Sinema Secures Senate Passage of Arizona Tribal Land and Water Bills

Dec 21, 2022

Through direct bipartisan negotiations, Sinema ensured unanimous passage of tribal priorities in the U.S. Senate 

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured Senate passage of critical land and water priorities for Arizona tribal communities. The bills – all championed by Sinema – were excluded from the end of the year government funding package, but Sinema ensured unanimous passage through direct bipartisan negotiations with her Senate colleagues.
“By working with Senators on both sides of the aisle, we ensured critical priorities for Arizona’s tribal communities would not fall victim to partisanship. Senate passage of these bills will help ensure continued economic growth and water certainty for tribal communities across Arizona,” said Sinema.
“The Gila River Indian Community very much appreciates the efforts of Senator Sinema and the Arizona delegation in passing the Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act this session. The history of this parcel is important to the entire Community and especially to the residents of District 1 – the Blackwater District. The ability to have these lands restored as part of the Community’s Reservation is especially significant to the Community and we thank Senator Sinema for prioritizing this legislation at the end of this session of Congress,” said Gila River River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis.
“The passage of the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2022 is an historic step for the Hualapai people, who have lived along the Colorado River for millennia. We are grateful for the tireless work of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, along with support from Sen. Mark Kelly and the entire Arizona delegation, and look forward to the day soon when water will flow into Hualapai homes and businesses in a way that will secure our Tribe’s future for generations. This is a life-changing moment for the Hualapai Tribe and the many members of the Tribal Council who have worked toward this goal for more than a decade,” said Haulapai Vice Chair Scott Crozier.

“On behalf of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, I would like to thank Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema for their tireless efforts in securing passage of this legislation in the Senate. The legislation would provide the necessary funding to provide desperately needed drinking water on the Fort Apache Reservation and resolve the Tribe’s water related claims against the United States and others,” said White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairman Kasey Velasquez. “We are eternally grateful for the incredible effort made by our Senators to pass the legislation in the Senate and look forward to speedy consideration and passage in the House.”
“We are grateful for all our partners, including the City of Tucson, our Senators, Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly and all of our Congressional representatives, our State Representatives, Governor Doug Ducey, and the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs for helping us create much-needed jobs and provide opportunities for the local community. The addition of these lands to the Pascua Yaqui Reservation will be of enormous cultural and historical importance to our tribe and will allow us to engage in economic development that will provide hundreds of jobs and other commercial benefits to the citizens in the surrounding Tucson community,” said Pascua Yaqui Tribe Chairman Peter S. Yucupicio.

Sinema’s direct negotiations ensured passage of the Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act and the Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act – two pieces of legislation increasing land rights for the Gila River Indian Community and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe – increasing economic opportunities for both tribal communities.
Sinema also helped secure passage of water rights bills for tribes across Arizona, including in part the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act and the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act – legislation helping secure tribal communities’ and Arizona’s water future.