New Federal Recognition Rule Announced at NCAI Conference

Published on Jun 30, 2015

St. Paul, Minnesota- On Monday, at NCAI’s 2015 Mid Year Conference, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn announced a final rule to amend the regulatory process on how the Department of Interior officially recognizes Indian tribes. The ruling fulfills a promise to speed recognition and make the steps more transparent in a process that has long been considered broken.

Tribes putting forth their sovereign status for federal acknowledgment need to prove that they were a community that had a governing authority since 1900. Supporting documents can be placed online during the recognition process, with opportunity to file comments as the process moves forward.

“This updated rule is the product of extraordinary input from tribal leaders, states, local governments and the public,” said Assistant Secretary Washburn. “It is a fair compromise. We have a responsibility to recognize those tribes that have maintained their identity and self-governance despite previous federal policies expressly aimed at destroying tribes.”

“Although this is a compromise, NCAI greatly appreciates the effort and commitment from the Administration to get these regulations finalized and to improve the process,” said NCAI President Brian Cladoosby.  “NCAI has been pushing for years for all tribes seeking recognition to have a fair and equitable process. “

The NCAI membership has supported the proposed changes through NCAI Resolution TUL-13-002, Supporting the Bureau of Indian Affairs Proposed Reform of the Federal Recognition Process.

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