The House Natural Resources Committee issued a report (H.Rpt. 114-633) on legislation (H.R. 2538) to take lands in Sonoma County, California, into trust as part of the reservation of the Lytton Rancheria of California. The report was advanced by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, on June 21.
Excerpts of the report follow:
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 2538 is to take lands in Sonoma County, California, into trust as part of the reservation of the Lytton Rancheria of California.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
The Lytton Rancheria is a tribe of approximately 270 enrolled members near the central California coast, with the tribal headquarters located in Santa Rosa, California. The original 50-acre Rancheria land, located approximately 20 miles north of Santa Rosa, was purchased and set aside by the United States in 1926 pursuant to the Landless and Homeless Indian Act. From the late 1930s to the late 1950s, the Rancheria was composed of two families and their descendants who moved to the 50-acre tract north of Healdsburg, California. In 1958, federal supervision of the Rancheria was terminated by an Act of Congress (Public Law 85-671, 72 Stat. 619). This occurred in the context of the ‘Termination Era’ when Congress determined to end its policy of recognizing tribes, holding their lands in federal trust, and supervising their efforts. Subsequently, title to the Rancheria land was transferred to individual members, who subsequently sold the land to non-Indians.
In 1987, aided by the California Indian Legal Services, the Lytton Rancheria joined as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the United States challenging the Congressional termination. In 1991, the U.S. District Court for Northern California approved a settlement negotiated between the federal government and a number of terminated Rancherias under which the government would recognize the Rancherias as tribes. 1 [Footnote] The settlement did not restore the original Lytton Rancheria property in Healdsburg, California, to the Rancheria or otherwise provide any land. The court did, however, recognize that the federal government and the Rancheria agreed that future lands could be placed in federal trust for the Rancheria within Sonoma County. 2 [Footnote] At the insistence of Sonoma County, restrictions were placed on land acquired by the Lytton Rancheria in Alexander Valley and within the original Rancheria boundaries. These restrictions included a use requirement consistent with the Sonoma County General Plan within the original Rancheria boundary. 3 [Footnote] Additionally, gambling was expressly prohibited on lands within the exterior boundaries of the original Rancheria lands in Alexander Valley.