GRIC applauds House passage of Homelands Legislation, H.R. 4032
July 20, 2018
Communications & Public Affairs Office
Gila River Indian Community
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 4032, the Gila River Indian Community Federal Rights-of-Way, Easements and Boundary Clarification Act, on July 17 with bipartisan support.
The legislation was introduced by Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) with sponsorship from other members of the Arizona delegation including Congressmen Paul Gosar; Andy Biggs, and David Schweikert and Congressman Ruben Gallego, who is also the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs.
Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis applauded the passage of the bill because it will enable the Community to protect culturally significant lands in the Estrella Mountains.
The primary purpose of the bill is to fully implement a prior settlement agreement with the federal government which settles a trust accounting suit brought by the Community and requires recordation of all federal rights-of-way on the Reservation.
The legislation also clarifies a section of the Community Reservation boundary that will avoid a title dispute with the City of Phoenix.
In exchange for the lands at issue in the disputed area along the Northwest boundary of the Reservation, the bill allows the Community to add approximately 3,400 acres of culturally important lands in the Estrella Mountains to its Reservation. The Community is in the process of purchasing this culturally significant land from the Bureau of Land Management.
The legislation passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote and will be sent to the Senate where it is expected to be referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
When the legislation passed the House, Governor Lewis remarked, “I am pleased that this bi-partisan legislation was passed out of the House of Representatives today.
This legislation will help correct decades of mismanagement of our trust resources and allow the Community to put its reservation lands to their best use for housing, economic development and natural resource uses.
The Community will also be able to acquire culturally relevant lands to ensure these areas are respected and left undisturbed. The Community looks forward to swift action in the Senate on this non-controversial legislation.”