SECTION 1. There shall be a process for the state recognition of Native American Tribes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In order to be eligible for recognition, an applicant must file an application and demonstrate compliance with clauses (1) through (8) of this section which may be supplemented by clause (9) of this section:- (1) The applicant’s governing body must currently be located within Massachusetts. (2) A substantial number of the applicant’s members are related to each other by kinship and trace their ancestry to a kinship group through genealogy or other methods. Genealogical documents shall be limited to those that show descendency from identified Massachusetts or regional native people. (3) The applicant has a connection with Native American Indian tribes and bands that have historically inhabited Massachusetts. (4) The applicant has historically maintained an organizational structure that exerts influence and authority over its members that is supported by documentation of the structure, membership criteria, the names and residential addresses of its members, and the methods by which the applicant conducts its affairs. (5) The applicant has an enduring community presence within the boundaries of Massachusetts that is documented by archaeology, ethnography, physical anthropology, history, folklore, or any other applicable scholarly research and data. (6) The applicant is organized in part: (i) to preserve, document, and promote its Native American Indian culture and history, and this purpose is reflected in its bylaws; (ii) to address the social, economic, political or cultural needs of its members with ongoing educational programs and activities. (7) The applicant can document traditions, customs, oral stories, and histories that signify the applicant’s Native American heritage and connection to their historical homeland. (8) The applicant has not been recognized as a tribe in any other state, province, or nation. (9) Submission of letters, statements, and documents from: (i) municipal, state, or federal authorities that document the applicant’s history of tribe-related business and activities; (ii) tribes in and outside Massachusetts that attest to the Native American Indian heritage of the applicant.
SECTION 2. There shall be a special task force to conduct an investigation and study concerning compliance with the terms of the treaties between the Commonwealth and the Native American Tribes of the Commonwealth and the implementation of the process for state recognition of Native American Tribes. The task force shall consist of 2 members appointed by the senate, one of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 2 members appointed by the house of representatives, one of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; and 5 persons to be appointed by the governor: 3 of whom shall be representatives of Native American Tribes in the Commonwealth; 2 of whom shall be experts with academic qualifications in Native American history with specific focus on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
SECTION 3. The task force shall: study and make recommendations for the implementation of the state recognition process described in section 1 of this resolution; research and make recommendations on the status of historical treaties between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Native American Tribes; review the Commonwealth's compliance with said treaties; and make recommendations for best practices and procedures, if necessary, to bring the Commonwealth into compliance with any treaties with Native American Tribes.
SECTION 4. The special task force shall submit a report to the Governor, the speaker of the House of representatives, and the senate president, setting forth the task force findings, recommendations, and proposals, by December 31, 2019. The special task force shall dissolve upon completion of its duties and obligations, as indicated by submission of its findings and recommendations, unless the General Court, in advance of that date, extends its term for a set period or indefinitely.
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