American Indian efforts to reacquire and place in federal trust their ancestral lands—particularly.
Acreage earmarked for new government casinos—will slow dramatically under the administration of President Donald Trump, Capitol Hill sources say.
Trump appointees with the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian.
Affairs (BIA) are rescinding tribal-friendly land-trust policies under Democratic President Barack.
Obama intended to help indigenous communities strengthen their governments and grow economies.
An April memo from newly appointed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered that all off-reservation land-trust applications be routed to Washington, D.C. headquarters for scrutiny by acting Deputy Secretary James Cason.
Cason, who served under former President George W.
Bush, was the architect of stringent land-trust policies that caused a logjam of applications, particularly those for casinos on newly acquired lands.
Republican House and Senate leaders are also weighing in on what they call a need to make more strict Interior policy and regulations on placing land in federal trust for tribes. Rep.
Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, accuses Interior of violating a 2009 Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.
The ruling limits Interior’s authority to place land in trust for tribes not “under federal jurisdiction” with passage of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. Meanwhile, Rep.
Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Resources Committee, in a February 17 letter to Cason demanded a freeze to
“troubling determinations” by Interior on off-reservation casinos during the Obama-Trump transition.
“While the last-minute nature of these actions does not necessarily imply wrongdoing, it begs scrutiny,”
Bishop said of land-trust decisions made in the last days of the Obama administration and soon after Trump’s election.
Interior approvals of trust land for casinos in the waning days of the Obama administration came with “little or no transparency” or notification of committee members who, Bishop said, “are on record expressing concerns with off-reservation gambling.”
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