WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country this past week.

Interior Department Completes Vote on Removal of Derogatory Names as 5 Locations

The Department of the Interior on Thursday, Jan. 12th, announced the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) has voted on the remaining replacement names featuring the word sq___. In September, the Department announced the final vote for nearly 650 features, but completed an additional review for seven locations that are considered unincorporated populated places.

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

“Words matter, particularly in our work to ensure our nation’s public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) said. “I am grateful to the members of the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force and the Board on Geographic Names for their efforts to finalize the removal of this harmful word. Together, we are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America.”

Thurday’s vote came after a year-long process to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women. Noting that there are unique concerns with renaming populated locations, the BGN sought additional review and comments from Tribes, local communities and stakeholders before the final vote.

The seven places for additional review included:

  • Sq___ Harbor, Alaska: Removed from consideration. Feature is a historical area that no longer serves as an unincorporated community.
  • Sq___ Hill, Calif.: Name changed to Loybas Hill. Proposed by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, the name translates to “Young Lady” and honors the past, present and future Native women from and living in the area.
  • Sq___ Valley, Calif.: Name changed to Yokuts Valley, which was proposed during the public comment period. Yokuts translates to “people.”
  • Sq___ Gap, N.D.: Name changed to Homesteaders Gap, which was selected by the community in the populated area as relevant to their local history.
  • Sq___berry, Tenn.: Name changed to Partridgeberry, another common name for the plant for which the community is currently named.
  • Sq___ Mountain, Texas: Name changed to Lynn Creek in honor of Isaac Lynn, who lived on the creek nearby that bears his name.
  • Sq___ Place, Wyo.: Removed from consideration. Feature is a locale now listed as privately owned land.

The list of all new names will be updated on the U.S. Geological Survey website to reflect today’s vote along with a map of locations. While the new names are immediately effective for federal use, the public may continue to propose name changes for any features through the regular BGN process.

Indian Affairs Announces New Regulations of Osage Mineral Estate

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs on Thrusday, Jan. 12th, announced the proposed revisions to the federal regulations that regard the leasing of the Osage Mineral Estate for oil and gas mining. 

These changes would update the leasing codes in order to standardize them across Indian Country and reflect the modern industry standards, advances in technology. They were last updated in 1974. 

The regulations would: 

  • Update bonding requirements to better protect the Osage Nation in cases of operator default which would also reduce the proliferation of abandoned and orphan wells.
  • Update the settlement values of oil and gas for royalty purposes to promote consistency in production valuation, prevent lessees and purchasers from engaging in price manipulation, and ensure that the Osage Nation receives the full value of its oil and gas.
  • Require royalty and production reports to be submitted to the Office of Natural Resources Revenues (ONRR) using ONRR’s eCommerce reporting system and include all other provisions necessary for ONRR to assume the Bureau of Indian Affairs Osage Agency’s royalty management program.
  • Impose detailed requirements for oil and gas measurement to improve production accountability, including through the incorporation by reference of relevant standards.
  • Align assessments and civil penalties under the regulations with those imposed for the same violations throughout the rest of Indian Country
Funding opportunities for Indian Country

The 2023 AmeriCorps State and National Native Nations Grants and Planning Competition 

  • AmeriCorps seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources into disaster services like COVID-19 response, economic opportunities, education, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous language, civic and social engagement, healthy futures and veterans and military families. 
  • Opportunities include three-year operating grants which engage AmeriCorps members in time-limited-service commitments and one-year planning grants to develop programs that implement evidence-based solutions to community needs.
  • The application deadline is Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 5:00 pm.

The 2023 AmeriCorps Seniors Native Nations and Indigenous Elders Senior Demonstration Program

Examples of potential programming (not limited to these examples): promote the preservation and teaching of Native and Indigenous languages and cultural practices; provide social, economic and educational services to tribal nations and Indigenous people both on and off reservation lands; advance equity in areas such as food sovereignty, climate change and conservation and mental health services; provide veterans and military families, caregivers and survivors' quality of life; and create workforce pathways for older adults, including deliberate training, certifications and hiring preferences. No match required.

The application deadline is Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 5:00 pm.

 Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), a Michigan State University student who is a staff reporter for Native News Online, contributed to these briefs.

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (June 3, 2023): D.C. Briefs
House Passes Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Deal; How Native American Members of Congress Voted
History Made as First Navajo Appointed U.S. Federal Judge in California
California Bill Aims to Increase State Funding for Tribal Housing
Navajo Nation Leaders Recognized the Fallen on Memorial Day

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].