Schaghticoke Tribal Nation opposes state veto on recognition

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation doesn't think the state of Connecticut should be able to veto its federal recognition petition.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has proposed a rule that would allow the tribe to resubmit its petition. But all interested parties must agree, something that won't happen in Connecticut.

“Even though the state had the responsibility of our tribes for centuries, they still are now considered a third party that can stop a tribe from gaining its federal recognition," Chief Richard Velky told Free Speech Press News. "The same people — the same people — that was there to protect us are now there to hurt us.”

Eugene Fidell, an expert in Indian law, said the provision could violate the U.S. Constitution. Federal recognition decisions are reserved to the federal government, not the states, he noted.

“If the state has an objection to the quality of the evidence that any state-recognized tribe is able to muster, then let the state come forward with its evidence. Let the state raise questions," Fidell told Free Speech Press News. "But the idea of having the state have its finger on a veto switch, I think is very difficult to justify.”

The tribe resides on a reservation that is recognized by the state.

Get the Story:
Connecticut state officials oppose local tribe’s bid for federal recognition (Free Speech Radio News 6/11)
Velky to Washburn: Third Party Fed Rec Veto Is Unconstitutional (Indian Country Today 6/9)

Federal Register Notice:
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (May 29, 2014)

Relevant Documents:
Proposed Rule | Press Release | Comparison Chart (comparing current rule to proposed rule) | Response to Comments on June 2013 Discussion Draft | Frequently Asked Questions

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