Federal Recognition

California county opposes changes to federal recognition rules

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs

The board of supervisors in Napa County, California, is opposing reforms to the federal recognition process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The county asked for an extension of the comment period for the Part 83 reforms. Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the BIA, extended it until September 30.

The county also wants Congress to convene hearings. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs have held a series of hearings on the federal recognition process, including one in June 2012, when a Napa County supervisor testified.

“It’s causing some alarm at the local government level in California,” county counsel Minh Tran told The Napa Valley Register. “We are looking to urge that Congress hold some oversight hearings. They basically have the effect of watering down the seven criteria that have been in place for the last 36 years.”

The county is opposing federal recognition for the Mishewal Wappo Tribe. The issue is being litigated in federal court.

The county tried to intervene but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the county lacked standing.

Get the Story:
County opposes easier rules for Indian tribe recognition (The Napa Valley Register 8/11)

Federal Register Notices:
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (July 30, 2014)
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (May 29, 2014)

Relevant Documents:
Proposed Rule | Press Release | Comparison Chart (comparing current rule to proposed rule) | Response to Comments on June 2013 Discussion Draft | Frequently Asked Questions

Related Stories:
Decision awaited on Mishewal Wappo Tribe federal recognition (06/10)
Editorial: County rises to counter threat of federal recognition (8/1)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe identifies backers of federal recognition (7/31)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe back in court in federal recognition suit (7/26)
Hearing scheduled in Mishewal Wappo Tribe's recognition case (07/08)
9th Circuit to hear appeal in Mishewal Wappo recognition case (6/3)

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