Chair Grijalva Hails Passage of Bills Supporting Indian Country, Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

Washington, D.C. – Chair Grijalva issued the following statement on the expected House passage of eight bills on the first day of Native American Heritage Month.

“Native American Heritage Month is not just a celebration of the tradition, culture, history and national contributions of Native Americans. It’s a time to appreciate the urgency of the issues facing Indian Country. Congress needs to take substantive action to protect sacred sites and tribal lands, address inadequate federal funding for tribal programs, and ensure that the federal government upholds tribal sovereignty,” Grijalva said.

“The House passage of today’s bills moves the nation closer to providing overdue justice for the Catawba Indian Nation, the Lumbee Tribe and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and advances the cause of health equity for urban Indian communities at the Department of Health and Human Services. As Members of Congress, upholding the federal trust responsibility is our duty, and the passage of today’s bipartisan tribal bills on the House floor reflects that.”

The four Democratic bills expected to pass the House Monday evening via suspension include federal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe, two bills to transfer land into trust for tribal governments, and a bill to establish a confer policy for urban Indian health organizations and HHS. The full list of bills is below. 

  • H.R. 1619 (Rep. Clyburn), Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act
  • H.R. 2758 (Rep. Butterfield), Lumbee Recognition Act
  • H.R. 5221 (Rep. Grijalva), Urban Indian Health Confer Act
  • H.R. 4881 (Rep. Grijalva), Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act

The Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act reaffirms the Department of the Interior’s recognition of Catawba Indian Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to the lands in Kings Mountain and the Nation’s right to conduct gaming operations on those lands under the terms of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Catawba Indian Nation is the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina.  

The Lumbee Recognition Act extends full federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. It allows its members to be eligible for federal services and the tribal government to take lands into trust. In 1885, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina was recognized by the State of North Carolina. Since then, the tribe has sought full federal recognition from the U.S. government.

The Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act will transfer a 30-acre parcel of land located in the community of Old Pascua, Ariz., into trust for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. The State of Arizona and the City of Tucson previously agreed to this land-into-trust transfer under a 2021 amended and restated gaming compact. The Old Pascua area has remained a ceremonial site since 1921 and is home to the oldest formally established Yaqui community in Tucson.

Lastly, the Urban Indian Health Confer Act will create parity for urban Indian organizations in HHS by establishing a Department-wide urban confer policy on health care matters relating to American Indians and Alaska Natives. 

The House today also passed the H.R. 1975 (Rep. Issa, R-Calif.), the Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act of 2021, H.R. 2088 (Rep. Fleischmann, R-Tenn.), the Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition, H.R. 3616 (Rep. Moore, R-Utah), Bear River National Heritage Area Study Act, and S. 108 (Sen. Rubio, R-Fla), “To Authorize the Seminole Tribe of Florida to lease or transfer certain land, and for other purposes.”

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