Connecticut Attacks Proposed Fed Rec Revisions, Fears Land Claims, Casinos
Three Connecticut state recognized tribes, all of whom were denied federal recognition more than 10 years ago, have another chance to apply due to newly proposed federal recognition regulations, issued recently by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
One of the changes in the proposed regulations is an expedited positive ruling for state tribes that have held land since 1934. If the changes are approved, the Eastern Pequot, the Schaghticoke, and the Golden Hill Paugussett could now qualify for federal recognition, which would allow them to pursue many avenues of economic development and cultural revitalization. All have held land for hundreds of years.
Nedra Darling, spokeswoman for the BIA, said, “The proposed ‘expedited positive’ process is primarily to be used for petitions in which there is no serious challenge among the local community and state.” Connecticut’s congressional delegation has announced they will dispute the new regulations.
“We will fight like hell,” announced U.S. Congressional Representative Rosa DeLauro to attendees at an April 16, Woodbury, Connecticut Town Hall Meeting.
DeLauro said she was concerned about the tribe’s land claims and that, “The Golden Hill Paugussett could potentially make another play for homeowners homes, and this is not a scare tactic, I want to be upfront.”
The Golden Hill Paugussett and Schaghticoke have said they would be willing to exchange land claims to build casinos in Danbury and Bridgeport, Connecticut. The City of Bridgeport passed a referendum in support of casinos that could bring thousands of jobs to that impoverished city.
The state, however, is just saying no. DeLauro told the town hall meeting that additional casinos would void the compacts with the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans. Together the two tribes have brought more than $5 billion to the state, according to Connecticut State Senator Kevin Witkos.
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