Blog Posts Related to the Native American Community

  • Celebrating American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

    Ed note: This blog was cross-posted from the Department of Justice.

    Celebrating American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

    Mr. Dennis W. Zotigh delivers remarks before he performs a cultural piece at the commemoration. (Photo from the Department of Justice)

    This week the Department of Justice held a special event in the Great Hall commemorating National Native American Heritage Month. Each November, the department honors the cultural traditions, contributions and history of America’s indigenous peoples in honor of their many sacrifices and contributions to our nation’s well-being. 

  • National Native American Heritage Month and the White House Tribal Nations Conference

    Today, I along with several of my colleagues in the Administration are hosting a listening session at the National Congress of American Indians convention to kick off National Native American Heritage Month and to hear directly from tribal leaders about their priorities for discussion at the 2011 White House Tribal Nations Conference.  

    As you may have already heard, the President, along with members of the Cabinet, Senior Administration officials, and tribal leaders will gather at the 2011 White House Tribal Nations Conference on December 2nd. As part of President Obama’s ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. 

    This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President’s commitment to strengthen the government to government relationship with Indian Country.  Throughout the month of November, the Administration will be consulting with tribal leaders to plan for the 2011 Tribal Nations Conference.  In addition, many federal agencies across the Administration will be hosting their own celebration events this month. 

  • Pursuing Equal Justice for All Native Americans

    Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

    Ron Whitener

    I am a member of the Squaxin Island Tribe of Indians, whose homelands encompass the southern waters of Puget Sound in Washington State.  I was born and raised among my tribe, and continue to participate in the cultural activities of my people.  I am proud of my Native American heritage, and I am grateful that my parents instilled in me a strong work ethic and a belief in the value of education.  My father taught in a state juvenile detention institution for almost 30 years, and his example led me to focus my work on assisting adults and juveniles in tribal justice systems.  Sadly, however, I am also motivated by an awareness of the tragic disparities faced by Native Americans as a result of both historical trauma and present-day realities.  Native Americans die from alcohol-related causes at a rate six times higher than that of all other races in the United States combined; they are more likely than members of all other races to commit suicide, to be the victims of homicide, and to die from unintentional injuries; they suffer from higher rates of infant mortality; and the United States Department of Justice has determined that one in three Native American women will be raped during her lifetime.  I have seen examples of these disparities among my own family and friends.

  • Osage Tribal Trust Settlement

    Osage Tribal Trust Settlement

    Leaders of the Osage Tribe join officials from the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of the Interior to commemorate the historic Osage Tribal Trust Settlement. October 21, 2011. (by Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior)

    Today, we joined Osage Tribe Principal Chief John Red Eagle, other tribal leaders, and our colleagues at the Treasury Department, in a ceremony to commemorate an historic settlement marking the end of a long-running lawsuit by the Osage Tribe of Oklahoma regarding claims involving the United States’ accounting and management of the tribe’s trust funds and non-monetary trust assets.

    Reaching a final settlement with the Osage Tribe on its trust accounting and trust mismanagement claims has been a priority for the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior. Attorney General Holder and Secretary Salazar have been committed to resolving pending tribal trust accounting and trust mismanagement cases, in a fair and equitable manner and without protracted litigation, so that the United States and the tribes can jointly undertake reconciliation and empowerment for American Indian nations.

  • Share Your Story with the White House Native American Youth Challenge

    Since the launch of the White House Native American Youth Challenge in early July, young people across Indian Country have been answering the President’s call to submit their stories of leadership and service in their communities.  Native youth have been active and engaged throughout the summer; hundreds attended the National United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) conference in Minnesota, the National Intertribal Youth Summit in New Mexico hosted by several federal agencies, and the Let’s Move in Indian Country Lacrosse event on the South Lawn of the White House, among others.  But as the summer has come to an end, so too does the Youth Challenge and the last day to submit applications is this Friday, September 30, 2011.  We have already received an outstanding response and we hope even more young people will respond before the deadline. 

  • Sacred Power: Growing Jobs and Nurturing Communities

    Editor's Note: This blog introduces readers to David Melton, Chief Executive Officer of Sacred Power Corporation.

    Sacred Power Corporation (SPC) was established in 2001 as Native American owned and operated small business that provides renewable energy solutions to government, commercial and residential customers. "Using the strengths of the Father to Protect the Gifts of the Mother" is our guiding principle, and it has guided us to success.

    SPC has always been at the forefront of renewable energy innovation, beginning with our installation of the first solar carport structure in the State of New Mexico. Nearly eleven years later, that same carport is generating clean energy for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM. With funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the support of the Obama Administration, we have now put large-scale renewable energy installations in New Mexico Schools for the first time. This allowed SPC to hire people at a time when jobs are scarce. With hundreds of installations across the U.S, SPC now employs 59 people from all disciplines, including engineers, electricians, installers, and office and administrative staff. We're also working with teachers to help them educate and inspire students about the great potential of green technology and green jobs in our communities. And we're working with Tribal Nations on the construction of energy efficient and solar powered Housing and Urban Development homes for lower-income Americans, who spend much of their earnings on their energy bills.

    Sacred Power Solar Array

    Sacred Power's portable solar array/wind turbine combination is transported to nearby schools for clean and efficient energy use.

    SPC's patented stand-alone solar generators provide cost effective rural electrification for Native American homes. This power provides refrigeration for fresh foods, milk, and medicines, and for basic home needs. Unfortunately, there are over 10,000 of these “off-grid” homes scattered across Native Lands in the desert southwest without power, fuel or running water. SPC systems have already helped hundreds of senior citizens, single parent and low income families. 

    We are proud to have over ten Tribal Nations represented among our employees. And we are proud that our remote power systems, energy efficient telecommunication shelters, and grid tie photovoltaic power generators have served public sector customers of Tribal Nations, the U.S. Military, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, U.S. Forest Service, and NASA, to name a few.

    Sacred Power facility tour

    CEQ Chair Sutley tours Sacred Power Corporation.

    At SPC, we know firsthand the potential of renewable energy and green technology to provide good jobs. We hope to take advantage of this potential to continue to grow and sustain our community for years to come.

    David Melton is Chief Executive Officer of Sacred Power Corporation

  • Supporting Tribal Nations through Comprehensive Engagement & Investment

    Ed. Note: This post has been cross-posted from usdoj.gov.

    In line with Attorney General Holder’s commitment to enhancing public safety in Indian Country, Assistant Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced grants totaling $118.4 million to support law enforcement practices and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts.

    Tribal governments received awards in areas including public safety and community policing; methamphetamine enforcement; justice systems and alcohol and substance abuse; corrections and correctional alternatives; violence against women; elder abuse; juvenile justice; and tribal youth programs. 

    “This year, we encouraged comprehensive safety planning– because we know innovative and holistic approaches work,” said Perrelli, who made the announcement at the department’s Four Corners Indian Conference in Ignacio, Colorado.

  • Making Progress for Indian Country

    Working to fulfill President Obama’s commitment to create jobs and improve the quality of life for Native American communities, the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation are working to provide safe and reliable water supplies across Indian Country as we aggressively implement an unprecedented number of Indian water rights settlements. To achieve the goals we have with our Tribal partners, major water infrastructure is being developed with the potential to create thousands of jobs throughout the development and construction of these important projects.

    Since our first days in office, the Obama Administration has been strongly supportive of Indian water rights settlements. With the leadership of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, we have supported resolution of the Navajo-San Juan River claims in New Mexico, endorsed a settlement for the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada and Idaho, and worked to enact four new settlements at the end of last year as part of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010.  This support for Indian water rights settlements is unprecedented – six settlements in the last two years – but we also recognize that there is a lot more work to do.

    Secretary Salazar meets with members of the Crow Nation

    In July, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar met with more than 200 members of the Crow Nation to celebrate the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement. The pact will bring more than $460 million to the reservation to ensure safe drinking water and rehabilitate the Tribe’s irrigation project. (Photo from DOI by Tami Heilemann)