Recognizing the Tribes
Earlier this week, Congress approved two bills to recognize native American tribes. H.R. 31 is the Lumbee Recognition Act, and H.R. 1385 is the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act.
And this week, we’ve seen a couple of bills introduced to recognize tribes: H.R. 2678 would extend federal recognition to the Duwamish Tribe, and S. 1178 would recognize the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc., the Monacan Indian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe.
What’s this all about?
There’s an existing way for tribes to be recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of Interior. You can pick through all of the details if you want.
But perhaps that process is too cumbersome or too restrictive, so people are going to Congress trying to get legislation that gives them recognition. Being recognized as a tribe gets a group a variety of federal benefits – but they don’t just get a check! The Department of Interior wants you to know that.
What say you? (Tribal leaders and representatives, this is your chance to inform us about federal recognition and why it’s important.)