US official: Congress shouldn't control tribal recognition

Oct 28, 2015 1:32 PM by News Staff

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - An Obama administration official says allowing Congress to decide whether American Indian tribes deserve federal recognition would add more delays to what was long a broken system.

Interior Department Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn said in remarks prepared for Wednesday delivery that the administration will oppose the proposal from Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah.

Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, wants to block a recent administration overhaul of the tribal recognition process. He says Congress, not the executive branch, should make such decisions.

There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., and groups in Louisiana, Michigan, Florida, California and other states want to join their ranks.

Some such as Montana's Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians have waited years or decades for a decision.

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