§853. Criteria and process for State recognition of Native American Indian tribes

Link to law: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/01/023/00853
Published: 2015

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The Vermont Statutes Online



General Provisions






853. Criteria and process for State recognition of Native American Indian


(a) For the

purposes of this section:


"Applicant" means a group or band seeking formal State recognition as

a Native American Indian tribe.


"Legislative committees" means the House Committee on General,

Housing and Military Affairs and the Senate Committee on Economic Development,

Housing and General Affairs.


"Recognized" or "recognition" means acknowledged as a

Native American Indian tribe by the Vermont General Assembly.


"Tribe" means an assembly of Native American Indian people who are

related to each other by kinship and who trace their ancestry to a kinship

group that has historically maintained an organizational structure that exerts

influence and authority over its members.

(b) The State

recognizes all individuals of Native American Indian heritage who reside in

Vermont as an ethnic minority. This designation does not confer any status to

any collective group of individuals.

(c) In order to

be eligible for recognition, an applicant must file an application with the

Commission and demonstrate compliance with subdivisions (1) through (8) of this

subsection which may be supplemented by subdivision (9) of this subsection:

(1) A majority

of the applicant's members currently reside in a specific geographic location

within Vermont.

(2) A

substantial number of the applicant's members are related to each other by

kinship and trace their ancestry to a kinship group through genealogy or other

methods. Genealogical documents shall be limited to those that show a

descendency from identified Vermont or regional native people.

(3) The

applicant has a connection with Native American Indian tribes and bands that

have historically inhabited Vermont.

(4) The

applicant has historically maintained an organizational structure that exerts

influence and authority over its members that is supported by documentation of

the structure, membership criteria, the names and residential addresses of its

members, and the methods by which the applicant conducts its affairs.

(5) The

applicant has an enduring community presence within the boundaries of Vermont

that is documented by archaeology, ethnography, physical anthropology, history,

folklore, or any other applicable scholarly research and data.

(6) The

applicant is organized in part:

(A) to preserve,

document, and promote its Native American Indian culture and history, and this

purpose is reflected in its bylaws;

(B) to address

the social, economic, political, or cultural needs of the members with ongoing

educational programs and activities.

(7) The

applicant can document traditions, customs, oral stories, and histories that

signify the applicant's Native American heritage and connection to their

historical homeland.

(8) The

applicant has not been recognized as a tribe in any other state, province, or


(9) Submission

of letters, statements, and documents from:

(A) municipal,

State, or federal authorities that document the applicant's history of

tribe-related business and activities;

(B) tribes in

and outside Vermont that attest to the Native American Indian heritage of the


(d) The

Commission shall consider the application pursuant to the following process

which shall include at least the following requirements:

(1) The

Commission shall:

(A) provide

public notice of receipt of the application and supporting documentation;

(B) hold at

least one public hearing on the application; and

(C) provide

written notice of completion of each step of the recognition process to the


(2) Established

appropriate time frames that include a requirement that the Commission and the

review panel shall complete a review of the application and issue a

determination regarding recognition within one year after an application and

all the supporting documentation have been filed, and if a recommendation is

not issued, the Commission shall provide written explanation to the applicant

and the legislative committees of the reasons for the delay and the expected

date that a decision will be issued.

(3) A process

for appointing a three-member review panel for each application to review the

supporting documentation and determine its sufficiency, accuracy, and

relevance. The review panel shall provide a detailed written report of its

findings and conclusions to the Commission, the applicant, and legislative

committees. Members of each review panel shall be appointed cooperatively by

the Commission and the applicant from a list of professionals and academic

scholars with expertise in cultural or physical anthropology, Indian law,

archaeology, Native American Indian genealogy, history, or another related

Native American Indian subject area. If the applicant and the Commission are

unable to agree on a panel, the State Historic Preservation Officer shall

appoint the panel. No member of the review panel may be a member of the

Commission or affiliated with or on the tribal rolls of the applicant.

(4) The

Commission shall review the application, the supporting documentation, the

report from the review panel, and any other relevant information to determine

compliance with subsection (b) of this section and make a determination to

recommend or deny recognition. The decision to recommend recognition shall

require a majority vote of all eligible members of the Commission. A member of

the Commission who is on the tribal roll of the applicant is ineligible to

participate in any action regarding the application. If the Commission denies

recognition, the Commission shall provide the applicant and the legislative

committees with written notice of the reasons for the denial, including

specifics of all insufficiencies of the application.

(5) The

applicant may file additional supporting documentation for reconsideration

within one year after receipt of the notice of denial.

(6) An applicant

may withdraw an application any time before the Commission issues a

recommendation, and may not file a new application for two years following withdrawal.

A new application and supporting documentation shall be considered a de novo

filing, and the Commission shall not consider the withdrawn application or its

supporting documentation.

(7) Repealed.]

(8) All

proceedings, applications, and supporting documentation shall be public except

material exempt pursuant to subdivision 317(40) of this title. Any documents

relating to genealogy submitted in support of the application shall be

available only to the three-member review panel.

(e) An applicant

for recognition shall be recognized as follows:

(1) by approval

of the General Assembly;

(2) two years

after a recommendation to recognize a tribe by the Commission is filed with the

legislative committees, provided the General Assembly took no action on the recommendation.

(f) A decision

by the Commission to recommend denial of recognition is final unless an

applicant or a successor of interest to the applicant that has previously

applied for and been denied recognition under this chapter provides new and

substantial documentation and demonstrates that the new documentation was not

reasonably available at the time of the filing of the original application.

(g) Vermont

Native American Indian bands and tribes and individual members of those bands

and tribes remain subject to all the laws of the State.

(h) Recognition

of a Native American Indian tribe shall not be construed to create, extend, or

form the basis of any right or claim to land or real estate in Vermont or right

to conduct any gambling activities prohibited by law, but confers only those

rights specifically described in this chapter. (Added 2005, No. 125 (Adj.

Sess.), § 1, eff. May 3, 2006; amended 2009, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff.

May 14, 2010; 2013, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 80, eff. July 1, 2014.)