Tribal lands restored

The U.S. Senate has approved S. 1436, a Nevada Native Nations Land Act, one of three tribal lands bills approved. The measure must still pass the House. It would transfer land from the management of federal agencies to tribal reservations:

About 19,094 acres of Bureau of Land Management-managed land to the McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe;

About 82 acres of U.S. Forest Service-managed land to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation;

About 941 acres of BLM-managed land to the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe;

About 13,434 acres of BLM-managed land to the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony;

About 6,357 acres of BLM-managed land to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe; and

About 31,269 acres of BLM-managed land to the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe.

“The Nevada Native Nations Land Act is an example of the Senate listening to Indian Country and responding,” said Senate Indian Affairs chair John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican. “Holding these lands in trust for the tribes will better empower them to use their lands as they see fit.”

Which is not the same thing as saying tribes can use their lands as they see fit. The bill contains language that says the U.S. Interior secretary can engage in restoration and fuel reduction activities on the land as well as sage hen (sage grouse) habitat restoration—and tribal gambling is prohibited.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said, “These are the ones [Nevada tribal leaders] who know how best to use it in order to create local jobs and economic development. That’s the way it should be.”

As long as they don’t compete with white casinos.