Senate passes land-into-trust measure for tribes in New Mexico

The 19 Pueblos of New Mexico opened the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Albuquerque Historic Old Town on a portion of the former Indian school property in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo from IHG

A bill to place 11 acres in trust for the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico is advancing in the 114th Congress.

The Senate approved S.986, the Albuquerque Indian School Land Transfer Act, by unanimous consent on Tuesday. The bill will help the tribes pursue economic development opportunities in New Mexico's largest city.

“This bill is yet another example of the Senate coming together to get things accomplished for Native communities," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said in a press release. “These Indian Pueblos sought legislative action and I am glad the Senate responded. I urge the House of Representatives to take up this measure soon.”

"This bill will help New Mexico's Pueblos move forward with positive economic development plans on the land adjacent to the Pueblo Cultural Center,” added Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico). “It places four tracts of land from the former Albuquerque Indian School into trust for the All Indian Pueblo Council, consolidating the last parcels of the old school property into the Albuquerque Indian School District. Doing so enables the Pueblos to build on their ongoing efforts to transform the property into a unique business and cultural center that will help create jobs and enhance cultural education opportunities for the Pueblos, the city of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico."

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: Senate Indian Affairs Committee Business Meeting

Udall introduced the bill on April 16. It cleared the Senate Indian Affairs Committee at a business meeting on May 13.

The House version is H.R.1880. The bill received a favorable hearing before the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs on July 23.

The land at issue is part of the former Albuquerque Indian School. It's located next to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and will be used for economic development projects.

The House could take up S.986 or it could proceed with H.R.1880.

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