State Recognition Does Not Lead to Federal Recognition
March 8, 2010
By Mark Mitchell
The VT Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs has scheduled
a review and vote on S.222 , (An act relating to recognition of Abenaki tribes) on Wednesday,
March 10, 2010.
Conflict between the Attorney General's office over the current draft as proposed, continue to
plaque State tribal recognition and any movement on S.222. The AG's office led the State’s long
opposed federal recognition for Vermont's Abenaki and continues to denied their existence. The
AG's office has taken a NO comment position to requests from this web site on their official position.
“Unintended consequences”: This was a critical objection made on behalf of the Vermont Attorney
General’s office in testimony to the Senate Economic Development Committee on February 26. In
its opinion, the present wording of pending legislation on Native American affairs may open the
State up to unforeseen and much unwanted ramifications.
Charles Delaney-Megeso, VCNAA Chair, stated "land claims, high stakes gaming, and inroads to
federal Indian recognition appear to be derailing efforts to properly recognize Vermont’s
indigenous people as Indians. I am deeply perplexed by the desire of the Vermont Attorney
General’s office to defy international legislative consensus on the proper and democratic way to
interact with aboriginal Peoples."
Resolving any federal implications to State recognition, Gary Garrison, Public Affairs Specialist,
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, DC. stated that “State recognition plays very little role in
acknowledging a tribe. The only exception is when recognition stretches back to well before 1900.
Recognition of tribes by a state in more recent times such as that being considered in Montpelier is
a completely different story. That wouldn’t play any role," (County Courier (Enosburg/Franklin
County) May 12, 2005).
Will the legislature continue to lack a social consciousness to address S117, (4 years after passing
it), or provide resolution to their created problem?
Even if S.222 is voted out of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and
General Affairs committee this Wednesday, it is unclear now as to if it the bill will reach the Senate
floor for a vote prior to Friday, March 12, 2010, the time bills crossover.