Washington Congressional Members Introduce Legislation to Help Puyallup Tribe Place Over 17 Acres of Land in Trust to Spur Economic Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representatives Derek Kilmer (D, WA-06) and Marilyn Strickland (D, WA-10) introduced the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land Into Trust Act of 2022. Land is taken into trust when land is transferred to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to be held in trust for the benefit of the Tribe. The legislation would take over 17 acres of land currently owned by the Puyallup Tribe into trust, restoring part of the Tribe’s ancestral homeland and allowing the Tribe to pursue economic development and job creation opportunities at the Port of Tacoma and on the Tacoma waterfront.

“The Puyallup Tribe is an economic force in the South Sound. Taking this land into trust will allow the Tribe to create more jobs and it will return the Tribe to its ancestral homeland on the Tacoma waterfront,” said Sen. Cantwell. “I look forward to working with our delegation to get this bill signed into law.

“Our Tribal communities should be able to benefit from the same opportunities that have helped other communities across Washington state grow and thrive,” said Sen. Murray. “That is why, along with my colleagues, I am proud to take action with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land Into Trust Act to ensure the Puyallup Tribe can grow its economy, create jobs, and get the resources and tax benefits for which it is entitled from the federal government and I will continue to fight to ensure Washington state’s Native communities are given a fair shake.”

“For thousands of years, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians have called the shores of the Puget Sound home. This legislation will help restore those homelands - ensuring the Tribe can continue to diversify and grow its economic opportunities, and help create jobs across our region. I’ll keep working to ensure the federal government fulfills its trust and treat obligations,” said Rep. Kilmer.

“I am proud to support the Puyallup Tribe and work with members of the Washington state delegation to spur economic development and infrastructure investments,” said Rep. Strickland. “This legislation helps advance the Puyallup Tribe’s vision for a vibrant, healthy, and working Puget Sound as well as honoring treaty rights.”

“The Puyallup Tribe greatly appreciates the delegation’s support of the Tribe in our efforts to restore our homeland,” said Puyallup Tribe Chairman Sterud. “This legislation will help the Tribe diversify its economy and bring critical infrastructure and business to the Tribe’s port development and the entire region.”

To transfer Tribal lands into trust, Tribes may apply to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The BIA will either approve or deny the application, or Congress may pass a bill directing the BIA to take the land into trust. Due to legacy contamination, the BIA is unable to take the land into trust and Congressional action through legislation is “the most viable option” as the BIA affirmed this in a letter to the Tribe on August 15, 2022.

Land that is taken into trust by the federal government is governed by the Tribe and can benefit from federal programs and services such as New Market Tax Credits, Tax-Exempt Financing, Discounted Leasing Rates, Foreign Trade Zone Customs and Duty Deferral, among other benefits that protect Tribal sovereignty and allow the Tribe to create economic opportunities for its Members and surrounding communities.

The proposal for the land to be taken into trust is supported by the City of Tacoma, Pierce County, and Governor Inslee.

Go HERE for the full bill text.