AG’s Office: Relief from BIA Regulations Change Still Possible

Even with changes to the way Indian tribes attain federal recognition seemingly imminent, Attorney General George Jepsen shows no sign of giving up the state’s opposition. Connecticut elected officials from virtually every level of government are fighting the modifications because they could lead to multiple new tribes in state meaning land claims, possibly new casinos and other problems.

Attorney General George Jepsen
Attorney General George Jepsen

In an interview Tuesday, the AG’s office wouldn’t join in The Shad’s characterization that chaos would ensue from several more “tribes” in Connecticut, but it is clearly concerned about what would happen. Having groups that have been rejected for recognition in the past—the Eastern Pequots, the Golden Hill Paugussetts and Schaghticokes Tribal Nation—reapply under the new guidelines and gain recognition would open a floodgate of problems. Think, a casino in bucolic Kent. There would be a revolt. Summering New Yorkers with pitchforks.

Jepsen’s office confirmed that appealing changes to the rules and going to court to fight new tribes are still options. Litigation can be started when the rule changes take effect and against any “tribe” individually.

There is a key congressional hearing today chaired by US Rep. Don Young, a Republican from Alaska. In case there was any ambiguity about where he stands, the topic of the hearing is, “The Obama administration’s Part 83 Revisions and How They May Allow the Interior Department to Create Tribes, Not Recognize Them.” Gee, wonder where he stands? US Senator Richard Blumenthal is expected to testify.