BIA changes stance on Narragansett land acquisition
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has shifted its stance on a land acquisition for the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island.

In December, the BIA said it wouldn't try to obtain surplus U.S. Navy land for the tribe. A letter cited concerns about an appraisal and the cost of cleaning up the 260-acre site on Aquidneck Island.

But Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk has retracted the letter. He says the tribe needs the land for economic development and other purposes.

The BIA's shift could indicate a new approach to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The decision restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934 but the Narragansett didn't gain recognition until 1983.

The Obama administration supports a bill to fix the decision but could be looking at internal solutions to the issue.

Get the Story:
Narragansett tribe’s bid for Navy land revived (The Providence Journal 2/24)
West Side setback: Tribes want land after all (East Bay Newspapers 2/24)
Tribe still interested in Navy land (Providence Business News 2/23)

Related Stories:
BIA won't acquire surplus land for Narragansett Tribe (12/8)
BIA seeks another extension for surplus land (8/19)
BIA granted extension to acquire surplus land (7/24)
BIA seeks more time to acquire land for tribes (7/14)
Narragansett Tribe seeks surplus Navy property (06/10)
Tribes interested in surplus Navy properties (4/10)