indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
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...
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:
Lakota Country Times: Not guilty verdict after Lakota 57 trial (9/1)
President Obama meets Native leaders after landing in Alaska (9/1)
Rhonda Pitka: Alaska Natives put priority on subsistence rights (9/1)
Transcript: Obama remarks following Native leaders roundtable (9/1)
94-year-old Alaska Native elder greets Obama with Denali song (9/1)
Politicians in Ohio oppose return of Alaska Native name for peak (9/1)
Passamaquoddy Tribe takes a step toward marijuana cultivation (9/1)
Center for Native American Youth seeks new executive director (9/1)
Supreme Court takes up petition in Kialegee Tribal Town dispute (9/1)
NCAI pushes for court rehearing in tribal labor sovereignty case (9/1)
Education Department awards $50.4M in grants to tribal colleges (9/1)
Native Sun News: Teens attacked on Rosebud Sioux Reservation (9/1)
Clara Caufield: Cheyenne brothers and sisters share language (9/1)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Shutting down a new generation of hate (9/1)
Jennifer Fielder: Tribes struggling to break free from bondage (9/1)
Brian Pierson: Big decision in Seminole Tribe's taxation case (9/1)
Navajo Nation hires firm to pursue Gold King Mine spill lawsuit (9/1)
Young tribal members cited for wild rice harvest in Minnesota (9/1)
Lake named for war secretary who pushed for removal of tribes (9/1)
Tribal college students participate in NASA challenge in Virginia (9/1)
La Jolla Band welcomes visitors to longest zip line in California (9/1)
Chukchansi Tribe still aiming for reopening of casino this month (9/1)
Cherokee Nation contributed $11M to upgrade road near casino (9/1)
President Obama restores Alaska Native name of highest peak (8/31)
BIA announces $1.75M in grants fot tribal education programs (8/31)
Multiple Capitol Hill hearings set into disaster at Gold King Mine (8/31)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux counselor combats youth suicide (8/31)
Native Sun News: Lakota 57 parents seek counseling for incident (8/31)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: I remember I am alive and a survivor (8/31)
Mary Annette Pember: Native women betrayed in violence fight (8/31)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Blood quantum used to judge Indian people (8/31)
Sally Jewell: Native youth serve as Ambassadors for the Arctic (8/31)
Turtle Talk Poll: The enduring legacy of Supreme Court decision (8/31)
First Native woman Ashley Callingbull wins Mrs. Universe title (8/31)
Native boy lands role as son of Leonardo DiCaprio in new film (8/31)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe considers petition to legalize hemp (8/31)
Spirit Lake Nation declares state of emergency to fight drugs (8/31)
Mississippi Choctaws pick Phyllis Anderson as chief once again (8/31)
Former Pokagon Band leader to leave Michigan civil rights post (8/31)
More executives targeted in Chippewa Cree Tribe criminal probe (8/31)
Pueblo water system held hostage by county in trespassing spat (8/31)
Kootenai Tribe to create recovery plan for last wild caribou herd (8/31)
Chair of Duwamish Tribe presses Secretary Jewell on recognition (8/31)
Opinion: Islamic extremists are making inroads on reservations (8/31)
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.