The Bureau of Indian Affairs today approved land leases submitted by five federally recognized tribes in California under a federal law that promotes self-determination in Indian Country, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership (HEARTH) Act of 2012.

The leases were granted to the Karuk Tribe, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Northfork Rancheria of Mono Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, and Pechanga Band of Mission Indians. They are among the 77 Tribal Nations that have received federal approval for their leasing regulations, with another 8 awaiting action. The list of Tribes with approved regulations can be found here.

The approval restores each tribes’ authority to govern and manage the leasing of their lands for certain purposes without having to seek additional review by the Secretary of the Interior. 

The HEARTH Act creates a voluntary, alternative land-leasing process available to federally recognized Tribes through the Interior Department. Leases must serve the purpose of agriculture, business, renewable energy, and housing, among other uses.

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“The Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act has opened doors  of economic opportunity for Tribal Nations with approved land leasing regulations,” said  Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Bryan Newland in a statement. “With these approvals, these tribal communities have had their authority to control leasing of their lands under the act restored. We will continue to welcome Tribes to submit HEARTH Act leasing ordinances and reclaim the  authority to manage the development of their homelands.” 

The BIA Office of Trust Services’ Division of Real Estate Services administers the HEARTH Act Tribal leasing regulations application review process. The HEARTH Act amended the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955 (25 U.S.C. 415), which promotes Tribal self-determination by making a voluntary, alternative land-leasing process available to federally recognized Tribes through the Department of the Interior Department. 

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