November 19, 2021

Vice Chairman Murkowski Supports Fix for Indian Water Rights Settlement Bill

Washington, DC – This week, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), voted to advance S. 648, the Technical Correction to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation Water Rights Settlement Act of 2021, through committee and to the Senate floor.


“S. 648 amends the Duck Valley Reservation’s 2009 water rights settlement to deposit the interest that would have accrued between the enactment date and effective date of the settlement into the development fund. Interest payments are commonplace in Indian water settlements, but were inadvertently left out of this one. This legislation will correct that oversight. I also want to thank my colleague, Senator Cortez Masto, for working with me and my staff on an amendment to the bill to insert the actual interest payment amount,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski.


Following its business meeting to report S. 648, SCIA held a legislative hearing on S. 1364, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina Recognition Act; H.R. 1975, the Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act of 2021; H.R. 2088, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act; and H.R. 4881, the Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act.


“All of these bills have something in common – they acknowledge and affirm the importance of the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Indian Tribes. It is through federal recognition of an Indian Tribe that the government-to-government relationship is acknowledged, and that relationship establishes the foundation for taking land into trust. These kinds of actions by Congress have far-reaching impacts, not just on the Tribe and its membership, which can be life-changing in terms of benefits and services, but also on other Indian Tribes, surrounding communities, and federal, state, and local governments,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski.


More information about the committee’s business meeting and legislative hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.