WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne submitted remarks to the Congressional Record yesterday in support of H.R. 2606, the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018. H.R. 2606 passed the House by a voice vote. Below are Mullin’s remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2606, the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018.
This legislation would end a discriminatory blood quantum requirement for members of the Five Civilized Tribes: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee (Creek), and Seminole Nations.
The Stigler Act of 1947 mandated that restricted land owned by a member of the Five Tribes must have ½ blood quantum in order for it to remain restricted. If the land is handed down to a relative with less than ½ blood quantum, the land is no longer restricted.
No other Native American tribe in the United States is subject to the Stigler Act, and in no other tribe in the United States do the lands of tribal citizens lose their restricted status due to the blood quantum of an individual Native American.
H.R. 2606 would do away with the blood quantum requirement so restricted fee land owned by citizens of the Five Tribes could remain restricted, regardless of blood quantum. By removing the blood quantum requirements in the Stigler Act, native land could remain within families and heirs despite individual Native American landowners falling below ½ blood quantum.
Tribes are sovereign nations and H.R. 2606 would treat them as such. This bill would create parity in federal law so that the government would not be able to unfairly dictate a minimum blood quantum requirement for certain tribes.
It would also bring equality to members of the Five Tribes. For decades, their members have lived under a law that applied to only their lands.
As Native Americans, we take great pride in our heritage and the land that our ancestors maintained before us. The Stigler Act Amendments of 2018 would allow Natives to pass on their restricted land to future generations who may not meet the ½ blood degree requirement.
Members of the Five Tribes who seek to carry on their ancestors’ heritage should be able to and this legislation ensures that members of the Five Tribes can continue to preserve restricted status of their land and reap all of the benefits that come along with it.
The Five Tribes held more than 15 million acres of restricted land a century ago. Today, they hold just 380,000 acres.
While H.R. 2606 will not reverse 70 years of land loss, it will certainly help prevent additional tribal land from falling out of restricted status.
I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018 and am honored to speak in support of the legislation before the United States House of Representatives today. I urge its passage.