Tribal Natural Resources News

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Native American tribes around the West are making critical decisions regarding the management of their resources — land, water, fossil fuels and renewable resources. The Tribal Natural Resources Desk aims to produce objective reporting to tell stories of tribes empowering themselves through stewardship and decision-making around their resources.
Diné College gets national grant for boarding school project
Diné College is one of 14 tribal grant recipients from the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund projects that recognize the traumatic legacies of federally run boarding schools.
Apr. 15, 2024
Despite drought, this tribe has water to spare — and lease
The Colorado River is in dire straits. It provides water to millions of us here in the arid Southwest, and ongoing drought driven by climate change is threatening its future. But one Arizona tribe is in a unique position: It has water to spare.
Jan. 25, 2022
Indigenous activist found not guilty on religious freedom grounds in border wall case
An Indigenous woman facing federal charges for blocking construction of former President Trump’s border wall in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was found not guilty on religious freedom grounds.
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Jan. 19, 2022
U.S. announces $83M in latest round of tribal housing grants
Emergency management officials on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota have a new building, but they have been operating out of an old jail that's set to be torn down.
Jan. 19, 2022
Tonto Forest project expected to reduce wildfire risk
Officials with the Tonto National Forest are launching an improvement project to reduce the risk of wildfires. It will begin in February.
Jan. 16, 2022
Tribes find a seat at the table during Colorado River talks
Tribal nations were once excluded from talks about how to divvy up the state’s water supply, but that has changed over the years.
Jan. 10, 2022
Bureau of Land Management to analyze Chaco Canyon-area leases
The Bureau of Land Management will evaluate its policies on oil- and gas-rich lands near the Navajo Nation, surrounding Chaco Canyon National Historical Park.
Jan. 10, 2022
Relief funds approved for Navajo Nation tribe members
The Navajo Nation’s tribal council has voted to send $2,000 checks to each qualified adult and $600 for each child using $557 million in federal coronavirus relief funds.
Dec. 31, 2021
Billions headed to tribes to address water projects, health, settlements
The massive infrastructure bill signed earlier this year promises to bring change to Native American tribes that lack clean water or indoor plumbing through the largest single infusion of money into Indian Country. It includes $3.5 billion for the federal Indian Health Service, which provides health care to more than 2 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Dec. 24, 2021
The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project promises water to 250,000 people by 2040
Arizona residents are facing water shortages as Colorado River water declines, but Navajo Nation members have been living without easy access to water for years. That’s why the federal government started building a drinking water system on the reservation.
Dec. 22, 2021
The road to getting tribes access to clean water is lined with hurdles
Nearly half of tribal homes across the country don’t have steady access to clean water. Many in the Southwest rely on aging wells with polluted water, or truck in bottles from far away. In To'hajiilee, New Mexico, a Navajo community hopes a new pipeline from Albuquerque will remedy decades of struggle to get clean water.
Dec. 21, 2021
Tribal perspectives shared at Colorado River conference
The Colorado River Water Users’ Association ended last week with an agreement to find more ways to conserve water, and this year’s conference included tribal perspectives.
Dec. 20, 2021
For access to the Colorado River, the Cocopah tribe battles drought and phragmites
The Cocopah Indian Tribe has lived along the Colorado River delta for centuries. But drought, climate change and damming has transformed the once verdant stretch.
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Dec. 16, 2021
7,500 hardship-assistance checks remain unclaimed on Navajo Nation
About 7,500 hardship assistance checks are unclaimed in the Navajo Nation. The deadline to use all funding that comes from the CARES Act is Dec. 31.
Dec. 13, 2021
Navajo Nation partners with LA power crews to bring residents electricity
Work crews from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are partnering with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to extend power lines to homes in several tribal communities.
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Dec. 10, 2021
New water leasing bill is years in the making for  tribe
Lake Mead is at historically low levels, and Arizona will take mandatory cuts to its Colorado River water supply starting in January. But one tribe that lives along the river’s banks along the Arizona-California border says it has enough supply to lease to other cities.
Dec. 7, 2021
Word S6:E6 — Friends make the holidays memorable
What do a poetry library director from Tucson, a Lipan Apache Earth scientist/YA novelist and a Tempe poet have in common? They are returning friends on this episode of "Word."
Dec. 7, 2021
Bill would allow Colorado River Indian tribes to lease water to other cities
The bill comes amid historic low levels in Lake Mead and as Arizona faces a harsh water future. The state is set to take mandatory cuts to its share of Colorado River water starting in January.
Dec. 6, 2021
Biden canceled the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but an Indigenous protester is still on trial
It’s been almost a year since President Joe Biden officially ended his predecessor’s wall project along the U.S.-Mexico border. But a trial continues for one Indigenous protester facing federal charges for blocking construction machinery at a wall site in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Dec. 3, 2021
Indigenous land acknowledgments are growing. Do they go far enough?
Indigenous land acknowledgments are becoming more popular today. The statements recognize the Indigenous people who lived on this land long before the rest of us — and their knowledge systems and connection to it. And Arizona State University is just one of many organizations that's adopting them.
Nov. 16, 2021
Indigenous protester stands trial over 2020 border wall demonstration
Hia C-ed O'odham activist Amber Ortega was one of two Indigenous protesters arrested in September 2020 for physically blocking machinery at a border wall construction site near Quitobaquito Springs in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. She testified her religious and cultural beliefs compelled her actions.
Nov. 5, 2021