Indian Affairs Announces Approval of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians’ Business Regulations Under the HEARTH Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) announced today that it has approved a business site leasing ordinance submitted by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, a federally recognized tribe in Michigan, under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership (HEARTH) Act of 2012. The Band is now authorized to enter into business leases on its trust lands without further approval by the BIA.

“The HEARTH Act continues to fulfill its mandate of supporting tribal self-determination and sovereignty by respecting tribal government management of tribal lands through the leasing process,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “We hope to see more applications by tribal leaders seeking to exercise greater autonomy and direct control over trust land-use planning that directly benefits their people.”

The HEARTH Act made a voluntary alternative land-leasing process available to federally recognized tribes by amending the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955 (25 U.S.C. 415). It established the authority of those tribes to develop and implement their own laws governing the long-term leasing of Indian trust lands for residential, business, agricultural, renewable (solar and wind) energy, and other purposes. Once a tribe’s HEARTH application is approved, it is authorized to negotiate and enter into leases without further approvals by the Secretary of the Interior through the BIA.

Tribes may submit HEARTH applications to the 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.

Interested tribes may submit their regulations by mail to:

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Office of Trust Services, Deputy Bureau Director–Trust Services
Attention: Division of Real Estate Services
1849 C Street, N.W., MS-4620-MIB
Washington, D.C. 20240