Indian Affairs Announces HEARTH Act Approval for Three Tribes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) announced that regulations submitted by three federally-recognized tribes under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership (HEARTH) Act of 2012 have been approved. With this action, the three tribes – Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico, and Table Mountain Rancheria in California – now have the authority to govern and manage the leasing of their Indian trust and restricted fee lands for agriculture, business, residential, solar and wind energy evaluation purposes without additional review by the department.

“Since its enactment almost a decade ago, the HEARTH Act has been living up to Congress’s intent that Tribal Nations decide how best to utilize and protect trust and restricted lands for the benefit of their peoples,” said Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “The HEARTH Act continues to aid tribal efforts in building sustainable economies that support their self-determination and sovereignty.”

The types of leasing regulations approved are:

  • Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona: business site leasing ordinance, residential leasing ordinance and wind and solar leasing code
  • Pueblo of Jemez: agriculture, business and wind and solar leasing code and residential leasing code
  • Table Mountain Rancheria: residential 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. 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 m energy, residential and other purposes.

Under the HEARTH 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.

The BIA Office of Trust Services’ Division of Real Estate Services (DRES) administers the HEARTH Act review process for tribal leasing regulations applications. Interested tribes may submit their regulations by mail to:

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Office of Trust Services
Attention: Division of Real Estate Services
1001 Indian School Road NW, Box 44
Albuquerque, NM 87104