July 28, 2011

Indian Affairs Committee Approves Bills Aimed at Addressing Federal Recognition, Land Settlement, and Streamlining the Leasing Process

Washington D.C. –
Today the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), approved legislation to extend federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Montana, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and six tribes located in Virginia. The legislation will make these tribes eligible for all the rights and privileges afforded to federally recognized tribes.
In addition, the Tribe approved the Quileute Indian Tribe Tsunami and Flood Protection Act and the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act of 2011 (HEARTH Act).
“I am pleased that the Committee approved these bills which are instrumental in changing the lives of Native peoples,” said Chairman Akaka. “I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to secure enactment.”
The HEARTH Act was amended to include S. 676, the Carcieri Fix bill. The amendment reaffirms the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take lands into trust for all federally-recognized Indian tribes. The Carcieri fix is a top priority for the Administration, Indian tribes and the Committee. Chairman Akaka noted that the amendment is the same language that was approved by the Committee as a stand-alone bill in April. “The language merely reaffirms the intent of the Indian Reorganization Act as it has been carried out for the past 75 years,” Akaka said.
Chairman Akaka’s full opening statement is available here: LINK
Approved by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee today:
Three recognition bills:
S. 546, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2011
S. 379, the Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2011
S. 1218, the Lumbee Recognition Act
S. 703, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act of 2011, which streamlines the leasing process for tribes and individual Indians. The bill will help tribes use their resources in a more efficient way to provide economic development, education, housing, and other opportunities for their tribal members.
S. 636, the Quileute Indian Tribe Tsunami and Flood Protection Act, which settles longstanding boundary issues for the Quileute Tribe and allows their members to move to safer ground outside a tsunami and flood zone.
The bills approved today will be reported to the full Senate for consideration. Updates are available at indian.senate.gov
Contact: Jesse Broder Van Dyke
Contact Phone: 202-224-7045
Contact E-mail: jesse_brodervandyke@akaka.senate.gov