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Tribal Governments

A Florida high school will retire its “Chiefs" mascot following an emotional school board meeting over the Native American symbol. An online petition with more than 6,000 signatures sought to keep the mascot. Many graduates of Chamberlain High School told the school board on Tuesday that they believe the mascot conveyed honor and respect. But student leaders and the district's Native American Parent Advisory Council recommended the change after a survey found 58% of students consider the “Chiefs” tradition offensive. The school plans to raise the $50,000 needed to change the school's branding and uniforms, and students will select a new mascot this fall.

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The military says that remains exhumed from a U.S. Army base in Pennsylvania do not belong to the Native American teenager recorded to have been buried there more than a century ago. The Army is disinterring the remains of eight Native American children who died at the government-run Carlisle Indian Industrial School. The Army plans to transfer custody to the children’s closest living relatives. On Saturday, the Army exhumed a grave thought to belong to Wade Ayres of the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina. The Army says the remains were not a match. The unidentified remains have been reinterred in the same grave and marked unknown.

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A Native American has been nominated to be U.S. treasurer, a historic first. President Joe Biden's nomination of Marilynn Malerba comes as his administration establishes an Office of Tribal and Native Affairs at the Treasury Department. The treasurer's duties include oversight of the U.S. Mint. The treasurer’s signature appears on U.S. currency. Malerba is the lifetime chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe, located in Uncasville, Connecticut. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says Malerba will help further efforts to "support the development of Tribal economies.” Yellen is set to visit the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Tuesday, the first time a Treasury secretary has visited a tribal nation.

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Federal officials and tribal nations have formally reestablished a commission to jointly govern the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. The agreement signed Saturday was previously set forth by the Obama administration in 2016. It marks one of the first times a national monument will be jointly managed by federal agencies and Native American tribes. The agreement was altered to the chagrin of tribal officials when President Donald Trump downsized the monument in 2017. The five nations are the Hopi, Navajo Nation, the Pueblo of Zuni, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.

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The Army has started disinterring the remains of eight Native American children who died at a government-run boarding school that operated in Pennsylvania between 1879 and 1918. The disinterment process began over the weekend in a cemetery on the grounds of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle. Custody of the remains will be transferred to the children’s living family members. It is the fifth such process since 2017. More than 20 sets of Native remains were transferred to family members in earlier rounds. The Carlisle school housed thousands of Native children who were taken from their families and forced to assimilate to white society.

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The Supreme Court has ruled that Native Americans prosecuted in certain tribal courts can also be prosecuted based on the same incident in federal court. That can result in longer sentences. The 6-3 ruling is in keeping with an earlier ruling from the 1970s that said the same about a more widely used type of tribal court. The case before the justices involved a Navajo Nation member accused of rape. He served nearly five months in jail after being charged with assault and battery in what is called a Court of Indian Offenses. The man was later prosecuted in federal court and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He said the Constitution’s “Double Jeopardy” clause should have barred the second prosecution.

A U.S. government panel has renamed a Yellowstone National Park mountain that had been named for a military officer who helped lead a massacre of Native Americans. The National Park Service announced Thursday that Mount Doane will now be called First Peoples Mountain after the unanimous vote by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The 10,551-foot peak in southeastern Yellowstone in Wyoming had been named for U.S. Army Lt. Gustavus Doane, who in 1870 helped lead an attack on a band of Piegan Blackfeet in northern Montana. The Marias Massacre killed at least 173 American Indians. Piikani Nation Chief Stan Grier calls the name change “long overdue.”

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A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban says they have indefinitely extended a cease-fire with the government in Islamabad. The announcement late on Thursday followed two days of talks in Kabul with a 50-member delegation of Pakistani tribal elders, sent as emissaries by Islamabad. A spokesman for the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan group or TTP says they decided on the indefinite extension of the truce after “substantial progress" in the talks with the elders. He didn't elaborate and there was no immediate reaction from the Pakistani government. The talks in Kabul were hosted by the Afghan Taliban, a separate but allied group with the TTP.

Pakistan’s government has sent a 50-member delegation of tribal elders to Kabul to negotiate an extension of a truce with the Pakistani Taliban. That's according to two Pakistani security officials. Talks between the two sides that led to past cease-fires have been mediated by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban — known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP — are a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban. They have been behind numerous attacks in Pakistan over the past 14 years. Wednesday's development comes after the latest cease-fire expired this week. However, none of the cease-fires have paved the way for a more permanent peace agreement.

Governments across the U.S. can start challenging the counts of prisons, dorms and nursing homes in their jurisdictions starting next week if they believe they are incorrect. The U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday started sending out 40,000 notices to state, local and tribal governments across the U.S. to let them know they have through June 2023 to a request a review of their “group quarters” populations if they feel they were undercounted during the 2020 census. People living in group quarters were among the hardest populations to count during the once-a-decade head count of U.S. residents.

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