Pember: A roller coaster ride for Indian Country
"The federal roller coaster ride continues for Indian Country. Good news is that in this administration American Indians are on the roller coaster, but it's still a scary ride, with no one sure which direction it's heading.

There have been “big doings,” as my mom would say, for American Indians in Washington D.C. this past month. The National Congress of American Indians held its annual executive council meeting there during a record snowstorm. The council focused on legislative goals for the 111th Congress and the Obama administration. Several members of the President’s cabinet showed up to address attendees, including Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Environmental Protection Agency’s Lisa Jackson, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

Secretary Salazar promised support to tribes in developing greener energy resources, improving education and public safety. His statement that he was “troubled” by the recent Supreme Court decision Carcieri v. Salazar piqued the hopes of several gaming groups. The decision found that the Interior Department doesn’t have the authority to take land into federal trust for Indian tribes that were recognized by the federal government after 1934. The decision impacts several tribes hoping to build casinos on acquired trust land. Media reports, including a story from the Cape Cod Times, indicate that at least 30 tribes have requested building off-reservation casinos as far as 1,000 miles from reservation land."

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Issues: All Aboard the Federal Train (The Daily Yonder 3/13)

Related Stories:
Pember: Tribes and Secretary Salazar share priorities (2/17)