The Cherokee people continue to maintain ties to their ancestral lands in Tennessee. Photo: Sequoyah Birthplace Museum

Eastern Cherokees see strong support for Tennessee land-into-trust bill

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is seeing strong support for a bill to restore some of its ancestral lands in Tennessee.

H.R.146, the Eastern Band Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act, places about 96 acres in trust for the tribe, based in neighboring North Carolina. The lands are located at the Tellico Reservoir, a federally-managed site, and include significant sites such as the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and the grave of Oconostota, the First Beloved Man of the Cherokee people from 1775 to 1781.

Local officials and members of Congress are among the many backers of H.R.146, The Cherokee One Feather reported. Some are pushing Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) to introduce a companion version in the Senate, the paper said.

The House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs took testimony on October 4, 2017, when the bill was received favorably. The full House Committee on Natural Resources has not yet held a markup on it.

Since the start of the 115th Congress in January 2017, a handful of tribal land-into-trust bills have advanced in the House and in the Senate. One of them, H.R.1306, the Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act, was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Monday.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe’s land-into-trust bill has movement, support (The Cherokee One Feather January 9, 2018)

House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Notice:
Legislative Hearing on 3 Tribal Bills (October 4, 2017)

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