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DOJ/DOI — Expert Working Group Report: Native American Traditional Justice Practices

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Expert Working Group Report: Native American Traditional Justice Practices (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice/U.S. Department of the Interior

Throughout the United States, the term “traditional justice” is often associated with an adversarial court-based model of justice. But for American indigenous communities the term signifies a history and culture that evolved separate from judges in black robes. These systems are often based on restoring harmony and peace to the victim and community – while still including elements of offender accountability.

In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Access to Justice Initiative (ATJ) and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services – Tribal Justice Support (TJS) jointly convened an Expert Working Group (EWG) on the use of traditional Native American justice interventions to respond to criminal and delinquent behavior.

The meeting was held in furtherance of the Tribal Law and Order Act’s mandate that both Departments work with Tribal court systems to develop a plan to address alternatives to incarceration. The meeting also evidenced the Administration’s commitment to Tribal sovereignty by recognizing and showcasing the importance of traditional Tribal custom.

The meeting brought together 14 experts from multidisciplinary communities, including judges, researchers, government officials and advocates with experience and knowledge in the use of traditional justice practices primarily within indigenous communities, for a one-day roundtable meeting. The experts were asked to provide short presentations on the traditional justice intervention that they lead in their community or about which they are knowledgeable. The majority of the participants were from the United States, but a Canadian expert was also invited given the shared history and culture of the U.S. Native American and Canadian Aboriginal populations.

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Measuring Access to Healthful, Affordable Food in American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Areas

December 4, 2014 Comments off

Measuring Access to Healthful, Affordable Food in American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Areas
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

The study compares distances to outlets for obtaining healthy, affordable food in tribal areas to those for the general U.S. population, with implications for improving the health of tribal populations.

Facts for Features: American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2014

November 17, 2014 Comments off

Facts for Features: American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2014
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state, getting endorsements from 24 state governments, to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994. This Facts for Features presents statistics for American Indians and Alaska Natives, as this is one of the six major Office of Management and Budget race categories.

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New From the GAO

November 13, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Program Evaluation: Some Agencies Reported that Networking, Hiring, and Involving Program Staff Help Build Capacity. GAO-15-25, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-25
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666894.pdf

2. Alternatives to Detention: Improved Data Collection and Analyses Needed to Better Assess Program Effectiveness. GAO-15-26, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-26
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666912.pdf

3. U.S. Postal Service: Status of Workforce Reductions and Related Planning Efforts. GAO-15-43, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-43
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666883.pdf

4. Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges: Low Initial Enrollment Likely due to Multiple, Evolving Factors. GAO-15-58, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-58
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666874.pdf

5. Indian Affairs: Bureau of Indian Education Needs to Improve Oversight of School Spending. GAO-15-121, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-121
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666891.pdf

6. Free Trade Agreements: U.S. Partners Are Addressing Labor Commitments, but More Monitoring and Enforcement Are Needed. GAO-15-160, November 6.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-160
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666788.pdf

7. Free Trade Agreements: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Should Continue to Improve Its Monitoring of Environmental Commitments. GAO-15-161, November 6.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-161
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666783.pdf

New Report Shows Continued Pattern of Voting Rights Discrimination—African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American Voters More Vulnerable Than Ever

September 2, 2014 Comments off

New Report Shows Continued Pattern of Voting Rights Discrimination—African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American Voters More Vulnerable Than Ever
Source: National Commission on Voting Rights

On the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act and a year after the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v Holder decision gutted a vital protection of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the National Commission on Voting Rights has released a new report showing where and how minority voters continue to be harmed by racial discrimination in voting. The report, Protecting Minority Voters: Our Work is Not Done, challenges the Court’s rationale that improvements in minority citizens’ rates of voting and voter registration and the success of minority candidates indicated that the coverage formula protecting minority voters was unconstitutionally outdated.

Jails In Indian Country, 2013

August 25, 2014 Comments off

Jails In Indian Country, 2013
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Presents findings from the 2013 Survey of Jails in Indian Country, an enumeration of 79 jails, confinement facilities, detention centers, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This report examines the trends from 2000 to 2013 in the number of adults and juveniles held, type of offense, number of persons confined on the last weekday in June, peak population, average daily population, admissions in June, and expected average length of stay in jail at admission. It also provides data on rated capacity, facility crowding, and jail staffing in June 2013. In addition, it provides counts of inmate deaths and suicide attempts for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2013 and compares to counts in prior years.

Highlights:

  • At midyear 2013, a total of 2,287 inmates were confined in Indian country jails—a 3.3% decrease from the 2,364 inmates confined at midyear 2012.
  • The number of inmates admitted into Indian country jails during June 2013 (10,977) was five times the size of the average daily population (2,141).
  • Since 2010, about 31% of inmates in Indian country jails have been confined for a violent offense, a decline from about 39% in each year between midyear 2004 and 2009.
  • Domestic violence (15%) and aggravated or simple assault (10%) accounted for the largest percentage of violent offenders at midyear 2013, followed by unspecified violence (5%) and rape or sexual assault (2%).
  • Nearly 2 in 10 inmates were held for public intoxication at midyear 2013.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board order — Washington Redskins case

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board order — Washington Redskins case
Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Petitioners, five Native Americans, have brought this cancellation proceeding pursuant to Section 14 of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1064(c). They seek to cancel respondent’s registrations issued between 1967 and 1990 for trademarks consisting in whole or in part of the term REDSKINS for professional football-related services on the ground that the registrations were obtained contrary to Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which prohibits registration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute. In its answer, defendant, Pro-Football, Inc., asserted various affirmative defenses including laches.

As explained below, we decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered, in violation of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a). This decision concerns only the statutory right to registration under Section 2(a). We lack statutory authority to issue rulings concerning the right to use trademarks. See, e.g., In re Franklin Press, Inc., 597 F.2d 270, 201 USPQ 662, 664 (CCPA 1979).

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