Bureau proposes change affecting Alaska tribal recognition

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JUNEAU, Alaska - Alaska tribes seeking federal status will have to demonstrate more than 80 years of history under a new process proposed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

CoastAlaska reported the proposed rule would require Alaska Native groups seeking tribal status to prove a common bond back to at least 1936.

The bureau says it would settle expectations among tribes petitioning the federal government, the state of Alaska, tribes already federally recognized, and local governments.

The Department of the Interior currently reviews petitions on a case-by-case basis. An attorney representing two unrecognized tribes says a new rule could further slow the process.

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