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Archive for Sunday, May 5, 2002

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May 5, 2002

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Virginia: Powwow by six Indian tribes draws several thousand

Amid throbbing drums and the smoke of sage and sweetgrass, six Virginia Indian tribes came together Saturday in Charles City for a powwow backing their fight for federal recognition, their first joint gathering in some four centuries.

More than 3,000 people attended.

"I'm overwhelmed. I never dreamed there would be this many," said Mary Wade, a member of the Monacan tribe and president of the Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life.

The alliance was formed three years ago by the six state-recognized tribes to lobby Congress for federal sovereignty, a status that could bring millions of dollars in government grants for educational and economic development.

Last year, Rep. James Moran, D-Va., introduced a bill to recognize the tribes. The bill stalled in committee, with some in Congress saying it would simply open the door to casino gambling in the state. But the tribes hope to revive it and introduce a similar measure in the Senate.

More than 500 tribes have been recognized by the federal government.

New Mexico: Wildfire 60 percent contained

Firefighters continued their steady progress Saturday against a 15,500-acre wildfire that had destroyed at least 20 structures in southern New Mexico. Officials said the blaze was 60 percent contained.

"It went real well today. The line that had been established is holding," fire information officer Donna Nemeth said.

Fire crews were expected to turn their focus to the fire's eastern edge; full containment was predicted by midweek.

Firefighters were conducting a survey to determine how many of the burned structures were homes, Nemeth said. The Otero County Sheriff's Department allowed some residents to temporarily visit the area Saturday.

Much of the progress on the fire came Friday when winds declined, temperatures cooled and water- and slurry-dropping aircraft were able to take to the skies.

Missouri: Jury orders minister to pay $26 million in abduction

A jury Saturday in Lebanon ordered a minister to pay $26 million for abducting his six grandchildren and indoctrinating them in his anti-Semitic beliefs.

The verdict came in a civil suit accusing the Rev. Gordon Winrod and his son and daughter of using "mind-altering techniques," such as keeping the children in isolation and whipping them, while they were abducted.

The suit was filed by two abducted children, now ages 19 and 21, and their father and uncle. The plaintiffs' attorney, David Pointer, had asked for $20 million in damages.

Earlier Saturday, Gordon Winrod, 74, turned his closing argument into an impassioned sermon about a "Jewish conspiracy" aimed at the moral destruction of the world.

Winrod is already serving a 30-year prison sentence in the abductions.

The children were taken between 1994 and 1996 from Dickey, N.D., where their fathers operated a farm. They didn't see the children again until after authorities raided Winrod's 400-acre farm near Gainesville, in southern Missouri, in May 2000.

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