Judge rules Burt Lake Band can apply for federal recognition

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BURT LAKE, Mich. – A federal judge has ruled that the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians can reapply for federal recognition, and tribal authorities have until next week to respond.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in March in favor of the American Indian band in Michigan, calling the Department of the Interior’s ban on re-petitioning “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has 60 days to respond. It has previously refused to recognize the Burt Lake Band. Tribal Chairman Bruce Hamlin says he’s optimistic the band can succeed in its quest for recognition of its tribal sovereignty.

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