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Tribal leaders headed to Capitol Hill to push legislative priorities

Tribal Unity Impact Days. Photo from Facebook

Tribal leaders from across the country are on Capitol Hill this week to promote a unified legislative agenda.

With the 113th Congress winding down and the nation heading into election season, tribes are looking for action on some key issues. One of the biggest is a fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

In February 2009, the justices ruled that the land-into-trust process applies only to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934. Five years later, Congress has yet to address the situation while litigation continues to tie up the courts and the executive branch.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved S.2188, one version of the fix, in June but there's been little movement on the Senate floor. Meanwhile, over in the House, H.R.666 and H.R.279 have yet to receive a hearing.

Native languages are also high on the agenda this year. Tribes are pushing for passage of S.1948, the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act, and S.2299, the Native American Languages Reauthorization Act.

Carcieri, Native languages, voting rights and more are being discussed at Tribal Unity Impact Days today and tomorrow. The National Congress of American Indians, the Alaska Federation of Natives and the United South and Eastern Tribes are among the sponsors of the event.

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