Federal Recognition

BIA to reconsider recognition for Little Shell Chippewa Tribe





The Bureau of Indian Affairs will reconsider its decision to deny federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana.

During the Clinton administration, the BIA proposed to recognize the tribe in 2000. The Obama administration, nine years later, reversed course and issued a final determination against the tribe.

The tribe took the matter to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, an administrative review body. The board said it lacked jurisdiction to order the BIA to reconsider but referred several issues to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

After a 60-day review period, Jewell determined that the BIA should in fact take another look at the decision. In a memo to Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, she raised several issues of concern.

“This is great news for the Little Shell band,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said in a press release. “The state of Montana has recognized the Little Shell band of the Chippewa Tribe since 2003, and federal recognition is long overdue."

The BIA is drafting new regulations for the federal recognition process. Jewell asked Washburn to consider whether the tribe's petition should be suspended until the rules are developed and finalized.

Get the Story:
Interior secretary asks board to reconsider denial of Little Shell (The Helena Independent Record 9/26)
Little Shell's petition for federal recognition to be reconsidered (The Great Falls Tribune 9/26)

Interior Board of Indian Appeals Decision:
In Re Federal Acknowledgment of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana (June 12, 2013)

Related Stories:
Little Shell Chippewa Tribe loses ruling in recognition appeal (6/17)
Secretary Jewell mum on Little Shell Tribe recognition bid (05/16)