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AZ Congressman Pushes Bill To Strengthen Ties Between Tribes and Feds

Bill Clark
CQ Roll Call

An Arizona Congressman is proposing legislation aimed at building trust between Native American tribes and the federal government. As Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports, Republican Paul Gosar believes it’s a relationship that needs serious improvement.  

Gosar says too often issues brought up by Native American tribes don’t get enough attention in Congress. His bill, called “The American Indian Trust Responsibility Act,” aims to solve that issue. Gosar says the last time Congress formally discussed improving relationships with tribes was in the late 1970s. He believes another review is long overdue.

“What I’d like to see is a concerted effort for the tribes to have dictation over the lands and authority that they have," says Gosar. "And that still does not exist in its totality as we currently sit within the federal government.”

Gosar says his bill would provide a blueprint for better communication between Congress and federally recognized tribes.

“The federal government has hardly been a good operator for the tribes, and many times it’s the government’s way or the highway," says Gosar. "That doesn’t stack well with me and I don’t think it stacks well with the tribes.”

The office for the Navajo Nation President applauds Gosar’s bill. It suggests that if the measure passes, Congress take a closer look at the role states play in the relationship between sovereign tribes and the federal government. 

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