Audio from House subcommittee hearing on six Indian bills

The House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs held a hearing this afternoon on six Indian bills.

Lawmakers heard from two panels of witnesses. The first panel was solely dedicated to H.R. 2319, the Native American Veterans' Memorial Amendments Act of 2013.

The bill authorizes the National Museum of the American Indian to raise funds and start work on a memorial for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian veterans. The memorial would be located at the museum's site in the National Mall.

The bill received enthusiastic support from members of the committee from both political parties.

The second panel consisted of Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Mike Black and tribal leaders affected by the bills. However, a representative of the Alexander Creek village in Alaska wasn't available to testify on H.R. 1103, which the Obama administration opposes.

Black testified in support of the other four bills, three of which appear to be non-controversial. They were H.R. 2388, a land-into-trust bill for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in California; H.R. 2455, the Nevada Native Nations Lands Act; and H.R. 2650, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Non-Intercourse Act of 2013.

However, H.R. 1225, the Samish Indian Nation Homelands Act of 2013, drew dissent on the panel. Samish Nation Chairman Tom Wooten testified in favor of the land-into-trust bill for his tribe in Washington.

Chairwoman Jennifer Washington of the Upper Skagit Tribe testified in opposition. She said placing the land in trust opens the door for the Samish Nation to assert treaty rights that were denied in federal court and suggested it could allow the tribe to open an off-reservation casino.

The hearing lasted about 90 minutes. Audio can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud:

Committee Notice:
Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1103, H.R. 1225, H.R. 2319, H.R. 2388, H.R. 2455, and H.R. 2650 (July 23, 2013)

Related Stories:
Witness list for House subcommittee hearing on Indian bills (7/23)
Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee sets hearing (7/16)

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