Tribes push water rights and voting access in meeting with lawmakers

Two bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah going into the medical hashish enterprise.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Odie Trujillo, a Northern Ute Indian Tribe conventional youth dancer performs within the Utah Capitol rotunda as a part of the Utah Faculty Boards Affiliation actions, Feb. 22, 2022.

Fears about making voting more durable, plans to settle water rights and two bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah going into the medical hashish enterprise have been all on the minds of seven of Utah’s eight sovereign tribes once they addressed Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, state lawmakers and the cupboard of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs on Wednesday.

“The Indigenous communities of Utah are a particular place right here. I’m very grateful to work for a governor and lieutenant governor that acknowledge that robust, wholesome native communities make robust wholesome states,” mentioned Dustin Jansen, govt director for the Utah Division of Indian Affairs.

American Indian Caucus Day is organized by the Utah Division of Indian Affairs to listen to updates from Utah’s tribes through the Legislature. The day is normally noticed with cultural occasions on the Utah State Capitol however, due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the caucus was held nearly this 12 months.

In her opening remarks to the tribes, Henderson mentioned she helps the sovereignty of every of the tribes.

“We actually need to be good companions in all areas the place we will and the place we must always, for the larger good of Utahns,” Henderson mentioned.

Making it more durable to vote

One main subject was voting rights. Each Henderson and the tribes agreed on the necessity to shield voting for Native Individuals within the state. Henderson advised leaders that she would converse towards HB371, sponsored by Rep. Phil Lyman.

HB371 was defeated in committee on Wednesday evening and would have rolled again the state’s mail-in voting system, making it a lot more durable for rural Native Individuals to vote. Native Individuals maintain a slender majority in San Juan County, which is in Lyman’s district.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and his govt staffer, Davis Filred, who additionally works with the Navajo Utah Fee and nonprofit Utah Diné Bikéyah, mentioned that HB371 would undermine the voices of Navajo (Diné) folks within the county.

Resolving water rights

Nez mentioned that he appreciates the state and congressional assist of the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act, which he says will present necessary infrastructure for hundreds of Diné individuals who proceed to wish fundamental utility and water providers.

Individually on Wednesday, Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted that he was capable of safe funding for the settlement by means of the Infrastructure Funding and Job Act, which he says will present water to about 40% of the Navajo folks in San Juan County.

Tamra Bordchadt-Slayton, band chairperson for the Indian Peaks Band of Paiute Indians, advised the caucus that her band would adjudicate its water claims in southern Utah.

Rupert Steele, chairman for the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute, additionally thanked the state for serving to the tribe create a federal water workforce with Utah and Nevada to settle the tribe’s water rights.

“We’ve been on this drought for some time and it’s affected the grazing areas for elk and cattle inhabitants on the rez,” Steele mentioned, citing the impacts of local weather change on his folks and their lands.

Medical hashish and tribal regalia

The Kanosh Band in addition to the Shivwits Band of Paiute Indians advised the panel they acquired approval from the Division of Agriculture to start out their hemp manufacturing for medical hashish.

Corrina Bow, chairwoman for the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, mentioned that she is ready for Gov. Spencer Cox to signal HB30, which might permit Indigenous college students to put on their cultural regalia throughout highschool graduations.

Nez mentioned the Navajo Nation will proceed its strict public well being orders with its masks mandates into the foreseeable future, even whereas close by states like Utah calm down theirs.

The Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation additionally notified Utah leaders of its intention to sue the state of Idaho for not honoring its treaty to hunt and fish in that state and can want the assist of Utah to assist the tribe reinforce its sovereignty in its ancestral lands.

Tribal leaders additionally known as on the governor for the passage of SB28, which might restructure the federal government to raised shield Indigenous youngsters within the state’s welfare system.

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