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The U.S. agency is seeking to expedite Native American land decisions

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – U.S. Department of State officials on Tuesday ousted actions taken under President Donald Trump that they say have hampered the efforts of Native American tribes to establish, unite, and rule their homeland.

Home Secretary Deb Hollande has issued an order allowing regional Bureau of India officials to approve the transfer of private land that is not considered a federal trust by the tribes. Giving the land to the federal government gives the legal title to the property, while at the same time allowing tribes or individual Native Americans to use it for their own benefit without having to pay state or county taxes.

Interior officials adopted a policy in 2017 that the decision on reserved trust lands should be made by the Assistant Secretary at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. The change was opposed by the American National Congress of Indians, which said it would freeze gains without reservations էր was adopted without tribal consultation.

Hayland said in a statement that the repeal of the policy would allow tribes to decide how their land was used.

“We owe it to the tribes to protect their lands, to ensure that each tribe has a homeland where its citizens can live together,” said Haland, the first Native American to head the White House Cabinet.

The order issued by Deputy Attorney General Robert Anderson և related legal conclusions is intended to expedite decisions on more than 1,000 pending applications from U.S. tribes seeking more than 200,000 acres (81,000 acres) of land in trust. Applications are sometimes delayed for years, costing the tribes hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs and other costs.

Anderson also recalled the opinion released on the last day of Trump’s tenure that the Home Office has no authority to entrust Alaska territory.

Land trust has far-reaching implications for whether tribal police can carry out their duties, including tribal economic development programs to raise funds, as well as establish homeland and government offices for land that does not have land allotted.

The Trump administration has invested 75,000 acres (30,300 acres) in four years, up from more than 560,000 acres (226,600 acres) in the eight years of the Obama administration, State Department officials said.

The land trust system was adopted in 1934 when Congress passed the Reorganization Act of India in response to the more than 90 million acres (36.4 million acres) of tribal homelands that had been converted into private land under the 1887 Allocation Act.

Approximately 56 million hectares (22.7 million hectares) are currently under construction. The combined area is larger than Minnesota, accounting for more than 2 percent of the United States

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