US agency seeks to speed up Native American land decisions

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FILE – In this April 23, 2021, file photo, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. Haaland on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, announced steps intended to speed up the transfer of private lands into federal trust for the benefit of Native American tribes. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

U.S. Interior Department officials have moved to reverse actions taken under President Donald Trump that they said hindered efforts by Native American tribes to establish, consolidate and govern their homelands. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued an order Tuesday that allows regional officials within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to approve the transfer of off-reservation land into trust for tribes. Under Trump, those decisions were made in Washington and critics said that effectively froze some land transfers. Putting land into trust gives the federal government legal title while allowing tribes or individuals to use it for their own interests and not have to pay state and county taxes.

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