John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process

General William T. Sherman, third from left, can be seen at the signing of the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. Photo from National Archives and Records Administration

John Yellowbird Steele, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, calls H.R.3764, the Tribal Recognition Act, unconstitutional because it strips the executive branch -- namely, the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- of its federal recognition powers:
On April 22, 2015, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) declared at a hearing Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs of the House Natural Resources Committee that Congress was the only body with authority to Federally acknowledge Indian nations and tribes. On October 20, 2015, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bishop declared that he will pursue HR 3764 to make that the law. With all due respect, HR 3764 is wrong on the law and history: the President of the United States, his Secretaries and Executive Branch officials have always had a leading role in treating with Indian nations and tribes.

The Supreme Court acknowledges that Indian sovereignty “long pre-dates” the United States. From the first days of the American Republic, Indian nations and tribes were recognized diplomatically through treaty-making by the President, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Interior and U.S. treaty commissions.

Prior to the Constitution’s ratification, the United States entered into more Indian treaties than International treaties, the Constitution affirms the early treaties, and after the Constitution’s ratification, President George Washington established the protocol for future treaty-making with the ratification of the 1790 Creek Nation Treaty.

Get the Story:
John Yellowbird Steele: Attempt by Congress to Steal Native Sovereignty Unconstitutional (Indian Country Today 11/23)

Committee 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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