Note: Video feed from Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will begin shortly before 2:30pm Eastern on October 6, 2021.
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs takes up tribal water rights settlements
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Indianz.Com

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is getting back to work with a hearing on tribal water rights settlements.

Two bills are on the agenda for the hearing at 2:30pm Eastern Wednesday afternoon. They follow:

S.648, the Technical Correction to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation Water Rights Settlement Act of 2021. The bill makes technical corrections to perviously enacted water rights settlement for the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada and Idaho in order to help the tribes recover interest that was lost on their funds held in trust at the Department of the Interior.

S.1911, the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Community Water Rights Settlement Act of 2021. The bill ratifies a water rights compact for the Fort Belknap Indian Community, based in Montana.

The committee is scheduled to hear from three witnesses, including Bryan Newland, who was recently confirmed to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior. He had been serving as the Principal Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs since February.

Bryan Newland and Deb Haaland
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland ceremonially swears in Bryan Newland to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior on September 8, 2021. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior

Newland is a former president of the Bay Mills Indian Community, a tribal nation based Michigan. The hearing marks his first appearance on Capitol Hill since being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 7.

“The Biden administration recognizes that water is a sacred and valuable resource for Tribal Nations and that long-standing water crises continue to undermine public health and economic development in Indian Country,” Newland states in written testimony that expresses support for passage of S.648 and S.1911 in the 117th Congress.

“This administration strongly supports the resolution of Indian water rights claims through negotiated settlements,” Newland adds.

The witness for the hearing list follows:

The Honorable Bryan Todd Newland – [Testimony: PDF]
Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
Department of the Interior
Accompanied by Brent Esplin, Missouri Basin Regional Director, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior

The Honorable Brian Thomas – [Testimony: PDF]
Chairman
Shoshone-Paiute of the Duck Valley Reservation
Owyhee, Nevada

The Honorable Andrew Werk – [Testimony: PDF]
President
Fort Belknap Indian Community
Harlem, Montana

The hearing will be broadcast live at indian.senate.gov. It is the committee’s first since meeting since early August, when Congress went on break.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice
Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on S. 648 & S. 1911 (October 8, 2021)