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U.S. Rep. Steve Russell during a July 2015 meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
OversightandReform / Flickr

On Tuesday the U.S. House passed a bill that exempts businesses on tribal lands from the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. Supporters say the measure clears up statutory confusion and preserves tribal sovereignty.

A picture of a natural gas extraction site in the shadow of a setting sun.
Chesapeake Energy

The federal government has fined one of the country’s largest energy producers more than $2.1 million for under-reporting natural gas production on Native American leases.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue issued Chesapeake Energy an order to restructure its accounting practices in order to correct unreported and misreported volumes on land leased by Native American individuals and tribes.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren announces the first Indigenous Peoples' Day October 12, 2015 outside the Bizzell Memorial Library on the south end of campus.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Native American students and University of Oklahoma administrators marked the first annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday morning. The ceremony came after the Undergraduate Student Congress passed a resolution last month recognizing the holiday in place of Columbus Day.

Dozens of students and faculty participated in a tribal flag procession down the main thoroughfare on OU’s campus as drums beat and dancers marched toward the library.

Native American students and school administrators march down the South Oval toward Bizzell Memorial Library October 12, 2015 morning to mark the first Indigenous Peoples' Day at the University of Oklahoma.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Late last month, after extended discussion, the University of Oklahoma Student Congress officially recognized Indigenous Peoples' Day in place of Columbus Day on campus. The vote was a victory for its sponsors, Indigenize OU, a group of four Native American student activists.

As a member of the Navajo tribe, Rochelle Jake has received free care through the Indian Health Service her entire life. The IHS clinics took care of her asthma, allergies and eczema — chronic problems, nothing urgent.

Recently, though, she felt sharp pains in her side. Her doctor recommended an MRI and other tests she couldn't get through IHS. To pay for them, he urged her to sign up for private insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Same Sex Marriage Denied To Most Tribal Members

Aug 10, 2015

The majority of Native American tribal nations across the country do not recognize same sex marriage.

Because of tribal sovereignty, the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality does not apply. That leaves gay tribal members struggling to balance celebration for LGBTQ members across the states and the sting that comes with knowing they may not be able to marry within their own nation.

From the Here & Now Contributor’s Netowrk, KGOU’s Kate Carlton Greer reports.

State courts are twice as likely to incarcerate Native teens for minor crimes such as truancy and alcohol use than any other racial and ethnic group, according to the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. And juvenile detention facilities around the country have a disproportionately high number of Native American youth, according to an Indian Law and Order Commission report.

Should the president of the Navajo Nation be required to speak fluent Navajo?

The Navajo Nation held a referendum on that question this week, and the majority voted no.

The vote was victory for supporters of a Navajo presidential candidate who was disqualified last fall because he didn't speak the language fluently. The next Navajo Nation election is in 2018.

Northwest Indian College Aims For The Stars

May 11, 2015

In and around Seattle, tech billionaires and aerospace engineers are fomenting a local aerospace revolution. Aeronautics programs are taking off in schools, introducing kids to this growing industry. But opportunities don’t always trickle out to the poorest parts of the state. Now, one program on the Lummi Indian Reservation outside Bellingham, Washington is trying to change that. It’s the Northwest Indian College Space Center.

An Alliance Between Circuses A World Apart

Apr 20, 2015

Circus performance – especially acrobatics – is both entertainment and art. In some parts of the world, it’s also survival.

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Sioux tribe, is wrestling with a sudden surge of teen suicides.

Seven young people have taken their lives since early December, and some fear others are being encouraged do so on Facebook – and with nooses that have been hung near kids’ homes.

The Navajo Nation Approves A Junk Food Tax

Apr 3, 2015

In an effort to curb high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, the Navajo Nation has imposed a first-in-the-nation tax on all junk food.

Now, if you want to buy chips, cookies, soda and the like on the Navajo reservation, you’re going to pay an extra 2 percent on top of an existing 5 percent sales tax.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson gets details from Laurel Morales, a reporter with the Fronteras Desk at KJZZ in Phoenix.

President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talk in the Oval Office following their Nov. 29, 2012 lunch.
Pete Souza / The White House

For the past three presidential election cycles, Oklahoma has cemented its status as the “reddest of the red states.” No Democratic presidential candidate has won a single county in Oklahoma since Al Gore in 2000, and in 2004 neither incumbent President George W. Bush nor Democratic nominee John Kerry visited the state nor spent any advertising dollars here.

Oklahoma received only $1,300 in ad revenue from national GOP and Democratic organizations during the 2012 election cycle, according to campaign finance data analyzed by FairVote and The Journal Record's Brian Brus:

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Sexual assault survivors and agencies that advocate on their behalf gathered at the state capitol in Oklahoma City on Thursday to share their stories of sexual violence in Indian country.

American Indians are two and a half times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to any other group, and one third of native women will be raped during her lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Insure Oklahoma logo
www.insureoklahoma.org

State and tribal leaders in Oklahoma are exploring opportunities for a federal waiver that could mean health insurance for more than 40,000 low-income uninsured tribal members in the state.

While state leaders oppose a Medicaid expansion offered under the federal health care law, this latest idea to expand Insure Oklahoma would involve no state funds.

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