Friday, October 24, 2008

SMSC Helps Fund Native American Rights Fund With $250,000 Donation

Prior Lake, MN - To help protect Native American rights and sovereignty, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community announced a donation of $250,000 to the Native American Rights Fund of Boulder, Colorado.

"We felt it was important to support the Native American Rights Fund with this donation because of the important work they are doing to protect Native American rights and tribal sovereignty," said Secretary/Treasurer of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Keith B. Anderson.

"The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) wishes to thank the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for their generous gift and support for our work to defend Native American rights and preserve Native lifeways. Shakopee has shown itself to be a philanthropic leader in Indian Country through the financial support and investment it has repeatedly made year after year in Native communities and organizations like NARF. This level of financial support has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many, including to the tribes and Native peoples we represent nationwide," said NARF Executive Director John Echohawk. Read more...

Modern Day Warriors: NARF Releases New Documentary on Native Rights Movement

BOULDER, CO - NARF has released a new short documentary "Modern Day Warriors." The 18-minute film covers the rise of the Native American rights and tribal sovereignty movement from the 1960's to present day. NARF has released the film in honor of Native American Heritage Month in November. Copies of the film can be ordered for a limited time through NARF's online store at as part of NARF's new "Community Action Kit."

"Modern Day Warriors" contains powerful historic footage and interviews pertaining to some of the landmark moments for Native rights and tribal sovereignty over the last 40 years. Past and present tribal leaders and NARF attorneys also provide insight on some of the greatest legal and political challenges still facing Indian Country in the 21st Century. The film includes coverage on legal challenges faced by Native peoples pertaining to termination, treaty rights, American Indian religious freedom, trust fund mismanagement and global warming.

"NARF was borne out of this remarkable era of direct action and social political change," explained Executive Director John Echohawk. "For more than 38 years, NARF has served on the frontlines with tribes and Native peoples all across the country in some of the most significant battles to achieve justice for Native Americans and to defend tribal sovereignty. This film is an important tool to not only educate the public about the history of the Native American rights movement but to also raise awareness that these struggles for justice are far from over," Echohawk added. Read more...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are you ready for National Native American Heritage Month?

November is National Native American Heritage Month. The month-long celebration is designated to educate the public about the history, cultures and contributions of Native Americans.

Make this month a time to raise awareness in your community about the issues impacting Native Americans today. Be a Modern Day Warrior For Native Rights.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Journalist to Present Yellow Thunder Book in DC

Stew Magnuson will read and discuss his new book, The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns at City Vista Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th St. NW, on Nov 10 at 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Native American Rights Fund and is being held in celebration of National American Indian Heritage Month.

The nonfiction book recounts 130 years of history between two different communities, the Ogala Lakotas of Pine Ridge, South Dakota and the white settler border towns of Sheridan County, Nebraska. The Nebraska Center for the Book Newsletter in a review by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor Emeritus Paul Olson, called the work "an invaluable account of the wars against our Native American citizens."

Scott Zesch, author of the novel Alamo Heights and the narrative history The
Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier, in a recent review said, "Part journalism and part history, this fine work of narrative nonfiction reads like a collection of related short stories, skillfully weaving together threads from the distant past, the recent past, and the present."

Magnuson said since the work spans such a long period of time, the talk will appeal to a wide variety of readers. "It should appeal to everyone. From Western History buffs, to those interested in the tumultuous social upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s and contemporary issues like Whiteclay," he says. Whiteclay is the controversial Nebraska border town where millions of cans per year are sold to residents of the reservation, where alcohol is prohibited.

It takes an in-depth look at the one of the seminal moments in the history of American Indian activism, the death of Raymond Yellow Thunder. On February 12, 1972, four white men abducted Yellow Thunder, stripped him from the waist down, and tossed him into the Gordon American Legion Hall during a USO dance. Eight days later, he was found dead in the back of a pickup truck in a used car lot. His death brought the American Indian Movement, and its charismatic leaders, Russell Means and Dennis Banks, to the area for the first time. The book provides the first, full account of Yellow Thunder's death, the AIM march and occupation of Gordon's city auditorium, and the sensational trial of the perpetrators in Alliance, Nebraska. Magnuson is the only journalist to have interviewed Les Hare, the ringleader of the crime.
Magnuson will sign copies afterwards.

The newly opened City Vista Busboys and Poets is the third location of the popular DC-area chain of bookstores and restaurants. For more information about City Vista Busboys and Poets, call (202) 789-2227. The author can be reached at or

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Native American Law Clerk Program Thriving Thanks to Local & National Support

Boulder, CO - September 24, 2008 - The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) once again completed a successful summer law clerk program, thanks to generous support of $6,400 from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. In addition the Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians, through the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, contributed $6,500 to the program. These gifts sponsored the cost of two law clerk positions for NARF 2008 Summer Law Clerk Program. Read more…

New Supreme Court Term May Prove to be Another Difficult Period for Indian Country

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court held its opening conference on September 29, 2008 and, as expected, granted review in two Indian law cases—United States v. Navajo Nation and State of Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs—both of which involve lower court decisions favorable to Indian country. First, in United States v. Navajo Nation, the Court will review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upholding the United States’ trust responsibility to the Navajo Nation. This case is part of the on-going litigation between the Navajo Nation and the United States involving disputes surrounding the negotiation of royalty rate adjustments for coal leases entered into between the Navajo Nation and the Peabody Coal Company.

Second, in State of Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Court will review a decision by the Supreme Court of Hawaii which held that the State of Hawaii should be enjoined from selling or transferring “ceded lands” held in trust until the claims of the native Hawaiians to the ceded lands have been resolved. Read more...

Download the Complete Tribal Supreme Court Project Update.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


NARF Executive Director John Echohawk welcomes audience to 7th annual auction held August 22nd in Santa Fe at La Fonda Hotel.

NARF’s 7th Annual Visions for the Future Benefit Art Auction Sets a Record in Art Sales

SANTA FE, NM - 2008 proved to be another banner year for NARF’s annual Visions for the Future Art Auction. With more than 300 attendees and over 100 works of art for sale at the auction, NARF raised $114,411 in art sales and donations that will directly benefit NARF’s national work to defend the rights of Native peoples.

Some of the hottest and most respected artists in the Indian art world contributed one-of-a-kind artwork to the auction to support NARF. A range of businesses and tribes also contributed auction items this year. Art sales totaled $49,064-a new record for NARF besting last year’s record. In addition, more than $63,000 was raised through major event sponsorships and individual contributions to NARF’s event from tribes, businesses and supporters from
across the country.

Major highlights of the event included major bidding wars on several pieces including a lithograph by Rance Hood that drew a winning bid by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The piece went for more than three times its value. Nearly every item sold by the end of the night making it a truly a special and successful night to benefit the rights of Native Peoples!

Preserving Native Lifeways Campaign Exceeds Its Goal for Native Rights

BOULDER, CO - In July, in an unprecedented move, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington contributed $50,000 to NARF as a powerful way to show how tribes and Native and non-Native peoples can come together in unity.

And we have seen just that! Using this contribution, NARF and the Tulalip Tribes of Washington launched the Preserving Native Lifeways Matching Gift Challenge to raise a total of $100,000.

NARF was pleased to announce at our Santa Fe Benefit Art Auction that the Preserving Native Lifeways Campaign has raised $127,560 in support of defending the rights of Native Americans, their cultural and spiritual lifeways and the environment.

Chariman Melvin R. Sheldon of The Tulalip Tribes of Washington commented on the campaign by saying, "from the Tulalip Tribes and our Board of Directors, our hands go up to each and every contributor in this campaign. Every day our inherent right as the first people of the United States to govern ourselves, provide for our communities, and retain our cultural identity is under attack. Our collective efforts during this fundraising campaign guarantee the Native American Rights Fund’s continued leadership in this battle."

We couldn’t have done this without the support of our dedicated friends and supporters. Special thanks to the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin who contributed $50,000 as well as to the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawotami Nation who contributed $10,000.

Thank you to each and every one of our Preserving Native Lifeways contributors for all that you have done to defend Native rights!