indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Challenges await Anderson on federal recognition
Thursday, February 26, 2004

After Dave Anderson spoke to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) on Tuesday, he took the usual questions about the budget, land-into-trust and the way the federal government works with tribes.

But the new head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs was also pressed on one of the most controversial issues affecting Indian Country today. Representatives of three tribes asked him to take action on the federal recognition process.

Mark Sebastian, vice chairman of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut, spoke about challenges to his tribe's status. Cheryl Seidner, chairwoman of the federally-recognized Table Bluff Rancheria in California, showed support for a tribe in her state seeking recognition. And Reggie Tupponce lobbied for a bill to acknowledge six Virginia tribes.

The concerns highlighted a few of the problems surrounding the recognition of tribes. Tribes are worried about opposition from state and local governments, lack of resources and a slow-acting BIA.

Anderson steps into this debate just like most of his predecessors: with little experience on the matter. But before he leaves, he will probably grow just as frustrated as Kevin Gover, who ended his three-year-run at the BIA during the Clinton administration with a call to strip the agency of its federal recognition powers.

That won't be happening any time soon. Prominent Indian advocates in Congress no longer back the idea and the Bush administration has elevated the office that handles federal recognition petitions to report directly to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs.

So in the meantime, Anderson has to deal with the issues raised at NCAI. One, of course, is the intense opposition that surfaces whenever the BIA nears a final decision on a tribe's status. Even though some petitions have been in the works for 20 or more years, state and local officials often claim they are blindsided by the BIA's rulings.

"These politicians in Connecticut are not hindering our right to self-sufficiency and our sovereignty because of the merits of our petition, but to stop the expansion of casinos," Sebastian told Anderson.

Although the BIA finalized a positive ruling on the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation in June 2002, the state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, has tied it up with an administrative appeal. The battle is likely to end up in the courts, extending the tribe's 25-year struggle.

Another big issue facing Anderson is funding. Before he retired in December 2002, former BIA head Neal McCaleb sent a plan to Congress to triple the staff and funding for recognition. Currently, the Office of Federal Acknowledgment has about a dozen researchers, anthropologists and genealogists and a budget of about $1 million.

With over 300 groups waiting in line, the staff completes work on just one to three petitions a year. At this rate, it would take decades for the backlog to be reduced, provided that each group submits enough information to be evaluated.

The slow-moving process has many in California worried due to the large number of petitioning groups from the state. Since the federal recognition process started in 1978, the BIA has yet to get to any California tribe.

"They keep saying that California does not have enough manpower ... to get it started," Seidner said. "Something has to be done on that."

For those at the other end of the country, the outlook is not promising either. Many tribes in the East, like the Eastern Pequots, have been recognized by the states since the Colonial times.

Several tribes in Virginia fall into that category. The very first Indian reservation in the U.S. was established there by a 1646 treaty but the tribes don't have federal status.

A bill that is pending in the Senate and the House would change that. Although the BIA testified against it, Tupponce, a representative of the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, said recognition needs to come in time for the 400th commemoration of the European settlement at Jamestown.

"There are going to be people from all over the world coming to celebrate and commemorate this. We are the tribes that were there to help [the settlers] but we have not gained recognition yet," he told Anderson. "We have waited 400 years and we are on the doorstep of getting that federal recognition."

Anderson will encounter more tough questions like these in the coming months but mostly from critics of the BIA's favorable decisions. Two House committees, including one stacked with tribal opponents, will be holding hearings on the process.

The Bush administration, in its fiscal year 2005 budget, has not sought additional funds for the Office of Federal Acknowledgment. But the budget does include $560,000 to help newly recognized tribes get off the ground. Previously, the administration had slashed this line item.

"We've recognized a number of new tribes and they haven't had a base budget to operate under," Aurene Martin, the principal deputy assistant secretary, said in an interview earlier this month. "It's just the right thing to do."

Related Stories:
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 © 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Senate confirms Indian nominee without so much as a confirmation hearing
In what appears to be a first, a Trump administration Indian policy nominee has been confirmed without so much as a confirmation hearing.
States win big victory with Supreme Court ruling on online taxation
The nation's highest court has opened the door for states to tax internet sales, a big development that encroaches on tribal efforts to expand their economies.
'Open our communities to them': Doug George-Kanentiio on refugees
We must not permit these Native children to be tossed about the country, living in fear.
'Never Again': Trump administration revives boarding school era
The Trump administration’s actions are an attempt to write another chapter of the boarding school era, this time for immigrant families.
Cronkite News: Trump reverses course on separation of families
Between May 5 and June 9, more than 2,300 children were taken from their parents after attempted crossings at the U.S. border.
'Yellowstone' focuses on clash between wealthy family and tribe
The 'Broken Rock' tribe wants its land back in Yellowstone, a new series on the Paramount Network.
'Locked in cages': James Singer on forced separation of families
Immigrant children and families being separated by our government is a despicable policy and must stop now.
Aaron Payment: Innocent children victmized again by our government
There are so many parallels to the internment of innocent immigrant children with Indian boarding schools and forced reservation policy.
'The administration has the power': Trump team defends family separation policy
Republican John McCain called the forced separation of families an "affront to the decency of the American people" as the Trump team stood firm.
Cronkite News: Secretary Zinke pressed on uranium mining ban at Grand Canyon
Secretary Ryan Zinke has no plans to revisit uranium mining in and around the Grand Canyon but a coalition of sportsmen’s groups is worried.
The Conversation: Indigenous communities are no strangers to mathematics
Inspired by Indigenous storytelling traditions, the Math Catcher Outreach Program attracts youth to the study of mathematics.
Landowners from Umatilla Tribes see another round of Cobell buy-back offers
Landowners from the Umatilla Reservation are benefiting from a second round of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.
Alaska in focus at Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on subsistence
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is focusing on Native subsistence just as the Supreme Court takes up a case with potential impacts.
'I am not shocked': Harold Frazier on forced separation of families
At what point does the United States have to realize they are the bad guys?
Mark Trahant: Indian Country remembers the trauma of forced separation
Indian Country remembers. This is not the first administration to order the forced separation of families.
Cronkite News: Basketball standout from Navajo Nation makes next move
JJ Nakai, 18, is blazing a trail for younger Native American basketball players.
Study pushes back earliest date of tobacco usage in North America
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians helped finance a study of a limestone pipe that was used for tobacco.
Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes report mixed slot machine revenues
Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes saw mixed results in slot machine revenues as they get ready to break ground on a new development.
Supreme Court poised to take action on some major Indian law petitions
Tribal interests fared surprisingly well at the Supreme Court this term. But the drama isn't over yet.
Bill to repeal old ban on distilleries in Indian Country gains steam
Bipartisan efforts to repeal an outdated ban on distilleries in Indian Country continue to gain momentum on Capitol Hill.
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on subsistence
Key members of Congress are taking a look a subsistence, just a week after tribes scored an unusual victory in a treaty rights case.
'A new chapter': Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation breaks ground on new casino
More than two decades after the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation famously stood up for its sovereignty, the tribe is embarking on a new era in Indian gaming.
Eastern Cherokees begin work on $200 million casino expansion project
The Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina keeps getting bigger, with a 725-room hotel and a convention center on the way.
Harold Frazier: Tribes once again deprived of voice in Keystone XL fight
I am constantly amazed about the ability of the powers that be to keep doing what is morally wrong while justifying it as legally right.
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation works to protect Native women and children
Native women suffer from violent crime at some of the highest rates in the United States.
Tim Giago: Not all Lakota people are happy with the 'memorial' to Crazy Horse
The people behind the Crazy Horse Memorial continue to make mistakes because they do not have a traditional Lakota elder on hand as an advisor.
Mark Charles: Separating families of color is a long tradition in America
Throughout our history, the United States has used the separation of families as a means of controlling people of color.
Rosalyn LaPier: Supreme Court case reminds us about tribal connections to food
A new generation of scholars and activists are learning about and reviving indigenous food systems.
Graham Lee Brewer: Indian Country needs a voice in the Trump administration
Tara Sweeney, an Inupiaq woman from Alaska, could become the second Native woman to head Indian Affairs.
'But Trump won': Children's biography about the president draws controversy
Parents and teachers aren’t angry over what the a new children's book says about the president, but rather what it leaves out.
Colville Tribes enter second year of hemp production with bigger grow
The Colville Tribes are expanding their hemp operation in Washington state.
Mashantucket Tribe announces unexpected passing of top gaming executive
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is mourning the death of Felix Rappaport, the tribe's top gaming executive.
'They ran me over, bro': Tohono O'odham Nation investigates Border Patrol incident
The Tohono O'odham Nation has opened a criminal investigation after one of its citizens was struck by a Border Patrol vehicle.
'I grow food for survival': Indigenous women farm for their families
Threatened by a mining company, indigenous women in the remote highlands of Guatemala are marching, increasing productivity, and planting trees.
Republican leaders derail bipartisan immigration reform legislation
Republican leaders derailed an attempt to force a vote on a bipartisan package of immigration reform bills, drawing outrage from Democrats.
Four children who died at Indian boarding school being returned to families
Four students who died at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania are being returned to their tribal families.
Native ancestor laid back to rest more than 10,000 years after burial
An ancestor of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has been laid to rest again in California.
Tribes dealt setback with dismissal of challenge to Keystone XL Pipeline
Two tribes have lost a legal challenge to the Keystone XL Pipeline as others try a new approach in hopes of blocking the controversial project.
Tribal opposition leads to decision against geothermal development
A portion of the Santa Fe National Forest has been closed to geothermal development in order to protect tribal sacred sites.
Study questions American origin of turquoise found at sites in Mexico
Turquoise used by Native societies in Mexico did not come from the American Southwest as previously thought, according to a new study.
'Sovereign nation helping sovereign nation': Sauk-Suiattle Tribe finally opening casino
The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe is getting into the gaming industry for the first time thanks to a fellow Indian nation.
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians welcomes action on homelands bill
A bill to place 1,400 acres in trust for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is closer to becoming law.
'Very little progress': Lawmakers question Trump administration's Indian affairs record
Federal agencies that oversee Indian affairs are not making enough progress to satisfy key members of Congress.
The Conversation: Bringing Indigenous knowledge to our students
Innovative resources are integrating Indigenous perspectives into schools through inquiry, video, images and activities.
Jana Richman: Discovering the healing power of the desert
Nature offers solace for a man living with depression and a lesson in acceptance for his anxious partner.
Tribes plan to break ground on long-awaited casino in Connecticut
Despite being kept in the dark by the Trump administration, the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes plan to open a new casino in 2020.
'Economic self-sufficiency': Pamunkey Tribe pursues casino in Virginia
The Pamunkey Tribe is in for the long haul as it seeks land for a casino in Virginia.
Gun Lake Tribe shares another $7.6 million in gaming revenues with community
The Gun Lake Tribe just shared more than $7.6 million in gaming revenues in Michigan, bringing the total to date to more than $109 million.
Land-into-trust fix added to controversial federal recognition bill
A controversial bill to strip the Bureau of Indian Affairs of its federal recognition powers has just gotten more messy.
Ponca Tribe marches toward sovereignty with long-awaited gaming project
Chief Standing Bear’s people, who took the long walk home to Nebraska 139 years ago, are continuing their march toward sovereignty and self-sufficiency.
Riley Kucheran: Indigenous artists shine at inaugural fashion event
Indigenous people gathered on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee traditional territory for the inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week in Toronto.
'Attacking our children': Activists denounce separation of families at border
A new group called Free the Children Coalition is denouncing the Trump administration's harsh immigration policies.
Shinnecock Nation finalizes deal for golf tournament as protests begin
Protests continue as a popular golf tournament takes place on land stolen from the Shinnecock Nation.
Trump administration still mum on gaming agreement for Mashantucket Tribe
The Trump administration has yet to take action on a gaming agreement for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and lawmakers want to know why.
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians announces sports betting at casinos
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will soon be offering sports betting following a landmark decision from the Supreme Court.
Sault Tribe faces doubts about long-stalled off-reservation casino
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians might be looking elsewhere for gaming opportunities thanks to the Trump administration.
Ponca tribes reclaim ancestral land along Trail of Tears in Nebraska
For the fifth year, farmers, friends, family and Native people planted Ponca sacred corn in the path of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Navajo Nation mourns loss of Code Talker Samuel Tom Holiday
The Navajo Nation is mourning the loss of Code Talker Samuel T. Holiday, who passed away at the age of 94.
Arne Vainio: Don't wait too long to let someone know they are important
Words are not always the best way to communicate and when you use them, make sure they matter
Trump will 'probably end up supporting' marijuana bill that helps tribes
President Donald Trump is expressing support for a bipartisan bill that recognizes tribal and state sovereignty over marijuana.
Republican-sponsored Indian bills are back on agenda for key House committee
Bills to address blood quantum in Oklahoma, tribal recognition and the Indian Health Service are taking a step forward on Capitol Hill.
Witness list for Senate hearing on 'high risk' federal Indian Country programs
Federal officials are back on Capitol Hill to discuss whether they are making any progress in improving the people they serve.
'A fantastic day for Indian Country': Treaty tribes celebrate Supreme Court victory
Tribes in Washington state are rejoicing after the nation's highest court upheld a decision in favor of their treaty rights.
High Country News: Decision puts power plant on reservation closer to closure
The Trump administration's 'energy dominance' agenda is being put to the test in Indian Country.
Trump Administration: Domestic abuse or gang violence no longer grounds for asylum
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said immigrant victims of gang violence or domestic abuse will no longer be able to claim asylum in the United States.
Cherokee Nation hospital tests patients for infectious diseases after lapse in protocol
The Cherokee Nation has fired a nurse who broke protocol by reusing syringes at an Indian Health Service facility in Oklahoma.
Dakota Access Pipeline study still not finished after more than a year
Tribal opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline are still waiting on the Trump administration to complete a study on the controversial project.
'She's a woman ... you know, a female': Rep. Kevin Cramer explains Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
It's primary day in North Dakota and one Republican candidate is making some unusual comments about the incumbent Democrat's gender.
Treaty tribes score unusual victory in closely-watched Supreme Court case
A closely-watched treaty rights case has resulted in victory for tribes but the nation's highest court was so divided that it was unable to reach a decision.
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians inches forward with homelands bill
Another tribal homelands bill is moving forward on Capitol Hill after years of bitter battles in California.
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs sets another hearing on 'high risk' programs
Is the Trump administration making progress in improving Indian education, health and energy programs?
Tim Giago: Try to see America through the eyes of a Native American
When you see a statue or sign that is supposed to evoke a feeling of American patriotism in your heart, think of how an indigenous person might look at the same thing.
Graham Lee Brewer: Native ancestors are often treated like collector's items
The discovery of a skull on a library shelf highlights the long history of treating Native ancestors as collector's items.
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation cites 'catastrophic' job losses from power plant
The Navajo Nation sees hope in a Trump administration proposal that could benefit a coal-fired power plant on the reservation.
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in limbo as gaming industry advances in Massachusetts
As the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe sits in limbo before the Trump administration, non-Indian interests make strides in Massachusetts.
Whitecap Dakota First Nation awards largest casino jackpot of $1.8 million
A Native man has joined the millionaire's club thanks to the Whitecap Dakota First Nation casino in Saskatchewan.
Ojibwe hockey star celebrates team's historic championship victory
Ojibwe hockey star T.J. Oshie made history as the Washington Capitals hockey team won its first Stanley Cup in more than two decades.

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.