First Nation’s Focus Native News Briefs: June 2017

RENO, Nev. — Below are a series of Native news briefs from the June 2017 edition of First Nation’s Focus.

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New law gives tribes access to marijuana business

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on June 2 signed legislation sought by Nevada’s Indian tribes that gives them access to the medical and recreational marijuana business.

Sponsor Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said Senate Bill 375 allows the governor to enter compacts with tribes that want to participate in the marijuana business.

He said those compacts would allow tribes to sell marijuana through their smoke shops on reservation and colony lands.

He said tribal governments in Ely, at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Yerington are among those interested in the idea.

Segerblom said the bill will create revenue and jobs for the tribes, adding that all 27 Nevada tribes — which include an estimated 40,000 Native Americans — supported the measure.

According to media reports, nearly a dozen members of the Nevada Tribal Cannabis Alliance — which includes 14 tribes across the state — were present at the June 2 signing.

In addition, Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 415 requiring businesses in Nevada that accept DMV ID and drivers’ license cards to also accept Tribal ID cards as proof of identification.

USDA Distance Learning Telemedicine grants available

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of USDA Rural Development announced in late May it is accepting applications for its Distance Learning Telemedicine (DLT) Grant through July 17.

Recent DLT grants in Nevada have been awarded to Renown Medical Center, and the Nevada System of Higher Education, as well as the Yerington and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes.

The Yerington Tribe received a DLT grant that allowed their Health Center to add video teleconferencing so their people can receive health care consultations remotely by physicians in Reno.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe used a DLT grant to develop an innovative Tele-Pharmacy project to securely dispense prescriptions to three other rural Nevada tribes.

Eligible applicants include most state and local governments, federally recognized tribes, nonprofits and for-profit businesses.

To be eligible for the grant, end user points for projects must be located in communities with populations of 20,000 or less. Projects should be designed to provide access to education, training and/or health care resources for rural Americans.

The 2017 DLT Application Guide is available online at

Contact Nevada General Field Representative Rocky Chenelle at 530-379-5032 for more information, or visit the national office website at to learn more.

National Museum of the American Indian Director visits RSIC

The Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has been charged by Congress with building a National Native American Veterans Memorial, and local veterans recently had a chance to comment on the pending design and construction.

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Chairman Arlan D. Melendez, a Marine Corps veteran, co-hosted a consultation for the memorial at the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Care Center on May 1. Veterans, their family members, professionals who work with veterans and members of the community attended.

According to the RSIC, the service and sacrifice of Native American veterans, including American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, spans nearly two and a half centuries of American history.

During World War II, over 44,000 Native Americans served in the U.S. military. Hundreds of Hopi, Navajo, Comanche and other Native language speakers — Code Talkers — played a crucial role. More than 42,000 Native Americans served during the Vietnam War.

Today, the U.S. Department of Defense estimates more than 24,000 American Indian and Alaska Native men and women are on active duty, and more than 150,000 veterans self-identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.

“An advisory committee for the memorial has been formed, led by the Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) and Chickasaw Nation Lieutenant Governor Jefferson Keel,” according to an RSIC news update. “The group, composed of tribal leaders and veterans from across Native America, is assisting with outreach to communities and veterans and advising on plans for the memorial.”

In fall 2020, the museum will launch a juried competition to select a design for the memorial. The National Native American Veterans Memorial will be located prominently on the museum’s grounds on the National Mall, between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol.

The dedication ceremony is planned for Veterans Day 2020, to unveil the memorial and honor the immense contributions and patriotism of Native Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Visit to learn more.


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