Montana tribe’s long recognition struggle clears Congress

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The  Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians is one step away from being formally recognized by the federal government after a decades-long struggle.

A provision to recognize the Montana tribe was included in a a defense bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The bill now goes to President Donald Trump to be signed into law. Federal recognition would validate the Little Shell Tribe’s identity and make its more than 5,000 members eligible for government benefits ranging from education to health care.

Tribal leaders first petitioned for recognition through the Interior Department in 1978.

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