indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Bill addresses slow-moving recognition process
Monday, February 7, 2005

The House Resources Committee will hold a hearing this Thursday on a bill that seeks to speed up the federal recognition process for tribal groups that have been waiting decades for an answer.

Making good on one of his legislative promises, Rep. Richard Pombo (R-California), chairman of the committee, introduced H.R.512 last Wednesday. He said he is concerned about the number of tribes whose petitions at the Bureau of Indian Affairs haven't received action since he held a hearing on the subject a year ago.

"Some of these groups have seen generations come and go with very little progress," Pombo said in a statement. I know they have waited far too long, and I am committed to an aggressive action plan this Congress to alleviate this problem."

The bill is directed at a handful of tribes that filed for recognition prior to October 17, 1988, the date of the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The petitions for these tribes have been fully documented and are on the BIA's "ready" list for consideration.

But due to staff limitations, funding constraints and litigation on other cases, the agency has not made progress on any of them. "That in my mind is beyond any bureaucratic mess-up," said Pombo at a hearing last April.

At the hearing, leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts and the Shinnecock Nation of New York told of repeated delays in their cases. Both tribes filed for recognition in the late 1970s. About 8 others are in the same boat.

"We certainly never expected it would take more than 30 years," said Glenn Marshall, chairman of the tribe.

If passed, H.R.512 would require the BIA to issue a a proposed finding on each of the eligible tribes within six months and a final determination within one year. If no action is taken, the tribe can take the BIA to court to seek a ruling on its federal status.

Among others, the Wampanoags and the Shinnecocks are already in court over the BIA's lengthy delays. The Wampanoags suffered a setback when an appeals court refused to force the BIA to meet a timeline while the Shinnecocks are in the initial stages of their lawsuit.

Federal recognition has become a hot-button issue due to the explosion of the Indian gaming industry. Critics say tribes want recognition only to open a casino but the groups that would benefit under Pombo's bill sought federal status long before gaming became a reality on reservations.

BIA officials say they have made progress in light of criticism from Congress and the public. In the past, agency staff evaluated an average of 1.3 petitions per year but is now up to an average of nearly 5 per year.

Still, the BIA has only made decisions on 33 tribes since 1978. With more than 200 on the list, it would take the agency decades to rule on every single petition.

Several members of Congress have tried to reform the system to no avail. Proposals to take the process away from the BIA have been resisted by the Interior Department while others more favorable to tribes are attacked by critics.

Pombo advanced a nearly identical bill last year. But after passing the House Resources Committee, it never got a vote on the House floor. The Senate didn't take up the measure either.

Implementing the bill would require $12 million over three years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The money would be used to hire more staff.

Get the Bill:
H.R.512

Related House Report:
TO REQUIRE THE PROMPT REVIEW BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR OF THE LONG-STANDING PETITIONS FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION OF CERTAIN INDIAN TRIBES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (HR.108-788)

Only on Indianz.Com:
Federal Recognition Database (July 2004)

Relevant Links:
House Resources Committee - http://resourcescommittee.house.gov
Rep. Richard Pombo - http://www.house.gov/pombo

Related Stories:
Pombo took on controversial topics in 108th Congress (12/16)
BIA bashed over federal recognition decisions (5/6)
Alliances tested on recognition of Lumbee Tribe (04/02)
BIA critical of main components of recognition bill (04/22)
Martin predicts hot summer on gaming, recognition (4/16)
House panel sympathetic to tribes on recognition (04/01)
House committee takes up recognition process (3/31)
Challenges await Anderson on federal recognition (02/26)
Lack of evidence addressed in recognition bill (02/19)
Sweeping recognition reform bill offered (02/07)
At BIA, no recognition of new tribes (2/5)

Copyright © 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala student makes name as young writer (4/23)
Mark Trahant: Budget predictions at the Indian Health Service (4/23)
Zoltán Grossman: Cowboy Indian Alliance rides in Washington (4/23)
Gyasi Ross: Stop Keystone XL Pipeline and protect homelands (4/23)
Videos: Cowboy Indian Alliance protests Keystone XL Pipeline (4/23)
Steve Russell: Indians often seen an obstacle to government (4/23)
Mary Pember: Ojibwe women rise to protect the environment (4/23)
Brent Cahwee: Shoni Schimmel brings her show to the WNBA (4/23)
Malcolm Benally: Some Navajo leaders clueless on mascots (4/23)
Jacoby Ellsbury makes strong debut with New York Yankees (4/23)
Washington team owner says he 'understands' Indian issues (4/23)
Gathering of Nations ready for annual powwow and pageant (4/23)
Paskenta Band suspends family during contentious meeting (4/23)
Navajo family sues restaurant over drunken driving deaths (4/23)
Crushplate: 10 disturbing facts about Indian Country health (4/23)
North Dakota tribe ranks high among energy producers in US (4/23)
WXPR: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe taps green energy (4/23)
Opinion: Tribal members challenge California taxation rules (4/23)
Supreme Court allows ban on affirmative action in Michigan (4/23)
Turtle Talk: No word from Supreme Court on Bay Mills case (4/23)
ICT interview with Ernie Stevens of NIGA on racist mascots (4/23)
Jamul Band rejects claim about burial ground at casino site (4/23)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sends $1M casino application fee (4/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation seeks road grant for off-reservation casino (4/23)
Teacher resigns after arrest for theft at Poarch Creek casino (4/23)
Native Sun News: Sisseton Wahpeton fighter gets big chance (4/22)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge man behind Revolution Couture (4/22)
CDC reports show high death rates among Native Americans (4/22)
DOI Secretary Sally Jewell delivers keynote at tribal summit (4/22)
DOI Deputy Secretary Mike Connor hosts Earth Day webchat (4/22)
Winona LaDuke: Tribes won't see benefits from Keystone XL (4/22)
Photos: Cowboy Indian Alliance rides to National Mall in DC (4/22)
Alray Nelson: Bring marriage equality to the Navajo Nation (4/22)
Steven Newcomb: UNDRIP falls into domination framework (4/22)
DaShanne Stokes: 'Indian' mascots carry harmful impacts (4/22)
Wendell George: Little Joe connects with his tribal heritage (4/22)
Peter Twitchell: Stop passing the buck on our Yup'ik culture (4/22)
Murray Sinclair: Effects of residential school era will linger (4/22)
Wyoming tribes share per cap from $157M trust settlement (4/22)
Navajo Nation Council reconsiders higher tax on junk foods (4/22)
Choctaw Nation Chief Greg Pyle set to retire after 17 years (4/22)
Opinion: Maps represent destruction of Native people in US (4/22)
Oneida Nation to host PGA championship at resort in 2016 (4/22)
Blog: Climate change impacts Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (4/22)
Supreme Court holding onto ruling in Bay Mills casino case (4/22)
Paskenta Band says leadership issues won't affect casino (4/22)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe on track with casino hotel (4/22)
Deadline approaches for commercial casinos in New York (4/22)
Native Sun News: Keystone XL Pipeline foes headed to DC (4/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.