U.S. banks are again in the crosshairs. Standard and Poor’s has downgraded five new middle-tier banks and put three others on negative outlook. This follows sweeping downgrades earlier in August by Moody’s, which cut credit ratings on 10 banks and placed four of the 15 largest U.S. banks on review for possible downgrade. As with the banks going into receivership earlier this year, concerns include interest rate risk due to unrealized losses from long-term securities. Meanwhile, the U.S. government itself has been downgraded by Fitch Ratings, which questions the government’s ability to finance its nearly $33 trillion federal debt.
Dakota men, women and youth rode into Mankato, Minnesota, on horseback on Dec. 26 to honor Dakota warriors hanged by President Abraham Lincoln on that day in 1862, in the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The Dakota 38+2 Wokiksuye Sunk Akan Yankapi — the 17-day Dakota Prayer Ride and Water Walk — honors the 38 warriors hanged in Mankato, as well as two additional men who were kidnapped from Canada three years later, brought back to the U.S. and then executed. This year about 100 riders rode from their homes throughout South Dakota and elsewhere to gather at Sisseton, South Dakota, and began the honoring ride on Dec. 10. The ride follows the 330-mile path of their ancestors to the site of the mass hanging. Also this year Dakota runners started Dec. 25 from Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Minnesota, and joined the riders at Reconciliation Park in Mankato.
South Dakota - Since 2010, Joye Braun, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, has fought the construction of oil and gas pipelines in her region, working to protect sacred places where her forebears hunted and fished and lived and died. In many of those battles, Braun came up against white ranchers and farmers who supported the pipelines and received fees from the developers for the use of their land. Today, Braun is opposing a huge new pipeline that would transport carbon dioxide across five Midwestern states — Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. But this time she finds herself in an unusual alliance with white landowners who are also against the pipeline, like Ed Fischbach, a South Dakota farmer.
The University of North Dakota has started the process of returning Native American ancestors and artifacts to their tribal homes. Repatriation is required under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, enacted by Congress in 1990. UND president Andrew Armacost said the university is still investigating why the remains were not previously returned to tribes. He said they were likely collected by university faculty from the 1940s to the 1980s, and it is unclear how the university used the remains. “How and why ancestors and sacred items remain on our campus is a mystery that we will have to answer in the course of our work,” he said. “Our intent of sharing this news today is to apologize to tribal nations across North America.”
Fargo - About 70 employees of a Fargo food distribution business went on strike Wednesday, Nov. 18, calling for resumption of union contract talks and drawing attention to what a union spokesman described as "lackadaisical" COVID-19 precautions at the site. About 20 warehouse workers and truck drivers set up picket lines outside of Cash-Wa Distributing, at 4101 15th Ave. N., Fargo around 1 p.m. Wednesday amid union concerns that the warehouse could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 because of its ties to businesses and warehouses across the region, according to Brian Nowak, business agent for the Teamsters Local 120.
At Emotional Meeting, North Dakota Residents Talk County Officials Out Of Trumpian Plan To Ban Refugees
At a standing-room-only meeting on Monday evening, residents of Burleigh Country, North Dakota, rejected a proposal that would have made the county the first in the nation to refuse entry to refugees. After hearing from more than 50 residents including recent refugees, business owners, and Indigenous people who addressed the more than 500 community members at the meeting, the county commission voted 3-2 to allow up to 25 refugees to resettle in Burleigh County in the coming year.
Keystone Leaks 383,000 Gallons In North Dakota On The Same Day As Trump State Department’s Pipeline Hearing
The Keystone pipeline, that carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven states, leaked more than 383,000 gallons of oil according to North Dakota regulators. The company has promised the spill has been contained but the cause is still unknown. The leak was noticed on Tuesday and the pipeline has been shut down since, but its damage spread 1,500 feet long by 15 feet wide. State Environmental Quality Chief Dave Glatt stated some wetlands were affected but not any drinking water sources.
Two Catholic worker activists have been indicted on charges for their efforts to try and stop the Dakota Access pipeline. If found guilty, the women face up to 110 years in prison as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Two years ago Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek confessed to acts of sabotage on the Dakota Access pipeline, including damaging pipeline vale sites using a welding torch. The women claimed that the actions were necessary to protect the rivers and waterways that the pipline’s construction threatened. According to The Intercept, the woman reported that they had “no choice but to act.”
Whistle-Blower Reveals Flawed Construction At North Dakota Gas Plants Where Massive Spill Was Downplayed
Two North Dakota gas processing plants in the heart of the Bakken oil fields have shown signs of an eroded safety culture and startling construction problems, according to Paul Lehto, a 54-year-old former gas plant operator who has come out as a whistle-blower. He described worrisome conditions at the Lonesome Creek plant, in Alexander, and the Garden Creek plant, in Watford City, where DeSmog recently revealed one of the largest oil and gas industry spills in U.S. history had occurred. Both plants process natural gas brought via pipeline from Bakken wells and are run by the Oklahoma-based oil and gas service company, ONEOK Partners.
In July 2015 workers at the Garden Creek I Gas Processing Plant, in Watford City, North Dakota, noticed a leak in a pipeline and reported a spill to the North Dakota Department of Health that remains officially listed as 10 gallons, the size of two bottled water delivery jugs. But a whistle-blower has revealed to DeSmog the incident is actually on par with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, which released roughly 11 million gallons of thick crude.
The case is as much about local infrastructure and lack of regard for North Dakota’s indigenous population as it is about voter suppression and a state forcing voters to comply with a requirement that the state itself has made impossible to follow. Thousands of Native Americans who do not have residential addresses through no fault of their own have been affected by the law, HB 1369. What’s worse is that these Native voters may be disenfranchised permanently should HB 1369 remain in place—something the three-judge panel that ruled on the lawsuit challenging the law seems OK with.
While the Bank of North Dakota attempted to establish itself on a firm and responsible foundation, difficulties arose from three fronts: First, the League-owned Scandinavian American Bank of Fargo went into receivership in February 1921, after audits revealed a number of marginal and worthless loans, and inept management. Many people around the United States wrongly assumed that the bank in question was the experimental Bank of North Dakota (BND). Even among those who made the distinction, BND suffered by association. The Scandinavian American Bank had been having significant troubles all the way back to 1919, two years after the NPL purchased it.
North Dakota is facing important budget concerns due to the continued slide in oil prices. Early this month, the North Dakota Legislature lowered the amount of revenue the state can expect to collect from oil taxes by $600 million for the next two year budget cycle. Oil is a major contributor to the state’s wealth and the significant drop in energy tax revenue (despite record levels of oil production) would be expected to have significant effects on state spending.
A federal judge in North Dakota has denied an emergency motion that sought to seek relief for Native Americans against a state voter ID law that will make it so that “hundreds, perhaps thousands of Native Americans” will not be able to vote in next week’s elections. Although U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland expressed that there is a “great cause for concern” in regards to the law, he ruled against the motion because it would cause more confusion and chaos so close to the election. “The federal courts are unanimous in their judgment that it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching,” Judge Hovland wrote.
MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA – On Thursday February 8, Michael Giron will appear in federal court in Bismarck for a change of plea hearing as per the terms of a non-cooperating agreement with prosecutors. Mr. Giron, who is known as Little Feather, was charged with Civil Disorder and Use of Fire to Commit a Federal Felony Offense, arising from events of October 27, 2016. Under this plea agreement, the Use of Fire charge – which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and the possibility of up to 15 years in prison – will be dropped entirely, and Little Feather will take responsibility for aiding a civil disorder. Subject to the acceptance of the plea agreement by Judge Daniel Hovland, who is presiding over the case, prosecutors and the defense will jointly recommend a sentence of 36 months on the Civil Disorder charge, although the judge does have the authority to go as high as five years.