Column: Schaghticokes revive recognition case
"In 2005, Bush's Interior Department reversed its own 2004 finding granting federal recognition to the Schaghticokes, making it illegal for them to open a casino. This development came after intense public pressure organized by influential Kent residents, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the state's congressional delegation.

In January of 2005, a representative from the Republican lobbying firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, working with this coalition, said that he could "get to [Henry] Kissinger via a friend," in an e-mail obtained by the Schaghticokes.

There's no proof that anyone got to the Nobel Prize winner, who lives on a mountaintop in Kent. But the Schaghticokes' federal court challenge to its loss of recognition could be about to turn explosive. The tribe now has a shot at reviving its case.

In an unusual decision last week, U.S. District Judge Peter Dorsey ruled that the Schaghticokes may gather more evidence, including testimony from federal officials and Barbour Griffith.

"The evidence produced by STN raises some questions about whether there was improper political influence during the federal acknowledgement process here," Dorsey said.

Dorsey is also troubled that former Interior Secretary Gale Norton - deeply involved with the initial, positive Schaghticoke ruling - handed the reversal decision to a deputy, James Cason."

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Rick Green: Tribe's Dream Revisited (The Hartford Courant 3/27)
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Federal Recognition Database V2.0 (May 2005)

Relevant Links:
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation - http://www.schaghticoke.com
Interior Board of Indian Appeals Decisions - http://www.ibiadecisions.com

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