Natives Would Accept $27.5 Billion To Settle Nine-Year Suit
Cobell of Browning MT was one of the four women honored in New York City on November 14th. 2003 by the Women’s Leadership Exchange – a multimedia company founded by female entrepreneurs. She led the fight for a full accounting of trust funds held by the federal government for thousands of American Indians.
The $27.5 billion is a little more than twice the amount of money the Interior Department officials say has passed through the Indian trust fund since 1910.
The Interior Department supports the idea of a settlement but it would require reasonable terms and conditions that are suitable to Congress, the courts, the plaintiffs and, ultimately, to American taxpayers, under terms and principles acceptable for all and created on a foundation of facts, according to Dan DuBray, spokesperson for the Interior Department
A working group, comprising about 50 tribal members created the principles, holding at least six meetings around the country and as many telephone conference calls.
Members represented such groups as the Indian Land Working Group, the Intertribal Timber Council and the Native American Rights Fund which brought the class-action lawsuit.
The basis of the lawsuit claims the Interior Department has lost or can’t account for as much as $170 billion it collected on behalf of 500,000 Indians, over the past 118 years, mostly from non-Indians who grow crops, graze livestock, cut timber and drill for oil and gas on Indian lands.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Richard Pombo, (R-CA) both chairmen of committees that have jurisdiction over Indian programs, had asked Indian leaders to submit proposals for settling the case. Pressure has been mounting on all sides to resolve the matter as litigation cost have mounted and Indian elders who are owed money have died.
Tex Hall, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said he expects lawmakers to introduce legislation by the end of this month.
Edited for length and content from an article in the June 21st edition of The Arizona Republic bylined Faith Brenner.
NATIVE ‘HOOPSTERS’ TAKE THEIR BEST SHOTS
Allison Holliday, 17, a point guard for the Monument Valley Mustangs from Kayenta, AZ can run and jump with the best of them. She’ll be a senior next year and wants to play ball in the college leagues. As remote Kayenta isn’t a regular stop for college recruiters, her challenge is getting seen in action.
The Native American Basketball Invitational in Ak Chin this past week was crucial to her career plans. The Invitational let recruiters see 64 Native American teams from across the country and Canada in one place at one time.
Despite the legendary love of basketball on reservation – the fast paced “rezball” games – few Native American players make it to the college level or beyond. Poverty, inadequate schools and a hesitancy to leave the reservation contribute to low Native American participation on a professional level.
The Invitational was started in 2003 by Mark West, former player and assistant manager of the Phoenix Suns, after he watched Arizona’s high school tournament and saw there was no representation at the college level.
The tournament and a related foundation are designed to help with scholarships and Native American students once they get to college. The foundation, with several Native American board members, has awarded 15 scholarships since 2003.
West said leaving the reservation for a college campus can be tough for kids. “If they’ve lived on the reservation their whole life, it’s almost like going to a different country.
“Although all kids can get homesick, the pull to go home is especially strong for native American students. We can’t give them some things because of NCAA rules but we try to give them much support as we can.”
The foundation hopes to eventually help with community issues such as diabetes and obesity.
This article was edited from a June 24th story in The Arizona Republic bylined Pat Kossan.
FREEDOM FORUM DIVERSITY INSTITUTE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR 2006 CLASS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, a training program at Vanderbilt University for people of color who want to become journalists but have not had formal journalism training, is accepting applications for its 2006 class of journalism fellows.
The Freedom Forum Diversity Institute is an intensive 12-week program that trains people of color, particularly non-traditional or second-career professionals, who want to become journalists in a daily U.S. newspaper newsroom. The program is designed to develop participants' skills as reporters, copy editors, photographers and graphic artists. The Freedom Forum pays all expenses for training, transportation and housing, plus a stipend during the training period. To be admitted to the program, participants must have sponsoring newspapers that agree to provide them full-time jobs as journalists upon successful completion of the training session. Since the Diversity Institute opened in June 2002, 67 fellows have graduated from the program.
The 2006 Diversity Institute class will run from Feb. 5 to April 28. The application deadline is Dec. 9.
The Diversity Institute is located in Nashville, Tenn., on the campus of Vanderbilt University, adjacent to the First Amendment Center. Eligible nominees must be able to relocate temporarily to Nashville during the training period, and agree to work at the newspaper that endorses their application at the end of the classroom instruction time. Working with daily newspapers throughout the United States, the institute helps place participants in or near locations where they currently reside.
For additional information, including application information, visit the Diversity Institute’s Web site (diversityinstitute.org.) Nominations and application forms should be mailed to: Robbie Morganfield, Executive Director, Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University, 1207 18th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212
The Freedom Forum, based in Arlington, Va., is a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. The foundation focuses on three main priorities: the Newseum, First Amendment issues and diversity in U.S. daily newspaper newsrooms.
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