Aurelius Piper: Connecticut still fighting against Indian people

Aurelius Piper Jr., also known as Chief Quiet Hawk.

Chief Quiet Hawk of the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe blasts officials in Connecticut for opposing the Part 83 reforms to the federal recognition process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
The Paugussetts first applied for federal recognition in 1982, several years before Indians were allowed to open casinos. Gaming did not enter the picture, nor did it for hundreds of other Tribes nationwide. We did so because the federal government extends benefits that enable Tribes to maintain their continuity and survival going forward. Federal recognition remains our primary goal. Our second goal is to settle our land claims, as the State of Connecticut has already done with the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans.

But all we get is fear mongering from elected officials who swear that all chaos will break loose if they settle our land claims. These people like to insist that land claims represent a “cloud” on homeowners’ property titles. Really? Then lift the cloud! The State has always had the power to do so, and it still does. Instead, it chooses clouds over sunlight.

In proposing the new BIA rules, the federal government is sending a message to Connecticut. Actually, two messages. The first is that it cannot continue to discriminate against certain State-recognized tribes to the benefit of others. Second, it’s time to settle Indian land claims once and for all. Until that happens, homeowners have no one to blame for “clouds” on their property titles but their own elected officials, who will continue to kick this particular can down the road for as long as they can keep getting reelected.

Get the Story:
Aurelius Piper: Connecticut Just Can't Stop Discriminating Against Natives (Indian Country Today 11/2)

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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