Federal Recognition of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians Experiences Another Delay
The Department of Interior (DOI) has once again postponed its decision on whether or not to recognize the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians as a federally recognized tribe. This was a rather foreseeable event.
The DOI once again delayed its decision by two weeks, until February 23, after having given its last extension a deadline of February 9.
The DOI ruling once again delayed a long-running dispute over the prospective construction of a brand-new retail casino in the Fruitport Township region.
As we have previously mentioned, the Department had to make a decision about whether to recognize the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians as a federal tribe by the end of October. The DOI then delayed its decision by 120 days.
Since 2017, the DOI has asked for at least nine decision-related delays, alleging administrative problems. The tribe intends to file an appeal if the DOI denies the request.
According to Ogema Ron Yob of Grand River Bands, the tribe is satisfied that they have completed the necessary paperwork and checked all required boxes. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, he hopes they eventually receive a decision. Positive news, of course, would be adored by the tribe. If the decision turns out to be unfavorable, they have something to counter it with. The tribe is ready in either case, according to Yob.
The Grand River Bands has been requesting government status ever since 1994. With federal recognition, the tribe may be eligible for services like help with housing, health care, or education assistance. These services are not currently provided to the members of the tribe.