Yesterday, August 17, 2009, the Bureau of Indian Affairs rejected the Brothertown Nation's petition for federal recognition.
Some of the details of the decision were related in an article (with no "byline") on Indianz.com. Here's how the article begins:
The Obama administration has made its first decision on a federal recognition petition. The Interior Department said today that the Brothertown Indian Nation of Wisconsin doesn't qualify for federal status. A press release said the tribe failed to meet five out of seven mandatory criteria for recognition. "Therefore, the department proposes to decline to acknowledge the Brothertown petitioner," the press release stated.
In considering the petition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed that the tribe was previously recognized by the federal government. "The evidence in the record indicates that a Senate proviso to a Treaty of 1831, a Treaty of 1832 and an Act of 1839 constitute 'unambiguous previous federal acknowledgment' of the Brothertown Indian tribe of Wisconsin," the press release said.
But the BIA said the tribe lost its federal status 170 years ago. "Congress, in the Act of 1839, brought federal recognition of the relationship with the Brothertown Indian tribe of Wisconsin to an end."
Click here to read the rest of the article.
I know that some leaders of the Brothertown Indians will disagree not only with the decision that was made by the BIA, they will also disagree with the substance of the arguments made. Any members of the tribe who wish to voice their views on this blog are encouraged to contact me.