After sailing through the US House, the US Senate asked for a consent vote to federally recognize the Little Shell Tribe.
Thursday afternoon, with one single vote form Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), the road to recognition came to a stop.
Unanimous consent votes are used to expedite proceedings and as long as no one objects than the rule can go forward.
In this case, Sen. Lee objected and now the Little Shell Tribe will have to start from the beginning once again to try and become federally recognized.
“I’m disappointed that, once again, Congress has failed to give the recognition to Little Shell Tribe that they so greatly deserve. The Little Shell Tribe has waited far too long and jumped through too many bureaucratic hoops to secure federal recognition. I won’t stop fighting until we get this done," said Senator Steve Daines.
This is not the first time the Little Shell Tribe has fought for recognition. Senator Jon Tester first brought the request to congress in 2007 as the first bill he ever introduced in Congress.
“The Little Shell have fought for generations to secure what is rightfully theirs,” Tester said. “Now just one man stands in the way and it is time for him and his political party to quit the political shenanigans and allow this long-overdue vote to take place.”
Native American Tribes can only exercise full self-governance if they are federally recognized.
As of right now the Little Shell Tribe is only recognized by the State of Montana.
Tester's press office told us they will reintroduce the bill in January when the next Congress convenes.
We've reached out to Senator Lee for comment on his vote and we are waiting to hear back from him.