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Michigan’s U.S. Congressional leaders are petitioning the federal government to recognize the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians

A statue of a Native American sitting below a vaquero and a missionary in San Francisco.
A statue of a Native American sitting below a vaquero and a missionary in San Francisco.

It’s been a 27-year struggle for the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians requesting recognition through the U.S. Department of the Interior. Since 2013, its petition has remained on the “active consideration list.”

For the Grand River Bands federal recognition provides access to resources. U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga, a Zeeland Republican points out its members are ineligible for tuition, healthcare and housing assistance. When Michigan tribes sued the state and Department of Interior over fishing and hunting rights, the federally unrecognized Grand River Bands were prevented from joining the lawsuit.

Now Huizenga along with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Michigan Democrats, along with U.S. Rep. and Chairman of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, are petitioning the U.S. Department of Interior asking for an expedited decision by year’s end.