your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
BIA official warns of Congressional maneuvering
Friday, April 16, 2004

A "super-charged political atmosphere" will contribute to attempts to change Indian gaming law and the federal recognition process, a top Bureau of Indian Affairs official said on Thursday.

In a warning of sorts to Indian Country, principal deputy assistant secretary Aurene Martin said members of Congress are being pressed to act on the two controversial subjects. She predicted legislative proposals would surface this summer, possibly through riders on the Department of Interior's annual appropriations bill.

"Every year in the summer it seems that we as a community are caught off-guard by whatever amendment of the moment is being presented," Martin said at the Federal Bar Association's annual Indian law conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"For some reason, we are just not prepared when everything seems to go awry," she added.

On the subject of gaming, Martin cited high-profile cases in which tribes are seeking to establish casinos far away from their existing reservations and, in some cases, in other states. She said lawmakers in New York are particular angered about this growing development.

"In looking at what's been going on," she said, "I think there's a very real chance that this year ... the pressures might be such that there are going to be some make serious efforts to change the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act."

BIA officials and their colleagues at the National Indian Gaming Commission, the federal agency that regulates tribal casinos, aren't in total agreement on whether federal law limits these types of far-away land acquisitions. Last month, a BIA official told a Senate committee that his staff has found no reason to reject such requests.

But an NIGC attorney that same week issued a legal opinion pointing to a "clear" Congressional intent to restrict gaming on newly acquired lands. Martin said lawmakers in affected states might try to impose their own solution in response to complaints from their constituents.

"[R]epresentatives in Congress are also very upset, and they continue to call us and ask us what we are going to do about it and I think they want to do something about it on the Hill," she told conference attendees.

Martin also mounted a spirited defense of her recent decision recognize the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Connecticut. In her first and most extensive public comments on the issue to date, she rejected criticism originating from the state and its Congressional delegation against her reliance on the state's historic relationship with the tribe to bolster the tribe's petition for federal status.

"How do you treat a petition from a state that has basically replicated the federal recognition at the state level, a recognition which, at the federal level, is at its core a recognition of another sovereign entity?" she asked.

The Schaghticoke decision is under appeal but Martin said members of Congress are considering legislation to codify the BIA's federal recognition regulations into law and to change the standards by which a petition is evaluated. Two hearings have already been held on the process, and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing next week on a bill to address the level of proof required to demonstrate federal status.

Martin also predicted legislation to eliminate the tribal exemption to the "cooling off" period imposed on federal employees who leave their government jobs. In the private sector, these employees are prohibited from lobbying their old agency for one year but an exemption is allowed for those who lobby on behalf of tribal, state and local governments.

"Because of the charged atmosphere with regard to the Schaghticoke decision and the mistaken perception that Indian gaming is absolutely and completely intertwined with the recognition process, I think this is going to continue to be an emotional and charged, heated debate in Congress," she said.

Martin's boss, assistant secretary Dave Anderson, was originally scheduled to speak at the conference but due to a conflicting engagement, he stayed in Washington, D.C., yesterday. Martin is an attorney; Anderson is an entrepreneur who has no legal training but has worked in tribal government and gaming.

During her lunch hour address, Martin did not make reference to repeated Congressional efforts to limit the federal government's trust responsibilities to individual Indians. Last summer, the Bush administration supported a controversial rider to delay a court-ordered accounting of billion of Indian funds.

The conference wraps up today with discussions on Indian gaming, criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country, ethical issues and energy development.

Relevant Links:
Federal Bar Association -

Related Stories:
House panel sympathetic to tribes on recognition (04/01)
NIGC rules against Okla. tribe's casino in Kansas (03/26)
Challenges await Anderson on federal recognition (02/26)
Lack of evidence addressed in recognition bill (02/19)
Sweeping recognition reform bill offered (02/07)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Tribes open their doors in response to devastating wildfires in northern California
National Congress of American Indians looks ahead to Tara Sweeney confirmation
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs sign agreement for Cobell buy-back program
Alaska Native executive Tara Sweeney named to top Bureau of Indian Affairs job
Tribes slam Trump administration for adding hurdles to land-into-trust process
Native Sun News Today: Native Americans are over-represented in county's jail
Tim Giago: Clones in Congress won't stand up to the Clown in the White House
Mark Trahant: Exploring the 'business' of news in Indian Country these days
Native Sun News Today: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate debuts new grocery store
Bears Ears remains in limbo as Republicans leave tribes out of monument bill
Mark Trahant: Trump brings more chaos to health coverage for tribal citizens
YES! Magazine: Tribal hospital in Alaska brings traditional foods to patients
Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders absent at border town liquor summit
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Teams continue to denigrate Indian people
Secretary Zinke requires special flag to be flown when he's in Interior building
Lawsuit seeks damages for death of girl at Bureau of Indian Education school
President of Northern Cheyenne Tribe remains in office after disputed removal
Republican candidate questions mural for depicting Indian people as too 'dark'
Bureau of Indian Affairs supports name change for 'Negro Bill Canyon' in Utah
Aroostook Band of Micmacs backs ballot referendum for new casino in Maine
Gun Lake Tribe secures strong local support in casino case except for one town
Second federal appeals court chimes in with decision favoring tribal homelands
Harold Frazier: Another incident of racism targets Native youth in South Dakota
Native American Voting Rights Coalition convenes second hearing in Wisconsin
Yurok Tribe welcomes introduction of bill to add important lands to reservation
YES! Magazine: Native family uses energy proceeds to benefit Indian Country
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe refutes rumors of Black Hills 'sale'
James Giago Davies: A best friend sticks with us even at the very end of life
Cronkite News: Republicans quickly move bill to limit new national monuments
Raymond Hitchcock: Sorry but tribal casinos aren't linked to increases in crime
Osage Nation prepared to fight state over water rights on historic reservation
Eastern Cherokee council complete after second round of voting for one seat
Iowa Tribe announces 'Monsterous' deal linked to long-delayed poker website
Squaxin Island Tribe holds grand opening for remodeled hotel tower at casino
Judge deals tribes major setback with decision in Dakota Access Pipeline case
YES! Magazine: Winnemem Wintu Tribe struggles to bring salmon back home
Native Sun News Today: Rapid City turns out for Native American Day parade
Ivan Star Comes Out: Our teachers shouldn't be doing the jobs of the parents
Non-Indian parents file lawsuit to halt transfer of child custody cases to tribes
County in Oregon holds public hearing on name of 'Dead Indian Memorial Road'
Swinomish Tribe set to open substance abuse treatment center in Washington
All-Native band Warpath from California mixes heavy metal with tribal elements
Ramapough Lunaape Nation defends right to host prayer camp in New Jersey
Chehalis Tribe working with local authorities on fatal shooting outside casino
Gun Lake Tribe shares oral arguments with Trump team in Supreme Court case
Supreme Court puts end to case challenging Colorado River Indian Tribes lease
Kansas asks Supreme Court to overturn ruling in Quapaw Tribe homeland case
Jacqueline Keeler: 'Black Snake' film explores fight over pipeline in Minnesota
The Conversation: Indigenous people invented the so-called 'American Dream'
Navajo Nation mourns passing of Code Talker David Patterson Sr. at age of 94
Trump ignores Native people on Columbus Day while campaign touts '1492' sale
Agua Caliente Band showcases culture with major development in Palm Springs
Narragansett Tribe faces more questions about water deal with energy company
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe announces first phase of gaming expansion project
Congress approves a very short-term extension for key Indian diabetes program
Trump nominates Quapaw citizen Robert Weaver to lead Indian Health Service
>>> 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.