Washington, D.C. – Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today praised the passage of their two bills that would streamline the Bureau of Indian Affairs process for putting land into trust for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
This week’s House approval of the two bills written by Wyden and Merkley follows Senate approval on July 14 and sends the legislation to the desk of President Obama.
“These bills mark a significant step forward for tribal sovereignty and the right of the Siletz and Grand Ronde tribes to grow their own economies and build up their own communities,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified to have worked with Senator Merkley to pass these two pieces of legislation that begin to honor long-ago promises made to the tribes.”
“Too often in our history, we have not kept our promises to tribes in Oregon and across the nation,” Merkley said. “The passage of these bills is another milestone in the journey of righting these wrongs, and more fully empowering their sovereignty and self-determination.”
“I’d like to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley, and Congressman Schrader, for their tireless work passing this legislation. The new law helps provide the Siletz Tribe a fair process to recover a small portion of our historic reservation,” said Dolores Pigsley, Siletz Tribal Chairman.
“This legislation will enable the Tribe to more efficiently move the land it owns into reservation status, which is historically a very complex and time-consuming process,” said Chairman Reyn Leno of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. “The Tribe would like to thank Senators Merkley and Wyden and the Oregon delegation for their support in advancing this important piece of legislation.”