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Indian Affairs approves three Tribal Nations’ HEARTH Act regs

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2022

Authority to regulate leasing of trust and restricted fee lands restored to Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and Table Mountain Rancheria in California

WASHINGTON – Indian Affairs announced today that land leasing regulations submitted by three 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 Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and by the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and Table Mountain Rancheria 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 Department of the Interior.

“More than 70 Tribal nations are benefitting from having their authority over the leasing of their lands restored to them under the HEARTH Act,” said Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “Under the HEARTH Act, Tribes are using their own leasing processes, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes to initiate development where it’s most needed. In this way, the HEARTH Act continues to make a positive impact for Tribal communities throughout Indian Country.”

The types of approved leasing regulations announced today are:

  • Kootenai Tribe of Idaho: Business lease approval act.
  • Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians, California: Leasing ordinance.
  • Table Mountain Rancheria, California: Business 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 73 Tribal Nations that have received Secretarial approval for their leasing regulations, with another 16 awaiting action. Of the latter, six already have other approved HEARTH regulations. The list of Tribes with approved regulations can be found on the BIA’s HEARTH Act web page.

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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