CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, January 13, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 841, To amend the Grand Ronde Reservation Act to make technical corrections, and for other purposes, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 841 was introduced on February 26, 2013 by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and was reported by the House Natural Resources Committee on June 12, 2013 by unanimous consent.
H.R. 841 amends the Grand Ronde Reservation Act to make several technical changes. Specifically, H.R. 841 makes it easier for the Grand Ronde Tribe to apply with the Department of the Interior to place in trust land it acquires within the bounds of its original 1857 reservation. H.R. 841 formally adds to the reservation 288 acres previously acquired by the tribe. H.R. 841 deems property placed in trust since September 9, 1988 part of the tribe’s reservation. Having land in trust is what enables the tribe to exercise jurisdiction over its lands, as is typical in other Indian reservations.
In addition, H.R. 841 prohibits the tribe from conducting gambling pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 on any lands taken in trust under the facilitated process under this bill unless the lands are within a two-mile radius of the tribe’s existing casino.
The Grand Ronde Reservation was established in 1857 by President James Buchanan. It was originally established for several tribes, and encompassed more than 60,000 acres. Federal supervision over the Grand Ronde was terminated in 1954, due to Congress’ determination “that its policy of recognizing tribes, holding their lands in a federal trust, and supervising their affairs made Indians wards of the government and thereby restricted their freedom to use their lands.”
Objection by Indian peoples prompted the restoration of recognized status to a number of tribes. In 1988, Congress recognized the Grand Ronde and created a reservation, mostly within the bounds of its original 1857 reservation in Polk and Yamhill Counties, Oregon. The tribe currently has 10,311 acres of trust land, all but 259 of which are forested, and is actively engaged in timber management. To increase its land base within the original 1857 boundaries, the tribe acquires property and applies to the Department of the Interior to place the property in trust for the tribe.
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According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 841 would have no significant impact on the federal budget. The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.