Huffman Introduces Bill to Expand Yurok Lands and Strengthens Self-Governance
Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) introduced the Yurok Lands Act, a pivotal piece of legislation that aims to strengthen self-governance and sovereignty, and improve tribal infrastructure.
“The Yurok Tribe would like to sincerely thank Congressman Huffman for his commitment to serving all residents of the North Coast,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This bill serves to support our independence and continued success as a thriving Tribal nation.”
“The revised Yurok Lands Act will help to realize past commitments made by Congress to the Yurok Tribe,” said Rep. Huffman. “The legislation will provide a reservation that serves the tribe’s interests, and give the tribe a role in land management decisions that affect the tribe. The legislation strikes a careful balance to resolve longstanding management challenges: meeting many of the Yurok’s objectives, while preserving the rights of neighboring tribes and local interests.”
The Yurok Lands Act Accomplished the following:
- Transfers 1,229 acres of U.S. Forest Service land known as the Yurok Experimental Forest into trust for the tribe
- Redraws the reservation boundary line to encompass the Yurok Experimental Forest, recently purchased fee land and a U.S. Forest Service property in proximity to the Blue Creek watershed, one of the Tribe’s most sacred areas
- Positions the Yurok Tribe to directly participate in federal land management decisions within the revised Yurok Reservation.
- Mandates federal land management agencies to consult with the tribe before major actions on federal land that may affect the amended Yurok Reservation boundary
- Affirms the Yurok’s governing documents to strengthen tribal governance and sovereignty
NOTE: This is slightly updated version from the first post.