Little Shell Chippewa Tribe welcomes federal recognition reforms

Chief Little Shell was a leader of the Little Shell Tribe in the late 1800s. Photo from Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center

The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana welcomed the Part 83 reforms at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe filed a petition in 1978, the same year the federal acknowledgment process started. After winning a preliminary ruling during the Clinton administration, the tribe hit a roadblock in the Obama administration and is awaiting a new decision.

"This has been a long, long, long fight for us," Chairman Gerald Gray told the Associated Press. "We're the can that's been kicked down the street every few years for more than 100 years."

Gray said the reforms, which were published in the Federal Register on Wednesday appear to make it easier for landless tribes like the Little Shell to gain recognition. The new rule becomes final on July 31.

The tribe is also pursuing action through Congress. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved S.35, a bill to recognize the tribe, but it has not come up for consideration in the Senate

Get the Story:
Montana tribe's hopes for recognition buoyed by rule changes (AP 7/3)

Federal Register Notices:
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (July 1, 2015)
Requests for Administrative Acknowledgment of Federal Indian Tribes (July 1, 2015)

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