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Indian Affairs approves HEARTH Act regulations of five Tribal Nations in California

For Immediate Release:
April 19, 2022

Karuk Tribe, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Northfork Rancheria,

Pala Band of Mission Indians, and Pechanga Band of Mission Indians now

have their authority to regulate leasing of trust, restricted fee lands restored

WASHINGTON – Indian Affairs announced today that land leasing regulations submitted by five federally recognized Tribal Nations have been approved under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership (HEARTH) Act of 2012. The regulations were submitted by the Karuk Tribe, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Northfork Rancheria of Mono Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, and Pechanga Band of Mission Indians in California.

The action restores the Tribes’ authority to govern and manage the leasing of their Indian trust and restricted fee lands for certain purposes authorized under the act without having such leases undergo additional review by the Secretary of the Interior.

“The Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act has opened doors of economic opportunity for Tribal Nations with approved land leasing regulations,” said Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “With these approvals, these Tribal communities have had their authority to control leasing of their lands under the act restored. We will continue to welcome Tribes to submit HEARTH Act leasing ordinances and reclaim the authority to manage the development of their homelands.”

The types of approved leasing regulations announced today are:

  • Karuk Tribe: Residential, agriculture and business leasing ordinance.
  • Morongo Band of Mission Indians: Business and residential leasing ordinance.
  • Northfork Rancheria of Mono Indians: Business site leasing ordinance.
  • Pala Band of Mission Indians: Leasing ordinance.
  • Pechanga Band of Indians: Residential leasing ordinance.

Given the types of leases authorized under the HEARTH Act, some Tribes have more than one set of approved regulations or have ones waiting for approval. Those announced today are among the 77 Tribal Nations that have received Secretarial approval for their leasing regulations, with another 8 awaiting action. The list of Tribes with approved regulations can be found here.

The HEARTH Act, which amended the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955 (25 U.S.C. 415), promotes Tribal self-determination by making a voluntary, alternative land-leasing process available to federally recognized Tribes through the Interior Department. It restored the authority of those Tribes to develop and implement their own laws governing the long-term leasing of Indian trust lands for agricultural, business, renewable energy, residential and other purposes.

Under the act, the Secretary is authorized to approve Tribal regulations if they are consistent with the Department’s leasing regulations and provide for an environmental review process that meets requirements set forth in the Act. Once a Tribe’s HEARTH application is approved, it can negotiate and enter into leases without further approvals.

Tribes may submit HEARTH applications to BIA for agricultural and business leases of Tribal trust lands for a primary term of 25 years, and up to two renewal terms of 25 years each. Leases of Tribal trust lands for residential, recreational, religious or educational purposes may be executed for a primary term of up to 75 years.

The BIA Office of Trust Services’ Division of Real Estate Services administers the HEARTH Act Tribal leasing regulations application review process. Interested Tribes may submit their regulations by mail to:

U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Trust Services Attention: Division of Real Estate Services 1001 Indian School Road NW, Box 44 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104

The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues, communicates policy to and oversees the programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration, provides leadership in consultations with Tribes, and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter-departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on matters concerning American Indians and Alaska Natives and the federally recognized Tribes in the United States.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs directly administers and funds Tribally operated infrastructure, law enforcement and justice, social services (including child welfare), Tribal governance, and trust land and natural and energy resources management programs for the nation’s federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes through four offices: Indian Services, Justice Services, Trust Services and Field Operations. For more information and the list of Tribes with approved regulations, visit the Trust Services’ HEARTH Act web page.

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