Congressman Bishop Nixes Federal Recognition Law

Federal recognition for Indian tribes is a lengthy process, one that has taken as long as 17 years or more after submission of detailed application documents according to Indian Country who report:

"Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chairman of the Resources Committee in the
House of Representatives, introduced a bill [HR 512] that would require the Secretary of Interior to finally determine the status of tribes with longstanding petitions within a year of
the act's passage."

The Southampton Press reported that this bill was the subject of testimony by Shinnecock Nation Tribal leader Lance Gumbs on February 10. Mr. Gumbs testified before a congressional committee in support of HR 512.

Gumbs said “If my frustration over the current federal recognition process is evident in my testimony, it is because it was forged by the blood, sweat and tears of too many members of our tribe,” Mr. Gumbs told the committee “The status of our petition sits in what I call the ‘black hole’—the Ready for Active Consideration list.”

The Press also reported that U.S. Representative Tim Bishop said he would not support the Shinnecocks receiving federal recognition status, expedited or otherwise, because the designation would make it nearly impossible to stop the tribe from securing permission to develop a casino. Bishop said “But I don’t think that gaming, in any way, serves the interest of the people of eastern Long Island. So long as recognition is linked to gaming, I have to be opposed to recognition.”

Our comment: The interest of "the people" would not be served unless the people are poor Native Americans who want to prosper and remain on their land.