US OVERHAULS PROCESS FOR RECOGNIZING INDIAN TRIBES
By MICHAEL MELIA Associated Press, August 25, 2013
His tribe once controlled huge swaths of what is now New York and Connecticut, but the shrunken reservation presided over by Alan Russell today hosts little more than four mostly dilapidated homes and a pair of rattlesnake dens.
The Schaghticoke Indian Tribe leader believes its fortunes may soon be improving. As the U.S. Interior Department overhauls its rules for recognizing American Indian tribes, a nod from the federal government appears within reach, potentially bolstering its claims to surrounding land and opening the door to a tribal-owned casino.
“It’s the future generations we’re fighting for,” Russell said….
This proposal, if enacted, could help scores of unrecognized tribes across the United States achieve “federal recognition” by the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs. Becoming a federally recognized Native American tribe is important because it can qualify tribal members for increased health and educational benefits, including validating their tribal sovereignty.