GREAT FALLS – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to federally recognize the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana, bringing the measure one step closer to law.
“Today marks an important day for the Little Shell Tribe as they are one step closer to federal recognition. I appreciate the dedication and determination of Chairman Gray and the Little Shell people throughout this process. We look forward to seeing this bill pass through the Senate to President Trump,” said Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, the bill’s sponsor.
The measure is awaiting approval from the U.S. Senate, where both of Montana senators, Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester, support it.
The legislation would grant the Little Shell Tribe federal recognition and give them access to resources including healthcare, education, and housing.
“I’m glad to see the Little Shell Tribe today get one step closer to receiving federal recognition with bill passage in the House under (Montana) Congressman (Greg) Gianforte’s great leadership,” Daines said. “Little Shell is an important part of our state’s heritage, and I will keep fighting in the U.S. Senate to ensure they finally receive this long overdue recognition.”
Tester first introduced legislation to federally recognize the tribe in 2007, which was the first bill he introduced as a U.S. senator.
“The Little Shell have fought too long to secure what is rightfully theirs, and today’s passage of the Little Shell Recognition Act in the House is a step in the right direction. I’m going to keep fighting until we get this important bill through the Senate and make sure we do right by the Little Shell,” Tester stated.
The bill was blocked in December but was reintroduced in both the House and Senate this past January.
-Margaret DeMarco reporting for MTN News