Little Shell ask Congress for recognition

Billings, Montana (AP) 7-09

The president of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe has asked a U.S. House Committee to move forward on a bill to give federal recognition to the Montana tribe after decades of delay.

The tribe has no reservation. Its approximately 4,300 members are scattered across Montana and surrounding states.

Little Shell President John Sinclair says the campaign for recognition dates to 1892, when Chief Little Shell and his followers were cut out of a treaty signed with Chippewa leaders.

A 1978 petition filed by the tribe with the Department of Interior is still pending. A bill from Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg would circumvent that process and grant the tribe recognition.

Rehberg joined Sinclair to speak in favor of the measure during a July 15 hearing by the House Committee on Natural Resources.