RL34521 – Carcieri v. Salazar: The Secretary of the Interior May Not Acquire Trust Land for the Narragansett Indian Tribe Under 25 U.S.C. Section 465 Because That Statute Applies to Tribes “Under Federal Jurisdiction” in 1934 – 2016-08-23

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Carcieri v. Salazar: The Secretary of the Interior May Not Acquire Trust Land for the Narragansett Indian Tribe Under 25 U.S.C. Section 465 Because That Statute Applies to Tribes “Under Federal Jurisdiction” in 1934

SKU: RL34521-2016-08-30 Categories: , Tag:

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Author: M. Maureen Murphy, Legislative Attorney
Pages: 35

In Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379 (2009), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a 1934 statute provides no authority for the Secretary of the Interior (SOI) to take land into trust for the Narragansett Indian Tribe (Tribe) because the statute applies only to tribes under federal jurisdiction when that law was enacted. The reach of the decision may be broad because it relies on the major statute under which the SOI acquires land in trust for the benefit of Indians. The decision appears to call into question the ability of the SOI to take land into trust for any recently recognized tribe unless the trust acquisition has been authorized by legislation other than the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) or the tribe can show that it was “under Federal jurisdiction” in 1934. A June 2012 Supreme Court decision, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, increases the possible effect that the Carcieri decision is likely to have in Indian country. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a plaintiff seeking to bring a suit to undo a trust acquisition by showing that the tribe for whom the land was taken into trust was not under federal jurisdiction in 1934. The decision has prompted the Bureau of Indian Affairs to revise the land acquisition regulations to specify that, once there is final agency action, land is to be taken into trust immediately without a 30-day waiting period. Bills: H.R. 732, H.R. 249, S. 1879, S. 732, H.R. 407, H.R. 3082