Chukchansi application approved for land in trust

-- Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi IndiansJanuary 17, 2013 

The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians announced Wednesday that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had approved 12.48 acres of land into Tribal Trust.

The land is contiguous to the Picayune Rancheria and located within the Chukchansi aboriginal territory around Coarsegold. With this addition the tribal now holds about 184 acres of land in trust and they have another 650 acres that are going through the fee to trust process.

Tribal trust land is obtained by petitioning the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to transfer a specific parcel of land into trust. The Chukchansi Tribal Council prioritized putting lands into trust during its 2010-11 tenure.

Having the land placed into trust allows the tribe to facilitate tribal self-determination by preserving and protecting lands and resources that hold cultural importance to the tribe. It also re-establishes tribal jurisdiction and sovereignty over an area of historical and anthropological significance, according to a release by Chukchansi Tribal Council Chairwoman Nancy Ayala.

"We are blessed to complete what has been a prolonged and demanding process," Ayala said. "All of our tribal members should be proud of this historic moment. Now that we have brought these original Chukchansi lands into trust, we will be better able to protect and honor these beautiful lands, as well as provide additional resources for tribal housing and other non-gaming economic development."

The approved Chukchansi fee-to-trust application was facilitated in part by the California Fee-to-Trust Consortium, which works to streamline the process so that tribes can secure landholdings that are protected by trust status in a timely and consistent way. The consortium meets quarterly to review application status and monitor BIA progress.

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