It's our weekly roundup of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:
STILL RUNNING: Olympic champion Billy Mills is the guest of honor on July 1 at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Billy Mills (Makoce Pe’hila) Kickapoo Tribe Cross Country Park on the reservation in Horton, Kansas.
WELCOME TO THE NATION: After 33 years of hard work to right the past, the Hia-Ced O’odham, once thought to be extinct, can finally say they belong as part of the Tohono O’odham Nation.
ANDERSON WALKS ON: Marge Anderson, who died at the age of 81, wasn’t only the first woman to lead a Minnesota Indian tribe, she also fought for tribal hunting and fishing rights on Lake Mille Lacs.
BOX OFFICE BUST: Disney's The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp in the role of Tonto, opened on July 3. Reviewers were not kind to the $250-million action film, and it lost the box-office battle — badly — to Despicable Me 2.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, dubbed into the Dine' language—and commonly referred to as "Navajo Star Wars"—opened on July 3 on the Navajo Nation.
TO THE SUPREMES: The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a state can challenge a tribe’s right to open a casino in a case involving a three-year old conflict over an off reservation tribal casino in northern Michigan. The Bay Mills Indian Community has been locked in litigation since 2010 when it opened a small new casino on off-reservation land without state or federal approvals.
FEATHER PROGRESS: After years of dissatisfaction among tribal members over lengthy delays in receiving eagle feathers from the National Eagle Repository, change may be on the way, prodded by a federal government that’s often blamed for the sluggish pace of the existing process.
A SOLDIER IN THE FIGHT AGAINST KEYSTONE XL: Arizona Democratic Sen. Jack Jackson Jr., Navajo, is resigning his post to work as a tribal liaison on environmental issues for the federal government. Jackson’s new position was crafted in response to tribal leaders who have complained about improper consultation during the process to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
DROUGHT CONDITIONS: Horses across the Navajo Nation are in dire straits, fighting one another to get at small quantities of water. On top of that, many of the horses are malnourished, their ribs sticking out. The drought that has gripped the Nation for several years is taking a toll so deep that President Ben Shelly declared a state of emergency on July 2.