The Supreme Court decided the Carcieri case in 2009 and severely limited tribal governments’ use of a 1934 statute under which the federal government can take land into “trust” for tribes. The Court’s ruling has frozen trust applications at the U.S. Interior Department for the past two years.
When the Interior Department makes that decision, to take land into trust, it brings more land into “Indian country” status and increases the land holdings that tribal communities own and control.
Tribal governments and Indian organizations have been working with Congress to adopt a Carcieri “fix” to remedy the Supreme Court decision. The bills have been heard and approved in both the House and Senate.
Indian Country Today reports that the White House has reiterated its support of the legislation that would confirm the federal government’s authority to take Indian land into trust for all tribes.
“I think everyone in the administration that’s talked about it has made it very clear that we support the clean Carcieri fix,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told Indian Country Today Nov. 23.”
But one piece of confusion about the legislative fix has flared up recently when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been working with the Interior Department on drafting an Indian gaming Act amendment that would curtail gaming on newly acquired off-reservation trust lands.
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