A federal judge has ordered the Biden administration to reinstate a drilling lease that has been in dispute for decades on land near the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The energy lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area in northwestern Montana was cancelled in 2016. Badger-Two-Medicine is the site of the Blackfeet’s creation story and is sacred to tribes in the U.S. and Canada. Judge Richard Leon said officials lacked authority to withdraw the lease so many years after it was sold. He ordered Interior Department officials to reinstate the 10-square-mile lease and a issue a drilling permit to Solenex LLC, the Louisiana company that holds it.
The South Dakota secretary of state will implement a voting rights coordinator and train state agencies on how to comply with federal voting rights laws. It’s part of a settlement with two Native American tribes that successfully sued the state for violating federal laws on aiding voter registration. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol of South Dakota in May sided with two tribes, the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux tribes, and the Lakota People’s Law Project after they sued the secretary of state for not adhering to the National Voter Registration Act.
Two tribes in South Dakota have joined forces to purchase 40 acres around the Wounded Knee National Historic Landmark, the site of one of the deadliest massacres in U.S. history. The Oglala Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux said the purchase of the land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was an act of cooperation to ensure the area was preserved as a sacred site. More than 200 Native Americans — including children and elderly people — were killed at Wounded Knee in 1890. The bloodshed marked a seminal moment in the frontier battles the U.S. Army waged against tribes.