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Press Release

Republicans Explore Solutions to Unlock Indian Country's Economic Potential

  • IP Subcommittee

Today, the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs held an oversight hearing on unlocking Indian Country's economic potential. Subcommittee Chair Harriet Hageman (R- Wyo.) issued the following statement in response:

“One of the most important goals that I have as Chair of the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs is to ensure that our tribes have the tools that they need to increase their ability to prosper and the flexibility to do so in whatever manner works best for each tribe. Our tribal nations must be able to pursue economic opportunities without our federal government making that process unnecessarily difficult. We should look at ways to support infrastructure, internet access, and elimination of antiquated regulations that stall development. I look forward to working with our tribal and insular communities in pursuit of these goals.”


The United States has a unique legal relationship with Indian tribes and their members that has been established in the U.S. Constitution, treaties, federal statutes and Supreme Court decisions.

For many Indian tribes and Alaska Natives, real property holdings are the basis for social, cultural, and religious life and often their single most important economic resource. Typically, Indian lands primarily fall into one of three categories: trust, fee and restricted fee.

Trust Lands: Land that is owned and managed through the Department of the Interior, held in trust for the benefit of an Indian tribe or individuals.

Fee Lands: Land that is owned by an Indian tribe or individual that can be freely alienated or encumbered without federal approval.

Restricted Fee Lands: Land that an Indian tribe or individual may own and hold title to but is subject to a restriction against alienation and taxation.

The many land use restrictions imposed on Indian lands prevent tribes and tribal landowners from leveraging trust land as collateral to access financing for economic development.

Today's hearing explored solutions to modernize and streamline Indian Country land use requirements that support tribal self-determination so tribes and individual American Indians and Alaska Natives can use their land in a way which best benefits their people.