Successful Tribal Summit to Address Carcieri Decision >>

June 28th, 2011

Successful Tribal Summit to Address Carcieri Decision

From June 21-23, USET and NCAI hosted a two-day “Carcieri Fix” Summit in Washington, D.C. Tribal leaders, Members of Congress, officials from the Obama Administration, and supporters gathered in the nation’s capital to urge passage of legislation to address the Carcieri decision. The bills that would address Carcieri are S. 676, introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), and H.R. 1291 and H.R. 1234, introduced by Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Congressman Dale Kildee (D-MI), respectively. The bills would reaffirm the Secretary of the Interior’s authority to place land into trust for all federally recognized Indian tribes. The Department of the Interior had executed this authority for over 75 years under Republican and Democrat Administrations until the Supreme Court issued the Carcieri decision in 2009.

On Tuesday, June 21, the Summit began with a tribal leaders strategy session held in the U.S. Capitol. On Wednesday, June 22, the day kicked off with a rally at the U.S. Capitol. Afterwards, Members of Congress and key Administration officials made presentations on the importance of this legislation in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing room. Also, tribal leaders met with a number of congressional offices to discuss the need to overturn the Carcieri decision.

On Thursday, June 23, the Senate Committee in Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing titled, “The Indian Reorganization Act—75 Years Later: Renewing our Commitment to Restore Tribal Homelands and Promote Self-Determination.” Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka, the sponsor of S. 676, noted during the hearing, “It is the responsibility of Congress to act when its intentions are misconstrued by the courts.” Akaka continued by stating, “To that end, I am committed to passing legislation to fix the Carcieri decision and to preserve the right of tribes to restore their homelands and exercise sovereignty over those lands.”

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