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March 23, 2012

Indian Country in the News: Mar. 16 - Mar. 23, 2012

This week's news highlights include convictions in the case of the 1982 massacre of nearly 300 indigenous people in Guatemala, allegations of harassment against Amazonian activists in Ecuador, a debate over same-sex marriage among the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and the return of bison to tribal land near Yellowstone National Park: 

  • Guatemala court convicts paramilitaries over 1982 massacre - "Amnesty International said today the sentencing of five Guatemalan men to nearly 8,000 years in prison each for a 1982 massacre is a victory for human rights. The men were convicted for an assault on the village of Plan de Sánchez, where 268 Maya- Achí indigenous people were killed, including children."
  • Indian anti-mining activists claim harassment - "The lands of the Shuar Indians in the Amazon are rich in wildlife such as tapirs, toucans and red howler monkeys. They also hold treasures more coveted by outsiders: rich deposits of copper and other minerals that the government is eager to cash in on. Projects to build open pit mines that would rip into their forest-covered hills have spawned a protest movement that sets leaders of the ethnic group against the country's popular president, Rafael Correa, who says development is essential to the future of this nation's 14 million people. Hundreds of indigenous people have been marching for nearly two weeks to protest planned mining projects, and on Wednesday the demonstrators were nearing Ecuador's capital of Quito."
  • Tribe Considers Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages - "The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians’ tribal council is considering a constitutional amendment that would recognize same-sex marriages. The Petoskey News-Review and WPBN-TV report the American Indian tribe would be the first in Michigan and among a few nationwide to legalize gay marriages if the amendment is adopted."
  • Iconic bison returning to repopulate parts of US West - "Sixty-four bison from Yellowstone National Park were set to arrive Monday on an American Indian reservation under a long-stalled plan to repopulate parts of the U.S. West with the iconic animals. Tribal and state officials signed an agreement late Friday allowing the transfer to take place, said Robert Magnan with the Fort Peck Fish and Game Department in Montana. The shipment date was kept quiet until it was under way to avoid a court injunction, he said."

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