8 Indian bills clear U.S. Senate
3 to be signed into law by President Biden.
WASHINGTON — The leadership of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs notes that 8 Indian-focused bills cleared the upper chamber this week.
· H.R. 441, the Don Young Alaska Native Health Care Land Transfers Act of 2022;
· H.R. 478, the Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act;
· H.R. 4881, the Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act;
· S. 989, the Native American Language Resource Center Act of 2021;
· S. 1402, the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages Act of 2021;
· S. 3168, a bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to modify the enforceability date for certain provisions, and for other purposes;
· S. 3308, the Colorado River Indian Tribes Water Resiliency Act of 2021; and
· S. 4104, the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2022.
“The bills headed to the President’s desk restore Tribal homelands, support Native health care and economic development, and help fulfill the federal trust responsibility to Tribal nations,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), chairman of the committee, said in a statement issued yesterday. “Still more legislation that passed the Senate last night – which now head to the House – strengthen the U.S.’s support for Native American language revitalization efforts and provide life-saving water delivery systems while boosting conservation efforts by communities. I look forward to getting all these bills across the finish line.”
“Yesterday, the Senate unanimously approved eight Indian Affairs bills,” added U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), vice-chair of the committee. “Three of the bills will head to the President’s desk to be signed into law, including the Don Young Alaska Native Health Care Transfers Act. These bills advance priorities important to Native communities, such as promoting Native American languages, development of water and sanitation systems, and returning lands of significance and cultural value to Tribes.”
In her own release, Murkowski singled out passage of H.R.441, the Don Young Alaska Native Health Care Land Transfers Act of 2022, which contains three separate Senate land conveyance bills sponsored by the senator.
“I thank my Senate colleagues for approving the Don Young Alaska Native Health Care Land Transfers Act,” the vice-chair said. “I have worked for several Congresses to advance these land transfers with Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young. I wish he could have been here to see it through with us.
“This legislation will allow for Tanana Tribal Council and Alaska Native health consortiums to modernize and continue to provide the highest quality health care for Alaskans. Whether it’s long overdue renovations to existing facilities, assisting in the delivery of water and sanitation construction to remote parts of the state, or expanding elder care and family wellness, these land transfers will improve public health in the communities they serve.”
The following tribal leaders issued statements upon passage of the bill:
“The Tanana Tribal Council would like to express our deep appreciation to Senator Murkowski, our late Congressman Young, and all the congressional staff that have worked tirelessly to assist in transferring the Old Indian Health Service Hospital site to the Native Village of Tanana,” said Victor Joseph, Executive Director of Tanana Tribal Council.
“SEARHC extends its deepest gratitude to Senator Murkowski and her continued commitment to all of Alaska - specifically rural and tribal healthcare in this legislation. Her leadership and support ensure that quality healthcare can be delivered throughout Alaska in some of the most challenging of environments in this country,” said Charles Clement, President and CEO of Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
“Quyana (thank you) to Senator Murkowski for securing passage of Congressman Young’s Alaska Native land transfer bill, that enables ANTHC to more efficiently support sanitation construction projects in Alaska. This will help lower costs, directing more resources toward construction in rural communities. We applaud Senator Murkowski for her leadership and thank our Congressional delegation for helping ANTHC achieve this milestone,” said Valerie Nurr’araluk Davidson, President/CEO of Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
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