N.Y. tribe faces late recognition challenge

A federal judge has told government lawyers he wants the Interior Department to commit to setting a date for resolving a decades-long effort by the small Shinnecock Indian tribe on eastern Long Island for federal recognition.

The Shinnecocks were told in June that recognition had been approved pending a 30-day comment period. Now they face a last-minute challenge.

The Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs contends the tribe should be denied recognition because it's getting financial support from a Detroit-based casino operator.

An administrative judge for the Interior Department is reviewing the challenge. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Bianco told government lawyers Wednesday he wants a letter from the department by July 30, indicating when it might rule.

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