American Indians interact with land and the environment in a manner that is distinct from non-native peoples. They view natural resources as an integral part of their way of life. As a result, Indian tribes desire to implement policies and programs that will protect their natural resources. In order to receive federal assistance for these policies and programs, however, a tribe must be federally recognized. The Duwamish tribe, which resides near Seattle, Washington, is not a federally recognized tribe. Despite years of fighting for recognition, the Duwamish cannot take part in the improvement of their tribal region’s air and water quality. Alternatively, the Forest County Potawatomi Community is federally recognized. The tribe has utilized its federal status to redesignate its reservation lands under the Clean Air Act, which brings stricter environmental regulations on and around the reservation. As long as the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ criteria for federal recognition continue to be arbitrarily and haphazardly enforced, unrecognized tribes like the Duwamish will continue to lack the power to address the environmental issues in their tribal region, in contravention of their fundamental beliefs and way of life.
- Journal title
Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review
- Date submitted
8 September 2022