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Front of the Capitol building

Issa-Sponsored Bill to Protect Tribal Land Clears Key House Committee

October 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation to facilitate the Pala Band of Mission Indians’ work to protect the sacred San Diego County site known locally as Gregory Mountain has cleared a key House Committee today by unanimous consent. H.R. 1975 – The Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act of 2021 – was authored by Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) and cosponsored by Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51).
The legislation authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to transfer approximately 720 acres of land acquired by the Pala into trust for the benefit of the tribe and its members.

Rep. Issa said, "Our tribal communities play a vital role in supporting the local economy, creating jobs, and providing essential services. That’s why it is so important to preserve their sacred and heritage sites so current and future generations continue to learn and revere each tribe’s culture and legacy. My thanks to my friend Rep. Vargas for his support in making this legislation a reality.
Rep. Vargas said, “I’m proud to join Rep. Issa to help protect the Pala Band of Mission Indians’ ancestral lands. Through H.R. 1975, we put these lands into a federal trust and ensure that Chokla, the sacred mountain to the Pala Band, is respected and protected for future traditions.”

Robert Smith, Chairman of the tribesaid, “The Pala Band of Mission Indians would like to express our gratitude to Congressman Darrell Issa for the work he has done to help us protect our sacred ancestral lands. We are also grateful to Congressman Juan Vargas for his long-standing partnership in our fight to protect Chokla, our sacred mountain. Putting these lands into federal trust through H.R. 1975 ensures that the people of Pala can continue to steward our lands and traditions as we have since time immemorial. We would also like to thank the House Natural Resources Committee for moving H.R. 1975 forward and look forward to its speedy passage.”

Darrell Issa is the Representative of California’s 50th Congressional District. The District encompasses the central and northeastern parts of San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County, including the communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, Ramona, Escondido, Santee, Lakeside, El Cajon, Temecula, and the mountain and desert areas of the San Diego-Imperial County line. Issa served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2011-2015.