Author Topic: Schaghticoke Indian Tribe?  (Read 808 times)

Offline Smart Mule

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Re: Schaghticoke Indian Tribe?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2022, 12:55:56 pm »
I can't open the article. I know there has been a long standing feud between the two Schaghticoke groups, one run by Alan Russell who still occupies traditional Schaghticoke land, a very small reservation (we're talking two houses at this point, the government bulldozed all the others) and Richard Velky who's group broke away from the main Schaghticoke group. I don't know which group is being referenced. Velky's group had federal recognition briefly but it was revoked in I think 2005, they were pro-casino and had the backing of investors. Russell is anti-casino and I think they actually filed for recognition in 2019.

Offline Diana

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Re: Schaghticoke Indian Tribe?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2022, 02:12:15 pm »
Schaghticoke Indian Nation was the one who briefly got recognized and was revoked. That was Velky's group. The Schaghticoke Indian Tribe is the one in Kent Connecticut and is run by Russell.

Offline Laurel

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Re: Schaghticoke Indian Tribe?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2022, 09:17:33 am »
Article text:

Kent-based American Indian tribe is seeking federal recognition. The town has concerns.
Sandra Diamond Fox
April 11, 2022
Updated: April 13, 2022 10:08 a.m.

KENT — The Schaghticoke Indian Tribe, which has been in town longer than the town itself, hopes to “make history” by achieving federal recognition as an American Indian tribe. The town of Kent, however, is not in support of that — and is pushing back.

To become a federally recognized tribe, the SIT, whose headquarters is the 400-acre Schaghticoke Indian Reservation on Schaghticoke Road in Kent, has recently filed a petition with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA.

“Our petition is now under active review,” said William Buchanan, business manager of the tribe.
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According to the BIA, federally recognized tribes are entitled to receive certain federal benefits, funding, services, and protections because of their special relationship with the United States.

Buchanan said federal recognition would open a lot of doors for the tribe.

“It will allow the tribal members to get free college and to build housing on the reservation. There are a lot of different business ventures you can do on the reservation that you can’t do now,” he added.

This includes creating its own laws as a sovereign nation and potentially operating a casino.

The petition tracks the history of the tribe from documentation dating back to the early 1800s.

According to the petition, which was submitted in 2020 and written by SIT Chief Alan Russell, the SIT’s current members and their ancestors have continued to reside on the Kent reservation throughout the last 116 years and prior, “and in many ways this reservation has been the heart of the Schaghticoke Tribe.”
‘Severe impact’

Despite Buchanan’s hopes, Kent First Selectman Jean Speck is not in support of the tribe attaining federal recognition. She said she’s concerned if the BIA’s petition is approved, it could affect Kent residents in a negative way.

“Tribal acknowledgment will permit the federal government to take land into trust for the use and economic benefit of the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe, and will permit the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe to have a right to self-government over its land and territory, without regard to many of the laws and regulations of the town of Kent and the state of Connecticut,” Speck said.

Specifically, she said tribal acknowledgment “can be expected to have an impact upon the town. Based on experiences with recently acknowledged Indian tribes in the Southeastern corner of the state, the impact can be quite severe,” she said.

Jeff Sienkiewicz, Kent’s special counsel on Schaghticoke affairs, pointed to the federal recognition achieved by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

“Within maybe two weeks of receiving federal recognition, they started a bingo parlor and now you have a huge gambling facility, hotel, entertainment — all kinds of activities,” said Sienkiewicz, adding those kinds of establishments could “have a significant impact” on the small town of Kent.

“If a casino opens up in Kent, it’s important to the town to be aware of it,” he added. “It’s going to cost the taxpayers money.”

Buchanan said, however, that if federally recognized, the tribe has no plans to change the nature of the town of Kent.

“Kent is a bucolic destination to unwind. Quiet. Historical and rich in natural beauty,” he said. “Why would we destroy what is the greatest draw. For both the town and tribe. It’s a shared responsibility.”

He said federal recognition would allow the tribe to trade their land claims for more suitable land for business.

“A trade — nobody gets moved off their land and we market where we are an asset to the host municipality,” Buchanan said.

He added since the tribe is state-recognized, the town has no authority on the reservation — “not zoning, taxation or commerce,” he said.

“The worst case scenario for the town would be we stay state recognized. Go to court and settle the leadership dispute. Then, as the reservation is our only asset, work the land to its fullest commercial capacity without any town input,” Buchanan said. “That would be a bad scenario.”
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation

In addition to the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe, there is also a group known as the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. The STN briefly won federal recognition but had their recognition revoked in 2005.

The tribe’s origination is debated - some say it was originally part of the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe, while others disagree.

In the past, the BIA allowed tribes to reapply for federal recognition if they have been rejected. However, the rules changed in 2015 and now tribes only get one shot at it. So, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation can no longer reapply.

Some have argued the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe is a faction of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, meaning it could possibly not be allowed to apply for federal recognition. Buchanan, however, argues that is not the case.

Richard Velky, chief of Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, and the BIA media representative could not be reached for comment.

Speck said the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe “is now taking advantage of its opportunity to separately establish that it exists as an Indian tribe.”

She said tribal existence is not established “simply because the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe claims to be a tribe. Tribal existence under federal law is not determined on a racial or ethnic basis. While descent from an historical Indian tribe is required, the group must have remained united in one community under one leadership or government from historical times to the present.”

Elizabeth Benton, director of communications for the Office of the Attorney General, said the office is reviewing the petition and anticipates submitting comments to the BIA on or before July 5 — the date for when the BIA has requested them from the public.

Maria Horn, state representative for the 64th House District, which includes Kent, said the process for federal recognition will take some time.

She pointed to some court cases in the Pacific Northwest, “which have opened questions about whether the rules as drafted are workable, and so those court cases asked more questions than they answered and asked for more evidence on certain rulings. And so that’s also part of the process because the BIA, the federal government, will need to decide what rules to apply here ... and that also will have to be resolved at some point,” she said.

Buchanan said it took three years to get the tribe’s petition accepted as complete and ready for review — and he remains hopeful of the outcome.