Our weekly roundup of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:
DEMONSTRATORS WARNED: The organizers of a flash mob round dance to celebrate the second winter of Idle No More at the Mall of America on New Year’s Eve have been threatened with arrest.
A STEP BACKWARD: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a controversial “mascot” bill making it harder to force public schools to drop tribal and Native nicknames. The law requires at least 10 percent of a school district board members to sign a complaint which would be reviewed by the Department of Public Instruction, with hearings in front of an administrative law judge.
DORGAN DISCUSSES: Retired U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan gave ICTMN a substantial interview on topics including Native youth, sequestration, and dysfunction in Congress.
FIRST CLASS GRADUATES: In spite of a snowstorm that swept the northern border of New Mexico and Arizona, Navajo Technical University awarded its first degrees as a university to over 50 students in a small graduation ceremony at the Chinle Community Center in Chinle, Arizona.
JOURNEY'S END: In the San Francisco harbor, the Longest Walk 4 concluded at Alcatraz.
FOR THE KIDS: For the fourth year in a row, the Morongo Band of Indians served as title sponsor for the Christmas Cheer All Year shopping spree by providing $100,000 in cash and services to the non-profit Christmas Cheer All Year organization to conduct the shopping spree at the Toys R Us at the Ontario Mills in California.
INTO THE FIRE: Fifteen members of the Ramapough Lenape tribe are suing the makers of the film Out of the Furnace because they feel it is an obvious and malicious attack on their people.
RESPECTFUL LOGO: The Spokane Indians baseball team, a Class A Northwest League team that’s affiliated with the Texas Rangers, have long collaborated with the Spokane Tribe of Indians in a partnership, and will make a logo in the Salish language the main logo on the front of its home uniforms for the 2014 season.
TESTER TRYING: Senator Jon Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, is backing bipartisan legislation that will secure Indian Health Service (IHS) funding a year ahead of time, letting the agency plan for the future and avoid last-minute budget cuts like those caused by sequestration.