indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
House committee advances controversial federal recognition bill

Filed Under: National | Politics | Federal Recognition
More on: 114th, bia, carcieri, democrats, hnrc, house, igra, land-into-trust, little shell, part 83, raul grijalva, raul ruiz, republicans, rob bishop, virginia
     
   

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: House Natural Resources Committee Markup September 8, 2016

Republicans advanced a controversial federal recognition reform bill at a markup on Capitol Hill on Thursday, after loading it up with provisions aimed at embarrassing tribes and Democrats.

H.R.3764, the Tribal Recognition Act, has already seen fierce opposition from Indian Country Democrats and the Obama administration because the bill strips the Bureau of Indian Affairs of its ability to make decisions on federal recognition petitions. Instead, Congress would be required to take action on every single case.

But rather than address the concerns, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, made the debate even more contentious. He added provisions to extend federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana and six tribes in Virginia to the package.

The Little Shell Tribe and the Virginia tribes have seen bipartisan support for their federal recognition bills and Indian Country also has been generally supportive. By including them in H.R.3764, Bishop is essentially forcing Democrats to abandon those efforts due to the controversial nature of the Tribal Recognition Act.


Chief Stephen Adkins of the Chickahominy Tribe. His tribe is one of six Virginia tribes that has been included in H.R.3764, a controversial federal recognition bill. Photo by Dan Addison / University of Virginia

"I just want to make it very clear that the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the six Indian tribes of Virginia have been duped by this bill," Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-California), the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, said at the markup on Thursday.

If Republicans were to bring H.R.286, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act, and H.R.872, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act, up for consideration, Ruiz said the effort would see "unanimous" support.

"Instead, it was lumped into this very dirty bill that goes to the heart of self-determination of all tribes around our nation," Ruiz said.

In hopes of making that point, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Arizona), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, tried to strip H.R.3764 of all but the Little Shell and Virginia tribal provisions. But Republicans, who outnumber Democrats on the panel, beat back his amendment after it was put to a recorded vote.

Grijalva also offered another amendment to ensure that all land placed in trust before February 24, 2009 -- the date of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar -- cannot be challenged in court. But Republicans rejected that effort as well when it was put to a recorded vote.

H.R.3764 itself was approved by a vote of 23 to 13. All the no votes came from Democrats.

"Congress already has the right to recognize tribes, as we have done many times, but this cannot be the only avenue for tribes," Grijalva said during the markup.


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

Congress indeed has extended federal recognition to tribes but hasn't done so through a stand-alone bill since the mid-1990s. Even though individual Republicans have supported the Little Shell Tribe, the Virginia tribes and even the Lumbee Tribe, their party at large has repeatedly prevented recognition bills from gaining traction.

Despite the paltry record, Congress managed to recognize two tribes in December 2000. In that situation, the Shawnee Tribe and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria were included in a much-larger bill that became law at the very end of the 106th Congress, as lawmakers were looking to wrap up their work and as then-president Bill Clinton was heading out of office.

So-called lame duck sessions are known for wheeling and dealing and also for regrets. In the case of the Shawnees, Congress went back and restricted the Oklahoma tribe's land-into-trust rights after its leaders tried to pursue a casino. And the Graton Rancheria had to overcome significant political and legal opposition before opening a casino in California.

Gaming is the "elephant in the room," Bishop said at the markup on Thursday. He asserted that the "many, if not most" of the federal recognition petitions submitted to the BIA were filed after the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988.

In fact, of all the tribes that have won recognition through the BIA, only one started seeking an acknowledgment of its relationship with the United States after 1988. The rest began their efforts in the early 1980s and the 1970s, although some came forward even earlier.

Bishop also admitted that he wrote H.R.3764 "in part" to punish the Obama administration for finalizing the Part 83 reforms to the federal acknowledgment process. During the first half of the markup, which took place on Wednesday, he said the changes "relaxed" the standards for recognition but did not explain how that would happen.

Bishop's bill can now be considered by the full House. With the November election quickly approaching, President Barack Obama and Congress will soon find themselves in another lame-duck session.

“The validity of a Native American or Alaska Native community’s request for recognition should have nothing to do with who won the last election,” Grijalva said after the markup. “This bill tells millions of American citizens that politics, not science and history, will determine their legal status from now on. It’s a patronizing and insulting way to treat communities that have already suffered far too many years of government neglect.”

"The current administrative process in the Department of the Interior is without a statutory basis and therefor has a constitutional problem. If unelected political appointees can override historical analysis by their own inference to recognize a tribe, we have a serious issue," Bishop said after the markup.

House Committee on Natural Resources Notices:
Markup on 4 Bills (September 7, 2016)
Markup on 4 Bills (September 8, 2016)

Related Stories:
House panel sets markup on controversial federal recognition bill (9/6)
USET leader criticizes GOP lawmakers for handling of Indian issues (12/08)
House committee holds another hearing on federal recognition bill (12/8)
Republicans push for federal recognition bill despite opposition (10/29)
Top GOP lawmaker slams BIA's Washburn on eve of big hearing (10/28)
Assistant Secretary Washburn to testify on federal recognition bill (10/27)
House subcommittee takes up federal recognition bill at hearing (10/26)
Bill strips Bureau of Indian Affairs of federal recognition powers (10/22)
House subcommittee embraces two tribal federal recognition bills (09/30)
DOI finalizes new rule for appeals in federal recognition cases (08/13)
BIA adopts new policy regarding federal recognition process (06/30)
Lobbyists met at White House to discuss federal recognition (6/30)
BIA issues long-awaited update to federal recognition process (6/29)
Appropriations measure blocks BIA's federal recognition reforms (06/16)
No movement on reform of federal recognition process at BIA (05/04)
BIA faces fire over latest reforms to federal recognition process (4/23)
BIA submits federal recognition rule to White House for review (4/21)
House subcommittee to hold hearing on BIA recognition reform (4/20)
Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (03/27)
BIA expected to finalize changes to federal recognition process (3/24)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Tribes in for long haul as oil continues to flow through Dakota Access
Mark Trahant: Don't plan on getting sick if you're from Indian Country
Tiffany Midge: I shall joke as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow
Director of Office of Indian Energy deletes offensive Twitter account
States cheer decision on grizzly bears amid tribal concerns about hunts
Washington asks high court to overturn Yakama Nation treaty victory
New York Times editorial board reconsiders stance on racist trademarks
Colville Tribes remove council member a week before citizens go to polls
Marijuana firm promises big investments with help of ex-Seminole chair
Lumbee Tribe ordered to release voter list to opponents of chairman
National Indian Gaming Association chooses David Bean as vice chair
Eastern Cherokee citizen promoted to vice president of casino marketing
Tribes in Connecticut waiting on governor to sign bill for new casino
Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections
Court sets final deadline for remaining payments from Cobell settlement
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act strengthens our families
Peter d'Errico: Navajo authors offer fresh perspective on sovereignty
Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe challenges new permit for uranium operation
Montana tribes get new member of Congress who pleaded to assault
Connecticut tribes welcome court decision favoring new casino law
Pueblo tribes dispute state's demand for $40M in gaming revenues
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains confident of approval of casino
Nooksack Tribe accepting slot tickets while casino remains closed
Key House committee under fire for moving slowly on tribal agenda
Tribes go it alone on climate change as Trump team shifts priorities
Bryan Newland: President Trump's budget threatens tribal treaties
Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better
Harold Monteau: Democrats lack proactive agenda, proactive strategy
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe orders 20 non-citizens to leave reservation
Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino
Witness list for hearing on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Arne Vainio: What does the princess want to be when she grows up?
Doug George-Kanentiio: 'Spirit Game' brings Iroquois lacrosse to life
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot
Eric Hannel: Addressing the health care crisis among Native Americans
Bill for tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies advances in California
Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still waits on casino ruling from Trump team
Another former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads in gaming theft case
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot
Change the Mascot campaign responds to negative Supreme Court ruling
Secretary Zinke set for another hearing on Interior Department budget
Mark Trahant: Republicans write health reform bill behind closed doors
Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band focuses on protecting our groundwater
Steven Newcomb: Asserting our traditions in the era of Donald Trump
Shasta Dazen: 'Family Spirit' program incorporates our tribal traditions
Secretary Zinke shuffles top Indian Affairs officials at Interior Department
Choctaw Nation travels to Ireland to dedicate 'Kindred Spirits' sculpture
Nooksack Tribe closes doors to casino after being hit with federal order
Muscogee Nation asserts authority at allotment where casino was proposed
Mark Trahant: Dakota Access decision offers a chance to return to respect
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hails 'victory' in Dakota Access Pipeline case
Nooksack Tribe told to close casino amid leadership and citizenship feud
Kristi Noem: Enough is enough - It's time to fix the Indian Health Service
Second hearing scheduled on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Trump nominee for appeals court seen as favorable to tribal interests
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.