Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
The Department of the Interior (DOI) has recently issued a Dear Tribal Leader Letter announcing Tribal consultations on whether to reconsider a prior decision to ban re-petitioning under 25 CFR Part 83 (Part 83) of its regulations. These Part 83 regulations establish the process and criteria for how DOI administratively acknowledges federal recognition of Tribal Nations.
Since 1994, the Part 83 regulations have included an expressed ban on re-petitioning for entities denied federal acknowledgement as a federally recognized Indian Tribe under the administrative process. In 2014, DOI issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to give previously denied petitioners an opportunity to re-petition, subject to several conditions. However, DOI decided to retain the ban on re-petitioning in a 2015 Final Rule revising the Part 83 regulations. In 2020, two federal district court decisions in cases brought by previously denied petitioners held that the reasons for retaining the ban under the 2015 Final Rule were arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act. DOI is now proposing consultations on the ban on re-petitioning under Part 83 since both federal district courts in these cases remanded the ban to DOI for further consideration.
DOI will be hosting two virtual consultation sessions on whether to reconsider the ban to re-petitioning under its Part 83 regulations, as well as a Listening Session for present, former, and prospective petitioners. Information regarding the consultations and Listening Session is as follows—
Tribal Consultation Sessions
Consultation Session #1
Consultation Session #2
Listening Session for Present, Former, or Prospective Petitioners
Written comments in response to these consultations and Listening Session are due by 11:59pm ET on July 6, 2022 and can be submitted to email@example.com. Questions should be directed to Stephanie Sfiridis, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact Brian Howard, USET SPF Senior Policy Analyst, at email@example.com.