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Public Statements

Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BACA. Mr. Chair, I rise today to voice my strong opposition to H.R. 1904, a bill that would authorize a land exchange in the state of Arizona.

The lands impacted by this legislation contain many sites that are sacred to our Nation's first peoples.

We in Congress have a responsibility to protect the rights of our tribes to conduct religious ceremonies, and use their sacred sites. Unfortunately, H.R. 1904 disregards this obligation.

Previously, Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, NAGPRA, to protect the sacred sites of tribes. H.R. 1904 is a direct violation of the rights afforded to tribes by NAGPRA.

Both Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon worked to ensure the lands in question were protected and available for tribes to worship. H.R. 1904 would reverse these past efforts.

To make matters worse, the legislation does not give the land in question to an American-based company that would reinvest its profits here in the United States.

Instead H.R. 1904 gives control of the land to foreign owned mining corporations.

I urge my colleagues to ensure the religious rights of our Nation's first peoples are respected in the Southwest, and vote no on H.R. 1904.

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