No Moratorium On Tribe Recognition
By Earl
A proposed one-year moratorium on recognizing new Native American tribes has been rejected in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 85 to 15. The moratorium was proposed by Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, Democrats Christopher J. Dodd and Joseph Lieberman and ostensibly, in their view, would have called for “improvements” in the way sovereignty is granted to tribes from the federal government.

Senator Dodd admitted it was an ‘uphill battle,’ particularly as his powerful Democrat colleague, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, supports those Indian tribes already legally recognized and who want to do further gambling business with non-tribal business groups.

Both Senators Dodd and Lieberman feel that the tribes and the communities their gambling operations would be in would benefit from their stated aims for the moratorium amendment -- “a recognition process [for determining status as Native Americans] that is fairer, more transparent, and well defined.”

The moratorium would have lasted one year at most, until the Bureau of Indian Affairs presumably enacts new regulations to define more clearly the criteria that would be required as proof for tribal recognition. Dodd and Lieberman argued on the Senate floor that Connecticut, a small state, has too many tribes seeking recognition in the state. Connecticut has already recognized three tribes, two of whom run very successful casinos.

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