On Monday President Obama signed the “Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act of 2012,” which allows federally recognized tribes to lease restricted lands for business, agricultural, public, religious, educational, recreational, or residential purposes without approval from the Secretary of the Interior.
According to White House Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs Jodi Gillette:
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.
President Obama believes in and supports tribal self-determination and his commitment to community development within Indian Country is reflected in his Administration’s record of accomplishments for Indian Country. Signing the HEARTH Act of 2012 is just another step in moving Indian Country forward.