Today, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, made the following statement on the unanimous Senate passage of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act of 2011 (H.R. 1272), the Barona Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Clarification Act of 2012 (S. 3193), and the National Native American Heritage Month Resolution (S.Res. 561). All three bills passed the Senate over the weekend.
"Since becoming Chairman of this committee last spring, I have worked hard with Vice Chair Barrasso and the other Senators on this committee to advance the priorities of all Native American peoples and to work to improve their lives. Each of these bills will have a positive impact on tribes and surrounding communities." said Chairman Akaka. "Mahalo - thank you- to my colleagues in the Senate for working with me in a bipartisan manner to pass these bills."
H.R. 1272 would distribute settlement funds to compensate tribal members for the improper taking and sale of their land and timber. This bill passed the House of Representatives on June 18, 2012, and was favorably reported out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on June 28, 2012. It now heads to the President for enactment.
S. 3193 would make technical corrections to the legal description of certain land to be held in trust for the Barona Band of Mission Indians. This bill was favorably reported out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on June 28, 2012, but awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.
S.Res. 561 recognizes November as Native American Heritage Month and celebrates the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States. S.Res. 561 was introduced by Chairman Akaka on September 19, 2012