Indian Country in the News: June 1 - June 8, 2012
This week's news highlights include funding troubles for a controversial dam in Chile that indigenous environmentalists argue will destroy the Patagonia region; an investigation into tribal payday lending practices; reparations for Native American victims of 20th-century eugenics policies in North Carolina; and the continuing controversy over Massachusetts politician Elizabeth Warren's heritage claims:
- BBC: Chilean power firm Colbun puts project on ice - "One of the two firms planning to build the giant HidroAysen dam in Chilean Patagonia has frozen the project, citing lack of government backing. Colbun said there was no point continuing with the planning stage for the project's transmission line unless Chile's government came up with an energy strategy that had wide support. Protestors argue that the scheme will destroy a valuable natural environment. The dams are intended to provide a third of Chile's electricity."
- Bloomberg: Payday Lenders and Indian Tribes Evading Laws Draw Scrutiny - "U.S. regulators and Congress are scrutinizing partnerships between Native Americans and outside investors in online payday lending businesses accused of exploiting tribal sovereignty to evade state consumer-protection laws. The push has divided Native American groups, with critics of payday lending opposing tribal involvement in the businesses, which charge interest rates as high as 521 percent for short- term loans. Other Indian groups, formed to represent the nascent industry in Washington, are pushing back against the regulators."
- ICT: Preemptive Genocide: Only Now Are Reparations Being Made to Eugenics Victims - "When North Carolina announced earlier this year that it intends to be the first state to compensate victims of decades-ago sterilization programs, it renewed a nationwide debate over the need to acknowledge and amend the travesties of similar programs in other states. Tens of thousands of women, men and even children were sterilized from the early 1900s through the middle part of the century. Often, the victims were misled about the treatments they were undergoing; sometimes they were pressured or even forced to cooperate. Most had been deemed unfit to reproduce, often because they weren’t white and sometimes because they were ruled mentally inferior. The programs all were justified by eugenics policies meant to improve the gene pool."
- CS Monitor: Cherokees hammer Elizabeth Warren on ancestry claim ahead of Mass. party convention - "Indian reporters and activists want answers from Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who has given muddled replies about whether she used unsupported claims of Cherokee ancestry to further her academic career at Harvard."