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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Friday, June 25, 2004

Western Shoshone "Distribution Bill" passes the Senate

On Thursday, June 24, the U.S Senate passed the "Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act" by unanimous consent.(article) The bill now goes before George Bush who has the option of either signing it into law or vetoing it. Steve Newcomb reports that Bush is ready to sign the bill into law.
Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Jennifer Farley reportedly told one Western Shoshone leader that the Western Shoshone bill is "red-hot" and that President Bush will not veto the bill if and when it reaches his desk. A source that once worked for a different White House in the late 1970’s said the term "red hot" undoubtedly means that passage of the bill is a top priority for the Bush administration. Coincidentally, Bush’s top political advisor Karl Rove, and then President Bush himself have reportedly visited Reno, Nevada in the past couple of weeks.

The U.S House of Represetatives passed the Bill on Monday, June 21, in a voice vote. That same day, The National Congress of American Indians passed "Resolution #MOH-04-010
Title: Regarding the Western Shoshone Claims Distribution, Act, S. 618 and H.R. 884"

The resolution urged that the U.S Congress not "not impose a claims distribution on an Indian tribe that has not consented to the settlement of its land claims; and urges the United States Congress to enter into good faith negotiations on a nation-to-nation basis to resolve the long-standing land dispute between the Western Shoshone Nation and the U.S. Government and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution concerning the land in the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty area before any final legislation is passed by the Congress." NCAI Resolution

The Senate disregarded the NCAI resolution and passed the bill. This M.O of passing "distribution award bills" to extinguish title to indian territories will likely become the standard for the future. We will keep you informed of any new developments.


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