indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
McCain to address federal recognition concerns
Friday, April 22, 2005

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has scheduled an oversight hearing on the federal recognition process that chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) says has become tainted by gaming.

In the past decade, tribal casinos have grown into an $18 billion industry that many are eager to tap into. Investors have poured millions into tribal recognition petitions in hopes of joining the nationwide expansion.

Along with proposals for off-reservation casinos, the activity has led to added scrutiny, McCain said at the National Congress of American Indians winter session early last month. "The process of tribal recognition has been long criticized as being slow, opaque and unfair," McCain told tribal leaders.

"It's now being accused of being improperly influenced by outside interests," McCain added. "I intend to examine these concerns."

Nearly all of the criticism comes from non-Indian politicians and activists in Connecticut, home to two of the largest casinos in the world. Two more casinos are on the horizon now that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has recognized the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation.

But concerns are surfacing in other parts of the country, most notably California. Tribes whose federal recognition was terminated then later restored are pushing controversial proposals for off-reservation casinos. Some tribal leaders are beginning to speak out against the trend.

The dollar figures behind the initiatives are staggering. Frederick A. DeLuca, the founder of the Subway sandwich chain, acknowledged he spent $12 million to help the Schaghticokes win recognition. He is now hoping to help the tribe open a casino.

Casino mogul Donald Trump gave $10 million to a faction the Eastern Pequots in hopes of landing a gaming deal once the tribe received recognition. But after being passed over in favor of a wealthy developer, he filed suit claiming he was cheated out of at least $500 million.

Not every tribe, however, has such good fortune. The Shinnecock Nation of New York, which has sought recognition since the late 1970s, has relied on non-profit organizations like the Native American Rights Fund to make its case. Lance Gumbs, a tribal trustee, said the Shinnecocks have spent only about $1 million over the past 30 years while waiting for an answer from the BIA on its status.

BIA officials, members of Congress and the General Accountability Office have all noted concerns about the time, effort and financial resources it takes to document a recognition petition. Tribal groups submit thousands and thousands of documents to back up their claims, and opposing groups, including states and local governments, add to the mound of paper.

"The administrative record for an acknowledgment petition is voluminous," the BIA's principal deputy assistant secretary Mike Olsen said in Congressional testimony in February. "Some completed petitions have been in excess of 30,000 pages."

It's not surprising to some in Indian Country why the process demands so much effort these days. "A monumental factor in the increased costs is that the political climate ... was totally different than now due to the onslaught of Indian gaming," Tim Martin, a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, an Alabama tribe that was recognized in 1984, said at an April 2004 hearing.

But not everyone agrees that placing the blame on gaming is fair. In recent testimony to Congress, former assistant secretary Kevin Gover said recognition "is not about gaming. Most of the currently noteworthy petitions were filed well before the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act." IGRA was passed in 1988.

"I have come to view the program as being primarily about justice," Gover said.

Since 1978, when the recognition process was encoded into regulations, the BIA has recognized less than 20 tribes and has rejected just as many. More than a dozen petitions are awaiting action and more than 200 groups have notified the agency of their intent to go through the process.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing will take place May 11.

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

Related Stories:
Recognition handed to a 'not well informed' Cason (04/01)
McCain takes on controversial topics in 109th Congress (03/07)
BIA says recognition bill would lower standards (02/11)
Bill addresses slow-moving recognition process (02/07)
Famous Dave Anderson: 'The bureau needs to change' (2/4)
BIA critic calls on Bush to fire Dave Anderson (12/16)
BIA admits mistake in handling of recognition case (12/09)
Probe finds no wrongdoing in BIA recognition case (09/01)
BIA bashed over federal recognition decisions (5/6)
Dodd calls on Anderson to resign over broad recusal (5/6)
Anderson recused on all federal recognition matters (5/5)
BIA critical of main components of recognition bill (04/22)
Martin predicts hot summer on gaming, recognition (4/16)
Challenges await Anderson on federal recognition (02/26)
Date for House hearing on recognition not set (02/13)
Tribal foes in Conn. want to stop flow of money (02/10)
GAO asked to investigate Schaghticoke recognition (2/9)
Jeff Benedict: BIA out of control on tribal recognition (2/9)
Column: Federal recognition all about 'big wampum' (2/9)
House Resourcess to hold recognition hearing (2/6)
Gover praises BIA for not bowing to pressure (2/2)
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)
BIA recognition still hard to prove for some (01/22)
McCaleb delivers aggressive recognition plan (10/03)
BIA role in recognition decisions under review (06/13)
BIA Budget: Doing more with less (3/26)
Bush budget cuts funds for new tribes (3/20)
McCaleb takes on recognition (3/15)
Inside the BIA, plenty of drama (3/4)
Ashcroft urged to charge BIA officials (3/1)
Solutions sought for 'hijacked' recognition (11/9)
Solutions sought for 'hijacked' recognition (11/9)
Gover: Recognition study 'cooked' (11/1)
Reforming federal recognition (10/26)
Gover takes on recognition (10/25)
McCaleb to listen 'closely' to recognition experts (8/9)
McCaleb decision sure to draw scrutiny (7/31)
BIA pushed to provide 'answers' on tribes (7/26)
McCaleb endorses BIA on recognition (6/14)
Gover's 'activist' legacy escapes McCaleb (6/13)
BIA has small goal for big problem (5/22)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (3/27)
Another conviction from Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption probe (3/27)
Editorial: Shakopee Tribe contributes $5M for health initiative (3/27)
Opinion: Navajo Nation enacts 'sin tax' on unhealthy products (3/27)
Editorial: Opposition to Pamunkey Tribe recognition 'revolting' (3/27)
Dennis Jenkins: Hypocrisy for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (3/27)
Supreme Court asked to hear Kialegee Tribal Town gaming case (3/27)
Ho-Chunk Nation extends agreement for off-reservation casino (3/27)
Indiana lawmakers seek role in Pokagon Band gaming compact (3/27)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak (3/26)
Native Youth: Bring dental therapy providers to Indian Country (3/26)
Steven Newcomb: Tribal nations still under dominating process (3/26)
Law firm hosts tribes for session on marijuana in Indian Country (3/26)
Judge upholds BIA decision on Oneida Nation land-into-trust bid (3/26)
Appeals court rules against Crow Tribe in housing grant dispute (3/26)
Ho-Chunk Nation raises minimum wage to $2.75 above federal (3/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe to appeal decision in recognition lawsuit (3/26)
Racist emails of former Montana federal judge to be preserved (3/26)
Shingle Springs Band considered but rejected indoor gun range (3/26)
House panel backs bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (3/26)
Quapaw Tribe did not include casino on land-into-trust request (3/26)
Chumash Tribe never got apology for diplomat's casino remark (3/26)
Governor won't sign casino compact with Fort Sill Apache Tribe (3/26)
Cherokee Nation approves $6.9M renovation project for casino (3/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux veteran training for Paralympics (3/25)
Alaska Native musher Chuck Schaeffer completes 2015 Iditarod (3/25)
LTBB News: Michigan tribes come together for historic meeting (3/25)
Lecture focuses on repatriation of tribal intellectual properties (3/25)
Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (3/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair field hearing on drugs in Indian Country (3/25)
Bill for tribal marijuana compacts up for hearing in Washington (3/25)
Choctaw Nation chief hopes to travel to Ireland for monument (3/25)
HHS urged to do more to help tribes with foster care programs (3/25)
Eastern Cherokees work to teach language to new generations (3/25)
Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea (3/25)
Man from Crow Tribe cites self-defense in fatal casino shooting (3/25)
Shawnee Tribe sees opposition to off-reservation gaming plan (3/25)
Navajo Nation signs Class III casino compact with New Mexico (3/25)
Quapaw Tribe insists a casino isn't focus of Arkansas land plan (3/25)
Suquamish Tribe reaches deal to allow highway work at casino (3/25)
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.