WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today announced that Congress has passed two Indian bills, S. 50, the Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act, and S. 216, the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act.
“These two pieces of legislation will help Tribes in the Pacific Northwest with access to traditional fishing and the settling of water claims,” said Hoeven. “The Senate moved these bills earlier this year and the House favorably considered them this week. Both bills are good examples of how Tribes can work with other governments in resolving issues at the local level.”
S. 50 allows the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to assess lands provided to the Columbia River Treaty Tribes for traditional fishing uses. Under this bill, the BIA may utilize contracting with Indian Tribes or tribal organizations in improving sanitation, safety conditions, and access to electricity, sewer, and water infrastructure on the lands. The Government Accountability Office is mandated to study and evaluate the contracts entered into and provide a report to Congress.
S. 216 provides the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spoke Reservation with annual payments for the continued use of tribal lands, based on the sale of hydroelectric power generated by the Grand Coulee Dam.
Both bills will now move to the President’s desk for signature.