Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians

About To Receive Federal Recognition

Under the leadership of Chairman Gerald Gray, after a century long wait all that stands between Little Shell and federal recognition is President Trump's signature.
Senator Tester explains:

This is big. Really big.

 

After decades of advocacy by the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and more than 12 years of work here in the Senate, we just passed my bill granting federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe, and sent it to President Trump to sign it into law.

 

When I got to the Senate in 2007, federal recognition for the Little Shell Tribe was the very first bill I introduced, and I’ve introduced it every Congress since. But my twelve years working to get this bill signed into law is nothing compared to the century-long fight the Tribe has waged to be recognized as a sovereign nation. The passage of this legislation is another step toward righting those generations of injustice. Now, it's time for the President to sign this bill into law so the Little Shell Tribe finally get the recognition they deserve.

Why is this bill so important? The State of Montana has recognized Little Shell since 2000, but Native tribes must be recognized as sovereign nations by the federal government to exercise full self-governance. It’s only under this recognition—enshrined in treaty negotiations and the federal trust responsibility—that they can establish the critical nation-to-nation relationship they need to utilize resources for economic development, health care, and education. For too long, the Little Shell Tribe has been denied these basic rights.

 

I couldn’t be prouder of the decades of hard work the Little Shell Tribe has put into this process, and am honored to be a part of it. This is a win for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and a win for Montana.

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