Federal Recognition of Grand River Bands Is Postponed Once Again
What’s another four months after you’ve waited for 28 years? That would be the optimistic perspective on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s announcement that a decision on the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians‘ application for federal recognition won’t be made in 2022.
This development, which was initially reported by MiBiz, has significant ramifications for both the tribal members and the casino industry in Michigan.
The Michigan Advance was the first to disclose that the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians planned to build a casino on 60 acres of land in Muskegon. The Grand River Bands, which are not nationally recognized, are related to the Little River Band, which is.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is opposed by the Grand River Bands, who assert that the property is genuinely theirs.
As a consequence, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rejected the Little River Band’s application, citing the federal government’s holdup in deciding on the Grand River Bands’ appeal.
According to Gov. Whitmer, she reported her non-concurrence with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ proposal to open an off-reservation casino in Fruitport Township after the U.S. Department of the Interior refused to extend a crucial deadline for this decision or provide information on a different tribal recognition decision that is currently pending before the Department. She said that this had put her in an untenable situation. Despite her best attempts to obtain information from DOI on the pending Grand River Bands’ acknowledgment petition, she said that she could not acquire the details she needed to make the two-part decision for the Little River Band. She said that due to the ongoing ambiguity caused by the Grand River Bands’ pending acknowledgment petition, she wasn’t able to make a decision.
Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians Chairman Ron Yob, according to MiBiz, has frequently said that the tribe has no opinion on gaming, including what their plans would be should they receive federal recognition.