Schaghticoke recogntion quest resurfaces in Kent

The possibility of Schaghticoke tribal recognition touched Kent again recently.

U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., spoke at a recent gathering at the Kent School headmaster's home addressing the topic.

A small gathering of invited guests at Headmaster Richard W. Schell's residence included Don Bower, an attorney representing Kent School in its attempts to deal with the possibility of recognition of the Schaghticokes by the federal Department of the Interior.

Both men spoke of their efforts to address the issue, according to Kent First Selectman Bruce Adams.

"I walked out feeling a bit more confident than I had walking in," said Adams. "There are a group of people in Kent who have been working behind the scenes, who have made inroads in Washington."

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation has sought federal recognition for decades, with two factions of the original Schaghticoke tribe opposing one another for leadership.

The Schaghticokes claim a large section of the town, including the Kent School property, fall under the tribe's domain.

In March, a draft regulation for education reform for Native American tribes was published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

It spoke of educating Native Americans on the possible process to tribal recognition. It follows a June 2013 proposal by Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn for changes to the Department of the Interior's process for acknowledging certain tribal groups as federally recognized tribes.

Susan Tuz