NEW: Chinook recognition delayed
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Secretary of Interior Gale Norton on Tuesday agreed to delay the recognition of the Chinook Nation of Washington by four months.

Norton concurred with a recommendation by Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb to continue review of the tribe's status even though he has had the past four months to make a decision.

Bureau of Indian Affairs spokesperson Nedra Darling told Indianz.Com that McCaleb is bringing in an attorney from the department's Office of the Solicitor to help out. "He would like to have an independent evaluation," she said.

Darling did not immediately know the name of the solicitor whom McCaleb has tapped. She said the attorney does not work within the Indian affairs division of the office.

Last fall, McCaleb was asked to review the Clinton administration's decision to recognize the tribe. It wasn't until last week that he asked for more time.

"He hasn't had the time" to conduct a complete analysis, said Darling.

McCaleb has been on personal leave for the past two days. He is on travel today in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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