Senate Sends White House Domenici's ABQ Indian School Land Transfer Bill
The Senate has given final approval and sent to the White House a bipartisan bill authored by U.S. Senator Pete Domenici to place additional old Albuquerque Indian School property into trust for future economic development by 19 New Mexico pueblos.
Final passage of the Albuquerque Indian Schools Act (S.1193) occurred Wednesday evening. It is now ready for President Bush to sign the bill into law. The bill places two parcels of federal land on 12th Street in Albuqueqrue into trust to benefit 19 New Mexico pueblos. The legislation was cosponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman.
"I am very happy to have this bill passed and ready to become law. It is one good and positive action in this lame-duck session of Congress that can have long-term economic benefits for the pueblo people," said Domenici, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
"This land represents a real economic opportunity for New Mexico's pueblos and I'm glad this bill is on its way to the president's desk," Bingaman said.
Transfer of the two parcelsapproximately nine acresrepresents the second such transfer from the old Albuquerque Indian School, which was requested by the pueblos in 2003. Under S.1193, the land would be taken into trust by the Interior Department and available for the "educational, health, cultural, business or economic development purposes of the 19 pueblos." The bill also prohibits gaming on the land, which is situated near downtown and Old Town and could serve purposes related to tourism, conferences and tribal business for both areas.
Following a 1981 request, Congress originally placed 44 acres of Indian School property, located north of I-40, into trust for the pueblos. Since then, the acreage has been developed by the pueblos and is home to two prominent Interior Department office buildings that house the BIA Southwest Regional Office, the National BIA Training Center and the BIA Data Center.
The 19 New Mexico pueblos that will benefit from this bill include: Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Sandia, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, Zia and Zuni.