Published May 15, 2019
WASHINGTON — The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) responded to the U.S. Representatives passage of H.R. 375 that seeks to fix the 2009 U.S. Supreme Court Carcieri v. Salazar decision. The following statement was issued Wednesday afternoon by NCAI:
Today, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass legislation (H.R. 375) that would cleanly fix the 2009 decision of Carcieri v. Salazar, by protecting existing Indian trust lands and restoring certainty and fairness to the land into trust process. This marks a significant step forward for Indian Country. NCAI applauds today’s House vote and believes it serves as a good indication that Indian Country issues are being taken seriously.
Through passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA), Congress rejected the devastating federal policy of allotment which caused the loss of 90 million acres of tribal homelands. For a decade, NCAI has requested that Congress address the Carcieri problem and noted in its written testimony that this could be achieved by (1) restoring the Secretary of the Interior’s authority under the IRA to take land into trust for all federally recognized tribal nations; and (2) reaffirming existing Indian trust lands. This common sense approach is wholly consistent with the IRA’s intent to rebuild tribal homelands, governments, and economies, and a clean fix would end the confusion and intergovernmental disputes that resulted from the Supreme Court’s ill-advised decision a decade ago inCarcieri.
NCAI’s hope is that our champions in the United States Senate will get behind this bill for a swift passage. Its passage would be a monumental win for Indian Country as tribal government land bases are part of the foundation of tribal sovereignty. All tribal nations deserve to receive equal treatment under the IRA.
NCAI exists to support and strengthen tribal sovereignty, and we look forward to tribal nations being able to cultivate economic and community development opportunities on lands that are rightfully their own. You can find more information on NCAI’s position in NCAI’s written testimony and an inter-tribal letter of support to Congress that are available at www.ncai.org.