But just two days after those remarks, members of the House Committee on Natural Resources -- including the sponsor of another bill that cleared the chamber -- listened as some hostile witnesses attempted to undermine some basic premises of the federal trust relationship. Certain tribes were "created" out of thin air, one alleged. Even the most "wealthiest" of tribes are getting their lands placed in trust, another charged. Several lawmakers didn't take too kindly to those suggestions. Although the level of displeasure was more pronounced on the Democratic side of the dais, some Republicans also voiced concerns. "This process is critical for resolving past injustices and promoting tribal self-sufficiency," said Rep. Jeff Denham (R-California), the sponsor of H.R.597, the Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act. The bill places about 940 acres in trust for the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, whose gaming earnings have enabled the tribe to slowly recover its land base in northern California. The third bill approved on Tuesday was H.R.1404, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Land Conveyance Act. The measure places about 40 acres in Arizona in trust for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, whose government-to-government relationship was restored by Congress in 1978. “We must do right by our tribal communities, and we must ensure that tribes are treated with the fairness and dignity they rightfully deserve, that their input is heard in the process, and that land acquisition for tribes remains a priority for our nation,” Rep. Norma Torres (D-California), the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, said on Thursday. The three bills approved this week await action in the Senate. Since the start of the 115th in Congress, lawmakers have yet to send a stand-alone Indian bill to President Donald Trump for his signature..
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