WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees
Native American issues, heard testimony yesterday that Congress should act
quickly to rectify the February 24th ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in
Carcieri v. Salazar that bans the Interior Department from taking land into
trust for Indian tribes recognized after 1934.
"The Supreme Court interpretation of the (law) will create two classes of
tribes, the haves and have-nots," said Collette Routel, of University of
Michigan Law School who wrote a brief in support of the Narragansett tribe in
the Supreme Court case.
"While there are those who want to portray this decision and its ramifications
solely as a gaming issue, let me assure everyone that it is much more than
that," said U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, the committee chairman.
While Rahall successfully kept the discussion away from gambling, it will likely
become an issue if legislation goes before the full House and Senate to change
the Carcieri decision.
Michael Anderson, a former official for the Bureau of Indian, said the Indian
Regulatory Act has enabled tribes to build headquarters, housing, schools and
medical centers. "Carcieri threatens to undermine these successes with a new
class of tribes that would not be eligible for land into trust."
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