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Message to the House of Representatives Returning H.R. 5036 Without Approval

June 06, 1980

To the House of Representatives:

I am returning, without my approval, H.R. 5036, a bill that would accord certain land and monetary benefits upon the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Colorado and New Mexico.

Specifically, the enrolled bill would require the Secretary of the Interior (1) to convey approximately 3,000 acres (estimated value of $1,800,000) of public domain land in Colorado to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and (2) to pay $5,840,000 to the tribe for economic development purposes. These benefits would be considered compensation to the tribe for the loss of oil and gas revenues allegedly resulting from an incorrect land survey by the United States Government.

The central issue raised by H.R. 5036 involves a land dispute in New Mexico between the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Navajo Tribe. Both tribes claimed ownership of the same lands which formed a common boundary between their respective reservations. However, pursuant to the Navajo-Ute Boundary Dispute Act of 1968, the Supreme Court reviewed the case and ruled in favor of the Navajo Tribe in 1972. In addition, there is no legal claim against the United States and in light of the Supreme Court decision, I do not believe this legislation should be approved.

This legislative relief is unwarranted because of the preferential treatment and special advantage it would accord the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe vis-a-vis other tribes whose circumstances may be similar.


The White House,

June 6, 1980.

Jimmy Carter, Message to the House of Representatives Returning H.R. 5036 Without Approval Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250777

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