Tribal Natural Resources News

Native American tribes around the West are making critical decisions regarding the management of their natural resources — land, water, fossil fuels and renewable resources. The Tribal Natural Resources Desk aims to produce objective reporting to tell stories of tribes empowering themselves through stewardship and decision-making around their natural resources.
Arizonas Havasupai push back as world interest in uranium grows
A growing global debate over an energy source with a deadly past is playing out amidst the sweet sage and pine trees of the forests right by the Grand Canyon. More than a decade since the disastrous Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, interest in uranium is on the rise again. And Arizona has cleared the way for a once stagnant mine to resume operations.
In southern Arizonas Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a race to save a tiny desert oasis
Quitobaquito a natural water source near the U.S.-Mexico border in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It’s a sacred site and historic homestead to a southern Arizona tribe and it houses some of the state’s most endangered species. But the site is now in peril.
Colorado River Indian Tribes to get funding for irrigation, utilities
The Department of the Interior announced this week that nearly $10 million will be allocated for irrigation projects and power utilities owned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Chairwoman hopes Lake Powell shortages will spur legislation
On Tuesday, the Bureau of Reclamation announced two drought mitigation measures to ensure the water level at Lake Powell doesn’t dip below what’s required to generate electricity. It’s a significant move one tribe in Arizona hopes will push other water legislation forward.
Dancing With The Universe | Native Style debuts this weekend
"Dancing With The Universe | Native Style” is a new Indigenous theatrical work debuting this weekend at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. The themes present in the songs and dances are centered on connecting to nature.
Uranium mine near Grand Canyon gets OK despite pushback
Arizona granted an aquifer protection permit to a mining firm recently that enables the company to prepare to start extracting uranium ore near Grand Canyon National Park.
Pond renewal work slated for Quitobaquito Springs
Renewal construction will soon be underway at Quitobaquito Springs, a cherished natural water source along the border at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
U.S. agency reviewing oil and gas leases near Native American world heritage site
A judge approved an agreement to pause oil and gas drilling near Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.
Ban on Russian uranium puts pressure on Southwest tribes
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused ripple effects across the globe, including one that could be felt strongest in the Southwest. And it involves an element found underground.
U.S. Senate committee hears 2 bills on tribal water rights in AZ
Two tribal leaders from Arizona testified to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday, defending a pair of bills brought by Sen. Mark Kelly and co-sponsored by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema that center on tribal water rights.
Grand Canyon National Park launches a webpage about associated tribes
If you’re planning a visit to the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service wants you to take some time to learn about the tribal communities that call the region home. Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park’s website will now see a new page dedicated to the Native American tribes associated with the region.
Environmentalists lose appeal to halt uranium mine near Grand Canyon
A federal appeals court has ruled against environmental groups and an Arizona tribe in their bid to keep a uranium mine south of the Grand Canyon from operating.
Infrastructure law brings funding for coal mine cleanup to Navajo Nation
The federal infrastructure law funds mine reclamation projects in 22 states, but the Navajo Nation is the only tribe set to receive direct funding.
For legal experts and activists, it was an unexpected win for Indigenous religious freedoms
Amber Ortega was facing charges for entering and refusing to leave a closed area where workers were building former President Trump’s border wall. Sixteen months and two hearings after, she was found not guilty. It was hailed as an unexpected win for Native American religious freedoms.
More news from the Fronteras Desk
Despite drought, this tribe has water to spare — and lease
The Colorado River is in dire straits. It provides water to millions of us here in the arid Southwest, and ongoing drought driven by climate change is threatening its future. But one Arizona tribe is in a unique position: It has water to spare.
Indigenous activist found not guilty on religious freedom grounds in border wall case
An Indigenous woman facing federal charges for blocking construction of former President Trump’s border wall in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was found not guilty on religious freedom grounds.
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U.S. announces $83M in latest round of tribal housing grants
Emergency management officials on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota have a new building, but they have been operating out of an old jail that's set to be torn down.
Tonto Forest project expected to reduce wildfire risk
Officials with the Tonto National Forest are launching an improvement project to reduce the risk of wildfires. It will begin in February.
Tribes find a seat at the table during Colorado River talks
Tribal nations were once excluded from talks about how to divvy up the state’s water supply, but that has changed over the years.
Bureau of Land Management to analyze Chaco Canyon-area leases
The Bureau of Land Management will evaluate its policies on oil- and gas-rich lands near the Navajo Nation, surrounding Chaco Canyon National Historical Park.
Relief funds approved for Navajo Nation tribe members
The Navajo Nation’s tribal council has voted to send $2,000 checks to each qualified adult and $600 for each child using $557 million in federal coronavirus relief funds.

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