Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed 2 pieces of legislation for Indian Country - H.R. 312, the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Reaffirmation Act of 2019 and H.R. 375, the Carcieri Fix legislation. The Mashpee bill would reaffirm the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's reservation as land eligible to be taken into trust by the Interior and would require the dismissal of all civil lawsuits related to the Mashpee's reservation land. The Carcieri Fix 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 all federally recognized Indian tribes.
Both bills will move to the Senate for consideration. While there is still work to be done in the Senate, we would like to take time to thank all tribal nations, tribal leaders, tribal members, and the intertribal organizations across the Country, for your continuous hard work and outreach. Our message ensures that Congress understands this issue is about respect for tribal sovereignty, self-governance, and self-determination.
We wish to thank all the Representatives who voted in favor for both bills. We encourage our Member Tribes to contact their Senator's offices to vote "Yes" on H.R. 312 and H.R. 375. A special thank you to Representatives Tom Cole and Betty McCollum, for introducing and championing H.R. 375, and Representatives Joe Kennedy, Raul Grijalva, Tom Cole, and Don Young for sponsoring H.R. 312. We are grateful for all of their leadership and years of hard work on these issues to build support for these pieces of legislation in the halls of Congress.
Again, while we have made significant progress thus far, our work must continue to ensure that the bill passes in the Senate. The legislative strategy for passage of the Mashpee and Carcieri Fix bills will be a topic of discussion at the NIGA Summer Legislative Summit. Please continue to contact your Senators to request their support of H.R. 312 and H.R. 375. We saw our hard work and outreach prevail in the House, and while the road ahead is difficult, we need to keep up the pressure and momentum for this to become law.
Please contact Danielle Her Many Horses, Deputy Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns with this alert.