Lake Tahoe is part of the ancestral territory of the Washoe Tribe. Photo: Deb Etheredge
National | Politics

Washoe Tribe asks Congress for help with restoring homelands

The Washoe Tribe is seeking to recover ancestral homelands around Lake Tahoe in Nevada.

The 375 acres at issue is currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. So it would take an act of Congress to return it to the tribe.

“We just feel strongly if federal land is going to be transferred, it should be returned to its original owners,” Chairman Neil Mortimer told the paper “Part of who we are, part of what identifies us as a people is the land we are on.”

Land transfer bills have gained popularity in recent years, with Republicans often taking the lead to take land out of federal management and transfer it to tribes, states and local governments. In 2016, more than 70,000 acres was placed in trust for six tribes as part of the Nevada Nations Land Act.

“Native people are one with the land and it raises our spirit,” Chairman Arlan D. Melendez of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, one of the beneficiaries of the bill, said at the time.

The Washoe Tribe is hoping its request goes into a land transfer bill being drafted by local officials, The Gazette-Journal reported. The bill's tentative title is the Washoe County Economic Development and Conservation Act. It has not yet been introduced in Congress.

The tribe is based in Nevada and California.

Read More on the Story:
American Indian tribe stakes claim to parts of Tahoe ski resort and golf course properties (The Reno Gazette-Journal May 7, 2018)