January 03, 2019

The HEARTH Act of 2012 and the Navajo Leasing Act of 2000: Financial and Self-Determination Issues

Josephine Foo

This article discusses funding and self-determination issues for tribes under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act of 2012 (“HEARTH Act”), Pub. L. No. 112-151 (codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 415(d), 415(h)). The article also discusses similar issues experienced by the Navajo Nation under a precursor law, the Navajo Trust Land Leasing Act of 2000 (Navajo Leasing Act), Pub. L. No. 106-568, § 1203(2) (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 415(e)). The HEARTH Act amended the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955 at 25 U.S.C. § 415(h) to provide tribes with an option to independently approve their own tribal trust land leases under tribal leasing laws. Tribes may exercise the act’s self-management option in agricultural, business, renewable energy, public purpose, religious, educational, recreational, and residential leases after voluntarily adopting tribal leasing regulations that are “consistent” with current federal leasing regulations at 25 C.F.R. part 162 and obtaining approval of those tribal regulations by the Secretary of the Interior. 

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