Letter to Secretary Zinke of the US Department of the Interior – Destructive Lobbing Tactics by the State of Connecticut

Below is a copy of a letter was sent to Secretary Zinke of the US Department of Labor in regard the the destructive lobbying tactics by the State of Connecticut against the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation and our federal recognition petition. To view the letter on letterhead please click on the following link>>

Dear Honorable Secretary Zinke, Dear Honorable Secretary Zinke, The Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation (EPTN), one of America’s first people, is a state recognized tribe established by the colonial government in 1683. This nation is located on one of the oldest, continually occupied reservations in the country.

The Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation is appalled that Senator Blumenthal and Connecticut (CT) legislators are questioning lobbying tactics to the US Department of the Interior (DOI) against Connecticut’s (CT) casino compact amendment with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe.

CT used similar tactics in a destructive lobbying campaign to DOI lasting decades to prevent the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation from becoming federally recognized. This on-going campaign is hideous hypocrisy fueled by prejudice, deceit, unbridled greed and evil.

The Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation worked 22 years with DOI and both Democratic and Republican US government administrations to become a federally acknowledged tribe. CT’s lobbying and appeal to DOI to overturn the Eastern Pequot Indians of CT and the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot’s positive preliminary and final federal acknowledgment decisions was a grave injustice. It was an attempt to destroy the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, tantamount to genocide.

CT’s destructive lobbying was based on political and economic conditions to exclude the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation from becoming a federally acknowledged tribe with equal access to federal regulations for health, education, housing and economic prosperity. The state and towns used taxpayer monies to fight us.

In 2003 the National Congress of American Indians “urged the State ofConnecticut, its representatives and its towns to recognize its legal, historical, and political relationship with those tribes within Connecticut whose tribal, social, and political structures predate the Constitution of the United States, to respect the inherent sovereignty of those tribes and to engage in good faith bargaining regarding land acquisition, gaming compacting and other issues of mutual concern, and to refrain from using the Bureau of Indian Affairs regulatory process and the courts to delay a legitimate federal tribal recognition decision.”

CT’s destructive lobbying in 2015 led by Governor Malloy to the US President and DOI to change its newly proposed federal acknowledgment regulations pursuant to 25 C.F.R section 83.12 was another attempt to block the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation from becoming federally recognized. The Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation’s application filed over a year ago is still pending in DOI.

As stated in our petition, “The State of Connecticut has unabashedly opposed the Petitioner’s acknowledgment solely because it perceives it to be contrary to its economic interest. Since historical times the Colony and the State of Connecticut have engaged in a discriminatory pattern and practice which has resulted in the near extinction of the Tribe.  In 1625, Connecticut had (16) sixteen tribes.  Currently, the State only supports the two (2) federally acknowledged Tribes from whom they receive substantial revenues, and has opposed the three (3) other state recognized tribes despite a statutory obligation.  The State’s opposition to acknowledgment is a breach of its fiduciary duties and those delineated in Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 824 §47-65, and is discriminatory, constituting bias per se.”

CT’s inaction and neglect to uphold its statutory obligation, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 824 with all the rights and privileges afforded by law to the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, one of America’s first people, is a disgrace and a travesty of justice.

The State and local communities have discriminated against the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation and engaged in genocidal conduct to protect themselves from land claims and to receive substantial revenues from gambling proceeds from the Pequot-Mohegan Fund in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The United States Constitution Amendment XIV Section 1 states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Historic Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation respectfully requests that DOI ensure equal treatment and justice for all tribes.Honoring our ancestors and the seven generations yet unborn,Katherine Sebastian Dring, Chairwoman, Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation

cc.  President Jefferson Keel, National Congress of American Indians

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