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Congress asked to reverse Carcieri v. Salazar

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April 2, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees Native American issues, heard testimony yesterday that Congress should act quickly to rectify the February 24th ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Carcieri v. Salazar that bans the Interior Department from taking land into trust for Indian tribes recognized after 1934.

"The Supreme Court interpretation of the (law) will create two classes of tribes, the haves and have-nots," said Collette Routel, of University of Michigan Law School who wrote a brief in support of the Narragansett tribe in the Supreme Court case.

"While there are those who want to portray this decision and its ramifications solely as a gaming issue, let me assure everyone that it is much more than that," said U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, the committee chairman.
While Rahall successfully kept the discussion away from gambling, it will likely become an issue if legislation goes before the full House and Senate to change the Carcieri decision.

Michael Anderson, a former official for the Bureau of Indian, said the Indian Regulatory Act has enabled tribes to build headquarters, housing, schools and medical centers. "Carcieri threatens to undermine these successes with a new class of tribes that would not be eligible for land into trust."

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