Native Voices Ignored as House Committee Ponders Changes to Indian Trust Land Policy

The generally nonpartisan Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs took a sharp turn to the right at its July 13 oversight hearing, entitled, Comparing 21st Century Trust Land Acquisition with the intent of the 73rd Congress in Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act. The Secretary of the Interior holds “exceptionally broad authority to acquire land in trust for Indians” under the 83-year-old Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA), according to a..
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memorandum distributed before the hearing by Subcommittee Chairman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).
But Section 19 of the IRA, which states that only members of tribes “recognized and now under federal jurisdiction” could acquire trust land, created a legal quagmire in 2009 when the Supreme Court held to a literal and controversial interpretation of “now” in Carcieri v. Salazar.
‘We should have a higher standard for Native American policy hearings than a panel of non-Native witnesses with axes to grind,’ says Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
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