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e-CFR data is current as of June 30, 2020

Title 25Chapter ISubchapter FPart 83Subpart C → Subject Group


Title 25: Indians
PART 83—PROCEDURES FOR FEDERAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF INDIAN TRIBES
Subpart C—Process for Federal Acknowledgment


Review of Documented Petition

§83.23   How will OFA determine which documented petition to consider first?

(a) OFA will begin reviews of documented petitions in the order of their receipt.

(1) At each successive review stage, there may be points at which OFA is waiting on additional information or clarification from the petitioner. Upon receipt of the additional information or clarification, OFA will return to its review of the documented petition as soon as possible.

(2) To the extent possible, OFA will give highest priority to completing reviews of documented petitions it has already begun to review.

(b) OFA will maintain a numbered register of documented petitions that have been received.

(c) OFA will maintain a numbered register of any letters of intent, which were allowable prior to July 31, 2015, or incomplete (i.e., not fully documented) petitions and the original dates of their filing with the Department. If two or more documented petitions are ready for review on the same date, this register will determine the order of consideration.

§83.24   What opportunity will the petitioner have to respond to comments before OFA reviews the petition?

Before beginning review of a documented petition, OFA will provide the petitioner with any comments on the petition received from individuals or entities under §83.22(b) and provide the petitioner with 90 days to respond to such comments. OFA will not begin review until it receives the petitioner's response to the comments or the petitioner requests that OFA proceed without its response.

§83.25   Who will OFA notify when it begins review of a documented petition?

OFA will notify the petitioner and those listed in §83.22(d) when it begins review of a documented petition and will provide the petitioner and those listed in §83.22(d) with:

(a) The name, office address, and telephone number of the staff member with primary administrative responsibility for the petition;

(b) The names of the researchers conducting the evaluation of the petition; and

(c) The name of their supervisor.

§83.26   How will OFA review a documented petition?

(a) Phase I. When reviewing a documented petition, OFA will first determine if the petitioner meets the Governing Document Criterion (§83.11(d)), Descent Criterion (§83.11(e)), Unique Membership Criterion (§83.11(f)), and Termination Criterion (§83.11(g)), in accordance with the following steps.

(1)(i) OFA will conduct a Phase I technical assistance review and notify the petitioner by letter of any deficiencies that would prevent the petitioner from meeting the Governing Document, Descent, Unique Membership, or Termination Criteria. Upon receipt of the letter, the petitioner must submit a written response that:

(A) Withdraws the documented petition to further prepare the petition;

(B) Submits additional information and/or clarification; or

(C) Asks OFA to proceed with the review.

(ii) If the documented petition claims previous Federal acknowledgment and/or includes evidence of previous Federal acknowledgment, the Phase I technical assistance review will include a review to determine whether that evidence meets the requirements of previous Federal acknowledgment (§83.12).

(2) Following the receipt of the petitioner's written response to the Phase I technical assistance review, OFA will provide the petitioner with:

(i) Any comments and evidence OFA may consider that the petitioner does not already have, to the extent allowable by Federal law; and

(ii) The opportunity to respond in writing to the comments and evidence provided.

(3) OFA will publish a negative proposed finding if it issues a deficiency letter under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, and the petitioner:

(i) Does not withdraw the documented petition or does not respond with information or clarification sufficient to address the deficiencies; or

(ii) Asks OFA in writing to proceed with the review.

(4) OFA will publish a positive proposed finding and proceed to Phase II if it determines that the petitioner meets the Governing Document, Descent, Unique Membership, and Termination criteria.

(b) Phase II. If the petitioner meets the Governing Document, Descent, Unique Membership, and Termination criteria, OFA will next review whether the petitioner meets the Indian Entity Identification Criterion (§83.11(a)), the Community Criterion (§83.11(b)), and the Political Influence/Authority Criterion (§83.11(c)). If the petitioner claims previous Federal acknowledgment, the Department will also review whether petitioner proves previous Federal acknowledgment and, if so, will review whether the petitioner meets the criteria under §83.12(b).

(1) OFA will conduct a Phase II technical assistance review and notify the petitioner by letter of any deficiencies that would prevent the petitioner from meeting these criteria. Upon receipt of the letter, the petitioner must submit a written response that:

(i) Withdraws the documented petition to further prepare the petition;

(ii) Provides additional information and/or clarification; or

(iii) Asks OFA to proceed with the review.

(2) Following receipt of the petitioner's written response to the Phase II technical assistance review, OFA will provide the petitioner with:

(i) Any comments and evidence OFA may consider in preparing the proposed finding that the petitioner does not already have, to the extent allowable by Federal law; and

(ii) The opportunity to respond in writing to the comments and evidence provided.

(3) OFA will then review the record to determine:

(i) For petitioners with previous Federal acknowledgment, whether the criteria at §83.12(b) are met; or

(ii) For petitioners without previous Federal acknowledgment, whether the Indian Entity Identification (§83.11(a)), Community (§83.11(b)) and Political Authority (§83.11(c)) Criteria are met.

(4) OFA will publish a negative proposed finding if it issues a deficiency letter under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and the petitioner:

(i) Does not withdraw the documented petition or does not respond with information or clarification sufficient to address the deficiencies; or

(ii) Asks OFA in writing to proceed with the review.

(5) OFA will publish a positive proposed finding if it determines that the petitioner meets the Indian Entity Identification (§83.11(a)), Community (§83.11(b)) and Political Authority (§83.11(c)) Criteria or, for petitioners with previous Federal acknowledgment, that the petitioner meets the criteria at §83.12(b).

§83.27   What are technical assistance reviews?

Technical assistance reviews are preliminary reviews for OFA to tell the petitioner where there appear to be evidentiary gaps for the criteria that will be under review in that phase and to provide the petitioner with an opportunity to supplement or revise the documented petition.

§83.28   When does OFA review for previous Federal acknowledgment?

(a) OFA reviews the documented petition for previous Federal acknowledgment during the Phase II technical assistance review of the documented petition.

(b) If OFA cannot verify previous Federal acknowledgment during this technical assistance review, the petitioner must provide additional evidence. If a petitioner claiming previous Federal acknowledgment does not respond or does not demonstrate the claim of previous Federal acknowledgment, OFA will consider its documented petition on the same basis as documented petitions submitted by petitioners not claiming previous Federal acknowledgment.

§83.29   What will OFA consider in its reviews?

(a) In any review, OFA will consider the documented petition and evidence submitted by the petitioner, any comments and evidence on the petition received during the comment period, and petitioners' responses to comments and evidence received during the response period.

(b) OFA may also:

(1) Initiate and consider other research for any purpose relative to analyzing the documented petition and obtaining additional information about the petitioner's status; and

(2) Request and consider timely submitted additional explanations and information from commenting parties to support or supplement their comments on the proposed finding and from the petitioner to support or supplement their responses to comments.

(c) OFA must provide the petitioner with the additional material obtained in paragraph (b) of this section, and provide the petitioner with the opportunity to respond to the additional material. The additional material and any response by the petitioner will become part of the record.

§83.30   Can a petitioner withdraw its documented petition?

A petitioner can withdraw its documented petition at any point in the process but the petition will be placed at the end of the numbered register of documented petitions upon re-submission and may not regain its initial priority number.

§83.31   Can OFA suspend review of a documented petition?

(a) OFA can suspend review of a documented petition, either conditionally or for a stated period, upon:

(1) A showing to the petitioner that there are technical or administrative problems that temporarily preclude continuing review; and

(2) Approval by the Assistant Secretary.

(b) Upon resolution of the technical or administrative problems that led to the suspension, the documented petition will have the same priority on the numbered register of documented petitions to the extent possible.

(1) OFA will notify the petitioner and those listed in §83.22(d) when it suspends and when it resumes review of the documented petition.

(2) Upon the resumption of review, OFA will have the full six months to issue a proposed finding.

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