New Legislation Seeks Federal Recognition for the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe
This Autumn, Congressman Paul Cook introduced legislation, H.R.8208, to recognize the tribal sovereignty of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a tribe. In 2019, Friends of the Inyo submitted a letter of support urging him to move legislation forward recognizing the identity and history of his constituents.
Cook’s press release outlines the decades-long struggle to gain recognition from the federal government. Rep. Cook said, “Federal recognition of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe is long overdue, and it’s time we honor their tireless efforts in preserving their culture and history. I commend the hard work and dedication of Chairperson Lange and the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a people for their unwavering commitment to their tribe and to Mono Lake.”
Charlotte Lange, Chairperson of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe, said, “The Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe has been enduring the process of recognition for decades. It saddens my heart to hear our elders say, ‘I won’t see it in my lifetime.’ My grandfather fought for the tribe and his strength keeps my dedication to follow in his path. This congressional process started with a visit from Congressman Cook and his staff in October 2019. Dorothy Alther, California Legal Service, has also committed her hard work for years. The Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to both of them for their efforts to present this bill for Federal Recognition.”
The Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe has been attempting to gain federal recognition since the early 1900’s. During the 1970’s the tribe petitioned the Office of Federal Recognition, and over time the petition was lost. The petition was resubmitted in 1980, and in 2015 the petition process was put ‘on hold’ to revise the acknowledgement regulations. The tribe continues to meet the seven criteria for federal recognition at this time.
Due to these delays, there has been decades of great loss to tribal members culturally, including protection of cultural resources, traditional homelands, tribal law enforcement, and active participation in federal policies to preserve water, as well as opportunities for education, employment, and health care.
Friends of the Inyo will be discussing reintroduction of H.R.8208 in the 117th Congress with District 8 Congressman elect Jay Obernolte.
To learn more please visit the official website monolaketribe.us