By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press

U.S. lawmakers have granted formal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians after a decades-long struggle by its members who are scattered across the Northern Plains of the U.S. and Canada.

A provision to recognize the tribe was included in a a defense bill approved by the Senate Tuesday on an 86-8 vote.

The measure now goes to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

Federal recognition makes the tribe's more than 5,000 members eligible for government benefits ranging from education and health care to housing.

Tribal members trace their efforts to be formally recognized to when their leader, Chief Little Shell, refused to give up more land to the U.S. in an 1860s treaty.

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