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Gianforte Leads Little Shell Tribal Recognition Bill Through House

March 26, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte’s legislation to provide federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians passed in the House today.

“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 Gianforte.


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The Little Shell Tribe and Senator Daines welcomed the bill’s passage and praised Gianforte’s efforts.

“The Little Shell Tribe is grateful for Congressman Gianforte's efforts to pass -- for a second time in less than a year -- the Little Shell Restoration Act out of the House,” said Gerald Gray, Chairman of the Little Shell Tribe. “Since the first day Congressman Gianforte stepped foot into Congress he has been a great friend to my people.  He has advocated loudly and effectively for the Little Shell Tribe. I appreciate his leadership and the bipartisan effort to advance our bill and our cause. We hope the Senate acknowledges the legitimacy of our cause by moving quickly to pass the Little Shell Restoration Act.”

"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 Congressman 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."

Gianforte reintroduced bill H.R. 297 in January, which restores the federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe and allows the Tribe to purchase 200 acres of land to serve as its reservation. The legislation makes the Little Shell Tribe eligible for federal resources for economic development, health, and education.

The Little Shell Tribe petitioned the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s for a formal reservation and to be allowed to organize under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

Gianforte introduced the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act in the 115th Congress and guided it to passage in the House in September 2018. The legislation’s passage marked the first time a bill restoring federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe passed either the House or Senate.

Despite passing the House, the bill failed to pass in the U.S. Senate.