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Partial land-into-trust fix being watched by non-Indian interests

Filed Under: Law | National | Politics
More on: appropriations, bia, carcieri, connecticut, land-into-trust, mashantucket, supreme court
     
   

A veterans powwow at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum Research Center in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Photo from Facebook

Officials in Connecticut are closely monitoring efforts to fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

According to The New London Day, the towns of Ledyard, North Stonington and Preston are worried that a partial fix under consideration on Capitol Hill could ratify a controversial land-into-trust application that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation withdrew more than a decade ago after winning a major court case that came before Carcieri.

Attorney Donald C. Baur told the paper that the towns want to "make sure that the way that provision is worded does not change the status quo in Connecticut."

In the February 2009 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Bureau of Indian Affairs can only acquire land in trust for tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934. The Pequots gained federal recognition through an act of Congress in 1983.

Officials in Connecticut tried to argue that the Pequots could not follow the land-into-trust process but the tribe withdrew the 165-acre application in February 2002 before the litigation apparently reached that stage. Carcieri came along seven years later.

Tribes have been asking Congress to fix the decision by ensuring that all tribes, regardless of the date of federal recognition, can benefit from the land-into-trust process. Those efforts have not been successful so a partial fix would only address acquisitions made up to February 24, 2009, the date of the Carcieri ruling.

The partial fix has been included in the fiscal year 2017 Interior appropriations bill that's under consideration in the House. According to The New London Day, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is working on a similar version in the Senate.

Get the Story:
North Stonington among towns monitoring tribal land trust legislation (The New London Day 6/25)

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Carcieri v. Salazar:
Syllabus | Opinion [Thomas] | Concurrence [Breyer] | Dissent [Stevens] | Concurrence/Dissent [Souter]

U.S> Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Briefs

Department of the Interior Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

Related Stories:
Another land-into-trust fix reportedly being drafted in the Senate (6/24)
Poarch Band seeks a partial Carcieri fix for existing trust lands (6/20)
A 'partial' land-into-trust fix added to Interior appropriations bill (6/16)
Supreme Court nominee comes with some Indian law experience (03/16)
Updates from Day 2 of National Congress of American Indians winter session in D.C. (02/24)
Updates from National Congress of American Indians winter session in D.C. (02/23)
NCAI President Brian Cladoosby urges support for land-into-trust bill (01/14)
Navajo Nation Council opposes land-into-trust reform measure (12/11)
Senate committee approves bill to reform land-into-trust process (12/02)
Senate committee to take up land-into-trust reform legislation (12/01)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
Patrick Sullivan: New Carcieri bill invites even more litigation (11/17)
Sen. Jon Tester: Congress must do right for Indian Country (11/13)
Congress yet to take action on Carcieri land-into-trust decision (10/28)
IBIA rejects challenge to Grand Traverse Band land-into-trust bid (10/01)
BIA treads new Carcieri ground in ruling for Massachusetts tribe (09/23)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe celebrates land-into-trust decision (09/18)
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House lawmakers introduce new version of land-into-trust fix (07/24)
White House threatens veto of funding bill for Indian programs (06/24)
NCAI responds to criticism from Rep. Young on land-into-trust (05/27)

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