of ecosystems points the way to the paradigm shift and change in lifestyle that is needed at this time – a paradigm shift of healing and revitalization for all living things.  In this way, the indigenous communities can become the natural guides to restoring balance and harmony in the world.

Indigenous cultures, with their close ties to landscapes and ecological systems, are first-hand observers of climate change and bring first-hand experience of the changes that accompany a changing climate.  The changes in climate often represent life or death choices for subsistence economies. Indigenous peoples need a seat at the table.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Niwot Native American Film Fesitval - December 7, 2012 ~ Reservation Soldiers

NIWOT NATIVE AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL   

First Friday, December 7 -  7:30pm-9:30pm
Located at Elysian Fields Auctions 6924 79th Street, Niwot, Colorado  (Look for the signs!)
Festival is free – Donations accepted!
Film Festival Director Ava Hamilton (Arapaho filmmaker) will introduce the film.


December 7, 2012 ~ Reservation Soldiers -  Filmed over the course of several years, Reservation Soldiers focuses on the relationship between the Canadian military and aboriginal youth.  For Blair, Mahekan and Noel, three teenage boys from remote Western Canadian reservations, the military represents an opportunity they don't often see at home - adventure, discipline and cold hard cash.  When they attend Bold Eagle, a six-week military boot camp, they face the reality of military life and ponder a possible future in the Canadian Army.  Aboriginal recruiter Sergeant Ron Leblanc knows exactly where they're coming from.  After 16 years in the military he is facing a difficult decision; pursuing a career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or "paying back" the military for helping him escape his troubled youth by shipping out to Afghanistan, Canada's most dangerous mission since the Korean War.  For these young men, the Canadian military seems like the best option, but is it the only option for their future?
Lisa Jackson, filmaker 

Festival is hosted by Native American Producers Alliance & Ni-wot Prairie Productions

Sponsors: Elysian Fields Auctions, Native American Rights Fund, and WHIZZBang Studios
Contact info: 303-931-3084 niwotprarieproductions@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Celebrate Heritage Month: Focus on Thanksgiving

November is American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month. Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. It's also an opportunity to highlight the important contributions of Native peoples and the shared histories between tribal nations and other communities.

Throughout Heritage Month, the Native American Rights Fund will look at different elements of Native heritage from both an historical and contemporary perspective. Where applicable, we will also highlight some of NARF's work that relates to the area.

Thanksgiving

Each November in America we celebrate the harvest festival of Thanksgiving. Over the years, much lore has evolved surrounding early Thanksgivings and feelings of brotherhood and good will between pilgrim settlers and the Native inhabitants of North America. Sadly, most of these stories are inaccurate at best, and serve to ignore or gloss over a broad history of atrocities. In our hearts, we cannot celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the way revisionist history teaches our school children. We still feel the pain and suffering of our ancestors as the Pilgrims celebrated their thanksgivings by theft of our lands and the genocide of our peoples.

Still, Native Americans are grateful for all that nature provides, and many of us celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in our own ways. Moreover, we give thanks every day as we greet the morning star in the eastern sky giving thanks to the Creator, our families, our ancestors and our survival.

We wish you and your families a happy holiday, and hope you are able to set images of pilgrims aside and join in gratitude for the bounty the living earth provides us. In that spirit, let us share with you the words of "Thankgiving" from our Mohawk relatives in belief that one day there will truly be a Thanksgiving for all.


Thanksgiving Address
Greetings to the Natural World
The People
Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people.
Now our minds are one.

The Earth Mother
We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one.

The Waters
We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms-waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.
Now our minds are one.

The Fish
We turn our minds to the all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one.

The Plants
Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.
Now our minds are one.

The Food Plants
With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.
Now our minds are one.

The Medicine Herbs
Now we turn to all the Medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.
Now our minds are one.

The Animals
We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are honored by them when they give up their lives so we may use their bodies as food for our people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.
Now our minds are one.

The Trees
We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many people of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.
Now our minds are one.

The Birds
We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds-from the smallest to the largest-we send our joyful greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one.

The Four Winds
We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help us to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.
Now our minds are one.

The Thunderers
Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We are thankful that they keep those evil things made by Okwiseres underground. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.
Now our minds are one.

The Sun
We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.
Now our minds are one.

Grandmother Moon
We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky. She is the leader of woman all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.
Now our minds are one.

The Stars
We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to the Stars.
Now our minds are one.

The Enlightened Teachers
We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring teachers.
Now our minds are one.

The Creator
Now we turn our thoughts to the creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.
Now our minds are one.

Closing Words
We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.
Now our minds are one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Celebrate Heritage Month: Focus on Education

November is American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month.  Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.  It is also an opportunity to highlight the important contributions of Native peoples and the shared histories between tribal nations and other communities.

Throughout Heritage Month, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) will look at different elements of Native heritage from both an historical and contemporary perspective.  Where applicable, we will also highlight some of NARF’s work that relates to the area.

Education

In our first installment for Heritage Month, we reflected on the roles of Native Americans as both traditional and modern day warriors.  Tomorrow, we will examine some truths and fictions about tribes in relation to Thanksgiving.  Today we will look at education.

It has been well documented that Native American communities face some of the greatest educational challenges in the country in terms of keeping kids in school, academic performance and college degree attainment.  Reasons for this are many and intertwined, but often include inadequate funding, few employment opportunities on reservations, lack of cultural context and historic trauma from a legacy Indian boarding school abuses.

There is some good news.  While dropout rates are high, many Native Americans ultimately go back to school.  The percentage with a high school diploma by age 25 is 67%, not far behind the national average of 75%.  There is also improved achievement in those few schools that have welcomed tribal involvement in decision making and worked to include cultural and/or Native language content into their curricula. More on that later.

First, let’s look at an excerpt from a 1784 essay written by Benjamin Franklin about Native Americans, titled: “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America.” The excerpt relates an exchange that occurred during the 1774 negotiation of the Treaty of Lancaster in Pennsylvania between the government of Virginia and the Six Nations (a confederation of Iroquois tribes: Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Mohawk, and Tuscarora.)

After the principal business was settled, the commissioners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a speech, that there was at Williamsburg a college, with a fund for educating Indian youth; and that, if the Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their young lads to that college, the government would take care that they should be well provided for, and instructed in all the learning of the white people.  It is one of the Indian rules of politeness not to answer a public proposition the same day that it is made; they think it would be treating it as a light matter, and that they show it respect by taking time to consider it, as of a matter important.  They therefore deferred their answer till the day following; when their speaker began, by expressing their deep sense of the kindness of the Virginia government, in making them that offer; “for we know,” says he, “that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in those Colleges, and that the maintenance of our young men, while with you, would be very expensive to you.  We are convinced, therefore, that you mean to do us good by your proposal; and we thank you heartily.  But you, who are wise, must know that different nations have different conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours.  We have had some experience of it; several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the northern provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but, when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor counselors; they were totally good for nothing.  We are however not the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting it; and, to show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them.”

More than two decades ago, NARF began helping tribes establish tribal education departments (TEDs). The goal was to reassert tribal sovereignty over education of Native youth.  Today, more than 200 tribes in 32 states have TEDs.  NARF represents a consortium of more than 70 of these education departments, known collectively as the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA).


Together, NARF and TEDNA have guided an education bill—the Native CLASS Act—through committees in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.  The bills have yet to make their way to the floor, but we remain hopeful of action.  Meantime, the federal budget for 2012 for the first time includes an appropriation of $2 million for pilot programs that will use a combination of local tribal oversight and traditional values and context to help lower dropout rates and raise test scores.  Grants for pilot programs were awarded to four tribes: the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, the Navajo Nation, and the Chickasaw Nation.  All of these tribes have been long time members of TEDNA.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

News: Alaska Native Voters Defend the Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act Cite Continuing Need for Act’s Protections

Parties and attorneys in case
Pictured: top left: Michael Martin of the Kasigluk Traditional Council, party in this case and Nick, et. al. v. Bethel, et. al. (Nick v. Bethel); top right: James Tucker, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, co-counsel in this case and Nick v. Bethel; bottom left: Robert Enoch of the Tuntutuliak Traditional Council, party in Nick v. Bethel; bottom right: Natalie Landreth, Senior Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2012

CONTACT: Natalie Landreth, Native American Rights Fund, (907) 257-0501 and (c) (907) 360-3423l Jeffrey Mittman, ACLU of Alaska, (907) 263-2002 / (c) (907) 230-0665
ALL INQUIRIES ARE TO BE DIRECTED TO ONE OF THE ABOVE PEOPLE, AND NOT DIRECTLY TO THE TRIBES OR INDIVIDUALS MENTIONED HEREIN

ANCHORAGE — On Tuesday, November 6, four Alaska Natives and four tribal governments represented by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) requested that a federal court in Washington, D.C. allow them to join Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, in defending the constitutionality of provisions of the Voting Rights Act challenged by the State of Alaska. The case is Alaska v. Holder.

Since 1975, Alaska has been one of just three states covered in its entirety by Section 4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act. That provision applies to Alaska because on the coverage date, more than five percent of its voting-age citizens were Alaska Natives, the State conducted English-only elections, and less than 50 percent of eligible citizens either were not registered to vote or did not vote. Because of its coverage under Section 4(f)(4), Alaska is required to provide all voting information statewide in Alaska Native languages at every stage of the voting process from registration through casting a ballot. Alaska also is required to comply with Section 5 of the Act, which requires the State to show that any change in its voting policies or procedures does not have either the purpose or the effect of discriminating against minority voters.

In 2006, Congress reauthorized Sections 4(f)(4) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act for an additional 25 years. Congress extended those provisions under its broad enforcement powers to protect the right to vote under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. In exercising its broad authority, Congress held nearly two dozen hearings with nearly 100 witnesses in 2005 and 2006. Three of the attorneys representing the Alaska Native voters and tribes, Natalie Landreth, Laughlin McDonald, and Dr. James Thomas Tucker, were among the witnesses who presented evidence of the continuing need among voters, including Alaska Natives, for the Act’s protection from discrimination in voting and other areas including education that impact the right to vote.

During the reauthorization debate, then-Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman opposed the continued coverage of Alaska, claiming that the State was in full compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
However, a federal court disagreed. On July 31, 2008, United States District Judge Timothy Burgess issued a landmark injunction finding that Alaska’s Division of Elections had done little to provide Yup’ik- speaking voters in the Bethel region with equal opportunities to participate in the voting process through their failure to provide voting information in Yup’ik and denying election-day help from the person of the voter’s choice. In 2009, the Attorney General of the United States relied upon Judge Burgess’s findings and evidence of ongoing voting discrimination in violation of the federal Constitution to certify the Bethel Region for federal observers. Those federal observers help identify and document the State’s violations of federal law.

Among the four individual Alaska Native voters, Anna Nick was the lead plaintiff in Nick et al. v. Bethel et al. and established the State’s violations of the language and voter assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Willie Kasayulie was the lead plaintiff in Kasayulie v. State of Alaska, and established that Alaska’s history and practice of unequal funding for schools in Alaska Native villages violated federal and state law; the State settled the case last year after it agreed to provide $146 million for five rural school construction projects. Mike Williams is a registered voter and member of the Tribal Council of the Akiak Native Community. Vicki Otte is a registered voter who lives in Anchorage, former redistricting board member and long-time advocate of protecting the Native vote.

The four federally recognized tribal governments represent hundreds of registered Alaska Native voters throughout Alaska who have benefited from the Act’s protection of their fundamental right to vote. Kasigluk Traditional Council is in the Bethel region of Alaska and was a plaintiff in the Nick litigation. Emmonak Tribal Council is located in the Wade Hampton region and is one of the Alaska Native villages impacted by the Kasayulie litigation. Togiak Traditional Council is located in the Dillingham region. Levelock Village Council is in the Lake and Peninsula Borough.

“The four Alaska Natives and four tribal governments represent a cross-section of voters who continue to face barriers to voting as a result of the State’s neglect, unequal treatment, and violations of the law,” said NARF attorney Natalie Landreth, who is lead co-counsel for the voters seeking to intervene in the federal lawsuit. “State officials have shown they will not comply with the law until a court orders them to do so, or they face the threat of a lawsuit,” Landreth noted. “For example, they failed to implement Section 203 of the VRA for more than 35 years before the Nick case.” Landreth continued, “The Nick lawsuit, which established voting rights violations, was settled in 2010 with continuing oversight through this year. The Kasayulie lawsuit was only just settled last year. Discrimination in Alaska is not a thing of the past, and federal oversight of Alaska’s elections is no accident.”

Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska, agreed. “Voting is a fundamental right and central to the proper functioning of our democracy. We cannot allow to stand efforts by any State official to weaken voting protections.” Mittman explained, “Alaska Natives have had to bring costly lawsuits that have lasted many years to get the State to comply with federal and state law in areas such as voting and education. Their hard-fought victories have resulted in progress; but that progress is fragile and will quickly be undone without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.” According to Mittman, “Congress had extensive evidence, which has been confirmed by successful litigation since 2006, that shows its decision to continue to apply Sections 4(f)(4) and 5 to Alaska was a reasonable exercise of its broad authority under the federal Constitution.” Laughlin McDonald, of the ACLU Voting Rights Project in Atlanta added, “The VRA is the crown jewel among civil rights laws. Without it, there would be a significant decline in minority political participation.”

One of the would-be intervenors, Mike Williams of Akiak, said “we decided to join this lawsuit because if you don’t raise your voices, they will not be heard. This court in Washington, DC needs to hear directly from us, the voters, about how important the Voting Rights Act is to us. If the State of Alaska thought we were going to sit this one out, they were sorely mistaken.”

Attorneys for the Alaska Natives are Landreth and Erin Dougherty of NARF, Thomas Stenson of the ACLU of Alaska, Laughlin McDonald of the national ACLU Voting Rights Project, and Dr. James Thomas Tucker, of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith LLP.

More information about the ACLU’s work on voting rights is available at: www.votingrights.org

Friday, November 9, 2012

NARF Staff Attorney Richard Guest Speaks at EPA Event Recognizing National American Indian Heritage Month


Earlier this week NARF Staff Attorney Richard Guest spoke at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel Special Emphasis Program, “National American Indian Heritage Month – Serving Our People, Serving Our Nations: Native Visions.”  Richard spoke about NARF’s work, with a special emphasis on the Tribal Supreme Court Project.  To learn more about the Tribal Supreme Court Project, click here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chief Niwot Series - Urban Rez

Chief Niwot Series - Thursday's Talk
Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 7:00 PM
at the Native American Rights Fund
1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO


In conjunction with the powerful exhibit, Chief Niwot ~ Legend & Legacy, the Boulder History Museum and the Native American Rights Fund are proud to co-sponsor a thought-provoking series of programs presented by distinguished historians and guests. This series further explores the culture of the Arapaho people, regional historical figures, the devastating effects of the Sand Creek Massacre, as well as contemporary Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation and in urban centers.

This Thursday • November 8 • Urban Rez
Join award-winning Rocky Mountain PBS filmmaker Lisa D. Olken for a preview screening and discussion of her latest work-in-progress film, Urban Rez. Urban Rez is a documentary film exploring the history of the 1952-1973 Voluntary Relocation Program that encouraged American Indians to leave their homelands for metropolitan areas. Slated for national distribution on PBS, the film shares stories that capture how individual choices and government decisions have impacted families for generations. With vignettes that illustrate the way different tribes and different generations experienced urban culture, the documentary reveals a little-known American story. Olken previously produced the award-winning two-part film, La Raza de Colorado, for Rocky Mountain PBS.

ADMISSION
Purchase tickets online through PayPal.
  • $10 per program or Series Package of all 8 programs for $80
  • $5 per program or Series Package of all 8 for $40 for Museum Members and NARF Donors (Save money and become a BHM Member today!).
For more information or questions, please contact the Museum at 303/449.3464.

For a complete list of the series, click here.

Veterans' Day - Remember those that served

In many Native American traditions, the role of warrior is a sacred trust. Though a degree of glory might be won, that was not the primary goal. Protecting family and community, personal responsibility and respect for traditions played much bigger roles.

Crazy Horse, one of the warriors best known to a wide audience, was a quiet and humble man, rarely speaking of his experiences in battle. Yet his community was well aware of his courage and sacrifices and what they meant to their survival. Today, Tribes and Native communities across the country continue this tradition of respect for warriors and their sacrifices.

Despite a sometimes contentious relationship with the U.S. Government, Native Americans remain resolutely patriotic. Native young men and women are among the first to answer the nation’s call when soldiers are needed, serving with distinction in every branch of the service. When they return from service, soldiers are remembered and thanked not just for a day, but for a lifetime. Veterans are accorded a place of honor at the front of every parade and procession at every pow-wow and gathering.

On Veterans’ Day at NARF, we will be honoring our employees and relatives who have served in the military with a feast, prayers and songs. Please take a moment that day to recognize the veterans in your own lives, whether friends, co-workers or loved ones. All our warriors are sacred. Let us remember them on Veterans' Day and every day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Niwot Native American Film Festival - Opal

Friday, November 2 -  7:30pm-9:30pm
Located at Elysian Fields Auctions 6924 79th Street, Niwot  (Look for the signs!)
Festival is free – Donations accepted!
Film Festival Director Ava Hamilton (Arapaho filmmaker) will introduce the film. 


November 2, 2012 ~ Opal -  This is a short film about a young Navajo girl who takes on the town bully.  When Opal is beat up by the bully, she and her friend Bunny take matters into their own hands.  This is a portrait of a tough little girl who won't take no for an answer.  It serves as a metaphor for all of the places that little girls aren't allowed to go, the things they are forbidden to do.  This is every little Navajo girl's chance to power through diversity, to push by the people who are keeping them from what they want to do.

Ramona Emerson is originally from Tohatchi and Santa Fe and in 2010 was one of four writers and filmmakers selected to participate in the Sundance Film Festival's Native Filmakers Ford Foundation Fellowship Program.  Emerson's Sundance connection continues throught the 2012 festival with Opal.   She wrote, directed and co-produced  this screenplay.
“I knew at a very young age that I wanted to make films and somehow I have managed to keep at it for many years. The ability to transfer those early memories on the reservation of going to the movies with my grandmother, to the actual reality of making films, has been a dream come true,” she said. “`Opal’ is a reflection of that and of the personal stories I love to tell. My hope is to create a story that reflects a very true representation of what it’s like to grow up on the Navajo Nation, but more importantly, questions the roles of women and girls both on and off the reservation.”  (From the Native American Times)
Festival is hosted by Native American Producers Alliance & Ni-wot Prairie Productions
Sponsors: Elysian Fields Auctions, Native American Rights Fund, and WHIZZBang Studios
Contact info: 303-931-3084 niwotprarieproductions@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ava Hamilton - Chief Niwot Series - This Thursday at NARF

Chief Niwot Series - Thursday's Talk

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 7:00 PM

at the Native American Rights Fund

1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO 

In conjunction with the powerful exhibit, Chief Niwot ~ Legend & Legacy, the Boulder History Museum and the Native American Rights Fund are proud to co-sponsor a thought-provoking series of programs presented by distinguished historians and guests. This series further explores the culture of the Arapaho people, regional historical figures, the devastating effects of the Sand Creek Massacre, as well as contemporary Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation and in urban centers.

 

This Thursday • An Arapaho Woman's Perspective on Local History

Ava Hamilton
Longtime Boulder resident and filmmaker Ava Hamilton will present an informal talk offering her personal view of local history as an Arapaho woman. Ava is the director of Everything has a Spirit, which premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival and won the First Place Documentary Award at the 1994 American Indian Film and Video Competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She attended Southwestern State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Since 2005 she has taught video production classes at Rough Rock High School on the Navajo Reservation. She trained as a filmmaker at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hamilton is the president of the Native American Producers.

 

ADMISSION

Purchase tickets online through PayPal.
• $10 per program or Series Package of all 8 programs for $80
• $5 per program or Series Package of all 8 for $40 for Museum Members and NARF Donors (Save money and become a BHM Member today!).

For more information or questions, please contact the Museum at 303/449.3464.

For a complete list of the series, click here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Poetry Reading & Honoring Ceremony

Benefit Performance in Support of the Native American Rights Fund

Cloth by the Gallon : 

Poetic Reflections of Indigenous Wisdom

with Martin Cobin

CU Professor of Theater, Emeritus 

 

Thursday, October 25th - 7:30 p.m.

Frasier Meadows Retirement Community
Assembly Room - 4th Floor
350 Ponca Place, Boulder Colorado


For many years, retired University of Colorado professor Martin Cobin has conducted poetry readings on American Indian topics, and generously donated the proceeds to the Native American Rights Fund.  On October 25, NARF plans to thank Prof. Cobin in a traditional honoring ceremony prior to his next reading.  Please join us at the Frasier Meadows Retirement Center to honor Martin and share in this special event.

Martin Cobin has been sharing his poignant and soulful poetry with us for several years, and always has donated an honorarium to the Native American Rights Fund.  Martin will read several of his poems exploring glimpses of indigenous wisdom from round the world and the rights of those who possess it.

Free Estate Planning Help

Are your affairs in order?  If you haven’t reviewed your estate planning documents recently, now is a good time to double check.  Many life events—children graduating, buying or selling a house, contemplating retirement—could have an impact on your will, estate taxes or other plans.

Join Don Ragona and Morgan O'Brien for a free, 2-hour session where they answer your questions directly.  Click below to sign up today.

Title: Circle of Life Planned Giving Show
Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM MDT

Join us for a Free Webinar!

Space is limited:
Reserve your webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/314055582

This two-hour session will offer an exploration of wills and general estate planning questions.  The session will include opportunities for questions and answers. The information in this webinar is not intended for tax or legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney. For tax advice, please consult your attorney or accountant.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Friday, October 5, 2012

American Indian Law Program - CU College of Law


Robert J. Miller
Professor, Lewis and Clark University

Author of “Reservation Capitalism’’: Economic Development in Indian Country
Monday, October 15, 2012
5:00 PM at Native American Rights Fund
1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO


Professor Miller (Eastern Shawnee) is a prominent scholar in American Indian law. Before joining the faculty at Lewis and Clark Law School, Miller clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and practiced at Stoel Rives and Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker.  Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of the Grand Ronde Tribe, Miller also serves as a judge for other tribal courts.

He will speak about his new book Reservation ‘Capitalism’: Economic Development in Indian Country (Praeger 2012) and sign copies.

Reservation "Capitalism": Economic Development in Indian Country supplies the true history, present-day circumstances, and potential future of Indian communities and economics. It provides key background information on indigenous economic systems and property rights regimes in what is now the United States, and explains how the vast majority of native lands and natural resource assets were lost. The book focuses on strategies for establishing privately and publicly owned economic activities on reservations and creating economies where reservation inhabitants can be employed, live, and buy the necessities of life, thereby enabling complete tribal self-sufficiency and self-determination.

Review - "Robert Miller delivers first-rate advice on the politics, law, and economics of reservation development. Indian nations — indeed, all nations — can learn from this book's insights. . . . Robert Miller has pulled together an impressive range of scholarly theory, real world experiences of Native leaders, and data. As a result, this book provides a mountain of sound advice to tribal, state and federal policymakers. The advice is delivered without apology by an author who lives and respects his subject." 

Monday, October 1, 2012

NARF Executive Director John Echohawk to Speak at MSU Law Symposium


Later this week NARF Executive Director John Echohawk will speak at Michigan State University College of Law’s Indian Tribes and Human Rights Accountability Symposium.  The symposium will encourage discussion about the possibility of creating an indigenous and intertribal mechanism to resolve the real and serious human rights issues in American Indian country.  For more information including the schedule and list of presenters, click here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NARF Staff Attorney David Gover to Present at the University of Idaho


On Monday, October 8, NARF Staff Attorney David Gover will give a presentation entitled “Tribal Water Rights and the Klamath Basin” at the University of Idaho College of Law.  The talk will be in honor of Indigenous Day and is sponsored by the University of Idaho Native American Student Center and the law school’s Native American Law Student Association.  See here for additional information.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chief Niwot Series - Sept. 27, 2012

Thursday September 27, 2012 - 7:00 PM
at the Native American Rights Fund
1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO


In conjunction with the powerful exhibit, Chief Niwot ~ Legend & Legacy, the Boulder History Museum and the Native American Rights Fund are proud to co-sponsor a thought-provoking series of programs presented by distinguished historians and guests. This series further explores the culture of the Arapaho people, regional historical figures, the devastating effects of the Sand Creek Massacre, as well as contemporary Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation and in urban centers.
  
This Thursday, September 27 · People of the Wind River Reservation

Guest Speaker, Darrell LoneBear. Mr. LoneBear is a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe, a lifelong resident of the Wind River Indian Reservation and a popular Arapaho cultural ambassador. Lone Bear will share his knowledge of the history and traditions of the Northern Arapaho people living on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, including stories of the near-loss of the Arapaho language and recent efforts to revive the language among tribe members.

ADMISSION
Purchase tickets online through PayPal.
  • $10 per program or Series Package of all 8 programs for $80
  • $5 per program or Series Package of all 8 for $40 for Museum Members and NARF Donors (Save money and become a BHM Member today!).
For more information or questions, please contact the Museum at 303/449.3464.
For a complete list of the series, click here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NARF Hiring for Summer 2013 Law Clerk Positions

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is seeking qualified applicants for multiple Summer 2013 law clerk positions.  NARF is committed to the professional development of new attorneys in the field of Indian law.  Each year NARF conducts a nationwide search for law school students to participate in its clerkship program in all three of its offices (Boulder, Colorado; Anchorage, Alaska; and Washington, D.C.). 

NARF is looking for law students who will have completed their second year of law school by the summer of 2013.  Ideal applicants will have previous employment experience and/or coursework involving Native American law.

The application deadline is October 31, 2012.  Please include in the application:

1)         Cover Letter
2)         Resume
3)         Legal writing sample
4)         Law school transcript
5)         Three letters of recommendation

This summer position pays $20/hour.

For more information on NARF law clerk positions, please click here.

To apply, please contact Eric Anderson at anderson@narf.org.

NARF Executive Director John Echohawk to testify at SCIA hearing on the Impacts of the Carcieri and Patchak Decisions

Tomorrow, Thursday, September 13, NARF Executive Director John Echohawk will testify at a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs oversight hearing on “Addressing the Costly Administrative Burdens and Negative Impacts of the Carcieri and Patchak Decisions.”

The hearing will begin at 2:15pm EST.  For more information on the hearing or to watch the webcast, follow this link.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chief Niwot Series - Thursday Talk

Chief Niwot Series - Thursday Talk

Thursday September 13, 2012

at the Native American Rights Fund

1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO
In conjunction with the powerful exhibit, Chief Niwot ~ Legend & Legacy, the Boulder History Museum and the Native American Rights Fund are proud to co-sponsor a thought-provoking series of programs presented by distinguished historians and guests. This series further explores the culture of the Arapaho people, regional historical figures, the devastating effects of the Sand Creek Massacre, as well as contemporary Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation and in urban centers.

This Thursday • September 13 · Searching for the Sand Creek Massacre Site

Sand CreekGail Ridgely and Ben Ridgley, members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, and Boulder historian Tom Meier will discuss the difficult process of determining the location and extent of the Sand Creek Massacre site. They were among teams of historians, archeologists, members of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes, and other experts who worked with the National Park Service to provide Congress with the information necessary to establish the site. The Ridgelys are direct descendants of Lame Man, a survivor of the Massacre. Led by Eugene Ridgely Sr. (1926-2005), the family became closely associated with education about Sand Creek and with organizing the Tribe’s Spiritual Healing Runs. Gail served as the first President of the Wind River Tribal College, and Ben, a former Co-Chairman of the Tribe, was instrumental in working with the State of Wyoming to establish the Sand Creek Trail in that state. Their brother, Eugene Jr., has also been closely involved with Sand Creek. Tom Meier is a Colorado native who has worked with the Ridgely family and the Tribe for over two decades.

ADMISSION
Purchase tickets online through PayPal.
• $10 per program or Series Package of all 8 programs for $80
• $5 per program or Series Package of all 8 for $40 for Museum Members and NARF Donors (Save money and become a BHM Member today!).

For more information or questions, please contact the Museum at 303/449.3464.
For a complete list of the series, click here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chief Niwot Series - Thursdays Talk

Thursday September 6, 2012
7:00 PM
at the Native American Rights Fund
1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO

In conjunction with the powerful exhibit, Chief Niwot ~ Legend & Legacy, the Boulder History Museum and the Native American Rights Fund are proud to co-sponsor a thought-provoking series of programs presented by distinguished historians and guests. This series further explores the culture of the Arapaho people, regional historical figures, the devastating effects of the Sand Creek Massacre, as well as contemporary Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation and in urban centers.

This Thursday, September 6 • Forgotten Heroes and Villains of Sand Creek


Author of 2010 History Press book of the above title, Carol Turner is a popular Colorado history columnist. Chief Niwot, as well as Captain Silas Soule and Major Edward Wynkoop, are some of the inspirational figures in our local history who are not well-known. Their stories are wrapped up in the violent history of the Sand Creek Massacre in November of 1864. Turner will introduce us to the many historical individuals involved in the massacre, and share how she became interested in the topic.

ADMISSION
Purchase tickets online through PayPal.
• $10 per program or Series Package of all 8 programs for $80
• $5 per program or Series Package of all 8 for $40 for Museum Members and NARF Donors (Save money and become a BHM Member today!).

For more information or questions, please contact the Museum at 303/449.3464.
For a complete list of the series, click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NARF Co-Sponsors Series on Chief Niwot

 
 
Over the course of the next few months, NARF will co-sponsor a series of programs presented by distinguished historians and guests that will further explore the culture of the Arapaho people, regional historical figures, the devastating effects of the Sand Creek Massacre, as well as contemporary Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation and in urban centers.

For those who live in Colorado and specifically the Boulder area, please join us next Thursday, August 30 from 7:00-8:30pm for the first event, Too Close To Home: Facing Sand Creek on the CU-Boulder Campus, presented by University of Colorado Professor, historian, and MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winner, Patricia Limerick.  Professor Limerick will discuss the process and protests involved in changing the name of CU dormitory Nichols Hall to Cheyenne Arapaho Hall.  For additional information on this specific talk and ticket prices, click here.
 
For a complete list of the series events, click here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Native American Rights Fund Receives Historic Contribution

John Echohawk, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), announced the receipt of a $3 million contribution last week, the largest single donation in its over 40-year history. The donation, from the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, was given in recognition of NARF’s work on behalf of the Tribe in its trust fund lawsuit against the United States government. The suit, filed in 2006, sought historical accountings of the Tribe’s funds and assets held in trust by the government. The Nez Perce Tribe was one of over 100 tribes to file such claims, more than 40 of which were represented by NARF.

The Department of the Interior, represented by the Department of Justice and under the direction and leadership of President Barack Obama, late last year chose to settle the lawsuits rather than take them to trial. In April this year the Administration announced settlements totaling more than $1 billion for over 40 tribes. Several more settlements have been reached since.

The settlements help avoid years of difficult litigation between the tribes and the United States. In a statement, the Nez Perce Tribe credited NARF for the historic achievement:

"The Nez Perce Tribe sincerely appreciates the tremendous amount of work that NARF has invested in this case, not only on behalf of the Nez Perce Tribe but many other tribes in Indian Country. NARF has been and continues to be a true advocate for tribes all over Indian Country. The Nez Perce Tribe hopes this contribution from its settlement will continue to carry that work forward into the future."
NARF Senior Attorney Melody McCoy (Cherokee) led the tribal trust cases legal fight. "Large cases like this can be overwhelming, but once the government opted to seek a settlement, the pieces began to fall in place. It has been a privilege working with the Nez Perce Tribe since they stepped up to be the lead plaintiff in a case with over 40 tribes. We are grateful for their generous donation and their kind words of appreciation."

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide. NARF's practice is concentrated in five key areas: the preservation of tribal existence; the protection of tribal natural resources; the promotion of Native American human rights; the accountability of governments to Native Americans; and the development of Indian law and educating the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues. For more information, please contact Morgan O’Brien, (303) 447-8760.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

First Stewards Symposium

This week NARF Staff Attorney Heather Kendall-Miller and Staff Attorney Erin Dougherty are in Washington, D.C. for the First Stewards Symposium, a gathering for hundreds of tribal leaders, witnesses, and scientists join climate experts and policymakers for a first-of-its-kind national event to examine the impact of climate change on indigenous coastal cultures.

First Stewards is being held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and is hosed by four tribes — the Hoh Indian Tribe, the Makah Tribe, the Quileute Tribe, and the Quinault Indian Nation.

Erin was a presenter on the Alaska Panel, which was introduced by Senator Mark Begich and included representatives from four Alaskan villages suffering from severe erosion.  Erin discussed NARF's work with Alaska Native tribes and their efforts to deal with the effects of climate change on village infrastructure and subsistence.

For more information on First Stewards, click here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Meet the Author - Joy Harjo



Join us at NARF to meet author/poet/musician Joy Harjo
Help celebrate the release of her new memoir - Crazy Brave: A Memoir

Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Place: Native American Rights Fund at 1506 Broadway Boulder, CO 80302

Over her long career as a performer, musician and writer, Joy Harjo has produced works of art that both testify to her unique experience and grant voice to a disinherited community. Acclaimed poet Adrienne Rich has written, “I turn and return to Harjo’s poetry for her breathtaking complex witness and for her world-remaking language.” N. Scott Momaday has called her classic collection of poetry, She Had Some Horses, “a literary event of importance. The poetry here is of mythic and timeless character, native and lyrical in its expression, profound in its reflection of a worldview that is at once precise and comprehensive.”

Through Harjo’s story, populated by spirits and impulses as much as by real-life figures, we witness a woman’s coming-of-age on the verge of the sexual revolution, the making of an activist-poet fiercely committed to Native American rights, and the evolution of a mother who must learn to fend for herself—and for her children—at a very young age, with limited resources. Throughout, Harjo is assured in her prose and in the path her life has taken, unflinching in her recollections of the obstacles she overcame to become the renowned artist she is today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joy Harjo is an internationally known performer and writer of the Muscogee/Creek Nation. She has written seven books of poetry, including She Had Some Horses and How We Became Human. Visit her website at http://www.joyharjo.com/

"Joy Harjo has always been able to see with more than her eyes. Her writing is a testament to this gift. Her Memoir honors her own journey as well as those who fell along the wayside. Her hero's journey is a gift for all those struggling to make their way." — Sandra Cisnero

Immediately following the meet and greet at NARF, Joy will be having a booksigning at the Boulder Bookstore at 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302. You are more than welcome to join us at this event as well! http://www.boulderbookstore.com/

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Preserve Sacred Places Now



Native Americans have held ceremonies, made spiritual journeys, and buried their relatives according to time-honored customs and traditions on sacred lands. These places are forever tied to our cultural identity and everyday life. And yet many of these hallowed grounds are once again being threatened.

Mining, reservoir projects, oil and gas development, and even recreational parks are causing tribal, sacred places to become vulnerable. For example, a mine proposed by Cortez Joint Venture, Ltd., would destroy Mt. Tenabo, a precious cultural site of the Western Shoshone.

You have to put a stop to this.

Donate generously to the Native American Rights Fund now, and your gift will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by the Tzo’-Nah Foundation who has established a Matching Gift Challenge Fund for the protection of sacred Native places.. $25 becomes $50; $100 becomes $200; and so on.

Your gift will help us continue to fight for these sacred places, and for rights of Native Americans.

We only have until August 9th, so donate today!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kim Gottschalk Testifies at SCIA Oversight Hearing



Tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, NARF Staff Attorney Kim Gottschalk will testify at a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs oversight hearing on “Federal Recognition: Political and Legal Relationship Between Governments.”  The hearing will begin at 2:15pm EST and will examine the process of recognizing tribes through the Administrative and Congressional processes.

For more information on the hearing or to watch the webcast, click here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meet the 2012 NARF Summer Law Clerks!

 

Each summer NARF hosts the summer clerkship program, a ten to twelve week program for second year law students. Law clerk projects consist mainly of legal research and writing. The projects are extremely challenging because NARF practices before federal, state, and tribal forums, and because most of its cases – whether at the administrative, trial, or appellate level – are complex and involve novel legal issues. This past year the law clerk program was supported by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians through the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, University of Denver-Sturm College of Law, University of Colorado Law School and the Ungar Foundation/Smith, Shelton, Ragona and Salazar LLC.

To learn more about the summer law clerk program, click here.

We appreciate all of the hard work of our summer clerks!  Here are the law clerks who are currently working with us:

Boulder Office
Samuel Kohn (Crow)
Samuel is a rising 3L at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he is a member of the Wisconsin Law Review, the Indigenous Law Students Association, and the University of Wisconsin Moot Court Board. He received his B.A. in Native American Studies from Dartmouth College (where his thesis was “Impact of American Indian Education on Native American Students”). Samuel has been a student attorney at the Frank J. Remington Center Oxford Federal Project and also at the Wisconsin Judicare, Inc., Indian Law Office. In the Summer of 2008, Samuel was an Intern for the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities. In 2010, Samuel was an Indian Affairs Associate at the United States Senate Committee on Finance. Samuel is a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana.

Darren Modzelewski (Blackfeet)
Darren is a joint JD/PhD candidate at the University of California Berkeley. He is co-president of NALSA, a volunteer at the National Indian Justice Center, and a member of their American Indian Graduate Program Advisory Committee. He will complete his Anthropology Ph. D this summer with a Dissertation “Constructing Native American Identity in the Context of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.” Darren obtained his B.A. from Brown University. Darren is the first clerk of a new partnership between NARF and the Environment Defense Fund (EDF), in which students enjoy a joint clerkship at NARF and EDF. Darren will be at NARF for 5 weeks and EDF for 5 weeks. Darren is a descendant of the Blackfeet Nation.

Jacquelyn Jampolsky (Cherokee)
JJ is working towards (2014) a joint JD/PhD degree at CU Law (American Indian Law Certificate and Environmental Social Science), where she is President of their NALSA chapter. She graduated Phi Betta Kappa, majoring in Conservation and Resource Studies and minoring in Global Poverty and Practice, from the University of California-Berkeley. Her Moot Court team was awarded “Best Brief” at the National Native American Moot Court Competition in 2012. She was also awarded second place in the 2012 American Indian Law Review Writing Contest for her paper “Mapping Indigenous Cultural Property.” JJ is a descendant of the Cherokee Nation.

Washington, D.C. Office


Joe Keene (Osage/Cherokee)
Joe is a rising 3L at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University where he is active in NALSA serving as the Native American Bar Association of Arizona Student Representative and Chair of the Pro Bono Committee. He obtained his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Haskell Indian Nations University. Joe has been a legal intern at the Standing Bear Law Office and also at the Osage Nation Attorney General’s Office. Joe is an enrolled member of the Osage and Cherokee Nations.

Anchorage Office

Helen Poitra-Chalmers (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa)
Helen is a rising 3L at the New York University School of Law where she is co-president of the NYU Native American and Indigenous Student Group and Staff Editor of the Journal of Legislation and Policy. She obtained her B.A. from Scripps College where she was a Cultural Studies major. Helen has been a Legal Intern at the European Roma Rights Centre and an Immigration Legal Services Intern at The Door Legal Services. Helen is a descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.