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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Michigan Native American Tribe to Study Building Own Power Utility

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Tuesday, February 28, 2023   

A Michigan Indian tribe has been awarded a $100,000 federal grant to study the possibility of creating its own power utility.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians will use Tribal Energy Capacity Grant funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to perform a Tribal Utility Authority feasibility study.

Eugene Manguson, executive director of the tribe's economic development arm, Little River Holdings, said the tribe sees operating a power utility as a way to exercise its independence, diversify its holdings, control its energy future and reduce costs.

"Energy sovereignty, I think, is the next arena that tribes are starting to look at," Manguson noted. "One of the ways is going through solar, wind and all those technologies that are available for tribes to get into."

There are currently more than 30 Tribal Utility Authorities across the country, including the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. The Little River Band was among 18 tribal entities funded during the Bureau of Indian Affairs' January round of grant awards.

The tribe is located in Manisee County in the northwestern part of Michigan's lower peninsula. The tribe's main income enterprise is the Little River Casino Resort north of the reservation.

Magnuson pointed out electricity to operate a casino can be costly.

"The Tribal Utility Entity was created to actually peel power off the grid," Magnuson explained. "Because of the tribal sovereignty, we could procure the electricity off of the grid at wholesale."

Magnuson added tribal leaders have not set a deadline to complete the study.


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