The Issue

Background

Ruins on the San Lucy District created by flooding behind the Painted Rock Dam

Ruins on the San Lucy District created by flooding behind the Painted Rock Dam

The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally recognized tribe located in southern and central Arizona. With 30,000 members, it has the second largest tribal land base in the country and historically it is one of the most impoverished regions in the U.S.

Flooding behind the Painted Rock Dam

Flooding behind the Painted Rock Dam

In the early 1980s, the federal government’s construction of the Painted Rock Dam caused continuous flooding, ruining thousands of acres in the Nation’s San Lucy District.  To remedy this,  Congress passed the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act (Public Law 99-503), which allowed the Nation to purchase replacement land and mandated that the Secretary of Interior take land meeting the law’s requirements into trust.

The Nation purchased property in 2003 that meets all criteria in the Act and it is seeking to place the land into trust so that it can be used for economic development.

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