Interior Office of Inspector General Questions Recognition of Tejon Indian Tribe

Here. H/T Pechanga.

From the Interior OIG website:

The Office of Inspector General investigated former Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs (AS-IA) Larry Echo Hawk’s decision to “reaffirm” the Tejon Indian Tribe of California in December 2011 without going through the acknowledgment process set forth in 25 C.F.R., Part 83, “Procedures for Establishing That an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe.”

We found that the Tejon Tribe, along with several other American Indian groups, submitted petitions requesting reaffirmation by the AS-IA. These petitions were outside the Part 83 acknowledgment process, which is the official process for recognizing Indian groups as tribes and is administered by the AS-IA’s Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA). We could not find any discernible process Echo Hawk and his staff might have used to select the Tejon Tribe for recognition above the other groups.

We also found that Echo Hawk and his staff did not consult with OFA or with Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) leadership before deciding to reaffirm the Tejon Tribe. Because OFA was not consulted, other American Indian groups with historical, genealogical, and ancestral claims to the original Tejon Indians were left out of the process. In addition, not involving BIA leadership caused budgeting and operational difficulties for BIA, which in turn slowed down the process for providing Federal services to the Tejon Tribe. The AS-IA also denied subsequent requests by BIA for additional FY 2013 funding, which was needed to provide these services for the newly recognized Tribe.

Read the complete report here.

Interior Office of Inspector General Follow-Up to 2003 Report on Tribal Per Capita Payments

In 2003, the OIG issued a report evaluating the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ process for approving tribal revenue allocation ordinances. A few days ago, the OIG issued a quick follow up to that report, determining whether and how the BIA responded to the OIG’s three recommendations. Here is that follow-up:

ER-VS-BIA-0001-2012Public

An excerpt:

Based on our review, we agree that BIA’s Office oflndian Gaming attempted to implement the first two recommendations but did not succeed due to resistance from tribal authorities and lack of enforcement capability. BIA concluded that it did not have the authority to force tribes to submit the additional financial information that would have been required to implement OIG’s first two recommendations. OIG agrees that there is no express authority in either applicable regulation or statute to require submittal of financial information from tribes to obtain approval for gaming Revenue Allocation Plans (RAPs). DOl and BIA could have, however, used their authority to deny RAPs to effectively compel requested financial information from tribes.