Friday, July 10, 2015

Democrats announce additional grants for Standing Rock



Former US Attorneys, Brendan Johnson and Tim Purdon, both Obama appointees, are considered strong contenders for careers in politics. Last year Purdon accompanied President Obama on a visit to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation as did Democratic US Senator from North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp.
A federal grant will allow the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to implement a new education code and student data system throughout all 10 of the reservation's schools. Emma Jean Blue Earth, director of the Standing Rock Tribal Department of Education, learned Thursday that the U.S. Interior Department awarded the tribe part of $1.45 million intended to strengthen tribe's education systems. Ten high school and college students from Standing Rock attended the gathering in Washington. [Bismarck Tribune]
Heitkamp talked with Indian Country Today about legislation that would create a national Commission on Native Children to conduct an intensive study into issues facing Native youth.
The president has been an ally on this and I know how passionately he feels coming to Standing Rock, having spent time with him and then watching as he did the Native American leader Summit and the impact talking to the kids at Standing Rock had on he and Michelle. We have no better ally. This is a president who really gets it and we want to have his legacy be 'changes that actually result in improvement for Native American kids. [Heitkamp, interview with Indian Country Today Media]
Renewable energy strengthens communities in Indian Country.
The Interior Department has sent out $195 million in offers to landowners on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota. The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement provided $1.9 billion for Indian landowners who want to sell (pdf) their fractionated interests. DOI will pay "fair market value" as required by the Indian Land Consolidation Act. Participation is entirely voluntary. Any land that is acquired will be returned to tribes. [Indianz]
Ice storms routinely knock out electric power on reservations sometimes resulting in lost lives.
A college on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation will receive about $1 million in federal funding for a $2 million renewable energy project. The grant will be used to help install 636 kilowatts of solar power at five buildings at Sitting Bull College. Officials say the project should decrease short-term energy costs by 20 percent, saving about $74,000 a year. Standing Rock is one of 11 tribal communities slated to split up nearly $6 million in federal money for clean energy projects. The 3,600-square-mile reservation straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border. [Associated Press]
Microgrid technologies are destined to enhance tribal sovereignty and free communities from monopolistic utilities.

Purdon is representing Alex White Plume who has been trying to grow industrial cannabis on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota for at least twenty years.

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