As part of President Obama’s goal of placing half a million acres of tribal homelands into trust for the benefit of tribal nations, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has placed 89,978 acres of land into trust status for the Pueblo of Isleta. The Administration’s single largest trust acquisition to date brings to nearly 400,000 the total acreage placed in trust on behalf of federally recognized tribes since 2009.
Secretary Jewell made the historic announcement at a formal signing ceremony in Isleta, New Mexico, with Isleta Governor E. Paul Torres, acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Lawrence S. Roberts and U.S. Senator Tom Udall.
“This land into trust milestone marks the culmination of years of hard work by the Pueblo of Isleta as well as important progress in the Obama Administration’s goals of empowering tribes, restoring tribal homelands to support self-determination and self-governance,” Secretary Jewell said. “I congratulate Governor Torres and the Pueblo’s leadership for their dedication to this priority, ensuring homelands for future generations.”
As part of President Obama’s pledge to work nation-to-nation with tribal leaders to strengthen their communities and build their economies, this Administration has taken a total of 397,268 acres into trust during the past seven years. That total represents almost 80 percent of the Administration’s goal of placing 500,000 acres into trust by the end of the President’s term. The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to acquire land in trust for federally-recognized Native American tribes by the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934.