The Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, chaired by Alaskan Congressman Don Young, held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3532, the American Indian Empowerment Act of 2011. This bill, introduced by Rep. Young, would increase tribal authority over their own lands -- something tribes have wanted for years. Specifically, this bill would allow a tribe to request that the title to its tribal land be taken out of trust and conveyed to the tribe while also ensuring such lands retain their "Indian Country" status, meaning lands would remain inalienable.
"Today's hearing was a major step in the direction of getting the Federal government out of the way of America's tribes," said Rep. Young. "Some may say my bill is too radical; I say to them that is exactly what is needed. America's tribes are the ones feeling the worst brunt of the Federal government's outdated and overreaching regulations. We can do better! That is why I am committed to exploring new ideas and crafting a federal Indian policy that works with our tribes, not against them."