indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Federal judge hears arguments in ICWA case (3/6)
Kevin Abourezk: Two more leaders of Winnebago Tribe quit jobs (3/6)
James Williams: Lac Vieux Desert Band regulates online lending (3/6)
Karlene Hunter: Cultural appropriation is another form of racism (3/6)
Michael Paul Hill: Agent Orange sprayed on Arizona reservation (3/6)
Judge blocks planned expansion of coal mine on Navajo Nation (3/6)
Sokaogon Chippewa Community leader hails end of mine plan (3/6)
Makah Nation committed to resumption of treaty whale hunts (3/6)
Lummi Nation submits more data in fight against coal terminal (3/6)
Blood Tribe declares emergency in response to drug problems (3/6)
Deadspin: Fake Indian rides to defense of racist school mascot (3/6)
In The Loop: Rep. Don Young offers a solution to homelessness (3/6)
Cherokee Nation opens $10M gaming facility by Kansas border (3/6)
Tribes in Connecticut look at multiple locations for new casinos (3/6)
Menominee Nation weighing off-reservation casino bid in Illinois (3/6)
Seminole Tribe wins local approval for new hotel tower at casino (3/6)
Tonto Apache Tribe shares $23K in casino funds with community (3/6)
Tribes in New Mexico concerned about bill for non-Indian tracks (3/6)
Native Sun News: Treaty defenders to see Keystone fight to end (3/5)
Charmaine White Face: Radioactivity found in Pine Ridge waters (3/5)
Winona LaDuke: Consider marijuana and hemp in Indian Country (3/5)
Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Tribe launches marijuana project (3/5)
Measure reaffirms Navajo Nation policy against legal marijuana (3/5)
Lynn Armitage: Housing program aids Native violence survivors (3/5)
Oglala Sioux Tribe bans attorney in racial hockey game incident (3/5)
Military halted dig on island after questions from Pechanga Band (3/5)
Cash lenders accused of targeting tribal members in New Mexico (3/5)
Opponents not happy with land-into-trust bill for Chumash Tribe (3/5)
County can't stop Shingle Springs Band from opening gun range (3/5)
Mississippi Choctaws hold ribbon-cutting at $55M health center (3/5)
Indian skateboarding exhibit travels to Umatilla Tribes museum (3/5)
Some youth removed at center on Yerington Paiute Reservation (3/5)
Nita Battise sworn in as new leader of Alabama-Coushatta Tribe (3/5)
Laguna Pueblo supports Class III casino compact in New Mexico (3/5)
Seminole Tribe seeks approval for 537-room casino hotel tower (3/5)
Narragansett Tribe loses decision in non-Indian gaming dispute (3/5)
Ex-lawyer sentenced in Twenty-Nine Palms Band gaming scam (3/5)
Defendant pleas in robbery at Saginaw Chippewa Tribe's casino (3/5)
Editorial: Mohegan Tribe hits milestone with gaming enterprise (3/5)
Native News News: Ojibwe flautist shares message with music (3/4)
Audio: Senate Indian Affairs Committee takes up IRRIGATE Act (3/4)
9th Circuit to consider Medicine Lake sacred site dispute again (3/4)
Winona LaDuke: Ingrid Washinawatok's vision remains strong (3/4)
Tim Ballew: Northwest Indian College builds on tribal traditions (3/4)
Steven Newcomb: Domination doctrine and the Quinault Nation (3/4)
Stanley Heller: Help eliminate an Indian mascot in Connecticut (3/4)
Editorial: Mascot reflects history of violence and discrimination (3/4)
Column: Work with tribes in Washington on marijuana industry (3/4)
Navajo Nation files human rights petition to protect sacred site (3/4)
Senate fails to override Obama's veto of Keystone XL measure (3/4)
Yakama Nation woman fights tribe for custody of 12-year-old (3/4)
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.