CALL YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: Mashpee and Carcieri Fix Bills Rescheduled for Floor Vote on Wednesday, May 15

NIGA Member Tribes

Chairman Ernest L. Stevens Jr.
Jason C. Giles, Executive Director
Danielle Her Many Horses, Deputy Executive Director/General Counsel

CALL YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: Mashpee and Carcieri Fix Bills Rescheduled for Floor Vote on Wednesday, May 15
May 14th, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives has rescheduled floor votes on the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Reaffirmation Act (H.R. 312) and the CarcieriFix Bill (H.R. 375) for Wednesday, May 15. The National Indian Gaming Association urges all Member Tribes to contact your Members of Congress to urge them to vote "Yes" on these important Indian land protection bills.
Last week, both bills were pulled from consideration by the House of Representatives shortly after President Trump posted a tweet in opposition to the Mashpee Bill. These two bills were expected to pass under suspension of the rules (which requires a 2/3 majority of Members) with strong bipartisan support.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is the lead sponsor of H.R. 375, commonly known as the Carcieri fix legislation. H.R. 312, the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Reaffirmation Act, is sponsored by Representative Bill Keating (D-MA-09).
It was reported that House Republican support eroded following a social media post by President Trump, indicating the Administration's opposition to H.R. 312, in part because Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was a co-sponsor of the Senate companion bill in the last Congress, but there is currently no companion bill in the Senate. In the same post, President Trump again invoked the historically respected name of Pocahontas as a racial slur towards Senator Warren.
The National Indian Gaming Association has consistently condemned the President's derogatory use of Pocahontas' name. Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr., stated: "This unfortunate disparagement of an Indian heroine and national treasure continues unabated by President Trump. We again call on the President and his Administration to cease all comparisons and references to Pocahontas. We join our brothers and sisters from the Pamunkey Tribe in Virginia who have consistently tried to educate the Administration against the dehumanization of this great heroine, who along with her Tribe, suffered grave injustices at the hands of settlers. Their story of survival should not be trivialized by immature name calling." NIGA stands with our sister organizations from NCAI to the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), in condemning the derogatory use of Pocahontas' name.
H.R. 375 has strong bi-partisan support of 27 co-sponsors. The bill would amend the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) to address the 2009 Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The Supreme Court ruled that the IRA's Indian land to trust restoration provision extended only to those tribes "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934. H.R. 375 would delete the undefined and ambiguous phrase "under federal jurisdiction" and clarify that the IRA authorizes the Interior Secretary to place land into trust for allfederally recognized Indian tribes.
The IRA is a cornerstone of federal Indian affairs policy. The Act sought to provide a small sense of justice by providing a means for Indian tribes to restore a portion of the more than 90 million acres of Indian homelands taken and lost through the misguided policies of Allotment and forced Assimilation. The Allotment policy took Indian lands without compensation and the Assimilation policy authorized the taking of Native children from their families and compelling them into government-run boarding schools. It is unfortunate that misinformation about the bill continues to stall its progress. However, we will continue to press forward.
Indian Country has sought a Carcieri fix for over a decade. The strong bi-partisan breakthrough with Representative Cole's bill, H.R. 375, would restore the IRA to its original intent: a policy goal of paramount importance to Indian Country.
It is patently untrue for the President to describe the Mashpee bill as a special interest casino bill in the face of the fact that commercial casinos in a nearby state are working to prevent the Mashpee from securing a land base for its community.
NIGA will continue to monitor the progress of these bills as the House deliberates this week and strongly encourages our Member Tribes to contact your congressional delegation, urging support of H.R. 312 and H.R. 375. To find your Representatives, you can call (202)224-3121 or visit Below is a template letter provided to aide in your calls and/or emails to your members of Congress.
Please contact Danielle Her Many Horses at if you have any questions or concerns on these important pieces of Indian Country legislation.