North Dakota Law

Updates from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Tackling Climate Change: Professor Dan Lewerenz is quoted

US Rep. Melanie Stansbury calls on the Biden administration to include tribal leaders more when it comes to climate change. Examining the Supreme Court case on race-conscious admissions in colleges and universities with law professor, Dan Lewerenz. Plus, Holly Cook Macarro with a review of the White House Tribal Nations Summit

Indian Country Today | December 7, 2022

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, a New Mexico Democrat, is a member of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples in the House’s Natural Resources committee. This year, before COP 27 in Egypt, she wrote a letter to President Joe Biden calling for the federal government to consult with tribal nations when it comes to tackling the issue of climate change.

There are two cases before the Supreme Court that are looking at affirmative action in universities. Some legal experts are predicting, that given the makeup of the conservative court, affirmative action could be thrown out. Dan Lewerenz, an assistant professor of law at the University of North Dakota, provides perspective.

More than half of the leaders of the 574 federally recognized tribes were in Washington for the White House Tribal Nations Summit last week. The Biden administration touted the $45 billion investments in Native communities. Holly Cook Macarro, a partner with Spirit Rock Consulting and an ICT regular contributor, gives us a review of the summit.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • Nearly 400 new COVID cases and four deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in a one-week period on the Navajo Nation. The nation’s Department of Health reports those numbers for the last week of November. This comes as cities, states and other tribes are also reporting a spike in COVID-19, RSV and flu cases. The overall number of positive COVID-19 cases within the Navajo Nation is now more than 79,000. President Jonathan Nez says he will continue to encourage citizens to get COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.
  • The U.S. Agriculture Department started food sovereignty programs more than a year ago. Now, the agency has launched its first deliverables which includes cooking videos and recipes created by Indigenous chefs and seed saving initiatives. ICT’s Pauly Denetclaw has a report on the new manual to help Indigenous ranchers make the move from cattle to buffalo.
  • In Peru, climate change continues to strike as a lagoon central to Indigenous communities has completely dried up. The body of water, located more than 13,000 feet above sea level has been a source of food, fun and beauty for the Aymara people. As the drought strike’s the Andes, Indigenous people there are in shock as a water once thought endless is now gone. The rainy season in this part of South America should have started in September. Requests for assistance from authorities have gone unanswered. This is the area’s driest period in almost half a century and is affecting more than 3,000 communities in the central and southern Andes of Peru.
  • South Dakota hired its first coordinator to oversee the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People program. Oglala citizen Allison Morrisette is the coordinator. A lack of funds kept the job vacant for the past two years. Current data shows 57 percent of the people listed in the state’s missing persons database are Native. Yet, Indigenous people only make up less than nine percent of the total population. Morrisette released a statement saying she felt a lot of her relatives were “overlooked,” and her new job is to “ensure that is not true.”

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