Education | Federal Recognition

Al Jazeera: Conference tackles broken recognition process

Al Jazeera reports on a conference at Arizona State University that focused on the federal recognition process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
While the numbers aren’t clear — experts estimate there could be 50 to 100 authentic tribes that aren’t recognized — the complications are thorny enough that more than 100 participants and representatives of more than 20 tribes still seeking federal recognition gathered Thursday and Friday at Arizona State University to meet with members of nearly 30 recognized tribes and government officials to discuss their ongoing struggles as well as changes to the process.

Centuries of federal policies designed to exterminate indigenous peoples and destroy their identities as people and political entities have left a harsh mix of attitudes toward tribes, tribal members and their role in the American political landscape. In some cases, the quest to secure a multilayered, tribal identity in the United States is viewed as a forced adoption of definitions and values imposed by the same government responsible for their near destruction. In other cases, the ability to pursue cultural and political aspirations is seen as an investment in future generations’ ability to thrive, grow and have continued access to the rights earned by their ancestors.

Whatever their reasons, tribes that exist in the United States but are not listed on official rolls maintained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs are alive and active across the country. And despite red tape and obscene amounts of paperwork required by the federal government, proposed changes to federal regulations could open the door for more tribes to become sovereign entities within U.S. borders.

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Tribal nations are tired of waiting for Uncle Sam to recognize them (Al Jazeera 1/17)

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