Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
This week, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Trust Services (OTS) issued a request for proposal and outlined an application process for $4 million (in Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 funds) intended to aid newly federally recognized and "land-limited" Tribal Nations in the acquisition of trust lands "over which to exercise their sovereign authority."
This new funding supports Tribal sovereignty through the restoration and protection of Tribal homelands, and fosters at regional authority levels and within applicable regulatory policies. It supports a broad range of land acquisition-related projects, including:
• Purchase of property
• Costs relating to land acquisition, including title insurance
• Technical assistance
Proposals are due via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy to the respective Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Realty Officer (Randall Trickey for BIA Eastern Region: email@example.com). Proposals are due by close of business on August 11, 2023.
According to BIA's process, given the limited amount of funding available and short time frame for obligating funds, priority consideration will be given to proposals based on existing plans or studies. Projects will be ranked according to the following criteria:
• Justification for need
• Project readiness
• Capability to implement
On April 24, 2023, USET SPF submitted comments in response to the Tribal consultation conducted by the BIA regarding $2 million appropriated annually for land acquisition for newly recognized and landless Tribal Nations. Our comments encouraged the agency to combine newly recognized and 'land-limited' definitions when it is determining level of “need” for land acquisition. In addition, we suggest that 'Project Readiness' may not be an appropriate ranking criteria, as prioritizing those acquisitions that are most ready may disadvantage those Tribal Nations who would most benefit from this assistance.
For more information, please contact Liz Malerba, USET SPF Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.