Final Determination Against Federal Acknowledgment of the Steilacoom Tribe of Indians, 14833-14835 [E8-5551]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / Notices Federal Register notice announcing that we will submit this ICR to OMB for approval. The notice provided the required 60-day public comment period. USGS Information Collection Clearance Officer: Alfred Travnicek, 703–648–7231. Dated: March 12, 2008. Susan D. Haseltine, Associate Director of Biology. [FR Doc. E8–5447 Filed 3–18–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4311–AM–M DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs Final Determination Against Federal Acknowledgment of the Steilacoom Tribe of Indians Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Final Determination. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: Pursuant to 25 CFR 83.10(l)(2), notice is hereby given that the Department of the Interior (Department) declines to acknowledge the group known as the Steilacoom Tribe of Indians (STI) of 1515 Lafayette Street, P.O. Box 88419, Steilacoom, Washington 98388, c/o Mr. Danny Marshall, as an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law. This notice is based on a determination that the petitioner does not satisfy four of the seven mandatory criteria for acknowledgment, specifically §§ 83.7(a), 83.7(b), 83.7(c), and 83.7(e), as defined in 25 CFR part 83. Consequently, the STI does not meet the requirements for a government-to-government relationship with the United States. DATES: This determination is final and will become effective on June 17, 2008, pursuant to § 83.10(l)(4), unless a request for reconsideration is filed pursuant to § 83.11. ADDRESSES: Requests for a copy of the Summary Evaluation under the Criteria should be addressed to the Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs, Attention: Office of Federal Acknowledgment, 1951 Constitution Avenue, NW., MS: 34B–SIB, Washington, DC 20240. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: R. Lee Fleming, Director, Office of Federal Acknowledgment, (202) 513– 7650. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 14, 2000, the Department issued a proposed finding (PF) that the STI was not an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law because the STI did not meet four of the seven mandatory criteria for Federal acknowledgment as VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:16 Mar 18, 2008 Jkt 214001 an Indian tribe. The Department published a notice of the PF in the Federal Register on February 7, 2000 (65 FR 5880). The Federal Register notice initiated a 180-day comment period during which any individual or organization wishing to comment on the proposed finding could submit factual or legal arguments or evidence to support or rebut the PF. The Department extended the comment period on several occasions. On March 27, 2007, the Department sent a letter to the STI outlining a plan to bring the regulatory comment and response periods to a close. The Department reopened and extended the comment period for 90 days to allow the STI and other parties to file comments. The Department also noted that this comment period could be extended further if the petitioner filed a detailed description of a work plan, a description of the work it had already completed, and established good cause for any further extension. To receive consideration for another extension of the comment period, the STI had to mail its request by June 14, 2007; otherwise, the comment period would close on July 6, 2007. On June 25, 2007, the Department received a letter from the STI requesting an extension of the comment period by an additional 180 to 300 days. The letter’s June 20, 2007, postmark was six days later than the June 14, 2007, deadline, and the petitioner’s letter contained neither a work plan nor a description of work completed. The Department declined to extend the comment period again. The final comment period closed without the Department having received any additional comments. After the comment period closed, the regulatory 60-day response period began. The STI submitted no response materials during this period, which ended on September 4, 2007. On November 2, 2007, the Department sent a consultation letter to the STI and several interested and third parties informing them that in mid-November the Department planned to begin evaluating the evidence for the FD on the STI petition. None of the parties raised an objection or responded in any other way to the Department’s intention to begin preparation of the FD. However, due to workload considerations, the Department was not able to begin work in November. On January 7, 2008, the Department sent a letter to the STI and interested parties stating that it would begin the evaluation for the FD on January 15, 2008, and complete it by March 15, 2008. PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 14833 During the comment period and the extended comment periods the STI commented only on the PF’s analysis for 83.7(b) for the period from after the 1950s. Overall, given the petition’s significant deficiencies in meeting criteria 83.7(a), (b), (c), and (e), the STI’s comments were limited and did not substantively address the PF. Two neighboring federally recognized Indian tribes—the Puyallup Tribe of the Puyallup Reservation and the Nisqually Indian Tribe of the Nisqually Reservation—submitted third-party comments opposing acknowledgment of the STI. None of the material submitted changed the conclusions of the PF. The STI claims to descend as a group from the historical Steilacoom Indian tribe that occupied the territory north of the Nisqually River up to Point Defiance in the western part of the state of Washington. The Hudson’s Bay Company founded Fort Nisqually in the 1830s, and the STI claims that its Steilacoom ancestors worked at the fort for over two decades. The STI claims its ancestors signed the Medicine Creek Treaty (10 Stat. 1132) in 1854 and that its ancestors resided briefly on the reservations created by the treaty. The STI further contends that some of these Indians left the reservations and settled in ‘‘community pockets’’ in their traditional homelands. These Indians, the STI claims, are the ‘‘ancestors of the modern-day Steilacoom tribe’’ who have formed ‘‘an unbroken line of leadership and a continuous existence of community pockets within their traditional territory.’’ The PF found that over 90 percent of the 612 STI members documented that they are Indian descendants, but only three of them documented descent from persons described in 19th and early 20th century documents as Steilacoom Indians. The PF found that STI members have Indian ancestry from other sources. One source of Indian ancestry is marriages between Indian women from various Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest and employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Just under twothirds of the members descend from Indian women who were not Steilacoom and who, between 1839 and 1870, married employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company who had come to the Pacific Northwest. The descendants of these marriages could not be classified as a ´ metis, or mixed-blood, group descended from the historical Steilacoom band because the Indian wives came from a wide variety of tribal origins, including the Nisqually, Puyallup, Cowlitz, S’Klallam, Chimacum, Quinault, Duwamish, Skokomish, Yakima, and Snohomish Indian tribes. Furthermore, E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES 14834 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / Notices most of these women, after marrying, resided with their non-Indian husbands in non-Indian neighborhoods. A second source of Indian ancestry is descent from Canadian Indian tribes through ´ Red River metis families from Manitoba, Canada, who settled in Washington and Oregon between 1844 and 1855. The petition claimed that these immigrants were adopted, sometimes by intermarriage, into a continuously existing Steilacoom community during the second half of the 19th century. However, the evidence in the record shows that the Red River immigrants married into families of the nonSteilacoom Indians or married the Hudson’s Bay Company people described above, and the evidence does not show social relationships connecting the STI’s ancestral family lines with one another. The evidence in the record did not demonstrate that the STI maintained a community from historical times to the present, or that there was a group that maintained political influence or authority over its members. Even after the STI formally organized in 1974, there was not significant social interaction extending beyond individual family lines to members of the broader group, and STI political activities did not show a bilateral relationship between the leadership and the members. Criterion 83.7(a) requires that external observers identify the petitioner as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900. The PF found that for the period from 1900 to 1973, no external observers identified either the STI petitioner or a group of the petitioner’s ancestors as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis. The PF found sufficient evidence that external observers identified the STI as an American Indian entity only since 1974. Therefore, the PF concluded that the STI did not meet criterion 83.7(a). The Department received no comments from the STI on the PF’s conclusions that pertain to criterion 83.7(a). The Nisqually and Puyallup Indian tribes submitted comments regarding criterion 83.7(a). Their assertion that ‘‘[n]o other entity was proven to have existed’’ was not a conclusion that the PF reached under criterion 83.7(a). Criterion 83.7(a) only evaluates whether external observers had identified the petitioner as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900, not whether any other entity was proven to have existed. None of the comments submitted during the comment period supplied new evidence VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Mar 18, 2008 Jkt 214001 that an external observer identified the petitioner or an antecedent group before 1974 as an American Indian entity. The FD concludes, as the PF did, that external observers identified the petitioner as an Indian entity only after 1974. Because available evidence is not sufficient to demonstrate substantially continuous identification of the petitioner as an American Indian entity from 1900 to the present, the petitioner does not satisfy criterion 83.7(a). Criterion 83.7(b) requires that a predominant portion of the petitioning group comprises a distinct community and has existed as a community from historical times until the present. The PF concluded that petitioner did not satisfy criterion 83.7(b) at any point in time, remarking that the ‘‘current STI membership did not, historically, constitute either a single tribe or group whose history could be traced through time and place or an amalgamated tribe or group whose history could be traced through time and place.’’ The STI commented on the PF’s conclusions directed to criterion 83.7(b) with regard to only one issue—the claimed persistence of a named, collective Indian identity over a 50-year period as described in 83.7(b)(1)(viii). The STI requested that the Department revisit its evaluation of the STI under 83.7(b)(1)(viii) from 1951 to the present. The Department revisited this issue, and noted that the STI based this request on a misunderstanding of criterion 83.7(b). The Department clarified this point of misunderstanding to the STI on several occasions prior to beginning its analysis for the FD, but the STI did not respond to this clarification and did not submit any additional evidence or explanation that would have helped satisfy criterion 83.7(b) from 1951 to the present—or during any other point in time. The comments from the Puyallup and Nisqually Indian tribes support the PF’s conclusion that the petitioner did not satisfy criterion 83.7(b). Following additional review of the evidence under 83.7(b)(1)(viii), this FD confirms the conclusion of the PF that the existence of a formal organization is not itself sufficient to show collective group identity under 83.7(b)(1)(viii). The record provides substantial evidence that the STI does not meet criterion 83.7(b) and does not provide sufficient evidence that it does. Therefore, the FD concludes that STI does not meet criterion 83.7(b). Criterion 83.7(c) requires that the petitioner has maintained political influence or authority over its members as an autonomous entity from historical times until the present. The PF concluded that evidence that could PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 satisfy this criterion was either altogether absent or too limited in nature. Furthermore, some of the limited evidence of political leadership demonstrated that individuals exercised leadership only over a small number of members, not over significant portions of the group, as required by the regulations. Even after the STI incorporated in 1974, its functions and activities were not of a type to show a bilateral political relationship between the leadership and the members. The PF concluded that at no time from first sustained contact to the present did the evidence in the record show that the petitioner had maintained political influence or authority over its members as an autonomous entity. Therefore, it did not satisfy criterion 83.7(c). The Department received no comments from the STI on the PF’s conclusions that pertain to criterion 83.7(c). The comments from the Nisqually and Puyallup Indian tribes supported the PF’s conclusions regarding criterion 83.7(c), stating that ‘‘the lack of a 19th century organization, and the limited claims purposes of the 20th century group fail to meet this standard.’’ The record provides substantial evidence that the STI does not meet criterion 83.7(c) and does not provide sufficient evidence that it does. Therefore, the FD concludes that the STI does not meet criterion 83.7(c). Criterion 83.7(d) requires that the petitioning group submit a copy of the group’s present governing document that includes its membership criteria. The PF found that the STI satisfied criterion 83.7(d). The Department received no comments on the PF’s conclusions under criterion 83.7(d). Therefore, based on the available evidence, the FD concludes, as the PF did, that the petitioner meets criterion 83.7(d). Criterion 83.7(e) requires that the petitioner’s membership consist of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes that combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity. The PF concluded that the STI did not document that its membership consists of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity. Over 90 percent of the 612 STI members documented that they are Indian descendants, but only three of them document descent from persons described in 19th and early 20th century documents as Steilacoom Indians. Most of the STI members descend from other E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / Notices Indians in the Pacific Northwest or from ´ metis people from the Red River Valley in Manitoba, Canada. The Department received no comments from the STI on the PF’s conclusions directed to criterion 83.7(e). The Nisqually and Puyallup Indian tribes stated that the ‘‘petitioner has completely failed to establish that its members descend from the historical Steilacoom tribe,’’ which supports the PF’s conclusion. The Nisqually and Puyallup Indian tribes further stated that the ‘‘only legitimate successors to the historical Steilacoom Tribe are the present-day Puyallup and Nisqually Tribes.’’ This FD does not present any conclusions concerning successorship in interest to a particular treaty or other rights, nor any conclusions regarding any treaty rights belonging to the federally recognized Puyallup and Nisqually Indian tribes. Based on the available record, the FD affirms the PF’s conclusions that only 3 of the petitioner’s 612 members (0.5 percent) on its 1995 membership list have been documented as descendants of persons who were described in 19th and early 20th century documents as Steilacoom Indians. The record provides substantial evidence that the STI does not meet criterion 83.7(e) and does not provide sufficient evidence that it does. Therefore, the FD concludes that the STI does not meet criterion 83.7(e). Criterion 83.7(f) requires that the membership of the petitioning group be composed principally of persons who are not members of any acknowledged North American Indian tribe. The PF concluded that the STI met criterion 83.7(f). The Department received no comments, from the petitioner or any other party, on the PF’s conclusions under criterion 83.7(f). During its preparation of the FD, the Department compared the STI membership list with rolls of federally recognized Indian tribes under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Northwest Region. They are, based on geographical proximity and the PF’s genealogical findings, the Indian tribes most likely to include STI members. The review showed that the STI is composed principally of persons who are not members of any acknowledged North American Indian tribe. Therefore, the FD affirms the PF and concludes that the STI meets the requirements of criterion 83.7(f). Criterion 83.7(g) requires that neither the petitioner nor its members be the subject of congressional legislation that has expressly terminated or forbidden the Federal relationship. The Department received no comments on the PF’s conclusions under criterion VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Mar 18, 2008 Jkt 214001 83.7(g). The available documentation for the PF and the FD provided no evidence that the STI was the subject of congressional legislation to terminate or prohibit a Federal relationship as an Indian tribe. Therefore, the petitioner meets the requirements of criterion 83.7(g). A report summarizing the evidence, reasoning, and analyses that are the bases for the FD will be provided to the STI and interested parties, and is available to other parties upon written request. After the publication of notice of the FD, the petitioner or any interested party may file a request for reconsideration with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA) under the procedures set forth in section 83.11 of the regulations. The IBIA must receive this request no later than the date listed in the DATES section of this notice. The FD will become effective as provided in the regulations 90 days from the Federal Register publication, as listed in the DATES section of this notice, unless a request for reconsideration is received within that time. Dated: March 12, 2008. Carl J. Artman, Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs. [FR Doc. E8–5551 Filed 3–18–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–G1–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service Publication of the New U.S. World Heritage Tentative List: 15-Day Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on Proposed Initial U.S. Nominations to the World Heritage List Department of the Interior, National Park Service. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This notice constitutes the official publication of the new U.S. World Heritage Tentative List and provides a First Notice for the public to comment on proposed initial U.S. nominations from the new Tentative List to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This notice complies with Sec. 73.7(c) of the World Heritage Program regulations (36 CFR part 73). The new Tentative List (formerly referred to as the Indicative Inventory) appears at the end of this notice. The Tentative List consists of properties that appear to qualify for World Heritage status and which may be considered for nomination by the United States to the World Heritage List. The new U.S. PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 14835 Tentative List was transmitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre on January 24, 2008. The preparation of the Tentative List provided multiple opportunities for the public to comment on which sites to include, as part of a process that also included recommendations by the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, a Federal Advisory Commission to the U.S. Department of State. The United States is now considering whether to nominate any of the properties on the Tentative List to the World Heritage List. The U.S. is considering proposing two properties, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Hawaii, and Mount Vernon, Virginia, as the initial U.S. sites to be drawn from the new Tentative List for nomination to the World Heritage List. The Department will consider both public comments received during this comment period and the advice of the Federal Interagency Panel for World Heritage in making a final decision on the initial U.S. World Heritage nominations, if any. DATES: Comments upon whether to nominate any of the properties on the new Tentative List, including Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and Mount Vernon, will be accepted on or before fifteen days from the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. If selected, the owners of sites proposed for nomination will be responsible, in cooperation with the National Park Service, for preparing the draft nomination in the nomination Format required by the World Heritage Committee and for gathering documentation in support of it. Any such nominations must be received from the preparers by the National Park Service in substantially complete draft form by July 1, 2008. Such draft nominations will be reviewed, amended if necessary, and provided to the World Heritage Centre for initial review no later than September 30, 2008. The Centre is to provide comments by November 14, 2008, with final submittal to the World Heritage Centre by the Department of the Interior through the Department of State required by January 30, 2009. Protective measures must be in place before a property may be nominated. If a nomination cannot be completed in accordance with this timeline, work may continue into the following year for subsequent submission to UNESCO. ADDRESSES: Please provide all comments directly to Jonathan Putnam, Office of International Affairs, National E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 54 (Wednesday, March 19, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14833-14835]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-5551]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Indian Affairs


Final Determination Against Federal Acknowledgment of the 
Steilacoom Tribe of Indians

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Final Determination.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to 25 CFR 83.10(l)(2), notice is hereby given that 
the Department of the Interior (Department) declines to acknowledge the 
group known as the Steilacoom Tribe of Indians (STI) of 1515 Lafayette 
Street, P.O. Box 88419, Steilacoom, Washington 98388, c/o Mr. Danny 
Marshall, as an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law. This 
notice is based on a determination that the petitioner does not satisfy 
four of the seven mandatory criteria for acknowledgment, specifically 
Sec. Sec.  83.7(a), 83.7(b), 83.7(c), and 83.7(e), as defined in 25 CFR 
part 83. Consequently, the STI does not meet the requirements for a 
government-to-government relationship with the United States.

DATES: This determination is final and will become effective on June 
17, 2008, pursuant to Sec.  83.10(l)(4), unless a request for 
reconsideration is filed pursuant to Sec.  83.11.

ADDRESSES: Requests for a copy of the Summary Evaluation under the 
Criteria should be addressed to the Office of the Assistant Secretary--
Indian Affairs, Attention: Office of Federal Acknowledgment, 1951 
Constitution Avenue, NW., MS: 34B-SIB, Washington, DC 20240.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: R. Lee Fleming, Director, Office of 
Federal Acknowledgment, (202) 513-7650.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 14, 2000, the Department issued a 
proposed finding (PF) that the STI was not an Indian tribe within the 
meaning of Federal law because the STI did not meet four of the seven 
mandatory criteria for Federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe. The 
Department published a notice of the PF in the Federal Register on 
February 7, 2000 (65 FR 5880). The Federal Register notice initiated a 
180-day comment period during which any individual or organization 
wishing to comment on the proposed finding could submit factual or 
legal arguments or evidence to support or rebut the PF.
    The Department extended the comment period on several occasions. On 
March 27, 2007, the Department sent a letter to the STI outlining a 
plan to bring the regulatory comment and response periods to a close. 
The Department reopened and extended the comment period for 90 days to 
allow the STI and other parties to file comments. The Department also 
noted that this comment period could be extended further if the 
petitioner filed a detailed description of a work plan, a description 
of the work it had already completed, and established good cause for 
any further extension. To receive consideration for another extension 
of the comment period, the STI had to mail its request by June 14, 
2007; otherwise, the comment period would close on July 6, 2007.
    On June 25, 2007, the Department received a letter from the STI 
requesting an extension of the comment period by an additional 180 to 
300 days. The letter's June 20, 2007, postmark was six days later than 
the June 14, 2007, deadline, and the petitioner's letter contained 
neither a work plan nor a description of work completed. The Department 
declined to extend the comment period again. The final comment period 
closed without the Department having received any additional comments. 
After the comment period closed, the regulatory 60-day response period 
began. The STI submitted no response materials during this period, 
which ended on September 4, 2007.
    On November 2, 2007, the Department sent a consultation letter to 
the STI and several interested and third parties informing them that in 
mid-November the Department planned to begin evaluating the evidence 
for the FD on the STI petition. None of the parties raised an objection 
or responded in any other way to the Department's intention to begin 
preparation of the FD. However, due to workload considerations, the 
Department was not able to begin work in November. On January 7, 2008, 
the Department sent a letter to the STI and interested parties stating 
that it would begin the evaluation for the FD on January 15, 2008, and 
complete it by March 15, 2008.
    During the comment period and the extended comment periods the STI 
commented only on the PF's analysis for 83.7(b) for the period from 
after the 1950s. Overall, given the petition's significant deficiencies 
in meeting criteria 83.7(a), (b), (c), and (e), the STI's comments were 
limited and did not substantively address the PF. Two neighboring 
federally recognized Indian tribes--the Puyallup Tribe of the Puyallup 
Reservation and the Nisqually Indian Tribe of the Nisqually 
Reservation--submitted third-party comments opposing acknowledgment of 
the STI. None of the material submitted changed the conclusions of the 
PF.
    The STI claims to descend as a group from the historical Steilacoom 
Indian tribe that occupied the territory north of the Nisqually River 
up to Point Defiance in the western part of the state of Washington. 
The Hudson's Bay Company founded Fort Nisqually in the 1830s, and the 
STI claims that its Steilacoom ancestors worked at the fort for over 
two decades. The STI claims its ancestors signed the Medicine Creek 
Treaty (10 Stat. 1132) in 1854 and that its ancestors resided briefly 
on the reservations created by the treaty. The STI further contends 
that some of these Indians left the reservations and settled in 
``community pockets'' in their traditional homelands. These Indians, 
the STI claims, are the ``ancestors of the modern-day Steilacoom 
tribe'' who have formed ``an unbroken line of leadership and a 
continuous existence of community pockets within their traditional 
territory.''
    The PF found that over 90 percent of the 612 STI members documented 
that they are Indian descendants, but only three of them documented 
descent from persons described in 19th and early 20th century documents 
as Steilacoom Indians. The PF found that STI members have Indian 
ancestry from other sources. One source of Indian ancestry is marriages 
between Indian women from various Indian tribes in the Pacific 
Northwest and employees of the Hudson's Bay Company. Just under two-
thirds of the members descend from Indian women who were not Steilacoom 
and who, between 1839 and 1870, married employees of the Hudson's Bay 
Company who had come to the Pacific Northwest. The descendants of these 
marriages could not be classified as a m[eacute]tis, or mixed-blood, 
group descended from the historical Steilacoom band because the Indian 
wives came from a wide variety of tribal origins, including the 
Nisqually, Puyallup, Cowlitz, S'Klallam, Chimacum, Quinault, Duwamish, 
Skokomish, Yakima, and Snohomish Indian tribes. Furthermore,

[[Page 14834]]

most of these women, after marrying, resided with their non-Indian 
husbands in non-Indian neighborhoods. A second source of Indian 
ancestry is descent from Canadian Indian tribes through Red River 
m[eacute]tis families from Manitoba, Canada, who settled in Washington 
and Oregon between 1844 and 1855. The petition claimed that these 
immigrants were adopted, sometimes by intermarriage, into a 
continuously existing Steilacoom community during the second half of 
the 19th century. However, the evidence in the record shows that the 
Red River immigrants married into families of the non-Steilacoom 
Indians or married the Hudson's Bay Company people described above, and 
the evidence does not show social relationships connecting the STI's 
ancestral family lines with one another.
    The evidence in the record did not demonstrate that the STI 
maintained a community from historical times to the present, or that 
there was a group that maintained political influence or authority over 
its members. Even after the STI formally organized in 1974, there was 
not significant social interaction extending beyond individual family 
lines to members of the broader group, and STI political activities did 
not show a bilateral relationship between the leadership and the 
members.
    Criterion 83.7(a) requires that external observers identify the 
petitioner as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous 
basis since 1900. The PF found that for the period from 1900 to 1973, 
no external observers identified either the STI petitioner or a group 
of the petitioner's ancestors as an American Indian entity on a 
substantially continuous basis. The PF found sufficient evidence that 
external observers identified the STI as an American Indian entity only 
since 1974. Therefore, the PF concluded that the STI did not meet 
criterion 83.7(a).
    The Department received no comments from the STI on the PF's 
conclusions that pertain to criterion 83.7(a). The Nisqually and 
Puyallup Indian tribes submitted comments regarding criterion 83.7(a). 
Their assertion that ``[n]o other entity was proven to have existed'' 
was not a conclusion that the PF reached under criterion 83.7(a). 
Criterion 83.7(a) only evaluates whether external observers had 
identified the petitioner as an American Indian entity on a 
substantially continuous basis since 1900, not whether any other entity 
was proven to have existed. None of the comments submitted during the 
comment period supplied new evidence that an external observer 
identified the petitioner or an antecedent group before 1974 as an 
American Indian entity.
    The FD concludes, as the PF did, that external observers identified 
the petitioner as an Indian entity only after 1974. Because available 
evidence is not sufficient to demonstrate substantially continuous 
identification of the petitioner as an American Indian entity from 1900 
to the present, the petitioner does not satisfy criterion 83.7(a).
    Criterion 83.7(b) requires that a predominant portion of the 
petitioning group comprises a distinct community and has existed as a 
community from historical times until the present. The PF concluded 
that petitioner did not satisfy criterion 83.7(b) at any point in time, 
remarking that the ``current STI membership did not, historically, 
constitute either a single tribe or group whose history could be traced 
through time and place or an amalgamated tribe or group whose history 
could be traced through time and place.''
    The STI commented on the PF's conclusions directed to criterion 
83.7(b) with regard to only one issue--the claimed persistence of a 
named, collective Indian identity over a 50-year period as described in 
83.7(b)(1)(viii). The STI requested that the Department revisit its 
evaluation of the STI under 83.7(b)(1)(viii) from 1951 to the present. 
The Department revisited this issue, and noted that the STI based this 
request on a misunderstanding of criterion 83.7(b). The Department 
clarified this point of misunderstanding to the STI on several 
occasions prior to beginning its analysis for the FD, but the STI did 
not respond to this clarification and did not submit any additional 
evidence or explanation that would have helped satisfy criterion 
83.7(b) from 1951 to the present--or during any other point in time.
    The comments from the Puyallup and Nisqually Indian tribes support 
the PF's conclusion that the petitioner did not satisfy criterion 
83.7(b).
    Following additional review of the evidence under 83.7(b)(1)(viii), 
this FD confirms the conclusion of the PF that the existence of a 
formal organization is not itself sufficient to show collective group 
identity under 83.7(b)(1)(viii). The record provides substantial 
evidence that the STI does not meet criterion 83.7(b) and does not 
provide sufficient evidence that it does. Therefore, the FD concludes 
that STI does not meet criterion 83.7(b).
    Criterion 83.7(c) requires that the petitioner has maintained 
political influence or authority over its members as an autonomous 
entity from historical times until the present. The PF concluded that 
evidence that could satisfy this criterion was either altogether absent 
or too limited in nature. Furthermore, some of the limited evidence of 
political leadership demonstrated that individuals exercised leadership 
only over a small number of members, not over significant portions of 
the group, as required by the regulations. Even after the STI 
incorporated in 1974, its functions and activities were not of a type 
to show a bilateral political relationship between the leadership and 
the members. The PF concluded that at no time from first sustained 
contact to the present did the evidence in the record show that the 
petitioner had maintained political influence or authority over its 
members as an autonomous entity. Therefore, it did not satisfy 
criterion 83.7(c).
    The Department received no comments from the STI on the PF's 
conclusions that pertain to criterion 83.7(c). The comments from the 
Nisqually and Puyallup Indian tribes supported the PF's conclusions 
regarding criterion 83.7(c), stating that ``the lack of a 19th century 
organization, and the limited claims purposes of the 20th century group 
fail to meet this standard.''
    The record provides substantial evidence that the STI does not meet 
criterion 83.7(c) and does not provide sufficient evidence that it 
does. Therefore, the FD concludes that the STI does not meet criterion 
83.7(c).
    Criterion 83.7(d) requires that the petitioning group submit a copy 
of the group's present governing document that includes its membership 
criteria. The PF found that the STI satisfied criterion 83.7(d). The 
Department received no comments on the PF's conclusions under criterion 
83.7(d). Therefore, based on the available evidence, the FD concludes, 
as the PF did, that the petitioner meets criterion 83.7(d).
    Criterion 83.7(e) requires that the petitioner's membership consist 
of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from 
historical Indian tribes that combined and functioned as a single 
autonomous political entity. The PF concluded that the STI did not 
document that its membership consists of individuals who descend from a 
historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which combined 
and functioned as a single autonomous political entity. Over 90 percent 
of the 612 STI members documented that they are Indian descendants, but 
only three of them document descent from persons described in 19th and 
early 20th century documents as Steilacoom Indians. Most of the STI 
members descend from other

[[Page 14835]]

Indians in the Pacific Northwest or from m[eacute]tis people from the 
Red River Valley in Manitoba, Canada.
    The Department received no comments from the STI on the PF's 
conclusions directed to criterion 83.7(e). The Nisqually and Puyallup 
Indian tribes stated that the ``petitioner has completely failed to 
establish that its members descend from the historical Steilacoom 
tribe,'' which supports the PF's conclusion. The Nisqually and Puyallup 
Indian tribes further stated that the ``only legitimate successors to 
the historical Steilacoom Tribe are the present-day Puyallup and 
Nisqually Tribes.'' This FD does not present any conclusions concerning 
successorship in interest to a particular treaty or other rights, nor 
any conclusions regarding any treaty rights belonging to the federally 
recognized Puyallup and Nisqually Indian tribes.
    Based on the available record, the FD affirms the PF's conclusions 
that only 3 of the petitioner's 612 members (0.5 percent) on its 1995 
membership list have been documented as descendants of persons who were 
described in 19th and early 20th century documents as Steilacoom 
Indians. The record provides substantial evidence that the STI does not 
meet criterion 83.7(e) and does not provide sufficient evidence that it 
does. Therefore, the FD concludes that the STI does not meet criterion 
83.7(e).
    Criterion 83.7(f) requires that the membership of the petitioning 
group be composed principally of persons who are not members of any 
acknowledged North American Indian tribe. The PF concluded that the STI 
met criterion 83.7(f). The Department received no comments, from the 
petitioner or any other party, on the PF's conclusions under criterion 
83.7(f). During its preparation of the FD, the Department compared the 
STI membership list with rolls of federally recognized Indian tribes 
under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Northwest 
Region. They are, based on geographical proximity and the PF's 
genealogical findings, the Indian tribes most likely to include STI 
members. The review showed that the STI is composed principally of 
persons who are not members of any acknowledged North American Indian 
tribe. Therefore, the FD affirms the PF and concludes that the STI 
meets the requirements of criterion 83.7(f).
    Criterion 83.7(g) requires that neither the petitioner nor its 
members be the subject of congressional legislation that has expressly 
terminated or forbidden the Federal relationship. The Department 
received no comments on the PF's conclusions under criterion 83.7(g). 
The available documentation for the PF and the FD provided no evidence 
that the STI was the subject of congressional legislation to terminate 
or prohibit a Federal relationship as an Indian tribe. Therefore, the 
petitioner meets the requirements of criterion 83.7(g).
    A report summarizing the evidence, reasoning, and analyses that are 
the bases for the FD will be provided to the STI and interested 
parties, and is available to other parties upon written request.
    After the publication of notice of the FD, the petitioner or any 
interested party may file a request for reconsideration with the 
Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA) under the procedures set forth 
in section 83.11 of the regulations. The IBIA must receive this request 
no later than the date listed in the DATES section of this notice. The 
FD will become effective as provided in the regulations 90 days from 
the Federal Register publication, as listed in the DATES section of 
this notice, unless a request for reconsideration is received within 
that time.

    Dated: March 12, 2008.
Carl J. Artman,
Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs.
 [FR Doc. E8-5551 Filed 3-18-08; 8:45 am]
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