Legislative: Hearing on H.R. 215

Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Time: 02:00 PM Location: Longworth House Office Building 1324


  • H.R. 215 (Rep. Don Young of AK), To empower federally recognized Indian tribes to accept restricted fee tribal lands, and for other purposes. “American Indian Empowerment Act of 2017.


  • According to the bill’s sponsor, the goal of H.R. 215 is to “empower tribal governments to lease and regulate their own lands and eliminate federal government restrictions that interfere with tribal decision-making and economic development.” While this goal is laudable and shared by many in Indian Country, the bill as written is too overly broad and undefined. Instead of fostering economic development, it would instead create confusion and ambiguity in relation to dealings on Indian lands and could undermine the federal trust relationship.  In addition, enactment of the HEARTH Act of 2012 successfully addressed many of the issues that H.R. 215 claims to address.