Tribal leaders urge support for bill to protect sacred sites
Tribal leaders urged lawmakers to pass a package of bills that would protect cultural and sacred sites.
The bills would create a new tribal cultural area designation and require Native input on any decision on those lands. The proposals would prohibit the sale of public lands that are or have ever been considered tribal lands without their input.
Another codifies tribal rights to lands they have connections to and would give tribes management authority over such lands.
A third would establish a more than 300,000-acre conservation area for the Great Bend of the Gila River.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva called the package an attempt to “put tribes at the front end” and Cronkite News reported that National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp said it’s a step in the right direction.
However, critics say the bill is too broad.