Federal Recognition

Obama administration favors Lumbee, Little Shell recognition





The Obama administration supports federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and won't oppose a recognition bill for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana, Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn said on Wednesday.

Washburn told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that the Lumbees deserve federal status. During the height of the termination era in the 1950s, Congress passed a law that identified the Lumbees as "Indians" but denied them the benefits associated with other federally recognized tribes.

S.1132, the Lumbee Recognition Act, fixes the oversight. The bill has bipartisan support in North Carolina.

Washburn also said the BIA won't stand in the way of S.161, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act. The tribe has a petition pending at the agency but Congress has the power to take action, the assistant secretary told lawmakers.

The administration, however, remains neutral on S.1074, a bill to recognize six tribes in Virginia, Washburn said. Some of the tribes have submitted petitions but he said the BIA doesn't have enough information at this point.

Get the Story:
Little Shell Tribe seeks federal recognition through bill (The Great Falls Tribune 10/31)
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan testifies to support Lumbee Recognition Act (The Fayetteville Observer 10/31)
Hagan makes pitch for Lumbee (The Robesonian 10/31)
Hagan pushes Lumbee recognition at Congressional hearing (WRAL 10/30)

Committee Notice:
LEGISLATIVE HEARING to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 1074, S. 1132, S. 161 (October 30, 2013)

Related Stories:
Witness list for SCIA hearing on three federal recognition bills (10/29)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hear three recognition bills (10/22)
BIA to reconsider recognition for Little Shell Chippewa Tribe (09/26)
Editorial: Leaders of Lumbee Tribe need to end shenanigans (08/26)
BBC Magazine: Tribes in Virginia recognized by UK but not US (07/10)