Indian Affairs Passes Bill To Support Native-Led Tourism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Committee, led Committee passage of S. 385, a bill to amend the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act to authorize grants to Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and Native Hawaiian organizations, and for other purposes. The bill, which Schatz and Murkowski introduced last week, builds on legislation passed by the Committee last Congress.

“Tourism can empower Native communities across the country to share their own stories, cultures, and traditions with visitors,” said Chairman Schatz. “Our bill would strengthen existing federal resources in the NATIVE Act and ensure a whole-of-government approach to supporting Native-led tourism opportunities. I thank Vice Chairman Murkowski for her partnership in moving this important priority forward.”

“The Indian Affairs Committee reported three bipartisan bills to the full Senate that will help simplify the complexities of tribal homeownership, further tribal self-determination and increase economic development opportunities in Native communities,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “I am especially excited about the NATIVE Act Amendments I am co-leading with my friend, Chairman Schatz. Tourism in Alaska is a growing sector of our economy. This legislation will provide the investments needed to further expand Native-run tourism and highlight the vibrancy and resiliency of Native cultures and traditions in Native communities. I am hopeful we can move these bills quickly through the Senate and House this year and see them signed into law by the President.”

The Committee also passed S. 70, the Tribal Trust Land Homeownership Act of 2023, and S. 277, a bill to take certain land located in San Diego County, CA, into trust for the benefit of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and for other purposes.