The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced in the attached June 27, 2013, FEDERAL REGISTER notice a series of consultation sessions to be held with tribes and the public regarding a “preliminary discussion draft” of possible revisions to the 25 C.F.R. Part 83 regulations (Procedures for Establishing That an American Indian Group is an Indian Tribe or Part 83 Process). In addition to the consultation sessions, written comments will be accepted until August 16, 2013.
According to the Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs’ June 21 press release, the discussion draft:
• maintains stringent standards for core criteria and seeks comment on objective criteria to be incorporated into the standards. The draft suggests changes to improve timeliness and efficiency by providing for a thorough review of a petitioner’s community and political authority. That review would begin with the year 1934 to align with the United States repudiation of allotment and assimilation policies and eliminate the requirement that an external entity identify the group as Indian since 1900.
• further suggests providing flexibility to the Department to issue expedited denials and approvals based on the particular facts and unique history of certain petitioners. The draft suggests streamlining the process to promote greater transparency as a petitioner’s materials are evaluated by the Office of Federal Acknowledgment and the Department.
The Part 83 discussion draft is available at: http://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/AS-IA/Consultation/index.htm
The consultations will be conducted in half-day sessions, with the morning sessions (9 a.m.–12 noon) reserved for representatives from federally recognized tribes and the afternoon sessions (1–4 p.m.) for public input. The notice includes the meeting site specifics but the dates and cities of the consultations are as follows:
July 23, 2013 Canyonville, OR
July 25, 2013 Solvang, CA
July 29, 2013 Petosky, MI
July 31, 2013 Indian Island, ME
August 6, 2013 Marksville, LA
Following the consultation and comment period on the discussion draft, the DOI will utilize the input to develop a proposed rule on the Part 83 Process, which will also undergo consultation and comment. There is no time frame provided on when the proposed rule process will occur.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance with preparing comments on the Part 83 Process.