indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Martin attacked for federal recognition decision
Tuesday, May 4, 2004

The state of Connecticut accused the Bureau of Indian Affairs on Monday of a "complete about-face" for its controversial decision to recognize the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.

State attorney general Richard Blumenthal was joined by a host of municipal leaders to announce his challenge to the the BIA. "This appeal is about a federal agency skirting and subverting the truth - and brazenly ridiculing the rule of law," he said at a press conference.

A 197-page filing being lodged with the Department of Interior's Board of Indian Appeals outlines a series of complaints against the decision. The state alleges that principal deputy assistant secretary Aurene Martin, in a January 29 final determination that reversed a negative proposed finding, manipulated gaps in evidence to show that the tribe has operated as a political and cultural unit since historical times.

"In a complete about-face that simply cannot be justified on the basis of the record or the regulations, the final determination acknowledged the [Schaghticokes] as a federal Indian tribe," the state writes.

Martin's use of the state's 300-plus year relationship with the tribe as part of her analysis draws significant criticism from Blumenthal. The state claims the relationship has no bearing on the tribe's case.

But Martin, in her decision, pointed out that the tribe, like others in the state, has its own state-recognized reservation. She also noted that, over the years, the state has legislated in the area of Indian affairs, including appointing overseers for the state's tribes, extending voting rights to tribal members and attempting to terminate the state-tribal relationship.

At an Indian law conference last month, Martin cited these factors in a public defense of her decision. While acknowledging that state recognition alone might not carry much weight, she said the "active" and "ongoing" relationship between the Schaghticokes and Connecticut deserved special attention.

"Why can't this relationship itself be proof of a tribe's political existence over that time period?" she said at the Federal Bar Association's Indian law conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"What about that grant of the right to vote to tribal members from the state, a basic right of citizenship?" she added. "Prior to the granting of right, [tribal members] must have belonged to some other political entity. They must have been citizens of something."

"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 concluded.

In the filing, Blumenthal refers to Martin's statements at the conference and said she ignored evidence to the contrary that was submitted prior to the January 29 decision. "If this is the true basis for her use of state recognition that the state recognition was based on the same process as federal recognition resulting in a government-to-government relationship it reflects a gross distortion and misunderstanding of the evidence about the state's relationship," he writes.

Martin is the second-in-command at the BIA but is in charge of federal recognition because assistant secretary Dave Anderson, who didn't join the Bush administration until the week following the Schaghticoke decision, has recused himself from any recognition matters. A BIA spokesperson said he didn't want his previous work in Indian gaming to cloud the issue.

The state's appeal will tie up the tribe's status for at least a year. Depending on how the situation plays out, Blumenthal could seek review by the courts, extending the battle even longer.

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation applied for recognition in 1981 but is split by rival groups. The tribe has several land claims in the courts that depend on resolution of the tribe's federal status.

Schaghticoke Chief Richard Velky issued a statement yesterday blasting the state's appeal. "The Attorney General's appeal is nothing more than his latest media event -- just another frivolous lawsuit at the expense of Connecticut taxpayers," he said.

The tribe's recognition petition was financed by Frederick A. DeLuca, the founder of the Subway sandwich chain, who hopes to help the tribe seek land for a casino, possibly in Bridgeport, where such development is welcomed.

The tribe's reservation, near the New York border, is considered unsuitable for commercial use. The leader of Kent, the town near the reservation, has joined Blumenthal's appeal.

Relevant Documents:
State Appeal Documents | Federal Register Notice

Relevant Links:
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation - http://www.schaghticoke.com

Related Stories:
BIA critical of main components of recognition bill (04/22)
BIA official warns of Congressional maneuvering (04/16)
Report: Martin bent rules to recognize Conn. tribe (3/12)
Challenges await Anderson on federal recognition (02/26)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation: 'Today is our day' (1/30)
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 'throwing away a history of people' (12/06)
McCaleb delivers aggressive recognition plan (10/03)
BIA role in recognition decisions under review (06/13)
McCaleb ruling holds promise for state tribes (06/25)
McCaleb makes recognition history (6/25)
BIA project consumes recognition resources (06/12)
BIA recognition staff fails pressure test (05/31)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
President Obama invites Native youth to White House on July 9 (4/27)
Native Sun News: Author brings Lakota heritage to stewardship (4/27)
Lakota Country Times: Cobell scholarship fund being put to use (4/27)
Gabe Galanda: Even Hollywood is taking on tribal disenrollment (4/27)
Steve Russell: Same-sex marriage back before Supreme Court (4/27)
Terese Mailhot: The epidemic of early death on the reservation (4/27)
Jean-Luc Pierite: School makes bad choice with fake headdress (4/27)
Peter d'Errico: Pope fails to address genocide of Native peoples (4/27)
Choctaw Nation citizens slam Vanilla Ice's shaky ancestry claim (4/27)
Youth of Hoopa Valley Tribe speak out against marijuana grows (4/27)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe might be interested in growing hemp (4/27)
Sparring continues in Wind River Reservation jurisdictional feud (4/27)
Oneida Nation faces questions over land-into-trust acquisitions (4/27)
Opinion: Deadline approaches in Alaska land-into-trust dispute (4/27)
Editorial: States need help dealing with newly recognized tribes (4/27)
Last defendant to be sentenced for Choctaw Nation casino fraud (4/27)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on labor measure (4/27)
Senate panel takes up bill to halt Tohono O'odham Nation casino (4/27)
Tiny Alturas Rancheria runs casino but can't agree on much else (4/27)
Dennis Whittlesey: Texas tribes are pawns in much larger game (4/27)
White House to host first-ever Native youth conference on July 9 (4/24)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe fires casino manager (4/24)
Lakota Country Times: Timothy Standing Soldier passes on at 54 (4/24)
Mark Trahant: Invest in our Native youth for long-term success (4/24)
James Giago Davies: True believerism and comic book solutions (4/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Oglala Sioux Tribe must act on legal marijuana (4/24)
Ed Rice: Cleveland team comes up with excuse for racist mascot (4/24)
White House Blog: Recognizing tribal Climate Action Champions (4/24)
House subcommittee looks at poor conditions at Indian schools (4/24)
Navajo actress was put in darker makeup for Adam Sandler film (4/24)
Eastern Cherokee group plans lawsuit over tribal council raises (4/24)
Column: Commission takes on truth and reconciliation in Maine (4/24)
Senate votes to confirm Loretta Lynch as next attorney general (4/24)
ICT interview with confirmed NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri (4/24)
Dave Palermo: Tribes in California assert right to Internet poker (4/24)
Pokagon Band casino remains a concern for Indiana lawmakers (4/24)
Pojoaque Pueblo places casino manager on administrative leave (4/24)
White Earth Nation promotes tribal members in casino positions (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux student vies for Miss Indian World (4/23)
Lakota Country Times: Tribal citizens named to education board (4/23)
Ivan Star: Struggling with the warrior heritage in Indian Country (4/23)
Dana Lone Elk: Lakota people still carry on fight of Crazy Horse (4/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee passes bill to renew NAHASDA (4/23)
BIA faces fire over latest reforms to federal recognition process (4/23)
Opinion: First Lady brings truth with remarks about Native youth (4/23)
Incoming leader of Navajo Nation stresses importance of youth (4/23)
Native actors storm off set of Adam Sandler film in New Mexico (4/23)
Marijuana seen as new frontier in tribal economic development (4/23)
Senate approves anti-trafficking measure with tribal provisions (4/23)
Interview with Gyasi Ross about spoken word release Isskootsik (4/23)
Blackfeet Nation launches campaign to ban drilling at sacred site (4/23)
Cherokee Nation celebrates births of first calves from bison herd (4/23)
Burns Paiute Tribe investigates fire that destroyed two bulidings (4/23)
Kaibab Paiute Tribe welcomes designation as 1st dark sky nation (4/23)
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.