Federal Recognition

Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs / Twitter

Five lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, are asking the Obama administration to delay the Part 83 reforms to the federal recognition process.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been working on the rules for more than two years. But the lawmakers say the agency needs to spend more time on the proposal, which could be finalized in the next couple of months.

“We do not support the sweeping changes that have been proposed to the criteria,” states the letter written by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the new chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, the Associated Press reported.

Two Democrats from Connecticut joined the letter. The state is home to three tribes that could resubmit their federal recognition petitions under the proposed reforms even though they were previously rejected by the BIA.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-California) also signed the letter. On Tuesday, he cheered a federal judge's decision that denied recognition to the Mishewal Wappo Tribe.

The final person who signed the letter was Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs.

Get the Story:
Lawmakers urge more study of US tribal recognition changes (AP 3/26)

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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