Interior Seeks Comments on Process for Recognizing Indian Tribes

Jun 23, 2022 | Insights

In early June, the U.S. Department of the Interior held two tribal consultation sessions on its process for federal recognition of Indian tribes at 25 C.F.R. Part 83 (“Part 83”). Interior seeks comments from tribal leaders on whether it should consider changing the rule to allow previously denied tribes another opportunity to petition for federal recognition. 

Written comments are due by July 6, 2022 and should be submitted to The Dear Tribal Leader Letter provides more information and is available here.

In a 2015 Final Rule, Interior had retained its ban on re-petitioning, but the rule was challenged in two court cases.  In 2020, the courts in Chinook Indian Nation v. Bernhardt and Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. Bernhardt found that Interior’s reasons for maintaining the ban on re-petitioning in the 2015 rule were arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act.  The courts then remanded the rule to Interior.  Interior is now seeking additional input and reasoning for whether it should maintain its ban on re-petitioning.

Patterson Earnhart Real Bird & Wilson LLP is dedicated to the representation of American Indian tribes, tribal entities, and individual Indians across the United States. Our mission is to support and advance the sovereignty, self-sufficiency, and self-governance of our tribal clients. To learn more about how we can assist your tribe, contact our Colorado office at (303) 926-5292.