BIA ends comment period on reform to federal recognition rule


Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has closed the public comment period on Part 83 reforms to the federal recognition process.

Tuesday was the last day to submit comments. According to news reports, politicians from Connecticut asked Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the BIA, to scrap provisions that would allow tribes in the state to resubmit their petitions.

"The proposed rules represent a dramatic departure from the standards and process governing acknowledgment decisions for nearly 40 years," Attorney General George Jepsen told the BIA, The Connecticut Mirror reported.

The Part 83 reforms make two significant changes to the existing process. Petitioning groups only have to provide documents dating back to 1934 -- as opposed to time of first contact -- if the changes are adopted.

The proposal also allows groups that already went through the process to re-apply. But a controversial provision allows interested parties to object, which might make it impossible for Connecticut tribes to gain recognition.

The Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe and the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation say the state and other interested parties should not be granted veto authority if they choose to resubmit their petitions.

Get the Story:
Connecticut presses BIA to scrap Indian recognition proposal (The Connecticut Mirror 10/1)
CT Delegation Concerned About More Casinos (The Hartford Courant 10/1)
Press Release: NACS Files Comments on Proposal to Relax Tribal Recognition Rules (NACS 10/1)

Federal Register Notices:
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (July 30, 2014)
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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