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US announces changes for tribal recognition rules

The U-S Interior Department has announced proposed changes to the rules for granting federal recognition to American Indian tribes.  The rules announced yesterday include a requirement that tribes demonstrate political authority since 1934. Previously, they had to show continuity from "historical times'', 1789.

 

This could open the door for recognition of one faction of the Kent-based Scaghticoke Tribe and two others in the state.

Critics, including 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty argued it would lower the threshold for recognition which could lead to new gaming facilities in the state.  4th District Congressman Jim Himes says he believes additional changes and clarifications are necessary to ensure that Connecticut’s interests are protected, and he and others will continue to work for their inclusion

Kevin Washburn, an assistant secretary with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said the new rules are intended to make the process more transparent and efficient. He said the standards are no less rigorous.

The government is accepting more comment before the rules are finalized.

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