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MAUI, Hawaii — For two decades, Donna Sterling has lived on 12 acres of pastoral land in Kahikinui, a remote and mountainous region of the Hawaiian island of Maui. On her farm and ranch, Sterling grows vegetables, keeps cows and sheep, and leads the local homestead association. Her ancestors, who used to live in the area, are buried on a private plot of land nearby. 

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Under legislation passed by Congress in 1990 — the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) — certain cultural artifacts, funerary objects, and human remains held by museums and federal agencies are subject to a process of federal review and return to their respective tribal nations.

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The Department of the Interior is proposing updates to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and will hold three online consultation meetings this month for tribal members and Native Hawaiians.

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California’s Native American Heritage Commission voted last week to open an investigation into allegations that California State University Long Beach abused a sacred Native American site on the university campus.  

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More than 800 water rights claimed by members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians have been pulled out of legal limbo following the Montana Water Court’s issuance of a first-of-its-kind order this month. 

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PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg on Friday reversed his position on whether law enforcement should accept medical marijuana cards issued by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (FSST) to non-tribal members. Ravnsborg's announcement doubles down on South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem stance that state non-tribal residents cannot legally buy medical cannabis with a tribal card, even if it required a physician’s sign off.

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FLANDREAU, S.D. — The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe opened the first cannabis dispensary in South Dakota on July 1, 2021, the first day medical marijuana became legal in the state. South Dakota voters approved Measure 26, the Medical Marijuana Initiative, on November 3, 2020.

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An 80-acre plot of surplus federal land on the island of O’ahu will be offered to 200 to 400 Native Hawaiians at a rate of $1 per year for 99 years. They are part of a waitlist of 28,788 Native Hawaiians who await land promised to them by a 1920 law.  

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Situated between the high peaks and low valley floors of northern Nevada is Thacker Pass, an expanse of land that is bordered from the north and south by the Montana and Double H mountain ranges. The pass is in traditional Paiute and Shoshone land and holds great ecological and cultural significance, yet a new proposal to build an open-pit lithium mine threatens to disturb the area. 

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OTTAWA, Canada — Ten years ago, Rick Desautel, a member of the Lakes Tribe of the Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT) in Washington state, shot an elk in a subsistence hunt on what was once his people’s traditional land—on the other side of the border in British Columbia, Canada.