WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced that regulations submitted by three federally recognized tribes – the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in California and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona – have been approved under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act of 2012.
The tribes now have the authority to govern and manage the leasing of their Indian trust and restricted fee lands for certain purposes authorized under the HEARTH Act without having such leases undergo additional review by the Department of the Interior.
“The HEARTH Act continues to be valuable for tribal governments seeking to utilize their lands in ways that directly benefit their communities, but without the lengthy delays a Departmental review entails,” said Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “Supporting tribes in building sustainable economies for themselves is what the HEARTH Act is all about. I encourage those considering it to take a closer look at what the Act can do for them.”
The types of approved leasing regulations announced are:
- Cabazon Band of Mission Indians: business site leasing ordinance
- Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona: residential leasing ordinance
- Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation: business leasing regulations
The three approvals announced are among the 69 tribal nations that have received Secretarial approval for leasing regulations, with another 21 awaiting approval. Last month, the BIA announced that Pascua Yaqui had received approval for a business site leasing ordinance.
The HEARTH Act, which amended the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955 (25 U.S.C. 415), promotes tribal self-determination by making a voluntary, alternative land-leasing process available to federally recognized tribes through the Interior Department. It restored the authority of those tribes to develop and implement their own laws governing the long-term leasing of Indian trust lands for agricultural, business, renewable energy, residential and other purposes.
Under the Act, the Secretary is authorized to approve tribal regulations if they are consistent with the Department’s leasing regulations and provide for an environmental review process that meets requirements set forth in the Act. Once a tribe’s HEARTH application is approved, it can negotiate and enter into leases without further approvals.
Tribes may submit HEARTH applications to 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.