2 of Interior’s top attorneys will be Native

Hours after the swearing in of President Joe Biden, the U.S. Interior Department announced key members of the agency Wednesday. Two of those announcements include Native people who will work in the Office of the Solicitor, essentially performing the legal work for the agency.

Robert Anderson, Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, has been named principal deputy solicitor, and Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, has been named deputy solicitor for Indian Affairs.

The solicitor’s office has more than 430 attorneys and support staff who provide advice and legal services to the department’s leadership, including the Interior secretary.

In December, Biden nominated Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the Interior Department. It is not yet known when her Senate confirmation process will begin.

Read more in Indian Country Today

‘You Can’t Give Up’: Lakota Sioux Woman Pardoned by Trump to Reunite With Family After 23 Years

Donald Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals on his final day of presidency, and commuted the sentence of another 70, including Lavonne Roach of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Lakota Sioux), who has been serving a 30-year sentence for a non-violent drug charge.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a commutation reduces a sentence, but does not imply innocence or remove civil disabilities, such as the right to vote or to hold public office. A pardon does not signify innocence, but gives the pardoned back their right to vote and to serve on juries, among other freedoms and privileges.

Read more in Native News Online

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Shoshone-Bannock Tribe

FORT HALL, Idaho — The United States Supreme Court on Monday rejected FMC Corporation’s final appeal to contest the jurisdiction of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to regulate storage of approximately 22 million tons of hazardous waste on the Fort Hall Reservation at the Eastern Michaud Superfund site west of Pocatello, Idaho.

“The Tribes are very pleased that the Supreme Court of the United States did not find any merit to FMC’s appeal and that FMC is finally required to honor their agreement to comply with Tribal jurisdiction,” Chairman Devon Boyer, of the Fort Hall Business Council said. 

By denying certiorari, the U.S. Supreme Court defers to the findings of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmation of the District Court’s findings requiring FMC to comply with tribal jurisdiction. 

Read more in Native News Online

Bringing Back Retired Annuitants during COVID-19

January 12, 2021

Earlier this year, the Office of Personnel Management approved a request to waive a section of federal law that pertains to retired workers. These new hiring waivers make it easier for the IHS to rehire health care and non-health care workers who can assist us in strengthening our collective response during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disciplines in high need include physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, medical laboratory scientists, behavioral health clinicians, and engineers. Re-employed annuitants will receive Civil Service Retirement System or Federal Employee Retirement System annuity, in addition to a full salary as a federal employee. Those who are interested in re-joining the IHS team to help combat COVID-19 in Indian Country can reach out to the recruiter in their specific Area of interest. Please consider sharing this opportunity with former IHS contacts who have retired.

Source: IHS.gov

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