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USDA’s Strikeforce Brings Aid to Rural Indian Country

Kristi Eaton - Indian Country Today

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced nearly $9 million in grants to help assist farmers and ranchers who are socially disadvantaged, tribal members or veterans.

Many of the recipients are part of USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity, a program established in 2010 to address issues related to rural poverty. The program is now in 880 counties in 21 states and Puerto Rico. Some of those counties involve tribal reservations and pueblos.

“Unfortunately, for many reasons, tribal communities are some of the poorest places in the United States,” said Leslie Wheelock, director of the Office of Tribal Relations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a member of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin. “In fact, the two poorest counties in the U.S. are on Sioux reservations in South Dakota. A meaningful change in rural poverty must address all rural poverty – including that in tribal communities.”

Navajo Nation President Issues Statement on EPA Compensation for Gold King Mine Spill

Native News Online Staff

WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA –  Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye today issued the following statement on concerns regarding EPA compensation for financial damages resulting from the Gold King Mine spill:

“I commend Attorney General Ethel Branch and the Navajo Department of Justice for officially requesting that the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Justice assure that all claims, known and unknown, resulting from the Gold King Mine spill are fairly and completely satisfied. We need to verify that our people and their injuries will not go ignored and that the United States Federal Government will act in good faith to address this crisis.

Indigenous law students rally to help people know their rights in police encounters

CBC News

A group of law students have organized a rally outside the Thunder Bay police station today in support of Cheyanne Moonias, a First Nations student in the city who filed a complaint against police over a street check.

They want to educate community members about their legal rights during police encounters, said Sherry Abotossaway, a member of the Indigenous Law Students Association at Lakehead University.

First Nations student deaths inquest: family member speaks out

CBC News

The brother of one of the First Nations students whose deaths are the subject of an inquest in Thunder Bay, Ont., says he's disappointed with the focus of the proceedings so far.

Josh Kakegamic's brother Kyle Morrisseau is one of seven students whose deaths are the subject of the inquest that started Oct. 5. The family is from Keewaywin First Nation, about 600 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay.

Tom Mulcair vows 'nation to nation' relationship with Indigenous Peoples

CBC News

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair laid out measures Wednesday that a New Democratic government would take to establish a "nation to nation" relationship with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Speaking before representatives of the Assembly of First Nations and the Enoch Cree Nation on the Stony Plain Indian Reserve in Edmonton, Mulcair said if elected his government would make investments to improve the lives of aboriginal people and put an end to the "two Canadas" that currently exist.

Quebec calls for 'urgent' extension of northern border

Ryan Hicks, CBC News

The Quebec government is counting on the federal government's help in resolving a century-old conundrum over its northern boundary, in order to proceed with the maritime strategy that's part of its billion-dollar northern economic development plan.

The Couillard government's Plan Nord includes building ports, however, Quebec's northern border, delineated by Ottawa in 1912, officially ends right at the shoreline — which would leave boats docking at those ports moored outside of the province.

Métis rights case finally before Supreme Court of Canada

Karina Roman, CBC News

A much anticipated court case about Métis and non-status Indian rights is finally before the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday, 16 years after the legal wrangling began.

The top court is being asked to determine whether the approximately 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status Indians in Canada have the right to be treated as "Indians" under the Constitution Act and fall under federal jurisdiction.

Métis and non-status Indians argue that because neither the provinces nor Ottawa have been willing to accept jurisdiction, they have fallen through the cracks.

Florida school pays $600,000 after students die following principal's hypnosis

The Associated Press

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) -€” The families of three high school students who died after being hypnotized by a former principal will receive $200,000 each from the Sarasota County School District under a settlement agreement unanimously approved by the School Board on Tuesday.

The Herald-Tribune reports that the $600,000 settlement closes a bizarre, yearslong case that began after former North Port High School Principal George Kenney admitted that he hypnotized 16-year-old Wesley McKinley a day before the teenager killed himself in April 2011.

Evaluations underway for site that could house missiles at Fort Drum


FORT DRUM — Federal officials evaluating the potential of the post’s land to house an East Coast missile defense site have talked with north country utility providers.

“They were looking to assess the local capabilities,” said James W. Wright, chief executive officer of the Development Authority of the North Country.

Other attendees included representatives of the Missile Defense Agency, Fort Drum’s garrison and National Grid.

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