REFERENCE TITLE: tribal homelands; federal government





State of Arizona

House of Representatives

Fifty-fifth Legislature

Second Regular Session





HCR 2023


Introduced by

Representatives Blackwater-Nygren: Bolding, Cano, Epstein, Espinoza, Jermaine, Longdon, Pawlik, Shah, Tsosie, Senators Hatathlie, Stahl Hamilton





supporting the efforts of the united states government to protect and restore tribal homelands.





Whereas, the federal government, primarily under the United States Department of the Interior, is responsible for carrying out duties that are critical to the ability of tribal governments to manage their own homelands; and

Whereas, the United States Department of the Interior maintains a relationship with nearly 600 federally recognized tribal nations and manages, oversees or guides policy on the use of 500 million acres of federal and tribal land; and

Whereas, historical actions of the United States government, such as the long-defunct General Allotment Act, broke tribal lands into parcels, apportioned plots of land to individual tribal members and sold the remaining parcels to the public. This erosion of the land base of Native American tribes across the nation continues to negatively impact tribes in many ways, including impeding tribal economic development, cultural preservation, housing availability and public safety; and

Whereas, before the General Allotment Act, Native American tribes controlled more than 150 million acres of land, but by 1934 the United States government had sold more than 90 million acres of tribal land to settlers without compensating the tribes. Since implementing the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, only eight percent of this land has been recovered by tribes; and

Whereas, if allowed to persist, the negative impacts of past and current policies affecting tribal homelands will continue to affect the well-being of Native Americans and perpetuate disunity in the relationship between the United States government and tribal governments; and

Whereas, under the leadership of Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, and Undersecretary for Indian Affairs, Bryan Newland, an Ojibwe citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community, the United States Department of the Interior is working with tribal governments to protect and restore tribal homelands and to empower tribes in managing Indian lands by addressing the obstacles that impact tribal management of their homelands; and

Whereas, specifically, the Department of the Interior initiative is focused on three specific areas: the land-into-trust process, leasing and rights-of-way and sacred sites and treaty rights. These areas of focus present opportunities for tribes to improve housing for tribal members, to generate additional energy on their lands, to facilitate the use and sale of natural resources for the benefit of the tribes, to protect tribal cultures and ways of life and to ensure tribal sovereignty and self-determination; and

Whereas, the focus on the land-into-trust process enables tribes to reacquire lands proximate to or within their reservations to secure and consolidate a land base for tribal communities to thrive by localizing decision-making at the regional level, alleviating bottlenecks, reducing complexity and accelerating the land-into-trust process; and

Whereas, leasing and rights-of-way are vital in protecting the interests of tribes and tribal landowners, clarifying taxing authority and furthering economic development on tribal lands; and

Whereas, sacred sites and treaty rights are important in providing religious freedom by protecting places sacred to Native American people and enabling access to those sacred sites for the free exercise of religious rights and off-reservation treaty rights; and

Whereas, additional efforts by the federal government include commitments by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of the Interior to increase opportunities for tribes to manage and participate as co-stewards in such areas as fire management on Indian lands, streamlining the rights-of-way process for telecommunications projects on tribal lands and executing specific long-overdue transfers of land to tribes; and

Whereas, the United States Department of the Interior is playing a leading role in a larger initiative by the federal government to bring honor and trust to the relationships between the United States and tribal governments by upholding the federal government's treaty promises to the tribes. In doing so, the federal government can commit to collaborating with tribes to protect their lands and ensure that each tribe has a homeland where its citizens can live together and lead safe and fulfilling lives.


Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring:

That the Members of the Legislature affirm their support of initiatives led by the United States Department of the Interior to restore tribal homelands and to empower tribal governments to better manage Indian lands.