A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Good afternoon, Chairman Young, Ranking Member Boren, and members of the Subcommittee. My name is Jodi Gillette. I am the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior (Department). Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on behalf of the Department on H.R. 1556, a bill to amend the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act (Omnibus), Pub. L. No. 106-568 (2000).
In 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act (Omnibus Act). Title VIII, Subtitle B, of the Omnibus Act provides that certain land in Santa Fe, New Mexico, upon which the Santa Fe Indian School is located, is to be held in trust for the benefit of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, and requires that such land be used solely for the educational, health, or cultural purposes of the Santa Fe Indian School.
H.R. 1556 seeks to amend the Omnibus Act so that those lands taken into trust for the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico (Santa Fe Indian School Property) under the Omnibus Act can also be used for economic development projects that go toward the educational, health, or cultural purposes of the Santa Fe Indian School. The Department understands that the 19 Pueblos, for whom the property is held in trust, seek to generate revenue through the allowed land use for economic development projects, and the revenue from those projects would go toward the improvement and maintenance of the Santa Fe Indian School Property and would also go toward the educational, health and cultural purposes of the Santa Fe Indian School. The Department supports the allowed land use for economic development projects and also supports the continued effort for such projects' benefits to go toward the education, health and cultural purposes of the Santa Fe Indian School.
The Department supports H.R. 1556 and looks forward to the opportunity to work with this Subcommittee, the bill sponsor, and the 19 Pueblos in New Mexico to ensure the passage of H.R. 1556. This concludes my prepared statement. I will be happy to answer any questions the Subcommittee may have.