Little Shell Tribe Seeks Recognition from Washington - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Little Shell Tribe Seeks Recognition from Washington

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The Little Shell Tribe in Montana is seeking federal recognition in Washington once again. The landless tribe with 5,400 members is recognized here in Montana, but was denied in 2009 the recognition they believe they deserve by the federal government.

Governor Steve Bullock stated "Here in my conference room the Little Shell Nation just like the other Indian nations their flags are represented, and the State of Montana's had a great relationship with the Little Shell Tribe, but federal recognition really is important because through federal recognition they get many more of the benefits."

If they were given this recognition they would have access to federal funding which would go towards elders, health care, education, and housing. In Washington the U.S. Secretary of the Interior is asking for the review of the 2009 decision and consideration that the Little Shell Tribe receive federal recognition.

"You know we have been fighting for this for decades it is sad because a lot of members have passed that have worked really hard on this, it is something that the state recognizes it, obviously the secretary of the interior recognizes it with their letter to the assistant secretary." says Gerald Gray, Chairman of the Little Shell Tribe. "Its long over due, its rightfully due to us.

While the Little Shell Tribe is seeking federal recognition in Washington they still have a reason to celebrate here in Montana, today is the last Friday in September which means its American Indian Heritage Day.

"We have not only a rich history of our American Indian and Indian Nation involvement, but really it is apart of the fabric of what Montana is today, proud that we have Indians on our boards of commission serving throughout my administration. It really is really a part of the over all fabric of Montana." says Governor Steve Bullock.

American Indian Heritage Day is a recognition and celebration of the rich cultural heritage, history, and contributions of American Indians. The 2009 Montana Legislature passed a law recognizing this day, and Governor Bullock encourages Montana's across the state to celebrate this day.

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