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Feds Discuss Changing Tribal Recognition Process

The federal Department of the Interior held a hearing in Massachusetts on its plan to make it easier for American Indian tribes to gain federal recognition.

The Tuesday morning hearing, at the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s community center on Cape Cod, is the last in series of meetings on the proposal, and the only one on the East Coast.

The department wants to lower the threshold for tribes to demonstrate community and political authority, among other things. Rather than from “historical times,” tribes would only need to show evidence dating back to 1934.

The Mashpee Wampanoags won federal recognition in 2007, after a more than 30-year process. The department announced Friday it would delay finalizing the rules, which were proposed last summer, by at least 60 days.

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