Are they tribes or not? (Vt.)

Breaking News

Three Vermont Abenaki bands and some former members of a Governor's Commission on Native American Affairs said Thursday they were insulted by a proposed process for recognizing the Abenakis and didn't trust current commission members who would review their status.

An amendment being considered by the state Senate is intended to address problems with a 2006 law that recognized Abenakis as a minority population, but not as a tribe for the purposes of selling their crafts as Native American.

The bill grants immediate conditional recognition to three bands -- Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation, the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Nation of Missisquoi and the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation -- provided that they apply to the commission by Aug. 1 for recognition.

The attorney general's office, which has questioned the Abenaki's heritage in Vermont and opposed federal recognition for the tribe, also would review the application and make recommendations to the commission, which has until Jan. 1, 2009 to decide whether the recognition should stand or be revoked.

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