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‘I have a dream for all God’s children,’ Martin Luther King Jr. Day

by Roy Cook

Those who still think that Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of social justice and equality for all people applies only to members of King’s own race must never have heard of John Ecohawk.

Ecohawk, a member of the Pawnee Tribe and executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, has been a leading legal and political advocate for the sover- eign rights of Native American tribes for more than three decades - thanks to the influence of King.

“This principle of tribal sovereignty was one that captured our imaginations, and we saw great potential in enforcing this legal right in the political climate of the 1960s,” Ecohawk said. “It was a controversial avenue to pursue, because the federal government’s policy relating to Indian tribes at that time was one of terminating our tribes, doing away with our relationship with the federal government and placing us under state jurisdiction—all against our will without our consent. “Inspired by Dr. King, who was advancing the civil rights agenda of equality under the laws of this country, we thought that we could also use the laws to advance our Indianship, to live as tribes in our territories governed by our own laws under the principles of tribal sovereignty that had been with us ever since 1831. We believed that we could fight for a policy of self-determination that was consistent with U.S. law and that we could govern our own affairs, define our own ways and continue to survive in this society.”

In this issue... 1 MLK. I Have a Dream

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli Joins ACLU

2 Green Clean Healthy Tribal Schools Native American Labor Laws

3 Urban American Indians 4 Moments of Time at Cal State San Marcos San Diego International Dance Festival

5 American Indians Education or Prison Former Navajo Police Officer Indicted Dissenrollment Lawyer Speaks Out

6 Bureau of Black Indian Affiars Freedmen Family Denied by Tribe

7 West Coast Seminole Leader Honored by LA Mayor

8-9 Photos: Rose Bowl Martin Luther King Parade Martin Luther King Breakfast

10 Native American Film Festival Makeda "Dread"Cheetam World Beat Ctr

11 KPBS Newsroom of the Future Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center at Pauwai

12 Birch Aquarium at Scripps Offers Half-Off Admission

13 Womens Museum of California Eleonor England 10th Annual Black Valentine’s Day Help Needed for Accused Innocent Man

14 Nevada News Farmers Market Cowboy Poetry

15 Reid All About It Native Story Telling Festival

16 World Beat Reggae Festival Tribal TANF

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli working toward justice.

by ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties The

American Civil


Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties is very pleased to announce the hiring of Margaret Dooley-

Sammuli our Senior Policy Advocate, Criminal Justice & Drug Policy. Margaret is renowned for her outstand-

ing work as the deputy state director with Drug Policy Alliance (www.drug-, where she led the organiza- tion’s statewide criminal justice advoca-

cy. She joins the ACLU at a critical moment in our state’s history, when we have an opportunity to bring sanity back to our criminal justice system. 2011 was a big year for criminal justice reforming California – and 2012 may be equally significant. To respond to these opportunities, the ACLU will be working hard in San Diego and across the state to influence criminal justice and drug policy reform in important ways.

In the most momentous criminal jus- tice policy change in three decades, the state enacted AB 109 – called “public safety realignment” – which gives coun- ties authority over most people convict- ed after October 1, 2011 of most nonse- rious, non-violent, non-sex offenses (or “non-non-nons”). This will have a sig- nificant impact on the number of people in state prison. People will not be trans- ferred from state prisons to county jails. Rather, the policy change means that a person convicted of a low-level felony (a non-non-non with no serious priors) will no longer be transferred from his/her home county to a state prison.

Because about 10,000 people com- plete their state prison sentences every month in California and because realignment will slow the flood of peo- ple back to prison, the prison popula- tion will quickly be reduced. Since October, the prison population has already fallen by 8,000 – because state prison beds being emptied by people who have completed their time behind bars are not being filled up again. Public safety realignment means that county criminal justice policies matter more than ever. Here in San Diego, the ACLU is expanding its capacity to influ- ence the local criminal justice system and facilitate state-level reforms. The ACLU has been working since its incep- tion to safeguard the citizenry against government abuses of power, and for decades to end punitive drug policies that cause widespread violation of con- stitutional and human rights. Read about the ACLU’s work on public safety realignment at: (click on the Community Safety, Community Solutions icon)

SEE Public Safety, page 2

In 1970, Ecohawk and others did just that by organizing the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), which was mod- eled after the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. For the past 30 years, NARF has served as a political advocate and legal defender of Native American tribal nations in cases per- taining to tribal sovereignty and treaty enforcement; land, water and fish- ing rights; religious and cultural free- doms; and, among oth- ers, issues of taxation, gaming and Indian trust monies.

SEE MLK, page 4 Margaret Dooley-Sammuli Joins Forces with ACLU


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