WASHINGTON, D.C.— JUNE 13, 2018 — The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs voted unanimously today to send H.R. 1491, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act of 2017, to the Senate floor with the recommendation that the bill be enacted by the full body.
The bill ratifies the decision by the Secretary of the Interior on December 24, 2014, to place approximately 1,400 acres of land, known locally as Camp 4, into trust for the benefit of the tribe.
“The unanimous support of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs demonstrates that good faith cooperation between tribes and local governments will be recognized with swift and decisive action in Washington,” said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “We look forward to passage of H.R. 1491 by the full Senate in the near future.”
The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in November 2017 and includes a historic agreement between the tribe and Santa Barbara County to create tribal housing that is consistent with local building codes and that protects the environment. The tribe plans to build 143 housing units and a small Tribal Hall on the land.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs and our own Congressman Salud Carbajal have reached across the aisle to support H.R. 1491.
U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California have also joined the tribe in asking for quick and favorable consideration of the legislation.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has jurisdiction to study the unique problems of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples and to propose legislation to alleviate these difficulties. These issues include, but are not limited to, Indian education, economic development, land management, trust responsibilities, health care, and claims against the United States.
All legislation proposed by members of the Senate that specifically pertains to American Indians, Native Hawaiians, or Alaska Natives is under the jurisdiction of the Committee.
The Santa Ynez Reservation is located in Santa Barbara County and was established and officially recognized by the federal government on December 27, 1901. Today, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians remains the only federally recognized Chumash tribe in the nation. The tribe is a self-governing tribal sovereign nation and follows the laws set forth in its tribal constitution.