Dancers at a Klamath Tribes restoration celebration in Oregon. Tribes were restored to federal recognition in 1986 after being terminated by Congress in 1954 Photo: jmerriam7
National | Politics | Trust

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs advances bill to benefit Klamath Tribes

A bill to repeal one of the many remnants of the termination era is advancing in Congress.

Like many other victims of the failed policy, the Klamath Tribes lost its federal status during the 1950s. Yet Congress had to continue legislating with respect to the tribe, which resulted in the passage of the Klamath Tribe Judgment Fund Act a decade later.

As a result, even though the tribe's federal status was eventually restored in 1986, its trust funds and trust assets are tied to the restrictive termination-era law. S.1223, the Klamath Tribe Judgment Fund Repeal Act, would change that by repealing the 1956 law.

“This legislation is designed to promote the Klamath Tribe’s ability to exercise its sovereign authority and discretion over tribal funds," Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said on Wednesday afternoon.

Indianz.Com on SoundCloud: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Business Meeting October 25, 2017

Hoeven's committee approved S.1223 by a voice vote at a business meeting yesterday. The bill can now be considered by the full Senate.

S.1223 was introduced on May 24. The committee held a hearing on the bill on July 12, when a representative of the tribe explained the need to repeal the Klamath Tribe Judgment Fund Act.

"This legislation denigrates sovereignty," said attorney Don Wharton of the Native American Rights Fund, which represents the tribe. "It disallows the tribe the ability to determine the distribution and the allocation of its own assets."

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Business Meeting to Consider S. 1223 (October 25, 2017)

Related Stories:
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs holds business meeting for Klamath Tribes bill (October 23, 2017)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs takes testimony on three bills at hearing (July 12, 2017)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs adds another hearing to July schedule (June 29, 2017)