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Statement by the President: Signing of the "Indian Land Consolidation Act Amendments of 2000" (11/7/00)

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                           (New York, New York)

For Immediate Release                            November 7, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today I am pleased to sign into law S. 1586, the "Indian Land
Consolidation Act Amendments of 2000."  This Act is critical to the
economic viability of individually owned Indian lands and the success of
the Department of the Interior's ongoing efforts to implement the American
Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994.  It will help reduce the
administrative and financial burden arising from the fractionated ownership
of Indian lands.

     The Act puts provisions in place for probate reform and establishing
uniform rules for the descent and distribution of interests in allotted
lands.  It also contains provisions for the consolidation of fractional
interests, as well as preventing lands from being taken out of trust when
inherited by non-Indians.  In addition, it will enhance opportunities for
economic development by specifying the minimum percentage of owners of
fractional interests that must consent to leasing agreements.  Finally, it
extends the Secretary's authority to acquire fractional interests, of 2
percent or less, for tribal consolidation, through the pilot project that
my Administration and the Congress initiated in 1999.  Since many Native
Americans die without wills, it also authorizes estate planning assistance.

     The Act results from our close consultation and collaboration with the
Congress, the tribes, and the Indian landowners that began in 1994 and has
been one of my Administration's top priorities in Indian trust fund
management reform.  Today's action will help bring Indian land ownership,
management, and development into the 21st century.

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    November 7, 2000.

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