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Friday, May 3, 2013
Inspector General Slaps Down Effort to Create Indian Tribe Without Congressional Approval
By News Release @ 10:04 PM :: 4590 Views :: Akaka Bill

Investigative Report of the Tejon Indian Tribe

Report from US Department of the Interior, Office of the Inspector General  04/30/2013

The Office of Inspector General investigated former Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs (AS-IA) Larry Echo Hawk’s decision to “reaffirm” the Tejon Indian Tribe of California in December 2011 without going through the acknowledgment process set forth in 25 C.F.R., Part 83, “Procedures for Establishing That an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe.”

We found that the Tejon Tribe, along with several other American Indian groups, submitted petitions requesting reaffirmation by the AS-IA. These petitions were outside the Part 83 acknowledgment process, which is the official process for recognizing Indian groups as tribes and is administered by the AS-IA’s Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA). We could not find any discernible process Echo Hawk and his staff might have used to select the Tejon Tribe for recognition above the other groups.

We also found that Echo Hawk and his staff did not consult with OFA or with Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) leadership before deciding to reaffirm the Tejon Tribe. Because OFA was not consulted, other American Indian groups with historical, genealogical, and ancestral claims to the original Tejon Indians were left out of the process. In addition, not involving BIA leadership caused budgeting and operational difficulties for BIA, which in turn slowed down the process for providing Federal services to the Tejon Tribe. The AS-IA also denied subsequent requests by BIA for additional FY 2013 funding, which was needed to provide these services for the newly recognized Tribe.

Read the complete report here

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