Office of Senator Maria Cantwell announcement.
Yesterday (July 19, 2023), during a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs business meeting, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land Into Trust Act introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) passed the committee unanimously. The legislation would take into trust a little over 17 acres of land currently owned by the Puyallup Tribe, restoring part of the Tribe’s ancestral homeland, and allowing the Tribe to pursue economic development and job creation opportunities at the Port of Tacoma and on the Tacoma waterfront.
Typically, Tribes may apply to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to transfer tribal lands into trust. However, due to legacy contamination, the BIA was unable to take the land into trust without Congressional action, and BIA affirmed in a letter to the Tribe on August 15, 2022 that Congressional legislation is “the most viable option” for this parcel.
Land that is taken into trust by the federal government is governed by the Tribe and can benefit from federal programs and services such as New Market Tax Credits, Tax-Exempt Financing, Discounted Leasing Rates, and Foreign Trade Zone Customs and Duty Deferral, among other benefits that protect tribal sovereignty and allow the Tribe to create economic opportunities for its members and surrounding communities.
The proposal for the land to be taken into trust is supported by the Puyallup Tribe, the City of Tacoma, Pierce County, and Governor Inslee. The bill now heads to the full Senate, where it may be considered at a future date.
The full bill text can be viewed HERE.