Little Shell Hearing


by Heidi Meili

Jon Tester and Max Baucus are introducing legislation to overturn a decision last week, to deny federal recognition to Montana's Little Shell Tribe.

About 4,300 people make up the Little Shell Tribe.  Most live in the Great Falls area.

Today, Senator Tester got U.S. Interior Department officials to commit to shorten the timeline for federally recognizing Indian tribes, after testimony from the Little Shell Chairman that the system is broken.

John Sinclair/Little Shell Chairman:  "This is a frustrating time for the Little Shell people.  After nearly thirty years of being processed, examined, poked and prodded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, we were told lake week that we failed to satisfy three of the B.I.A. mandatory criteria and cannot be recognized."

Federal recognition allows a tribe to be eligible for housing grants, economic assistance and other benefits.