A sign identifies a polling place during a city and school election on June 6, 2023, in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Civil rights committee finds Native voting rights impeded in South Dakota

BY: - July 12, 2023

Native Americans living on tribal land face many barriers to their voting rights, according to a new report finalized Monday by a civil rights committee. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency established in 1957. The commission’s mission is to investigate and report on issues related to civil rights, and to […]

The Odess Theater is seen on May 22, 2019, on the campus of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, which operates the former home of Sheldon Jackson College. (Photo by Flickr user Jasperdo/Creative Commons)

Sitka Fine Arts Camp files rare immigration lawsuit in support of theater manager

BY: - July 11, 2023

One of Alaska’s premier arts organizations is suing the federal government after immigration officials blocked the hiring of a non-American theater manager. The 50-year-old Sitka Fine Arts Camp filed suit against federal immigration officials on Friday in Alaska District Court, seeking an H-1B visa exemption for Denush Vidanapathirana, a technical theater manager in a year-round […]

Smokestack emissions are seen along the Fairbanks skyline on March 1. At left is the coal-fired heat and power plant on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska and 9 other states threaten to sue EPA over wood-burning stove standards

BY: - July 6, 2023

Alaska and nine other states have notified the Environmental Protection Agency they intend to sue if new standards for certification of wood-burning stoves are not issued soon. The EPA last issued standards for wood-burning stoves in 2015, and new standards are due at least every eight years, said the notice of intent to sue, which […]

A customer enters a Domino's Pizza restaurant on June 21, 2012, in Glendale, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

States, cities turn to community organizations to battle wage theft 

BY: - June 30, 2023

About five years ago, most of Minneapolis’ Subway, Little Caesars and McDonald’s franchise restaurants did not comply with city wage standards. Now workers at each of the locations that violated the law receive the required minimum wage and time off when they’re sick. This is all thanks to a co-enforcement program, where the city’s labor […]

State Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speaks at a rally on Tuesday outside of the Boney Courthouse in Anchorage. Critics of Hilcorp staged the rally just before the state Supreme Court heard arguments in the city of Valdez's lawsuit seeking to open the privately held corporation's financial records. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Supreme Court considers whether Hilcorp’s financial information should stay secret

BY: - June 27, 2023

Three years after Hilcorp Energy Co. took over as operator of the Prudhoe Bay oil field and the near-half owner of the trans-Alaska pipeline, the Alaska Supreme Court is considering whether the public should have access to that privately held company’s financial information. The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in a case pressed by […]

A tap drips water at a spigot on land of the Navajo Nation on June 6, 2019, in Thoreau, New Mexico. Due to disputed water rights and other factors, up to 40% of Navajo Nation households don’t have clean running water and are forced to rely on weekly and daily visits to water pumps. The problem for the Navajo Nation, a population of over 200,000 and the largest federally recognized sovereign tribe in the U.S., is so significant that generations of families have never experienced indoor plumbing. Rising temperatures associated with global warming have worsened drought conditions on their lands over recent decades. The reservation consists of a 27,000-square-mile area of desert and high plains in New Mexico, southern Utah and Arizona. The Navajo Water Project, a nonprofit from the water advocacy group Dig Deep, has been working on Navajo lands in New Mexico since 2013 funding a mobile water delivery truck and digging and installing water tanks to individual homes. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Supreme Court denies Navajo Nation water rights claim

BY: - June 23, 2023

The Navajo Nation continues its fight for water after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the United States has no treaty obligation to identify and account for the Navajo Nation’s water rights in the Colorado River. The Supreme Court indicated that the 1868 treaty between the Navajo Nation and the federal government contained no […]

People protest in response to the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court's decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

A year after Dobbs: Congress takes a back seat on federal abortion policy

BY: - June 19, 2023

Editors’ Note: This report is part of a special States Newsroom series on abortion access one year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion. One year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, the courts rather than a divided Congress are leading the way on […]

As Alaska tourism rebounds, state and federal officials crack down on fake Alaska Native art

BY: - June 19, 2023

A Ketchikan man agreed to plead guilty this month to federal charges in conjunction with a long-running scheme to sell fake Alaska Native souvenirs manufactured in the Philippines. Travis Lee Macaset’s plea deal follows several other guilty pleas this summer that stem from a scheme to sell mislabeled products from two businesses in Ketchikan.  “It […]

The Donlin Mine airstrip, with the camp at the far end, is seen from the air on Aug. 11. The mine site is in the hilly terrain near the southwestern Alaska's winding Kuskokwim River. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

In growing Southwest Alaska conflict, state sides with mine developers

BY: - June 16, 2023

The state of Alaska intends to intervene in a lawsuit that could block development of a gold mine in Southwest Alaska. The state aims to support the federal government and mine developers Donlin Gold, LLC. and Calista Corp. against a group of Alaska Native tribes that say the mine project was improperly permitted and could […]

An injectable drug is loaded into a syringe while prescription medication is strewn about haphazardly. (Photo by Darwin Brandis/iStock Getty Images Plus)

Opioid settlement payouts to localities made public for first time

BY: - June 16, 2023

Thousands of local governments nationwide are receiving settlement money from companies that made, sold, or distributed opioid painkillers, like Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, and Walmart. The companies are shelling out more than $50 billion total in settlements from national lawsuits. But finding out the precise amount each city or county is receiving has been nearly […]

Part of a totem pole stands against a blue sky with patchy white clouds

Alaska’s Native and political leaders praise Supreme Court decision on Indian Child Welfare Act

BY: - June 15, 2023

On Thursday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act in a 7-2 decision. The ruling preserves a 35-year-old law intended to address the harm caused by the federal government’s boarding school program by prioritizing the placement of Alaska Native and American Indian children into tribal homes. Alaska Native […]

U.S. Supreme Court upholds Indian Child Welfare Act in 7-2 decision

BY: - June 15, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a federal law aimed at keeping Native American children within the foster care system in Native American homes. The Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision upheld the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, which established federal minimum standards for the removal of Native American children from […]