The American Indian Empowerment Act of 2011 (H.R.3532 )

On December 1, 2011, Congressman Don Young, R-Ak, introduced the American Indian Empowerment Act of 2011 that would allow Native nations to request that the Secretary of the Interior take tribal lands out of trust status and convey them to the individual tribe.  This would convert federal trust lands to a restricted fee tribal land status.

As currently written, this legislation would ensure that the lands retain their Indian Country status, keeping out state taxation and jurisdiction, and include the ability of Native nations to pass tribal laws on their lands and conduct other business.

You can read the short bill on the Library of Congress link:

Here's what Indian Country Today said about the legislation:

The American Indian Empowerment Act would allow tribes to lease their lands without having to gain approval from the Secretary of the Interior and would grant tribes to enact laws that preempt federal laws or regulations governing the tribe’s land.

Rep. Don Young, chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs and a co-sponsor of the bill said: “This bill is going . . .  empower[ ] America’s first people to use their lands the way they see fit . . . For those who say this legislation is too ‘radical’, I say that that’s exactly what is needed. America’s tribes are sitting on valuable lands that contain countless resources, yet every time they try to develop that land, the Federal Government is standing in their way playing big brother.”

Rep. Dan Boren, D-Ok, co-sponsored the bill:  “I am pleased to work with Chairman Young on this bill, which would bring more sovereignty to tribes across the country.” 

Read more:

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