house resolution no.345

Reps. Mueller, Cherry, Hope and Weiss offered the following resolution:

A resolution to urge the United States Department of the Interior to approve the petition of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians for federal acknowledgment.

Whereas, The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians (GRBOI) are signatories to numerous treaties with the United States Federal Government. They are the political successor-in-interest of the Grand River Ottawa people that first established a sovereign-to-sovereign relationship with the United States via the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, followed by the 1807 Treaty of Detroit, 1821 Treaty of Chicago, and 1836 Treaty of Washington. This relationship was further strengthened by the Treaty of Detroit (1855) with a specific reservation set aside for GRBOI located in western Michigan, including areas north of the Grand River in and around Muskegon and Grand Rapids (see Article VI of the Treaty of Detroit (1855)); and

Whereas, Such a sovereign-to-sovereign relationship is consistent with the legal history of other successor-in-interest Michigan treaty tribes (see Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians v United States Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, 46 F. Supp. 2d 689 (1999)), including an award from the Indian Claims Commission (Docket 40-k) on March 27, 1968; and

Whereas, The State of Michigan previously recognized GRBOI, in 1996, as a historic Indian tribe that continues to exist as a tribal entity; and

Whereas, In 1997, the United States Congress, even though GRBOI was not yet formally acknowledged at the time, enacted the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act (P.L. 105-143), which included provisions that were intended to distribute land claims settlement funds to GRBOI in anticipation of their recognition; and

Whereas, GRBOI filed a petition (Petition #146) for federal acknowledgment with the United States Department of the Interior, Office of Federal Acknowledgment in 1994. That petition is still pending a decision from the Office of Federal Acknowledgement;

Whereas, The petition has faced undue delay and the members of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians have suffered significantly losing opportunities to support their members with housing, health care, public safety, and education; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we urge the Department of the Interior to approve the petition of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians for federal acknowledgment in an expeditious manner; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor and the United States Secretary of the Interior.