skip to main content

H.R. 2074: Indian Buffalo Management Act


The text of the bill below is as of Mar 18, 2021 (Introduced).


I

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2074

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 18, 2021

(for himself and Mrs. Torres of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

A BILL

To assist Tribal governments in the management of buffalo and buffalo habitat and for the reestablishment of buffalo on Indian lands.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Indian Buffalo Management Act.

2.

Findings; purposes

(a)

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

buffalo sustained a majority of Indian Tribes in North America for many centuries, before buffalo were nearly exterminated by non-Indian hunters in the mid-1800s;

(2)

the historical, cultural, and spiritual connection between buffalo and Indian Tribes has not diminished over time;

(3)

Indian Tribes have long desired the reestablishment of buffalo throughout Indian country for cultural, spiritual, and subsistence purposes; and

(4)

the successful restoration of buffalo allows an Indian Tribe to benefit from—

(A)

the reintroduction of buffalo into the diets of the members of the Indian Tribe;

(B)

the rekindling of the spiritual and cultural relationship between buffalo and the Indian Tribe; and

(C)

the use of buffalo for economic development, in the case of an Indian Tribe that chooses to use buffalo for economic development.

(b)

Purposes

The purposes of this Act are—

(1)

to fulfill the government-to-government relationship between Tribal governments and the United States in the management of buffalo and buffalo habitat;

(2)

to promote and develop the capacity of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to manage buffalo and buffalo habitat;

(3)

to protect, conserve, and enhance Indian buffalo, which are important to the subsistence, culture, and economic development of many Indian Tribes;

(4)

to promote the development and use of buffalo and buffalo habitat for the maximum practicable benefit of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, through management of buffalo and buffalo habitats in accordance with integrated resource management plans developed by Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations;

(5)

to develop buffalo herds and increase production of buffalo in order to meet Tribal subsistence, health, cultural, and economic development needs; and

(6)

to promote the inclusion of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations in Department, local, regional, national, or international—

(A)

decision-making processes; or

(B)

forums.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Buffalo

The term buffalo means an animal of the subspecies Bison bison bison.

(2)

Buffalo habitat

The term buffalo habitat means Indian land, as defined in paragraph (4) of this section, that is managed for buffalo.

(3)

Department

The term Department means the Department of the Interior.

(4)

Indian land

The term Indian land has the meaning given the term in paragraph (2) of section 2601 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (25 U.S.C. 3501), except that, in that paragraph, the term Indian reservation shall be considered to have the meaning given the term Indian reservation in paragraph (3) of that section, without regard to the date specified in paragraph (3) of that section.

(5)

Indian Tribe

The term Indian Tribe has the meaning given the term (without regard to capitalization) in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304).

(6)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior.

(7)

Tribal organization

The term Tribal organization means any legally established organization of Indians which is chartered under section 17 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (commonly known as the Indian Reorganization Act) (25 U.S.C. 5124), by the recognized governing body of any Indian Tribe or Tribes, and with demonstrable experience in the restoration of buffalo and buffalo habitat on Indian land.

4.

Buffalo resource management

(a)

Program established

The Secretary shall establish a permanent program within the Department of the Interior for the purpose of—

(1)

promoting and developing the capacity of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to manage buffalo and buffalo habitat;

(2)

promoting the ability of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to protect, conserve, and enhance populations of buffalo that are owned by Indian Tribes or Tribal organizations;

(3)

promoting the development and use of buffalo and buffalo habitat for the maximum practicable benefit of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations; and

(4)

promoting the inclusion of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations in Department, international, national, regional, and local decision making and forums regarding buffalo and buffalo habitat.

(b)

Contracts and grants authorized

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with, and award grants to, Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to enable the respective Indian Tribe or Tribal organization to—

(A)

plan, conduct, or implement a buffalo restoration or management program;

(B)

plan and execute commercial activities related to buffalo or buffalo products; or

(C)

carry out other activities related to buffalo restoration and management.

(2)

No diminishment of laws and regulations

Nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted to diminish any Federal or State law or regulation of diseased buffalo or buffalo that escape from Indian land.

(c)

Technical assistance

The Secretary shall provide technical assistance to an Indian Tribe or Tribal organization that enters into a contract or cooperative agreement or receives a grant under this section to assist that Indian Tribe or Tribal organization in—

(1)

carrying out the activities of a buffalo or buffalo habitat restoration or management program; and

(2)

implementing the activities described in subparagraphs (A) through (C) of subsection (b)(1).

5.

Consultation; coordination

(a)

Consultation

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and on an ongoing basis thereafter, the Secretary shall consult with Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations on initiatives of the Department that affect buffalo or buffalo habitat, including efforts of the Department to contain or eradicate diseased buffalo.

(b)

Coordination

The Secretary shall develop a policy relating to buffalo and buffalo habitat management activities on Indian land, in accordance with—

(1)

the goals and objectives set forth in buffalo management programs approved by Indian Tribes; and

(2)

Tribal laws and ordinances.

6.

Protection of information

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall not disclose or cause to be disclosed any information provided to the Secretary by an Indian Tribe or Tribal organization that is identified by the Indian Tribe or Tribal organization as culturally sensitive, proprietary, or otherwise confidential.

7.

Buffalo from Federal land

(a)

In general

The Secretary may enter into an agreement with an Indian Tribe or Tribal organization to dispose of surplus buffalo on Federal land administered by the Department applicable, by transporting such buffalo onto Indian land.

(b)

Application

An Indian Tribe or Tribal organization may submit to the Secretary an application to receive buffalo described in subsection (a) at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Waiver of charges

The Secretary may waive any charges for the buffalo described in subsection (a), including any deposit or payment for services as described in section 10.2 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulation, or any successor regulation.

8.

Treaty rights retained

Nothing in this Act alters, modifies, diminishes, or extinguishes the treaty rights of any Indian Tribe.

9.

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for grants to implement this Act, $14,000,000 for the first fiscal year beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act and for each fiscal year thereafter.