WASHINGTON, July 15 (UPI) -- A Washington state congressman told a Capitol Hill committee Wednesday that federal recognition of his state's Duwamish Indian tribe was well overdue.
Testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said the status of the Duwamish needed to be permanently resolved after former President Bill Clinton's decision to recognize the tribe was overturned by the incoming Bush administration.
"The recognition process for the Duwamish, a tribe of more than 600, has been protracted beyond what any tribe should have to endure," McDermott said. "I introduced the Duwamish Recognition Act to grant long-overdue federal recognition to the Duwamish and restore the credibility of the United States government in this matter once and for all."
The Duwamish have been around since long before Seattle was named after one of its chiefs. However, being officially recognized as a tribe has not been so cut and dry, according to Seattlepi.com.
Recognition is being opposed by the Muckleshoot tribe, which the Web site said Wednesday centers around the possibility of the Duwamish opening a casino in Seattle that would compete with the Muckleshoot gaming hall in Auburn. The Muckleshoot, however, contend their concerns involve fishing rights in the Seattle area that they were granted by treaty.