Law | Politics | Trust

Senate passes three Indian measures during late night session





After a late night session that saw the confirmation of Kevin Washburn as the new leader of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Senate approved three Indian bills early Saturday morning.

By unanimous consent, the Senate approved H.R.1272, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act. The bill distributes a $28 million trust fund that stems from the taking of tribal land in the late 1800s.

About $12 million will be distributed on a per capita basis to the 40,000-plus members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The remaining $16 million will be equally distributed to the six Chippewa bands that make up the MCT.

The House approved the bill on June 18. It will now be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The Senate also approved S.3193, the Barona Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Clarification Act , by unanimous consent. The bill clarifies which land is held in trust for the Barona Band of Mission Indians in California under a 2004 act of Congress.

There is no companion bill in the House at this point.

In another unanimous consent action, the Senate approved S.Res.561. The resolution recognizes November as National Native American Heritage Month and celebrates the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States.

Finally, the Senate approved S.Res.588, to honor Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya who was killed in an attack on September 11. The resolution does not mention that Stevens was a member of the Chinook Nation of Washington.