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March 09, 2012

Indian Country in the News: Mar. 2 - Mar. 9, 2012

This week's news highlights include violence in Bolivia over farmland for the increasingly popular grain quinoa, a bleak look at the ravages of alcoholism on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation, a 6-hour standoff between Lakota activists and oil pipeline employees in South Dakota, a Texas ranch that is under fire for offering a "White Buffalo Hunting Package," a proposed ban on Native American mascots in Oregon, and protests in Ecuador against mining projects on indigenous land: 

  • NYTimes: At Tribe’s Door, a Hub of Beer and Heartache - "Four rickety metal shacks that line the main road in this town of maybe 10 people sell an average of 13,000 cans of beer and malt liquor a day. The nearest sizable city is two hours north. But just 240 yards north — across the state line in South Dakota — is the sprawling Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where alcohol has been banned since the 1970s... In February, the Oglala Sioux filed a federal lawsuit against the stores, and Anheuser-Busch and several other large American brewing companies, accusing them of encouraging the illegal purchase, possession, transport and consumption of alcohol on the reservation."
  • AP: Bolivians fight over quinoa land - "Bolivian authorities say at least 30 people have been injured in a fight between two communities over land for growing quinoa, the Andean "supergrain" whose popularity with worldwide foodies has caused its price to soar. Oruro state police chief Ramon Sepulveda says combatants used rocks and dynamite against each other Wednesday and Thursday. A government commission was dispatched to the two high plains communities south of La Paz."
  • Lakota Indians Block ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ Trucks in Six-Hour Standoff - "Five Lakotas on Pine Ridge Indian land in South Dakota were arrested Monday after attempting to block two tarsands pipeline trucks from entering their land. According to the Lakota activist the six-hour standoff started when the trucks refused to turn around claiming they had “corporate rights that supersede any other law.” According to the Rapid City Journal “several dozens” of American Indians were part of the blockade but a community journalist reports only five people were arrested."
  • MSNBC: Game hunt for sacred white buffaloes riles Native groups - "A big-game hunting ranch in Texas faced a stampede of criticism this week when Lakota Indians noticed that the business was offering a White Buffalo Hunting Package for $13,500, Indian Country Today Media reported. White buffalo are considered sacred among the Sioux and some other Native American tribes and feature in their stories of creation."
  • AP: Oregon considers banning Native American mascots - "Angry at a halftime show depicting a bare-chested Native American boy with a target painted on his skin, Che Butler set out to force the Molalla Indians and 14 other Oregon high schools to stop using mascots and nicknames that depict American Indians. Oregon's Board of Education on Thursday took up Butler's plea for the second time, rejoining a longstanding national debate about racial tolerance and school traditions five years after issuing a nonbinding recommendation that schools stop using Native American regalia."
  • BBC: Ecuador indigenous protesters march against mining - "Indigenous protesters in Ecuador have begun a two-week march across the country against plans for large-scale mining projects. Several hundred protesters set off from an Amazon province where a Chinese company has been authorised to develop a huge open-cast copper mine. Ecuador's main indigenous organisation, Conaie, says mining will contaminate water and force people off their land."


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