BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The U.S. House has passed a bill that would give federal recognition to Montana's Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians following a decades-long effort.
The House approved the measure Wednesday, said U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte.
The first-term Republican lawmaker says it became clear to him after his election that the Little Shell had suffered an injustice in being denied recognition.
Federal recognition would validate the Little Shell's identity and make it's roughly 6,000 members eligible for government benefits ranging from education to health care.
The tribe was recognized by the state of Montana in 2000.
A companion bill was endorsed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in May 2017 but has yet to receive a vote from the full Senate.
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