Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Support the Biggest Night for Native Rights

NARF 7th Annual Visions for the Future Benefit Art Auction

Friday, August 22, 2008
La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, NM

SANTA FE--NARF's Visions for the Future Benefit Art Auction is held annually on the eve of the world-famous Santa Fe Indian Market. This year's event will be held Friday, August 22nd in the ballroom at La Fonda Hotel. NARF’s auction has become one of the premiere events during the Market. Last year’s Benefit Art Auction was the most successful in NARF’s history with more than 400 people attending from across the United States and more than $200,000 raised to support NARF’s non-profit legal and advocacy work to defend the rights and traditional cultural lifeways of Native Americans. Attendees include tribal and business leaders, artists, celebrities, media, art collectors, philanthropists and supporters of Native rights from all walks of life.

NARF's Visions for the Future Benefit Art Auction is our biggest and most important special event of the year and with out question the biggest night for Native rights. Our goal is to make NARF's 7th Annual Auction even more successful than last year's event. We are reliant on the generosity of individuals, businesses, foundations and tribes to be partners with NARF to help us reach that goal. All proceeds benefit the non-profit legal and advocacy work of NARF to defend the rights of Native peoples. Please take a moment to learn more about how you can support Native American rights by investing in the sponsorship opportunities we are offering for the auction and/or by donating items to be auctioned at the event.

NARF AND ACLU Ask Federal Court To Stop Disenfranchisement of Alaska Natives Who Need Language Assistance

Government Continues To Violate Voting Rights Act, Groups Charge

ANCHORAGE — On behalf of four Alaska Natives and four tribal governments, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in federal court today ordering state and local elections officials to provide effective oral language assistance and voting materials to citizens who speak Yup’ik, the primary language of a majority of voters in the Bethel region of Alaska. The motion comes in a lawsuit filed in 2007 charging state and local elections officials with ongoing violations of the federal Voting Rights Act.

“The state of Alaska and city of Bethel continue to violate the Voting Rights Act by blocking Alaska Natives from participating in the democratic process,” said NARF attorney Natalie Landreth, who is lead co-counsel in the case. “Election officials expect Yup’ik voters to understand translations which are incomprehensible, inaccurate, confusing, and cause them to vote the wrong way. Under federal law, state and local elections officials must provide oral language assistance in Yup’ik and ballots and other voting materials translated into Yup’ik an obligation with which they have never complied.”

Read the full story

See Additional Media Coverage:
Yup'ik voters want help at polls, Anchorage Daily News
Election officials roll out programs for Native speakers, NBC Affiliate KTUU
Bethel area residents ask for elections assistance in Yup'ik, Seattle Post Intelligencer

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2008 National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places

Observances and ceremonies will be held across the country on June 20 to mark the 2008 National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places. The event at the Native American Rights Fund is open to the public. It will begin at 7:00 am on the front lawn. Our address is: 1506 Broadway, Boulder, Colo., 80302. For more information, contact 303-447-8760.

The first National Prayer Day was conducted on June 20, 2003, on the U.S. Capitol West Lawn and nationwide to emphasize the need for Congress to enact a cause of action to protect Native sacred places. That need still exists.

Friday, May 9, 2008

'Winters Doctrine' on water rights still haunts the American West

by: Jerry Reynolds / Indian Country Today

From the article:

Echohawk, a veteran of water rights issues, said that over the course of almost four decades, NARF has encountered a consistent challenge - federal inability to fund the resolution of tribal water rights claims.

''For centuries, the federal government has promoted and subsidized non-Indian water rights to the detriment of vested tribal water rights. In the past four years alone, the Bush administration spent $2.3 billion on water infrastructure in Iraq, $1.6 billion on water-related issues in other countries, and $2.5 billion on water rights claims in the [American] West outside of Indian country. ... We strongly urge this committee [Natural Resources, through its subcommittee on water and power] to support the New Mexico senators ... We believe securing a permanent funding mechanism will resolve most of the problems of settling Indian water rights throughout the West.''

Read the full article

National foundation and TEDNA join forces


The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) has awarded the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA) with grant monies to develop Indian education professional development materials, and promote and market the ILTF Indian Land Tenure Curriculum.

In recognition that education of tribal youth is one of the most important areas of sovereignty, TEDNA and ILTF will spend the next year working collaboratively to create professional development materials that support the ILTF Curriculum and incorporate the Curriculum into schools across the nation.

The ILTF Curriculum was designed with Native American tribal issues and values in mind, but the context illustrates the important relationship between land and people in general, not just Native Americans. The main goal is for students to become intellectually reconnected to the land and aware of its importance to their past, present and future.

“We hope to introduce the Curriculum into schools to reestablish the relationship between land and people while focusing on Native American views of the human relationship to land. We believe that these efforts will strengthen tribal youths’ understanding of who they are as Native American people. We also believe that this can help improve school performance by increasing student self-esteem and school engagement,” said TEDNA President Quinton Roman Nose.

ILTF Program Officer, Terry Janis explains, “TEDNA is an ideal partner as it has a nationwide network of tribal education departments, private businesses and government employees working in education. Our message, one of traditional Native American land values, will reach all tiers of education.”

TEDNA is a member-based, nationwide, organization of tribal education departments, and private and governmental educational entities. Tribal education departments serve Indian communities in similar functions as state and county local education agencies by providing funding and services to kindergarten through higher education students in public, private and BIA schools. TEDNA is the only organization that advocates for increasing tribal sovereignty in education by improving federal laws governing Indian education.

ILTF is a community foundation that works with Indian Nations to help them regain and effectively manage their land base. Because education is a critical component of this mission ILTF has developed a unique land-based curriculum for public and private schools. The ILTF Curriculum is based on universal themes of land-based learning, and the importance of land to Indian Nations.
TEDNA has enlisted the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and Reinhardt & Associates to provide administrative, logistical, research and development support for the project. Amy Bowers will act as the primary contact at NARF, and Dr. Martin Reinhardt will be responsible for research and development. Dr. Reinhardt is “hopeful that this project will provide educators with some good tools for teaching both tribal and non-tribal youth about how we should be treating each other and the world around us.”

The ILTF Curriculum and the professional development materials will be highlighted at TEDNA’s upcoming Tribal Education Department’s Forum to be held in Reno, Nevada June 1, 2008 in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians’ mid-year meeting. For more information, please see or contact