Earlier this week, the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced that the government-to-government relationship between the U.S. and the Tejon Indian Tribe has been formally recognized.
According to an article in The Bakersfield Californian there was documentation of a relationship prior to the 1970s when the Tejon Tribe was mistakenly excluded from the list of recognized tribes. The evidence was there, which helped to speed up the reaffirmation process. Although the process took 6 years, many other tribes have waited 5 times that period for recognition.
In a letter to the tribe, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, Larry Echo Hawk, stated,
[u]pon review of the facts and history of this matter, including prior Assistant Secretaries’ decisions, I herby reaffirm the federal relationship between the United States and the Tejon Indian Tribe, thus concluding the long and unfortunate omission of the Tejon Indian Tribe from the list of federally recognized tribes.
As a result of recognition, the tribe will gain access to federal resources and funding with which to serve their estimated 400 members. This means increased efforts in the areas of health care, education and housing. Another priority for the tribe’s leaders is securing land (in the central valley of California) upon which to establish a reservation. The tribe may also examine possible development of a gaming facility in the future.