Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Former Montana State Sen. Carol Juneau once said that she considered state office because that’s where she could make a difference. (She is a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tribe but was living in the Blackfeet Nation). The year was 1998. She was first appointed to the legislature to …

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  Could there be a day, one day, without oil? Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Trump administration has been in office for less than a month — and already the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is again proceeding. Company officials say oil will be flowing by June. Yes, there is a flurry of …

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Jenni Monet faces criminal trespass and rioting charges Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Jenni Monet, a Native American journalist, was arrested last week while covering Standing Rock. You’d think that would trigger a lot of support from the national and regional news media.  There is an idea in law enforcement called the “thin blue line.” …

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Tribe says Corps does not have authority to stop environmental review   **Updated Feb. 8, 2017 Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Cognitive scientist George Lakoff once described the process for Republican thinking. It’s a set of assumptions built on the idea of a strict father. He wrote in his classic book, Don’t Think of an …

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  America First? How about First American First? Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports How does Indian Country survive the Donald Trump era? The new administration is only a few days old and already the chaos of the times have upset business as usual. And possibly the very structure of federal-Indian law. And it’s not just …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports There is that moment when we take the plastic protection off a new phone screen. Everything was perfect until we peel it away. Then fingerprints, scratches, and the business of life take hold. That new thing is never the same. That’s exactly where Doug Burgum was as the new governor …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has defied history. Nearly two years ago the Dakota Access Pipeline and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the tribe about an inevitable pipeline that would cross near their reservation and within treaty lands. The tribe objected. But it was inevitable. A done …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The period between an election and a new presidential administration is nothing short of frantic. There is just not enough time to fill all the positions that open up on Jan. 20, 2017, some 8,000 posts that are political in nature. About 1,200 of those jobs require Senate confirmation. President-elect …

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Four words that still matter Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Rule of Law. Four words that are cited over and over as the reason why the water protectors at Standing Rock should back away from their efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. The reasoning goes: The Rule of Law makes it ok to …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports A few years ago I had a chance to ask President George Bush what he thought about tribal sovereignty in the 21st century. His answer went viral: “Tribal sovereignty means that. It’s sovereign. You’re a … you’re a … you’ve been given sovereignty and you’re viewed as a sovereign …

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