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
Lack of evidence addressed in recognition bill
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2003

A provision in the Senate's new federal recognition bill allows the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take into consideration actions that federal or state governments have taken against petitioning groups.

If holes in a tribe's historical record can be attributed to "official" or "unofficial" acts, the BIA can overlook them. The exception is a nod to the unique history of assimilation and termination that tribes have faced, an aide to Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) said.

"Gaps in political continuity brought about by official action by the United States or a state government," said Paul Moorehead, chief counsel on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, "ought to benefit the petitioner."

In reviewing whether a tribe is eligible for federal status, BIA researchers have always viewed evidence in context. For example, limited documentation during Colonial times isn't considered a hindrance to recognition. The Branch of Acknowledgment and Research (BAR) can also weigh evidence more heavily in certain time periods.

But the bill, if enacted, would provide a solid basis for the BIA to ignore a lack of evidence. It would be entirely up to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs to determine when to apply the exception.

"There may be criteria that are part of a tribe's record that may not register on the official BAR criteria but that a tribe or group ought to benefit from," said Moorehead.

A similar view is held by former assistant secretary Kevin Gover, who said treatment of Indians during the late 1800s and through the 1900s shouldn't be used against petitioners. Federal and state policies were often designed to eradicate tribal people, he said.

"The continuity is just so hard to prove, particularly in New England and in California," he argued recently. "It didn't pay to be an Indian in those days. You were trying not to be noticed."

Critics, however, have taken the opposite approach. Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal is fighting the BIA's decision to recognize the historic Eastern Pequot Tribe and says state actions -- or inaction, as the case may be -- can't be used to patch up holes in the historical record.

Campbell plans to hold hearings on the bill this session, Moorehead said. They would follow ones the committee held last year to address an issue that has grown in controversy in Indian and non-Indian circles.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) and the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), which represent federally recognized tribes, have all taken an interest. Officials with the organizations said they support reform of the recognition process and want to see it shielded from the debate over gaming.

NCAI's winter session, to take place in Washington, D.C., next week, will include a day-long task force on federal acknowledgment. Tribal leaders will also hear from Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), whose attempt to impose a moratorium on recognition decisions failed last summer, and Rosemary Cambra, chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, which was denied status by retired assistant secretary Neal McCaleb.

Get the Bill:
Federal Acknowledgment Process Reform Act of 2003 (S.297)

Related Stories:
Sweeping recognition reform bill offered (02/07)
At BIA, no recognition of new tribes (2/5)
Trust programs see historic increase (2/4)
Troubled Indian programs prompt GAO criticism (01/31)
BIA recognition still hard to prove for some (01/22)
McCaleb latest in long line of DOI departures (11/25)
McCaleb changed, yes, but little else did (11/22)
McCaleb delivers aggressive recognition plan (10/03)
BIA role in recognition decisions under review (06/13)
Dropping performance blamed on weak leadership (04/08)
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)
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 © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: North Dakota takes on impacts of energy boom (1/26)
Steven Newcomb: Supreme Court decision influenced by religion (1/26)
Mateo Romero: Era of white American male rule coming to an end (1/26)
Native Sun News: Montana basketball legend gives back to youth (1/23)
Mark Trahant: Building the new digital economy in Indian Country (1/23)
James Giago Davies: Washington team insults the first Americans (1/23)
Gyasi Ross: Indian Country can't get enough of Seattle Seahawks (1/23)
Jay Daniels: A tribute to Crow basketball legend Elvis D. Old Bull (1/23)
Richard Thornton: People of One Fire exposing forgotten history (1/23)
NARF: Supreme Court decision impacts rights of Indian inmates (1/23)
Oglala Sioux medicine man dies awaiting trial in sex abuse case (1/23)
No charges filed for deaths of two people on Barona Reservation (1/23)
IRS placed $664K in tax liens on leader of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (1/23)
Yellowstone National Park starts transferring bison for slaughter (1/23)
Fire in 1865 destroyed Smithsonian collection of Indian portraits (1/23)
Turtle Talk: Gaming compact cases are extremely difficult to win (1/23)
Governor rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming plan (1/23)
Otoe-Missouria Tribe reaches agreement with city for new casino (1/23)
Chehalis Tribe to start work on $40M expansion of gaming facility (1/23)
Idaho lawmakers question gaming machines at non-Indian tracks (1/23)
State of Indian Nations as delivered by NCAI President Cladoosby (1/22)
Sen. Barrasso delivers response to NCAI's State of Indian Nations (1/22)
Native Sun News: Tribes step up with donations for cultural center (1/22)
Ivan Star: Indian Country must put more effort in public relations (1/22)
Steven Newcomb: Indian policy is unmistakenly linked to religion (1/22)
Harlan McKosato: Apache woman develops 'indispensible' guide (1/22)
Tristan Ahtone: Former Native gang member tries to start anew (1/22)
Q&A with Chemehuevi artist Cara Romero on 'Last Indian Market' (1/22)
Sainthood for founder of brutal California Indian mission system (1/22)
Native mayor promises to change city's reputation as most racist (1/22)
Deadline passes to appeal Fond du Lac Band land-into-trust case (1/22)
City rejects Citizen Potawatomi Nation land detachment petition (1/22)
Oklahoma lawmakers debate future of unfinished Indian museum (1/22)
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation inaugurates Leland Kinter as chairman (1/22)
City to enter public transportation contract with Mississippi Band (1/22)
Officials in Idaho won't try to find a new name for 'Squaw Butte' (1/22)
Opinion: Blood Run landmark a place of reverence for area tribes (1/22)
Chukchansi Tribe set to run out of money for gaming per capitas (1/22)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe sues BIA over rejected compact (1/22)
Menominee Nation expects fast action from BIA on new compact (1/22)
Some CSKT leaders question $27.4M expansion of gaming facility (1/22)
Narragansett Tribe wins litigation filed by former gaming partner (1/22)
Column: Tribes concerned about commercial casinos in New York (1/22)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe contests uranium expansion (1/21)
Clara Caufield: Run recalls days of horror for Northern Cheyenne (1/21)
Brandon Ecoffey: Officer shooting reveals anti-Indian sentiment (1/21)
Ron Allen: Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe supports bond for schools (1/21)
Erik Stegman: Setting the record straight on gaming per capitas (1/21)
Jacqueline Keeler: Keystone fight is about more than a pipeline (1/21)
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.