your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
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:

Related House Report:

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

Relevant Links:
House Resources Committee -
Rep. Richard 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...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribal member speaks out against fracking (11/27)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud mothers address meth issues (11/27)
Tim Giago: Walk a mile in the moccasins of Native Americans (11/27)
Vince Two Eagles: Focus on being thankful this holiday season (11/27)
Native Sun News: Keystone fighters celebrate permit's defeat (11/27)
Kevin Leecy: Tribes remain a vital segment of our community (11/27)
Steven Newcomb: Even media treats our nations as 'nothing' (11/27)
Ray Cook: Thanksgiving flies in the face of original Americans (11/27)
Terese Mailhot: Racism prevails in American popular culture (11/27)
Ilya Somin: Persistent 'myth' justified taking of Indian lands (11/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community sued for same-sex marriage ban (11/27)
Cahuilla Band celebrates new travel center at gaming facility (11/27)
Opinion: Don't break promise to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (11/27)
Native Sun News: Family questions FBI on reservation death (11/25)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Oneida Nation opens first branch location of tribal-owned bank (11/25)
Virginia tribes continue to pay tribute required by 1677 treaty (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Stillaguamish Tribe debuts eatery and microbrewery at casino (11/25)
Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | 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.