Opinion | Federal Recognition

Editorial: Connecticut tribes should document history to 1789

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs

Connecticut newspaper opposes Part 83 reforms to the federal recognition process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
Three groups that have tried for decades to be recognized as Connecticut Indian tribes in order to build and operate casinos are still trying. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is apparently doing what it can to help them and aspiring casino owners. But the bureau went too far when it proposed changing the rule that requires tribes seeking recognition to prove they were part of the American landscape when George Washington was president. Under the change, they would only have to prove they were around for Franklin Roosevelt's first term.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut's congressional delegation were not amused and have now reminded the Obama administration on two occasions that they strongly and unanimously oppose any easing of requirements for tribal recognition. And this is a nonpartisan issue in the campaign. Gov. Malloy's Republican opponent, Tom Foley, also thinks the rule change is a bad idea.

All agree the Eastern Pequots of Stonington, Golden Hill Paugussetts of Colchester and Trumbull and the Schaghticottes of Kent should still have to prove they were functioning tribes when the nation was founded in 1789, not when the New Deal was in its second year in 1934.

In a letter to the Department of the Interior this month, the state's two senators and five House members echoed Gov. Malloy, who had earlier told President Obama that easing the recognition requirements and allowing additional casinos "would be devastating" for Connecticut. We agree.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Dubious tribal recognition rule fix (The New London Day 10/10)

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

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