Written by The Herald-News
For several decades the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe has not been recognized by the United States government, but that may change.
Montana Congressman Steve Daines introduced legislation to provide the tribe with federal recognition and provide them with legal ownership of 200 acres of land that has been historically recognized as theirs.
Daines has not been the only one who has been trying to get the tribe federal recognition as Sen. Jon Tester introduced a Senate proposal in 2007.
While the State of Montana began recognizing them in 2000, the tribe has sought federal recognition since 1930s. There are more than 5,100 tribal members enrolled in the Little Shell Tribe, according to the tribe’s Facebook page.
Little Shell tribal chairman Gerald Gray said the bill is being pushed forward to help the tribe get federal recognition.
“It shows more effort, not only on the Senate side with Tester, but also on the House side,” Gray said.
Richard Parenteau, who has served on the Little Shell Tribe’s council, said it was outstanding that Daines was going to “bat” for the tribe.
“It’s a positive step forward and it gives hope to our people,” Parenteau said.
Parenteau also said he was pleased that several cities, counties and tribes in Montana, including the Fort Peck Tribes, have gone on record to support Little Shell Tribe’s quest for federal recognition.