Daines, Tester advance bill in Senate to federally recognize Little Shell Tribe

Montana’s congressional delegation made a successful bipartisan push Wednesday to advance legislation that would, for the first time, federally recognize the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

According to a press release sent to MTN News, Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester have stapled their tribal recognition bill as an amendment to must-pass defense spending legislation in the U.S. Senate. The National Defense Authorization Act, to which the recognition bill has been attached, must pass Congress annually to determine national defense appropriations.

At this point, the logistics would safeguard the recognition bill’s passage.

While the Little Shell Tribe has been recognized by the state of Montana since 2000, its fight for legitimacy has drawn out for decades. U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican and Montana’s lone representative in the U.S. House, introduced the bill to officially recognize the Little Shell Tribe at the federal level in March.