Thursday, June 30, 2022

Play

The Supreme Court weakens Miranda rights protections, a campaign gathers signatures to start a consumer-owned utility in Maine, and the Jan. 6 Committee subpoenas former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Play

Immigration advocates criticize border policies after migrants die in a tractor-trailer, the U.S. opens a permanent headquarters for U.S. forces in Poland, and a House committee hears about growing housing inequity.

Play

From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

ND Activists: Lack of Tribal Inclusion in Redistricting Runs Deep

Play

Thursday, June 3, 2021   

BISMARCK, N.D. - As redistricting takes shape in North Dakota, lawmakers are pressured to give tribal communities a fair shake in the process. Those trying to establish more inclusion say the impact of previous maps still is being felt, and worry it will happen again.

When state leaders redraw political boundaries after each census, they're required to ensure districts have equal populations so representation is fair. But Cheryl Kary, executive director of the Sacred Pipe Resource Center in Mandan, said reservations have been gerrymandered many times.

She said a number of tribal nations feel they don't have elected officials who are aligned with their concerns.

"On Fort Berthold, for example, there's quite a few tribal members that are very concerned about the environmental degradation of fracking," said Kary. "And the representative that represents the area voted completely contrary to any concerns that they had."

Activists point to North Dakota electing state representatives through at-large seats as opposed to single member districts as part of the issue. They say the maps dilute the voting power of tribal nations, while deterring community members from seeking office.

Rep. Bill Devlin - R-Finley - who is poised to sit on the redistricting panel, says he's open to hearing these concerns, but says delays in getting census numbers could limit chances for additional meetings with tribes.

Samantha Kelty is a staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, which is assisting North Dakota activists in accessible redistricting. Aside from hearings on reservations, she said she wants the state to adopt more criteria, including communities of interest.

"For example, when its members may live within a 30 mile radius outside of the reservation - that may be a community of interest," said Kelty. "Or, there may be a nearby town that, while it doesn't consist of Native Americans, they may share some of the same cultural beliefs."

As for census numbers, which are used as a guiding tool in redistricting, Kary said it underscores the need for inclusion because last year's outreach for counting Indigenous residents was severely impacted by the pandemic.

"I do think there was likely an undercount, typcially there is," said Kary. "But I think in the pandemic, that created some additional barriers."

She said she worries that a larger-than-usual undercount will hurt tribal nations even more when the maps are redrawn.

Next week, members of the redistricting committee are likely to be selected. Because Republicans control the Legislature, they will oversee much of the process.

The maps will be voted on later in the year.




get more stories like this via email
Proponents of a consumer-owned utility say as Maine works to improve the power grid, it is important to hold power companies in the state accountable. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…


Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …

Social Issues

By Sarah Melotte for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection for the Public News Service/Daily Yonder Collabor…


A new student-led effort in Minneapolis, supported by the CDC's Preventing Violence Affecting Young Lives grants, is one of eight projects around the country to receive funding. (Adpbe Stock)

Social Issues

Students may be settled into their summer break - but in Minnesota, some remain focused on setting a peaceful tone ahead of their return to school …

Social Issues

A new coalition of businesses and nonprofits in West Virginia is ready to create at least 3,000 new green industry jobs. They say they just need the …

Environment

June is National Rivers Month, and supporters are calling for greater protections of the Olympic Peninsula's rivers and landscapes. The Wild …

Environment

Communities in Maryland have been awarded portions of a $1 million grant to support infrastructure projects such as improving local waterway health an…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021