Dilemmas of Federal Recognition

Dilemmas of Federal Recognition - Warning Concerning...

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Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. Printing note: If you do not want to print this page, select pages 2 to the end on the print dialog screen. Mann Library fax: 607 255-0318 www.mannlib.cornell.edu
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Dilemmas of Federal Recognition Reforming the BIA Process ALLISON BINNEY T he federal tribal recognition process is again under review and talks have begun about how it should be reformed. Multiple pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress that will make substantial changes to it—tor better and worse. Once again it appears that the people most affected by any proposed changes— Native people and tribes—remain unen- gaged as primary consultants. There is no question that the federal recognition process needs reform. The process is confusing and inconsistently implemented. During an interview in January 2002, Kevin Gover, former Assis- tant Secretary on Indian Affairs who was responsible for making the final determi- nation on whether a tribe receives recog- nition, acknowledged that the federal recognition process is "a failing pro- gram." A host of complaints about the recognition process have surfaced, from non-Indians who think too many tribes 24 NATIV L AMERICA S
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are being recognized, to the General Accounting Office (GAO), which released a report in fall 2001 describing the weak- nesses in the current process, to tribes that feel the process is arbitrary, burden- some, expensive and time-consuming. A NECESSARY EVIL Federal recognition is not necessary for a tribe to exist or for it to exercise its sov- ereignty. A tribe's sovereignty is inherent and not delegated by the federal govern- ment. Arlinda Locklear, an attorney spe- cializing in Indian law and member of the non-federally-recognized Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, explains that sovereignty "does not derive from the federal govern- ment, it does not derive from any federal statute, it is not dependent on any treaty, but exists because people exercised it before the white folks showed up." Despite its flaws, many believe the fed- eral recognition process is still necessary, since, as Gover says, there are a number of tribes "who for one reason or another fell out of their relationship with the United States, and the U.S. ought to resume its obligations with those tribes."
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Dilemmas of Federal Recognition - Warning Concerning...

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