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Report: BIA Followed Rules in Tribal Recognition Process

2 September 2004

CONNECTICUT – As reported by the Connecticut Day: "The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs followed regulations and was not unduly influenced by outside parties in deciding the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation should be recognized, according to the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

"Earl E. Devaney reported last week to Interior Secretary Gale Norton and to members of Connecticut's congressional delegation that he had found no wrongdoing after investigating the process.

"…The state and several communities appealed the Kent-based tribe's recognition to the Department of the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA), putting on hold the Schaghticoke's plans to build a casino, acquire federal funding for housing, education and health care of members and pursue land claims.

"…Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called the report 'highly superficial and totally unsatisfactory...a whitewash.' He and other Connecticut officials claimed the BIA bent the rules to recognize the tribe, offering as evidence a memo that staff researchers wrote to agency official Aurene M. Martin as they were completing work on the Schaghticoke petition…"

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