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National Briefs

Indy Staff Apr 11

POLICE RAID TRIBAL COLLEGE

Eighteen students and Native American elders were arrested in an armed raid at D-Q University, California’s only tribal college March 31. University trustees called the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department to remove students living the University’s sovereign grounds, claiming the students were trespassers. Since D-Q lost its federal accreditation in 2005, the trustees have done little to attract students or restore the quality of education, opting instead to raise revenue by renting out D-Q University’s facilities for conferences and workshops. The student body has stood in the way by continuing to live at the school and by creating a not-for-profit organization that offers classes. The only Native American-run university outside of a reservation was founded in 1971 when an old U.S. Army facility was occupied to start a school to provide alternative methods of education to Native American students aimed at preserving and re-instituting traditional values.

THE LONG LIFE OF BEING RICH

The gap between the rich and poor has steadily widened in the United States since the 1980s, however a new government study now links yearly income to life expectancy. A Department of Health and Human Services researcher remarked that the “widening socioeconomic inequalities in life expectancy” correlate to infant mortality rates and death by heart disease and certain cancers. The starkest comparison was the approximate 15-year life expectancy gap between wealthy white women (81.1 years) and poor black men (66.9 years). Several explanations are given for the trend, including an outright lack of access to healthcare and unsafe conditions in many low-income neighborhoods.

MISSING FROM THE LABEL

Missouri residents could face increased health risks if state lawmakers pass House Bill 2283 banning the labeling of synthetic growth hormones used in dairy products. rBGH, also known as rBST, is injected into cows to increase milk production and is marketed by Missouri-based chemical giant Monsanto. The Center for Food Safety notes that people who consume milk from treated cows could face an increase in breast, prostate and colon cancers. If passed, the bill would consider the labeling of “rBGH-free” dairy products a form of “misbranding.” Missouri lawmakers are said to be under pressure by the pro-Monsanto group American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology. If the bill passes, Missourians would lose their right to be informed consumers when purchasing dairy products.

WILD BUFFALO UNDER THE GUN OUT ON THE RANGE

More than 1,400 buffalo were slaughtered by the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) this winter according to the Buffalo Field Campaign, a direct action coalition of animal rights activists and Native American volunteers. The federal government funds the slaughter with up to $2.9 million per year to protect cattle that graze to the west of Yellowstone National Park. Ranchers fear proximity to wild buffalo will cause their cattle to contract brucellosis, a bacterial infection resulting in aborted births.Environmental groups counter, pointing to the fact that as few as 2 percent of wild buffalo carry brucellosis at any given time and no case of brucellosis transmission from buffalo to cattle has ever been recorded in a natural setting.