Department of the Interior Solicitor Thomas L. Sansonetti today issued a long-awaited legal opinion that explores the extent of Alaska Native village jurisdiction over land and non-village members.
The opinion concludes that Native village jurisdiction was significantly limited by Congress in 1971. The opinion, however, also reaffirms longstanding Departmental and Congressional actions which include Native villages as tribes for purposes of many programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies.
Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan today signed an agreement implementing legislation to resolve a long-standing dispute over the water rights of the Fort McDowell Indian Community in Arizona.
"This settlement averts lengthy, costly litigation and uncertainty for the tribe and the Federal Government," Lujan noted. "Even more important is the fact that this settlement provides the opportunity for increased economic self-sufficiency and meaningful self-determination for the Community."
The Lifetime Learning and Rebuild America economic stimulus package proposed by President Clinton will provide economic development opportunities, rebuild and maintain roads, repair schools, jails and juvenile detention centers, and provide funds to operate elementary and secondary schools on many of America's Indian reservations.
The total stimulus package calls for $102.4 million, with most of the funds to be spent by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for the benefit of Indians by the end of Fiscal Year 1993.
The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) today announced that it will pay $541,951 to four Indian tribes as reimbursement of auditing costs for participating in the MMS's Cooperative and Delegated Audit Program during Fiscal Year 1993.
The Navajo Nation will receive $308,866; the Ute Indian Tribe, $87,600; the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, $93,000; and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe, $52,485.
"My meeting with the Governors today was a positive one, and I greatly appreciate their input. The Governors were clear in stating their positions, and I was equally clear in stating that I need to hear from other interests before deciding what, if any, policy changes are needed. I also made clear my belief that most ot these issues are best resolved by bilateral negotiations between states and tribes, as intended under the Indian Gaming Regulation Act, and that there is room for compromise. Our discussion was very helpful, but no commitments were made."
"I appreciated the opportunity to hear from tribal leaders from across the country. Their input provided an important picture of the economic benefits reservations have gained from Indian Gaming."
"I want to continue to gather information from parties interested in this issue, and I continue to believe these issues are best resolved by bilateral negotiations between states and tribes as intended under the Indian Gaming Regulation Act, and that the Act provides room for compromise."
President Clinton's fiscal year 1994 budget for the Department of the Interior calls for significant new investments in National Parks and natural resource protection, as well as scientific efforts to help the nation protect endangered species without hurting local economies.
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt will brief the news media Thursday, April 8 at 1 p.m. on the President's FY 1994 budget request for the Department of the Interior. The briefing will be held in the auditorium of the South Interior Building, 1951 Constitution Ave. NW.
President Bill Clinton's fiscal year 1994 budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs proposes to spend $2.4 billion, an increase of $261.3 million over the current year, according to documents released today by the Department of the Interior. This is a significant change from budget requests of the last decade, which often proposed substantial funding reductions for the Bureau.
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt said today that while he is approving a lease between an Indian tribe and a solid waste disposal company that contemplates construction of a landfill on tribal land in southern California, he will take steps to prevent the wholesale targeting of tribal lands across America for waste disposal.
In an effort to resolve tribal and non-tribal allocations of Klamath River salmon, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown today agreed to a management plan designed to improve conservation measures while providing for additional salmon harvest now and in the future for Klamath River tribes.
In addition, the agreement by the two secretaries ensures that a definitive legal ruling on future allocations of Klamath River chinook stocks will be issued before Sept. 30 of this year.
President Bill Clinton today announced his intention to nominate Ada Deer, an educator and former chair of the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin, to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs. The appointment, subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, will make her the first woman to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Daniel P. Beard today announced a new policy designed to protect Indian trust assets from adverse impacts of Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) programs and activities.
The National Park Service has compiled a list of Federal, Tribal, Native Alaskan, Native American and Native Hawaiian contacts to assist other Federal agencies and museums in complying with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).
Ada Deer, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the u.s. Department of the Interior, has accepted an invitation from U.S. Rep. Sam Gejdenson to attend a public forum he is sponsoring in Ledyard Connecticut on September 18. The Assistant Secretary will appear to explain the general process involved in accepting lands into trust and how such applications are evaluated. "My administration is dedicated to building partnership and fostering understanding between Indians and non-Indians on issues that concern us all, Deer said.
The Interior Department today released a legal opinion that two California Indian tribes are entitled to enough Klamath-Trinity basin salmon to support a moderate living standard, or 50 percent of the harvest, whichever is less.
The opinion, signed by Interior Solicitor John D. Leshy, notes that when the Hoopa Valley and Yurek Reservations were created, the U.S. government reserved a federally protected fishing right for the two tribes.
The Department of the Interior today released a revised list of Alaska Native tribes that are eligible to receive services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and which have the immunities and privileges available to other federally recognized Indian tribes in the contiguous 48 States. The list will be published in the Federal Register next week.
The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service today announced that it will reimburse the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian Tribes a total of $130,000 during Fiscal Year 1994, for auditing costs for participating in the MMS Cooperative Audit Program.
The addition of the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes, which are located on the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming, brings the number of participating tribes to six, including the Navajo Nation, the Ute, the Southern Ute and the Ute Mountain Ute.
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt today signed agreements to complete final action on implementation of the Fort McDowell Indian Community Water Rights Act of 1990.
Clinton Pattea, President of the Fort McDowell Indian Community, joined Secretary Babbitt in signing the agreements at a ceremony held at the Interior Department. Also attending the ceremony was Ada Deer, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
--First of all, I don't think I have to tell you that there has literally been an explosion in Indian gaming during the last one to two years. No one -- not Congress, Interior, BIA, the Indian people, or anyone else anticipated this tremendous growth. The 1988 legislation did not provide for a time period after it became law for all the safeguards and rules and regulations to be put into place. Neither did it provide time for anyone to hire the necessary expertise to monitor all the things for which we were given the responsibility.