Montana Public Radio

Little Shell Chippewa Tribe

The U.S. House passed the National Defense Authorization Act today. That means the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana is halfway to federal recognition. But will the tribe’s land base include Hill 57?

Montana Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester found a new place for a bill that federally recognizes the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Last night, they placed it within the National Defense Authorization Act.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. House has approved legislation for the federal government to recognize Montana's Little Shell Band of Chippewa Cree Indians.

The proposal by Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte passed on 403-21 vote Tuesday. Identical legislation in the U.S. Senate, where a similar proposal died last session, is pending.

U.S. Senator Mike Lee probably won’t get a Christmas card this year from Montana Senator Jon Tester. That's because Tester says he's, “A little frustrated with Senator Lee at this moment in time.”

A bill that would have granted federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe in Montana failed in the U.S. Senate Thursday.

Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, objected to fast-tracking the bill’s passage in the Senate.

Montana’s Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians reached what may be a watershed moment Wednesday in its four-decade struggle for federal recognition. An unopposed bill to provide federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe unanimously passed out of the full U.S. House.

The chairman of Montana’s Little Shell tribe is not fazed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s remarks to a U.S. Senate committee earlier this week.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may not be able to provide the slam dunk for Montana’s Little Shell Tribe that some had hoped he would. At least not right away.

Montana’s Little Shell Tribe has spent nearly four decades fighting for federal recognition. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicated Wednesday they might have to wait just a bit longer than they hoped.

A proposal to federally recognize Montana’s Little Shell Tribe advanced a step in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee unanimously approved the measure, which would also give the tribe 200-acres to use as a land base. Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines sit on that committee.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Courtesy Ryan Zinke

On Thursday morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke issued his first press release since media outlets broke the news he was President Elect Donald Trump’s top pick for Secretary of the Interior. In it, he wrote, "I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior."

The confirmation unleashed a mixed bag of reactions.

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