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U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Membership (In state order, following leadership)
Chairman Bryon Dorgan (North Dakota - D)
Vice Chairman John Barrasso (Wyoming - R)
John McCain (Arizona - R)
Lisa Murkowski (Arkansas - R)
Daniel Inouye (Hawaii - D)
Daniel Akaka (Hawaii - D)
Michael Crapo (Idaho - R)
Al Franken (Minnesota - D)
Jon Tester (Montana - D)
Tom Udall (New Mexico - D)
Mike Johanns (Nevada - R)
Tom Coburn (Oklahoma - R)
Kent Conrad (North Dakota - D)
Tim Johnson (South Dakota - D)
Maria Cantwell (Washington - D)

Staff Link:

Background (from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Web site): The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs was established in 1977 as a temporary Select Committee by the 95th Congress, and after several extensions, was made permanent by Senate vote on June 6, 1984. The Committee has jurisdiction to study the unique problems of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples and to propose legislation to alleviate these difficulties. These issues include, but are not limited to, Indian education, economic development, land management, trust responsibilities, health care, and claims against the United States. Additionally, all legislation proposed by Members of the Senate that specifically pertains to American Indians, Native Hawaiians, or Alaska Natives is under the jurisdiction of the Committee.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs had previously been in existence since the early 19th century, but in 1946, a legislative reorganization act abolished both the House and Senate Committees on Indian Affairs. After 1946, Indian affairs legislative and oversight jurisdiction was vested in subcommittees of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate. This subcommittee arrangement coincided with a 20-year hiatus in Indian affairs known as the "Termination Era" -- a period in which the prevailing policy of the United States was to terminate the Federal relationship with Indian tribes or transfer jurisdiction over tribal lands to the states.

By the mid-1960s, this Termination philosophy was in decline as a failed policy and the Congress began to include Indian tribes in legislation designed to rebuild the social infrastructure of the Nation and provide economic opportunities for economically-depressed areas. In the early 1970's the Termination era was decisively ended with the enactment of the Menominee Restoration Act of 1973. Although a number of important legislative initiatives affecting Indians were enacted in the early 1970's, it became clear that the existing subcommittee structure was not providing an adequate forum for legislating appropriate solutions to problems confronting Indian country. Legislative jurisdiction over Indian affairs was fragmented among a number of committees, with more than 10 committees in the Congress responsible for Indian affairs. This resulted in a sometimes disjointed treatment of Indian affairs and in an often haphazard development of Federal Indian policy. Following a Federal commission review of all aspects of policy, law and administration relating to affairs of the United States with American Indian tribes and people, a number of steps were taken, which included the establishment of this Committee.

Follow this link to information on the Committee's actions to repair the federal acknowledgement process for Indian tribes.

Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate
838 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-2251

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations

Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Membership (In state order, following leadership)
Chairman Norman D. Dicks (Washington - D)
Ranking Member Michael K. Simpson (Idaho - R)
David R. Obey (Wisconsin - D/Ex Officio - Chair of Appropriations Committee)
Jerry Lewis (California - R/Ex Officio-Ranking Member of Appropriations Committee)
Ed Pastor (Arizona - D)
Ken Calvert (California - R)
Ben Chandler (Kentucky - D)
John W. Olver (Massachusetts - S)
Maurice D. Hinchey (New York - D)
David E. Price (North Carolina - D)
Steven C. LaTourette (Ohio - R)
Tom Cole (Oklahoma - R)
James P. Moran (Virginia - D)
Alan B. Mollohan (West Virginia - D)