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BIA to publish federal recognition guidance

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is adopting new internal procedures regarding the federal acknowledgment process.

Assistant secretary Carl Artman sent the guidelines to the Federal Register today. They will be published tomorrow and are not considered regulatory changes that are subject to public comment.

Among other issues, the procedures address "splinter groups" of petitioning groups, expedited findings and the date of "first sustained contact" with non-Indians. The date is now put at March 4, 1789, when the U.S. Constitution was ratified.