Editorial: No to legislative recognition of tribes

"Applications by Indian tribes seeking formal federal recognition belong in front of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs - not Congress, where a fair, consistent and impartial review can be easily derailed by politics and money from wealthy backers looking to invest in Indian casinos.

Allowing tribes to appeal directly to Congress also reinforces a troublesome precedent, one likely to encourage other tribes to try to avoid the more exhaustive work required as part of the BIA approval process.

The House of Representatives entered this dangerous territory recently when it approved two requests for federal recognition. One is by six Virginia tribes; the other is for North Carolina's Lumbee Indians. Both measures are now before the Senate.

These proposals are nothing less than an end run around the BIA process, and we urge the Senate to oppose them. Such applications belong before the BIA, which has an extensive process and uniform standards for weighing such requests. Among the agency's considerations are a tribe's history, its continuous existence as a community and its political governance."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Reject End Run By Tribes (The Hartford Courant 8/8)

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