Indian Affairs Passes Eight Tribal Bills at Business Meeting

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 the following bills at a business meeting:

  • S. 195, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Land Claim Settlement Act of 2023
  • S. 382, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land into Trust Confirmation Act of 2023
  • S. 910, a bill to amend the Grand Ronde Reservation Act, and for other purposes
  • S. 1286, a bill to amend the Siletz Reservation Act to address the hunting, fishing, trapping, and animal gathering activities of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and for other purposes
  • S. 1322, the UNLOCKED Act
  • S. 1987, the Fort Belknap Indian Community Water Rights Settlement Act of 2023
  • S. 2273, a bill to amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act
  • S. 2285, a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996

Following the business meeting, the Committee held a legislative hearing on S. 2088, the Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial and Sacred Site Act. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Wizipan Garriott from the Department of the Interior, Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Ryman Lebeau, and President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Frank Star Comes Out testified.

“These Committee-passed bills unlock opportunities for tribal economic development, protect Native children and families, help Native communities deliver housing for their members, and work to fulfill the United States’ trust and treaty obligations,” said Chairman Schatz. “The Committee also considered a bill that would set forth a tribal-led approach to honor the unarmed Lakota men, women, and children killed by the U.S. Army in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. I thank Vice Chairman Murkowski for her partnership in keeping up bipartisan momentum to move these bills out of Committee and on to the full Senate.”

“Yesterday, the Indian Affairs Committee reported bipartisan legislation 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, and complete the last remaining tribal water rights settlement in Montana,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski on the SCIA business meeting. “I am hopeful we can move these bills through the Senate and House this year and see them signed into law by the President.”

“This legislation will ensure that the sacred lands of the Wounded Knee Massacre will be forever protected by the Oglala River Sioux Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski on S. 2088. “Memorializing this land in no way absolves the U.S. Army of its actions in one of the deadliest massacres in our nation’s history, but it is an important step in honoring those who were lost on that dark day and promoting healing for their descendants.”