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WASHINGTON On Monday, President Barack Obama signed the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership, HEARTH Act. This historic Act allows American Indian tribes to lease restricted lands for residential, business, public, religious, educational, or recreational purposes without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.
President Obama Signs HEARTH Act into Law
The HEARTH Act promotes greater tribal self-determination and will help create jobs in Indian country. Under the Act, federally recognized tribes can develop and implement their own regulations governing certain leasing on Indian lands. Upon Secretarial approval of these tribal regulations, tribes will have the authority to process land leases without Bureau of Indian Affairs approval.
This new authority has the potential to significantly reduce the time it takes to approve leases for homes and small businesses in Indian country. By allowing tribes to more quickly and easily lease their lands, the bill promotes investment in tribal communities and more broadly facilitates economic development.
“The HEARTH Act underscores President Obama's commitment to empower Indian nations and strengthen their economies by expanding opportunities for tribal governments,”
aid Secretary Salazar.
“This legislation complements the work we are doing at Interior to undertake the most comprehensive reforms of Indian land leasing regulations in more than 50 years. These parallel efforts will have a real impact for individuals and families who want to own a home or build a business - generating investment, new jobs and revenues.”
Upon approval of these tribal regulations by the Secretary of the Interior, tribes will have the authority to process land leases without Bureau of Indian Affairs approval. This new authority has the potential to significantly reduce the time it takes to approve leases for homes and small businesses in Indian Country.
“The HEARTH Act has been a legislative priority for Interior because it advances the authority and ability of federally-recognized tribes to control their homelands and provides them greater self-determination,”
said Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Del Laverdure.
“We are moving forward to finalize our internal reforms at Indian Affairs that will bring greater transparency, efficiency and workability to the Bureau of Indian Affairs approval process.”
posted July 31, 2012 8:10 am edt