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Feds delay Mont. tribe’s recognition request

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – The Department of Interior has again delayed its long-stalled decision on whether a landless Montana Indian tribe deserves federal recognition.

The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians date their quest for recognition to the 1860s, when a small band of American Indians led by Chief Little Shell was cut out of a treaty signed with federal authorities.

The tribe has about 4,300 members and is recognized by the state of Montana. It submitted its federal recognition application in 1978.

The new decision deadline is Oct. 26, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs George Skibine wrote in a letter sent Sept. 22 to the tribe.

Skibine wrote that the deadline was pushed back because the final decision is still under legal review. The same reason was offered for a 60-day delay announced in July.

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