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Bill to Establish American Indian Trust Review Commission

H.R. 4388 – A Bill to Establish the American Indian Trust Review Commission

By Montoya Whiteman, Senior Program Officer, First Nations Development Institute

Bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and 13 co-sponsors introduced H.R. 4388 on April 3, 2014, to establish the American Indian Trust Review Commission, also cited as the American Indian Trust Responsibility Act of 2014.

In May 1977, the American Indian Policy Review Committee Final Report made a number of recommendations regarding the U.S.’s administration of its trust relationship with federally-recognized Indian tribes and their members, many of which have not been implemented.  There has been no general, comprehensive review of the U.S. trust relationship with federally recognized Indian tribes in 37 years.

Why now?  H.R. 4388 asserts that “Congress declares that it is timely and essential to conduct a review of the current state of the United States’ unique trust relationship with federally recognized Indian tribes and their members in order to better administer constitutional trust responsibilities and make necessary revisions in relevant trust statues, regulations and policies for the benefit of American Indian people.”  A key outcome of the commission is a report to the president and Congress on the findings, conclusions, recommendations and actions based on two years of investigative work that encompasses federal-American Indian relations.

You can track the American Indian Trust Review Commission bill and other government bills at GovTrack.us, which is a tool that helps citizens find and track bills in the U.S. Congress and understand their elected officials’ legislative records.

To access the 624-page, 1977 American Indian Policy Review Committee Final Report, visit https://archive.org/details/finalreport01unit.

What’s next for H.R. 4388 since its introduction?  It was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee where the chair will determine whether it will move past the committee stage.  Read H.R. 4388 at:  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4388.