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Little Shell Tribe to be recognized as sovereign nation


Rockies Today

December 17 · Issue #53 · View online
The big stories up and down the Rocky Mountains, curated by Mountain West News

Landless no more
Little Shell Tribe to be recognized as sovereign nation Little Shell Tribe to be recognized as sovereign nation
The Little Shell Band of Chippewa Cree Indian’s long fight for federal recognition has ended in Congress and now awaits presidential approval.
The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to federally recognize the Montana tribe. The House did so last week. The Little Shell have sought federal recognition for more than 70 years.
Because they have never been recognized by the federal government, the Little Shell have never received the basic treaty rights, like health services and tribal sovereignty, offered to other American Indian tribes.
The Congressional action commits the federal government to purchasing 200 acres of Montana land to serve as the Little Shell reservation. Once President Donald Trump signs the NDAA, Little Shell members will quality for health care and education rights granted to other members of federally recognized tribes, as well as federal economic development programs specifically for American Indians.
There are 5,400 known members of the Montana Band of Chippewa Cree Indians.
“This is literally one of the most historical days for the Little Shell Tribe. It’s truly amazing. I’m almost speechless that this has finally come to fruition for us,” said Gerald Gray, Little Shell tribal chairman.
“The United States has finally reaffirmed our existence,” Gray wrote on Facebook:
The Senate just passed the NDAA and with it the Little Shell Restoration Act
More context, reported by Gabriel Furshong:
Gaining federal recognition for Montana’s Little Shell Tribe
A multigenerational fight for tribal recognition is almost over
Early birds
Millions of birds are migrating earlier because of warming Millions of birds are migrating earlier because of warming
study released yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that rising temperatures are causing birds to migrate a little earlier each spring. It finds that the journey home is shifting forward by a little less than two days each decade.
That doesn’t sound like much. But what’s striking about the results is that they apply to hundreds of migrating species all over the country.
In other words, climate change is causing a noticeable, if gradual, shift in one of nature’s grandest natural phenomena.
The researchers, led by Kyle Horton of Colorado State University, analyzed millions of radar scans collected between 1995 and 2018. They used a high-tech method to differentiate between migrating birds and weather systems—a special type of artificial intelligence known as a neural network. Neural networks rely on complex sets of algorithms and can be trained to recognize patterns in data.
In this case, the researchers trained their neural network to sort biological patterns—that is, flocks of birds—from precipitation patterns on the weather scans. They also examined climate data from across the country.
The results revealed that the spring migration is shifting earlier, and it seems to be driven by rising temperatures. The researchers observed some shifts in the fall migration as well, although the relationship with temperature was much weaker.
More wildlife news:
Legal brawl over sage grouse reaches 9th Circuit
The curious case of the Rabbit Mountain Elk
Portion of Idaho family's cyanide bomb lawsuit dismissed
Up to $10K prize for catching invasive predator fish in Wyoming reservoir
Bankruptcy backlash
Bankruptcy fixes take shape in Wyoming Legislature, meet skeptics Bankruptcy fixes take shape in Wyoming Legislature, meet skeptics
A legislative committee formed in response to energy industry bankruptcies has identified weakness in state worker-protection and tax laws and is drafting corrective bills in response.  
The Select Committee on Coal/Mineral Bankruptcies ordered a number of bill drafts to reduce the type of worker and government vulnerabilities exposed by several recent large coal company bankruptcies. The Legislature formed the committee in September as millions of dollars in losses mounted for miners, local businesses and state and local governments in federal bankruptcy courts.  
Even as the committee moved bills at the Dec. 9 meeting, however, some lawmakers expressed unease with what they said could be too much regulation. The bills will face the full Legislature in February, where the amount of political support for further regulating the state’s bedrock industries remains to be seen.
More from Graham on one of the proposed fixes:
‘All on the same team’: Lawmakers eye AG help on bankruptcies
More energy news from around the region:
Coal giant provided secret financing to group challenging climate lawsuits
Colorado regulators propose tougher emissions controls on oil and gas industry to clear the air
Alberta wants to flip the script in oil patch's favor. It won't be easy.
Downstream of oilsands, death by cancer comes too often
Oglala Sioux Tribe loses case against uranium mine
Standing Rock, state to collaborate on Dakota Access spill response training
Pedaling influence
NPS axes industry-dominated advisory group amid legal fears NPS axes industry-dominated advisory group amid legal fears
The National Park Service has disbanded an industry-dominated electric bike advisory group after an advocacy organization complained that it violated federal law.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said the E-bike Partner and Agency Group did not comply with federal transparency requirements because the park service never gave public notice of its meetings.
PEER said the e-bike lobbyists had at least eight private meetings “with a large array of federal officials,” with quarterly teleconferences that began in September 2017.
The group was shut down after the last call Oct. 10, according to emails obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act.
“This e-bike call will conclude our ‘Partner and Agency’ calls. … This is to ensure that we avoid any conflict with the Federal Advisory Committee Act,” the NPS convener wrote to members of the advisory group.
PEER said the Federal Advisory Committee Act, known as FACA, requires that regular private industry advisory meetings with federal officials be announced in the Federal Register and that meeting minutes and other materials be made available to the public.
The issue also caused internal debate, with one Forest Service official writing in an email that “I increasingly feel uneasy” about participating because the meetings were not open and included only e-bike and mountain biking advocates.
In August, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt ordered the park service to allow e-bikes on any trails used by human-powered bikes.
“Shutting down the e-bikes group after eight meetings and industry had accomplished its policy goal is just like shutting the barn door after all the horses bolted,” Peter Jenkins, PEER’s senior counsel, said today. “This episode indicates the pervasive industry influence over Interior Department decisionmaking.”
More news items relating to public lands:
Hikes across the board, but status quo for BLM move
Country's most important land conservation program faces uncertain funding future
Federal officials seeking public comment on Utah's 'Northern Corridor' proposal
Nearly a fifth of US emissions come from public lands. A new House bill aims to cut them to zero by 2040.
Opinion: Why we must save Alaska’s pristine Tongass forest
Gun culture, curated
Wyoming museum takes aim at understanding history, culture of guns Wyoming museum takes aim at understanding history, culture of guns
Firearms museum takes aim at understanding history, culture of guns
What else we're reading today
Mormon Church has misled members on $100 billion tax-exempt investment fund, whistleblower alleges
Spokane vs. the Border Patrol: How immigration agents stake out a city bus station
EPA lowers Denver area’s air quality rating to 'serious'
Wildfire residue may contribute to climate change
Alberta's top court hears arguments on federal carbon tax
Where does ‘the West’ begin?
Rockies Today is edited by Matthew Frank, Fellow in Regional Journalism at the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana.
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O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, 59812