July 31 Native American News Roundup

Here is a summary of news related to Native Americans in the United States this week:

Supreme Court to review ICWA in biggest Native American case in decades

The recently released U.S. Supreme Court schedule shows justices will begin hearing arguments Nov. 9 in Haaland v. Brackeen, a consolidation of three cases that challenge the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): Cherokee Nation vs. Brackeen, Texas vs. Haaland, and Brackeen vs. Haaland.

Congress passed the ICWA in 1978 to discourage states from placing Native American children in non-Native American homes. Prior to ICWA, between 25% and 35% of all Native American children had been placed in adoptive homes, foster homes, or institutions; the vast majority were raised by non-natives.

The ICWA sets guidelines for how states should handle child protection cases involving Native American children.

“Before you can place an Indian child in a non-Indian home, you must first look for another immediate family member, then another member of the tribe, then another Indian family before you can place that child in a home. not indian. home,” Stephen Pevar, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told VOA in 2018.

In 2018, a Texas federal court declared ICWA “unconstitutional,” saying the law discriminates against non-Native couples seeking to adopt Native children. The case made its way through several lower courts, and in September 2021, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland took the case to the United States Supreme Court.

Native Americans fear that if a conservative majority of justices rule against ICWA, other Indian federal laws, including tribal sovereignty itself, could be threatened.

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Affirmative Action Cases Top November Arguments Calendar

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch joins other Justices of the United States Supreme Court for a formal group portrait at the Supreme Court building in Washington.  June 1, 2017.

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch joins other Justices of the United States Supreme Court for a formal group portrait at the Supreme Court building in Washington. June 1, 2017.

A look at Supreme Chief Justice Neil Gorsuch’s record on tribal sovereignty

This week, Insider examines U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s case on issues involving U.S. treaty obligations to tribes.

Gorsuch broke with the conservative majority in his June 29 opinion in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, which examined whether the state could prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes against Native victims on tribal lands. This case revisited a 2020 decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which determined that much of eastern Oklahoma remained an Indian reservation and that only tribal and federal governments had criminal jurisdiction over crimes committed in reserves.

Insider examines Gorsuch’s career to shed light on how his experience in a Western appellate court informs his views today.

“Gorsuch is said to have seen numerous Indigenous law cases in a variety of settings, helping him gain a thorough understanding of historical precedents,” the article says.

Justice Neil Gorsuch’s track record pushed him to break with other conservatives on Indigenous law and defend tribal sovereignty

Deputy Indian Affairs Secretary Bryan Newland, left, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, right, in Anadarko, Oklahoma, July 9, 2022.

Deputy Indian Affairs Secretary Bryan Newland, left, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, right, in Anadarko, Oklahoma, July 9, 2022.

Michigan Next Stop on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s ‘Road to Healing’ Tour

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Bryan Newland will travel to Pellston, Michigan as part of a year-long tour aimed at giving Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and their descendants the opportunity to talk about their experiences in Indian boarding schools. An outgrowth of the 2021 Federal Indian Residential Schools Initiative, the “Road to Healing” tour also collects ongoing oral histories. The Odawa Little Traverse Bay Bands of Harbor Springs, Michigan will host the August 13 event with 35 tribal nations invited to participate. There will be trauma support available on site, as there was during the first listening session on July 9 in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Haaland and Newland will hold further listening sessions in Arizona and Hawaii later this year.

On the road to recovery in Pellston, Michigan

An SUV driver drives through New Mexico’s ceremonial parade

Citizens of the Navajo Nation express their shock and grief after the driver of an SUV drove through a parade in downtown Gallup, New Mexico on Thursday night. Several people were injured, including two police officers. The driver was taken into custody.

The parade was part of the 100th annual Gallup Intertribal Ceremony, one of the oldest continuous celebrations of Native American culture and heritage in the United States and a major tourist attraction.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and other tribal officials were among those caught in the path of the vehicle, but were not injured.

In a video statement he made at the scene, Nez expressed his shock and anger.

“You would see [events like] this on TV. You would think that would never happen here. I’m sorry to say it happened here in Gallup, New Mexico,” he said, adding, “It’s just the evil seeping into our communities.

The SUV drives through the 100th Annual Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Parade

Archaeologist Daron Duke speaks with visitors at an archaeological site in the Utah Test and Training Range, July 18, 2022.

Archaeologist Daron Duke speaks with visitors at an archaeological site in the Utah Test and Training Range, July 18, 2022.

Archaeologists Discover Ancient ‘Ghost Footprints’ in Utah

Archaeologists working for the US Air Force at a missile test site in Utah have discovered a set of 88 footprints made 12,000 years ago when the Great Salt Lake Desert was a vast wetland.

Archaeologist Daron Duke explained that thousands of years ago a group of adults and children walked through shallow water. The wet sand rushed in to fill their footprints, but their footprints remained in a layer of mud under the sand.

Today, scientists call these tracks “ghost footprints” because they only appear after rain and disappear after the soil dries.

In 2016, scientists working half a mile from the footprints discovered a hearth, tools and charred tobacco seeds dating back 12,300 years, the earliest documented use of tobacco ever found.

‘Ghost footprints’ left by ancient hunter-gatherers discovered in Utah desert

Sign at the entrance to Haskell Indian Nations University, a public tribal land-grant university in Lawrence, Kansas, founded in 1884.

Sign at the entrance to Haskell Indian Nations University, a public tribal land-grant university in Lawrence, Kansas, founded in 1884.

National Science Foundation Awards Haskell University Major Science Grant

Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas has received a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support an Indigenous Science Hub project.

This is the largest NSF grant ever awarded to a tribal college or university.

Indian Affairs Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland called the award “a tremendous step forward in supporting tribal communities as they meet the challenges of a rapidly changing climate.”

The Rising Voices, Changing Coasts project will bring together scientists and Indigenous knowledge keepers from diverse coastal regions to explore and develop ways to manage coastal risks in Indigenous communities.

Haskell University of Indian Nations receives $20 million for its Indigenous Science Hub

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