Friday, November 21, 2008

NARF Attorney Steve Moore honored as Native rights champion

WASHINGTON, DC, October 29, 2008 — The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) is pleased to announce that it will honor four equal justice heroes, including Native American Rights Fund Senior Staff Attorney Steven Moore, at the NLADA 2008 Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, November 21 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Moore is the 2008 winner of the Pierce-Hickerson Award. This award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement or preservation of Native American rights. Read more.

NARF Executive Director appointed to Obama transition team

BOULDER, CO - John Echohawk, Executive Director for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has been appointed to serve on President-elect Obama's agency transition team for the Department of Interior. Mr. Echohawk, who also served on the Clinton-Gore transition team in 1992, will serve as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources work group.

The Agency Review Teams for the Obama-Biden Transition will complete a thorough review of key departments, agencies and commissions of the United States government, as well as the White House, to provide the President-elect, Vice President-elect, and key advisors with information needed to make strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration. The Teams will ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete the confirmation process, lead their departments, and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in.

John Echohawk is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and has served as NARF's Executive Director since 1977. Mr. Echohawk will be on personal leave from NARF during his period of service to the transition team as required by the President-elect's transition ethics requirements. For more information, please contact Dan Pfeiffer with the Obama-Biden Transition Team at or at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

NARF Director Named to President-Elect Obama's Transition Team

NARF Executive Director John E. Echohawk is one of six American Indians named to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team.

Read more at:
Obama names six Indians to transition team (The Bismark Tribune)
Obama appoints Native officials to transition team (Missoulian)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Victory for Native American Religious Freedom

Today the ACLU of Louisiana (ACLU) and the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colorado (NARF) announced a victory on behalf of a Native American child attending public school in St. Tammany Parish. Read more.

Friday, November 14, 2008

NARF to screen new Native American rights film in Boulder 11/18

The Boulder Public Library & the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) are proud to present a special event in honor of National Native American Heritage Month:

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
6:30-8:30 PM - FREE EVENT
Boulder Public Library Auditorium
1000 Canyon Blvd. Boulder, CO 80302

(Main entrance and extensive FREE parking located at 11th & Arapahoe)

-Screening of NARF Short Documentary "Modern Day Warriors"-a new film on the history of the Native American rights movement

-Reception with Native American foods offered

-Featured Speaker: Amy Bowers (Yurok), NARF attorney

Ms. Bowers will speak about the most pressing issues impacting Native Americans today. Topics will include human rights, global warming, government accountability & education.

For more information contact: Ghada at 303.441.4941 or Crystal at 303.447.8760,
Download flyer

Monday, November 10, 2008

NARF Calendar of Events for Native American Month

November is National Native American Month. In honor of this month, NARF is spearheading a national campaign to raise awareness about issues pertaining to Native rights. As part of this effortm NARF recently released a short documentary film that covers the history of the Native American rights movement. As part of NARF's campaign, we are encouraging people nationwide to participate in Native American month activities and to organize or attend a screening of NARF's film in an effort to raise awareness about the issues impacting the rights of Native peoples.

During the month of November, there will be a number of events that NARF will be participating in as well as screenings of the NARF documentary "Modern Day Warriors." Please check the NARF Calendar to see any if any of these events will take place in your local area that will include Washington DC on November 10th and the Idaho Environmental Summit on November 18th. Please also visit NARF's Native American Month campaign website to sign our Native rights pledge, to send Native American month e-cards, and to order a copy of NARF's film and new community action kit.

Pawnee Nation reburies ancestors

NEBRASKA - On October 18th, Pawnee Nation elders, leaders and tribal members reburied the remains of Pawnee ancestors. The remains were returned from museums and other collections pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The reburial took place at a location in east central Nebraska, on ancestral homelands recently repatriated to the Pawnee Nation.

The land where the Pawnee reburial took place was gifted back to the Pawnee Nation by writer Roger Welsch. The 60 sixty acres given to the tribe once served as part of the traditional homelands to the Pawnee prior to their removal to Oklahoma in the late 1800's. NARF worked with the Pawnee Nation and its Repatriation Committee to assist in the facilitation of the transfer of Mr. Welsch's land to the Pawnee Nation for use as a reburial and cultural site. NARF attorney Walter Echo-Hawk also assisted the tribe in attaining an opinion from the Nebraska Attorney General last year that clarified the tribe's right to conduct reburials on private land.

Read more about the Pawnee reburial:
Joy, sorrow and pride at a Pawnee reburial (Indian Country Today)

Supreme Court Hears Indian Land-Into-Trust Case

Tribal Supreme Court Project Update

WASHINGTON D.C. - On Monday, November 3, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Carcieri v. Kempthorne, an extremely important Indian law case involving a challenge by the State of Rhode Island to the authority of the Secretary of Interior to take land into trust for the Narragansett Tribe under Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). The State of Rhode Island was represented by Ted Olson, a very experienced Supreme Court practitioner who has argued over 50 cases before the Court, was the attorney who argued Bush v. Gore on behalf of George W. Bush, and served as U.S. Solicitor General (2001-2004). Although the Court granted review on two questions raised by the State in its petition for writ of certiorari, the Court was clearly interested in hearing argument only on the broader question of whether Congress intended the benefits of the IRA to apply only to “recognized Indian tribes now under Federal jurisdiction” as of June 18, 1934, the date the IRA was enacted into law. The justices demonstrated no interest in hearing arguments on the narrow question of whether the 1978 Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act created any limitation on the Secretary’s land to trust authority in relation to the Narragansett Tribe.

Although it is very difficult, and oftentimes risky to predict an outcome based on oral argument, a number of the justices, including Chief Justice Roberts, appeared supportive of Rhode Island’s position that the Secretary’s authority to take land in trust for the benefit of “Indians” was limited by Congress to recognized Indian tribes now under federal jurisdiction in 1934 who were adversely impacted by the 1887 Allotment Act. (Read more)
Additional news links...

Indian land case goes before Supreme Court (Rhode Island News)

Oregon Tribes' members eye Supreme Court Case (Associated Press)