BIA Issues Land into Trust Decision for Mashpee Wampanoag


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today issued a decision approving a request by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to acquire 170 acres of land into trust in the town of Mashpee, Mass., for tribal governmental, cultural and conservation purposes, and 151 acres in trust in the City of Taunton, Mass., for the purpose of constructing and operating a gaming facility and resort. The lands in both Mashpee and Taunton will become the tribe’s first lands held in trust.

RCMP Report on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women Shows Disproportionate Rates of Homicide and Missing Women Cases

Today, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police issued “Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview.”

Link to full report here.

Speakers at the press conference highlighted numerous disturbing statistics and then officially resolved to promote more national prevention initiatives.

The report only looked at police reported cases from 1980-2012. This means that any unreported cases, closed cases, or cases from prior to 1980 will not be represented in the statistics.

Some key finding:

  • 1181 homicides and unsolved cases involved Aboriginal women. Of that number 160 were missing and 1017 were homicide victims.
  • 225 of those cases remain unsolved, 105 unsolved missing women cases and 120 homicides.
  • As of November 2013, 6,420 people are missing in Canada, 22% of these are missing women and of that group 11.3% are Aboriginal women.
  • For women involved in the sex trade, the solve rate is only 60% for Aboriginal women and 65% for non Aboriginal women.

Disproportionate Impact:

Aboriginal women are only 4.3% of the population, yet comprise 11.3% of total missing women cases and 16% of total female homicide cases. *Later it was mentioned that while female homicide rates are decreasing in general in Canada, there is not a similar decrease in Aboriginal female homicides. Therefore, the percentages are actually higher – more like 23% of female homicides.


89% are males, average age of 35, and the majority knew their victims. Some common characteristics: underemployed, high use of intoxicants, criminal records, and a history of violence against the victim.

The full report includes much more information, but these few statistics demonstrate what many in Indigenous communities have been saying – Indigenous or Aboriginal women comprise a disproportionate amount of missing and murdered women in Canada. These limited statistics are proof of the terrible reality that Indigenous community members have been discussing for years. Some will say that these numbers still do not truly show the full situation. It remains to be seen whether this report will signal the beginning of better cooperation among national and provincial police with Indigenous communities to protect Indigenous women and girls or if it will remain one more depressing report to be filed away and forgotten.

*As a side note, when we will we see a similar study in the United States? Where are U.S. national statistics on missing and murdered Native women?

Previous coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada here.


Land into Trust Gaming Application for Mechoopda Tribe Approved

And another here.

WASHINGTON, DC – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today approved a request by the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria to acquire 626 acres in trust in Butte County, California, near the City of Chico for gaming purposes. The Mechoopda Tribe will construct and operate a modest gaming facility on 91 acres of the site. The project is estimated to create 214 full-time jobs.

“The Mechoopda Tribe has pursued this initiative for more than a decade,” Washburn said. “The acquisition of the land into trust for the purpose of establishing a class III gaming establishment will result in substantial financial benefits to the Tribe and help stimulate economic development.”

Decision will be published here.

Final Determination Against Acknowledgment of Tolowa Nation

Friday afternoon release here.

WASHINGTON, DC – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn today issued a final determination not to acknowledge the petitioner known as the Tolowa Nation (Petitioner #85) located in Fort Dick, California, as an Indian tribe under the regulations governing the Federal acknowledgment process (at 25 Code of Federal Regulations Part 83).

The evidence provided is insufficient to demonstrate that the Tolowa Nation meets criterion 83.7(b), one of the seven mandatory criteria of the regulations. Under the regulations, the failure to meet all seven criteria requires a determination that the petitioning group is not an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law. Therefore, Department of the Interior (Department) declines to acknowledge Petitioner #85 as an Indian tribe.

Interior Proposed Findings for Two Federal Acknowledgment Petitioners

In today’s Friday afternoon release from Interior:

WASHINGTON, DC – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today issued proposed findings for two petitioners under the Federal Acknowledgment Process. The decisions include a proposed finding to acknowledge the petitioner known as the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (Petitioner #323) as a federally recognized Indian Tribe, and a proposed finding to decline acknowledgment for the petitioner known as the Meherrin Indian Tribe of North Carolina (Petitioner #119b).

Release here.

The proposed findings and Fed Register notices are not yet up here, though the release indicates they will be soon.

Meherrin Indian Tribe Interior page is here.

Shinnecock Wins IBIA Appeal — Become 565th Federally Recognized Tribe — UPDATED with IBIA Decision

Here is the IBIA decision: 38553324-Shinnecock-Decision

Here is the news article:

The Shinnecock Indian Nation received word Friday afternoon from its tribal attorneys that it is now officially the 565th Native American tribe to earn recognition from the U.S. government, according to Shinnecock Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs.

Though neither the Interior Board of Indian Appeals or the Bureau of Indian Affairs has yet to formally announce the news, the Shinnecock Nation has cleared all the hurdles to federal recognition, the trustee said.

“The first day of October will live forever in the hearts and minds of the Shinnecock people,” Mr. Gumbs said in an phone interview Friday. “Everyone is just relieved and shedding tears for not only us who are here, but those who just missed it,” he said. He explained that some Shinnecock elders have died since July 19, when the tribe’s recognition application was originally expected to be finalized.

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