Native Americans

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation

New rules on the recognition of Indian tribes appear to shut the door on three Connecticut tribes who have been petitioning for federal status for years. 

Native American actors have walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie that they say insults their culture.

Jessica Hill / The Associated Press

Governor Dannel Malloy has struck back at a marketing campaign mounted by supporters of an Oklahoma Indian tribe after controversy over payday loans which charged illegal interest rates. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut lawmakers are considering an expansion of the state’s gambling enterprise, urged forward by competition from Massachusetts. Operators of Connecticut's two existing casinos believe that if this legislation passes, their business will remain competitive.

On Thursday, the legislation -- Senate Bill 1090 An Act Concerning Gaming -- was approved 15 to eight by the General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee. It awaits further action in the Senate to clarify details still under negotiation.

WNPR illustration / Creative Commons

The mascot debates have ended -- at least in West Hartford.

The West Hartford school board has voted to drop references to Native American mascots at its two high schools. But, the schools' teams will still be called the Chieftans and Warriors.

Bossi / Creative Commons

Legislation is in the works for new, smaller gambling facilities near Connecticut's borders.

A coalition of state legislators, the state's two federally-recognized Indian tribes, and union leaders are backing a bill that would allow up to three new, smaller casinos to help combat gambling competition in neighboring states.

The people who live in the northwest corner of New Mexico consider Darlene Arviso to be a living saint.

"Everybody knows me around here. They'll be waving at me," she says from behind the wheel of the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission water truck. "They call me the water lady."

That's because Arviso hauls water for tribe members of the Navajo Nation, where, on average, residents use 7 gallons a day to drink, cook, bathe and clean. The average person in the U.S. uses about 100 gallons a day.

The Justice Department has weighed in on a class-action lawsuit in South Dakota pitting Native American tribes against state officials, and come down resoundingly in support of tribes.

Skateboarding On The Reservation

Aug 4, 2014

Ocean surfers on waves off Malibu and Waikiki show off by “Hanging Ten.” But on Indian reservations in the American Southwest, skateboarders do their best just to hang on. And it isn’t easy. Ken Shulman spent time with two Apache skateboard teams in Arizona and came back with this report.

‘Everybody Wants One’ 

The 93rd annual Santa Fe Indian Market is only a month away. It's the biggest and best-known destination for Native artists and Native art collectors on the planet, and this year, it's got competition — a new event called the Indigenous Fine Arts Market.

Native American art and culture is big business. If you don't believe that, look no further than the controversial or illegal sides of the market. If you've been paying attention over the last year, you've seen some lurid and fascinating headlines:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revoked the trademark of the NFL's Washington Redskins, after ruling in a case brought by five Native Americans who say the name disparages them. While the decision could have wide repercussions, it does not require the team to change its name. It is also subject to appeal, which the team has confirmed it will pursue.

Mamata.mulay / Creative Commons

Connecticut has a complicated relationship with the death penalty. Over more than 50 years, the state executed just two death row inmates because they asked for it. Two years ago it was repealed for cases moving forward, but last week, one more man was sentenced to die for a crime he committed before the repeal.

Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined 48 other senators calling for the name of the NFL's Washington franchise to be changed. The letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell referenced the NBA's response to the Donald Sterling controversy regarding comments Sterling made about African-Americans.

Connecticut legislators are putting the finishing touches on their work—as this year's regular legislative session is scheduled to end at midnight tonight. While numerous bills still need approval from one chamber or another, many major pieces of legislation from this year's session have already been approved. The list includes a revised $19 billion dollar state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

"Redskins."

That word sits at the center of a controversy in suburban Philadelphia. It's pitted student journalists against school board members, but has left the school community largely shrugging its shoulders.

Student editors at Neshaminy High School in Bucks County have vowed not to print the word, which is the school's Native American mascot.

The Neshaminy School Board, however, is expected to vote later this month on a policy that would reverse the ban.

purple_onion / Creative Commons

The electronic lottery game keno could come to Connecticut after all. Keno surfaced at the very end of last year's legislative session as a way to balance the new two year budget. But earlier this year, when a $500 million surplus was announced, lawmakers distanced themselves from the bingo-like game, and a bill to repeal keno seemed like a done deal.

In western Oregon, members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde are engaged in a debate over what it means to belong.

The tribe's enrollment committee is considering kicking out an entire family that traces its lineage back to the founding of the modern tribe more than a century and a half ago. The family is related to Chief Tumulth, leader of the Watlala, a tribe that controlled river traffic along a key section of the Columbia River.

Brandon Lavallee / Pequot Museum

Federal authorities are considering changes to tribal recognition procedures and it could have a unique impact on Connecticut. But it's unclear exactly what rights any newly recognized tribes would have.

David Zeuthen / Creative Commons

Before Thomas Hooker founded the Colony of Connecticut, before Europeans even knew this land existed, the indigenous people already lived off the land. But over hundreds of years, the United States of America grew into what it is today, and the indigenous people were only granted small slices of land if they are "recognized" by the federal government.

Winter Storm Warning Continues; Pothole Problems

Jan 21, 2014

Harry Townsend / Works Progress Administration

Before the position of lieutenant governor existed, the Colony of Connecticut had what was then known as the "deputy governor." According to the Connecticut State Library, this position was established in 1639. There were 18 deputy governors, several of whom would alternate off between governor and deputy governor because of one-year term limits.

On a recent episode of Where We Live, we discussed the role of the lieutenant governor and why anyone would want that position. So this got us thinking about some of Connecticut's first #2's when the state was a colony.

Connecticut Historical Society

Today the word Mohegan evokes thoughts of a casino, the Mohegan Sun. In the 18th century the most famous Mohegan was probably Samson Occom, a Native American preacher and teacher, who also served as a tribal councilor, herbal doctor, fisherman, hunter, farmer, and was a father, husband, and brother.

The treasurer of the tribe that owns Foxwoods Resort Casino has resigned from the tribal council as he awaits trial on federal theft charges, the Associated Press reports.

Imagine running power lines through a cathedral. That's how archaeologists describe what the Bonneville Power Administration proposes doing in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state. The federal electricity provider is trying to string a new transmission line near a cave that contains ancient paintings, a site considered sacred by Native Americans.

Mary Drexler is executive director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.  When Connecticut considers a big move like adding keno to the gambling menu, it's her job to attend all the public hearings and committee meetings at which the change is discussed.  It's her job to offer testimony on the bill and to recruit other experts who can offer opinion on the impact of increased gaming.  This time, she didn't do any of that.  She couldn't, because there were no public hearings or committee meetings. State-sponsored Keno was legalized in Connecticut by, essentially, a back room deal.

America’s Most Devastating Conflict

Aug 10, 2012

August 12 is the 336th anniversary of the death of Metacomet, also known as King Philip. His death in 1676 essentially ended King Philip’s War, a violent and bloody conflict between his Wampanoags and the English colonists. While most of the fighting took place in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, people from Connecticut took part in the many of the battles and had an important influence on the outcome of the war.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by xxxtoff

Millions of bison used to roam parts of the U.S. more than two centuries ago. Once close to extinction, the commercial meat market has brought back the bison to farms in many states including Connecticut. In Goshen, a five-week old calf is getting a lot of attention since the day he was born. WNPRs Lucy Nalpathanchil has the story

Chion Wolf

Foxwoods Casino is an unlikely Connecticut success story. Before 1992, residents never would have guessed they’d have one of the world’s largest casinos in its backyard.

But given the years of profits and massive expansion, the headline of a New York Times Magazine story now seems even more improbable: “Foxwoods is Fighting for its Life.”

Native American Mascot Controversy

Jun 21, 2012
Keith Allison (Flickr Creative Commons)

We’ve got the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Hall High Warriors. So what’s in a name?

Hall High School in West Hartford has decided to change their logo, which previously depicted a profile view of a Native American. They will still be known as the “Warriors,” but without the Native American connection.

An Archeologist and a team of college students are spending the summer uncovering a little known chapter in Connecticut history.

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