indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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: Mine proposed near sacred site in Black Hills (3/3)
Column: Navajo Nation takes basketball obsession to new level (3/3)
Mohegan Tribe names one of its own to head gaming enterprise (3/3)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and state in court over casino plan (3/3)
Muscogee Nation set for big job far as part of casino expansion (3/3)
Lawmakers in Nebraska table bill affecting expansion of gaming (3/3)
Just Joking: Humor from National Congress of American Indians (3/2)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne family celebrates history (3/2)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Native snipers among world's deadliest (3/2)
Omaha Tribe welcomes denial of rehearing in boundary lawsuit (3/2)
Supreme Court won't hear Stockbridge-Munsee Band land claim (3/2)
Indian tobacco company rebuffed in another dispute with state (3/2)
Jodi Gillette: Administration making progress in Indian Country (3/2)
Kevin Abourezk: Leaders of Winnebago Tribe face recall attempt (3/2)
Aaron Schutt: Alaska Native role in FCC's auction benefits public (3/2)
Steven Newcomb: NMAI should help expose Indian law's bigotry (3/2)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Native sovereignty in a race-based society (3/2)
David Wilkins: Tap into the knowledge and power of our nations (3/2)
Opinion: Native women won't feel safe without action in Canada (3/2)
Indian families in South Dakota battle to keep children at home (3/2)
Marijuana presented as another opportunity for Indian Country (3/2)
Lac Vieux Desert Band relies on revenue from lending business (3/2)
Leader of Kiowa Tribe challenges BIA's intervention in election (3/2)
Cherokee Nation mourns loss of respected journalist John Shurr (3/2)
Pechanga Band to reclaim ancestors and artifacts from military (3/2)
Travel: Ancient culture continues on Hopi Reservation in Arizona (3/2)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe banishes two women after drug arrest (3/2)
Joseph Webster: Tribes assert sovereignty over Class II gaming (3/2)
Tohono O'odham Nation spends $200M on first phase of casino (3/2)
New Mexico lawmakers advance new Class III gaming compact (3/2)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe in court for gaming compact in New Mexico (3/2)
MGM on track to complete $1.2B casino near US Capitol next year (3/2)
Wrapup from National Congress of American Indians DC meeting (2/27)
Native Sun News: Rapid City leader calls for tax on alcohol sales (2/27)
Mark Trahant: Beautiful trend emerges with power of Native vote (2/27)
Ivan Star: Lakota traditional history tells the true untold stories (2/27)
Audio: House Appropriations Committee hearing on BIA budget (2/27)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hold hearing on irrigation bill (2/27)
National Indian Gaming Commission choice gets another hearing (2/27)
Kevin Abourezk: Omaha language advocate passes on at age 58 (2/27)
Gyasi Ross: Yawna Allen shares her Native and African ancestry (2/27)
Frank Hopper: Alaska Native Brotherhood was about resistance (2/27)
Stanley Heller: Don't forget the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado (2/27)
Cherokee Nation chief faces at least four challengers in election (2/27)
BIA and DOJ seek to mediate Cayuga Nation leadership dispute (2/27)
Non-Indians guilty for hunting incidents on Montana reservation (2/27)
Man from Te-Moak Tribe pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter (2/27)
Administrator for Alaska tribe cuts her position out of the budget (2/27)
Opinion: Find common ground on Indian mascots in Connecticut (2/27)
Hannahville Indian Community starts $8M casino expansion work (2/27)
Wilton Rancheria still waiting for BIA movement on casino project (2/27)
Lytton Band paid $4.6M to use land as parking for Class II facility (2/27)
Opinion: Menominee Nation might turn to tokers instead of poker (2/27)
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.