Indian Country in the News: June 3-10, 2011
As part of our mission to spread knowledge about contemporary life for indigenous communities across the Western hemisphere, we're launching a new weekly feature on the blog: Indian Country in the News. Each Friday, we'll post a collection of links to stories, videos and photo essays about tribal communities from North and South America.
This week's stories include a controversy in Bolivia over the construction of a highway through indigenous territory, a grant from the EPA to clean up land in Montana, and an award-winning documentary investigating sexual abuse in South Dakota:
- NatGeo: Fisticuffs Erupts in Peru Over Uncontacted Tribes - "Peru says it will bolster protections for uncontacted tribes roaming the deep Amazon after a public row erupted last week that sent indigenous affairs officials scrambling for cover. The debate began in recent days after officials from the outgoing administration of president Alan Garcia let slip a series of statements hinting at plans to modify—and perhaps even revoke—protected status for two so-called territorial reserves set aside for isolated indigenous groups and the rain forest that harbors them ... They figure among the very last uncontacted tribes on Earth."
- KCAU-TV: Sen. Jim Wilson petitions law that redraws Senate districts - Oklahoma Senator Jim Wilson is circulating a petition to toss out a state law that redraws Senate district boundaries. Wilson, D-Tahlequah, said this week that the law redrawing the Senate’s 48 districts dilutes the American Indian vote in his district. The boundaries must be redrawn after U.S. Census results are released to accommodate changes in the state’s population."
- Current TV: Rape on the Reservation - "According to national statistics, one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. Current TV journalists John Henion, 34 and Mariana van Zeller, 34, traveled to the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota to investigate the alarmingly high incidence of rape and sexual assaults." The resulting documentary, Rape on the Reservation, was recently awarded the prestigious Livingston prize for national reporting.
- EPA awards $4.3M in Montana redevelopment grants - "More than $4.3 million in federal brownfields grants have been awarded to help redevelop contaminated sites in Montana. The grants announced Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency will go to projects in Kalispell, Pablo, Havre, Bozeman and Wolf Point.The money awarded to Montana communities will be used in part to clean up petroleum tainted soil on the Rocky Boy's and Flathead American Indian reservations. Money will also go toward crafting plans to clean up and redevelop contaminated sites in eastern and central Montana."
- AP: Bolivian leader marks start of road Indians oppose - "Bolivian President Evo Morales on Friday inaugurated construction on a highway planned to pass through a nature reserve over the objections of Indian groups that fear it will damage their lands ... The planned route passes through a national park and territory that is home to three indigenous groups, the Yuracare, Chiman and Trinitaria. Their 15,000 members live by hunting, fishing, collecting fruits and farming."
We hope these stories will provide insight into the latest achievements, issues and developments within Indian Country, and we encourage you to post your thoughts, reactions and comments below.