Tribal Government & News

Obama signs Reservation Act amendments into law

01.12.2017 Dean Rhodes Federal Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Barack Obama signed amendments to the Grand Ronde Reservation Act into law on Wednesday, Dec. 14, that streamline how the Tribe takes land into trust.

The law ends the two-step process that required the Grand Ronde Tribe to take each piece of former reservation land into trust with approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and then request that the land be designated reservation land by Congress.

The amendment will now allow the Grand Ronde Tribe to combine the two-step process for real property that is within the boundaries of its original 69,100-acre reservation established in 1857. It also stated that all real property taken into trust within the boundaries of the original reservation after Sept. 9, 1988, be considered reservation land.

Obama’s signature concludes a more than six-year effort by the Tribe to end the lengthy and cumbersome process. Tribal Council Chair Reyn Leno has often said the legislation will save the Tribe and federal government time and money by streamlining the process.

The Senate bill, introduced by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and co-sponsored by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, was approved on July 14, 2016, and sent to the House of Representatives. The House bill, sponsored by Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, was approved on Dec. 6, 2016.