Law | Federal Recognition

WNPR: Land claims not a threat from newly recognized tribes





Politicians in Connecticut are citing land claims in their opposition to federal recognition reforms at the Bureau of Indian Affairs but law professor doesn't see litigation as a threat:
Three tribes in Connecticut have sought and been denied federal recognition in the past. They are the Eastern Pequots, the Schaghticokes, and the Golden Hill Paugussetts. The Bureau of Indian Affairs said it may give expedited recognition to groups which have maintained state reservations over several decades.

Governor Dannel Malloy has written to President Obama protesting the proposal, saying future land claims by newly recognized tribes could be devastating to Connecticut property owners and towns.

But Bethany Berger, who's a professor of law at UConn, said a 2005 court ruling has removed that threat. “Since then, essentially land claims have become pretty toothless,” she told WNPR’s Where We Live. “Tribes can no longer bring land claims against the state that are going to be recognized in this area, so that’s no longer an issue.”

Get the Story:
Effects of Potential Connecticut Tribal Recognitions in Debate (WNPR 3/18)

Federal Register Notice:
Procedures for Establishing That an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe (June 26, 2013)

Relevant Documents:
Dear Tribal Leaders Letter
Present Version - 25 CFR Part 83 Procedures for Establishing that an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe
Red Lined Proposed Version - 25 CFR Part 83 Procedures for Establishing that American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe

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Editorial: Some Indians become inconvenient for Connecticut (3/7)
Editorial: Don't let BIA water down federal recognition process (3/6)
Connecticut governor opposes BIA federal recognition reforms (2/27) Connecticut politicians want BIA to drop recognition reform (8/30)
Connecticut leads opposition to federal recognition reforms (8/26)
BIA extends comment period on federal recognition proposal (08/13