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Native American prayer on July 12, 2019 in  Santa Rosa, California at the Lights for Liberty rally.

Police crackdowns on protests, such as the arrests for trespassing and other acts of civil disobedience against construction of crude oil pipelines slated to be built across traditional Native American homeland, have the potential to infringe on the religious freedom of Indigenous people. Read more»

Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr., here testifying in February 2020, said investing in infrastructure on tribal lands is critically important.

While members of the House Natural Resources subcommittee sparred over the American Jobs Plan, tribal leaders focused more on the laundry list of needs for Native Americans, from schools and healthcare to roads and public safety, and less on where the money comes from. Read more»

Zhane Atene, right, and her younger sister, Leighan, fill plastic containers with water to haul back home in this 2017 file photo. Lack of running water is just one of the many infrastructure problems on tribal lands, officials told a House panel Wednesday.

Witnesses at the House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Wednesday cited statistics that depict a bleak picture of infrastructure on reservations, including water and electricity, and said that even those numbers were likely overly optimistic. “It’s time for America to support the Navajo Nation and all Indigenous communities and invest in utility infrastructure,” said Walter Haase, general manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. Read more»

Many of roads in tribal areas, like the Navajo Nation, are unpaved and become unpassable during bad weather, which is why roads are just one of the targets of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan. Native Americans have been on 'the short end' of infrastructure investment over the years, an administration official said.

Indian Country infrastructure needs, for everything from water to housing to broadband, are a high priority of the Biden administration’s $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said this week. Read more»

Members of the San Carlos Apache tribe gathered at the Capitol in this photo from 2015 to protest the proposal to swap lands in the Tonto National Forest, including the Oak Flat area that is sacred to them, for the Resolution Copper mine.

As President Donald Trump was hailing the pace of border wall construction Tuesday, Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. was bemoaning it as a project that continues “to destroy … sacred sites.” Read more»

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, back row right, sits next to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing where Gosar tried repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, to amend mining restriction bills.

Democratic lawmakers beat back a series of Republican amendments Wednesday before advancing bills to restrict mining around the Grand Canyon and on tribal lands in Arizona and New Mexico. Read more»

Attorneys plan to decide “sooner rather than later” whether to appeal a federal court’s decision to uphold a $3.4 billion settlement of claims by Native Americans who said the government mismanaged properties it held in trust. Read more»

Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Co. CEO Wilson Groen said federal regulations on “fracking” would result in even more red tape delaying tribal projects.

Tribal leaders Thursday pushed for greater input on government decisions over “fracking" and stressed the importance of eliminating red tape from energy resources programs on Indian lands. Read more»

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, shown here in a February hearing, praised the tribes for their efforts, saying that without a settlement both sides faced a “limbo of endless litigation.”

Federal officials announced a $1 billion settlement Wednesday of claims filed by 41 tribes, including five from Arizona, who said the government had long mismanaged their trust lands. Read more»

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Salazar said he recognizes the economic potential of the Resolution Copper mine but that many questions need to be answered before his department can support the project.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Flagstaff, sought answers Wednesday from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about his department's opposition to moving forward on the Resolution Copper land exchange. Read more»

William Lomax, president of the Phoenix-based Native American Finance Officers Association, told a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing that the so-called Carcieri ruling scares investors from putting their money into Indian endeavors.

A 2009 Supreme Court ruling that restricts tribal jurisdiction “is killing jobs in Indian country, and it is killing jobs in the local non–Indian communities which neighbor Indian country,” a Native American official told a Senate committee Thursday. Read more»

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk testifies to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee about Interior Department efforts to enforce the Tribal Law and Order Act, which is aimed at improving law enforcement on American Indian lands.

The level of violent crime on reservations is still far higher than in other communities a year after broad measures to boost law enforcement took effect, officials told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday. Read more»