National | Politics | Federal Recognition

House committee holds another hearing on federal recognition bill

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) gestures at a House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs hearing in Washington, D.C., on October 28, 2015. Still image from House Committee on Natural Resources / YouTube

The House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs is holding another hearing on H.R.3764, the Tribal Recognition Act, on Tuesday morning.

The bill strips the Bureau of Indian Affairs of its ability to recognize tribes and instead requires Congress to make a final decision on every petition. The Obama administration and some tribes have already come out against it but Republicans say they will push it through the House anyway.

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the chairman of the subcommittee, already lashed out at the United South and Eastern Tribes for opposing the bill and suggested that lobbyists were behind the organization's stance. USET President Brian Patterson, a member of the Oneida Nation from New York, is slated to testify.

"When they get a chance to testify, we'll find out who represents them here," Young said at the October 28 hearing on the bill.

The Ute Tribe of Utah also opposes the bill, according to Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-California), the top Democrat on the subcommittee. The tribe won't testify at the hearing but Utah Attorney Sean D. Reyes is on the witness list.

Reyes is a seemingly odd choice to discuss federal recognition issues. No Utah tribe has ever gone through the federal recognition process at the BIA and no groups from Utah are petitioning for status either.

The hearing takes place at 11am in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building. The full witness list follows:
The Honorable Sean D. Reyes
Utah Attorney General

The Honorable Robert Martin
Morongo Band of Mission Indians

Mr. Nicholas H. Mullane II
Town of North Stonington, CT

The Honorable Brian Patterson
United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc

Committee Notice:
Legislative Hearing on Tribal Recognition Act (Part II) (December 8, 2015)

Prior Committee Hearing Notice:
Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3764 (October 28, 2015)

BIA Final Part 83 Documents:
Final Rule | Policy Guidance | Fact Sheet

Federal Register Notices:
Hearing Process Concerning Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (August 13, 2015)
Requests for Administrative Acknowledgment of Federal Indian Tribes (July 1, 2015)
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (July 1, 2015)
Hearing and Re-Petition Authorization Processes Concerning Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (June 19, 2014)

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