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Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California

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The Washoe Tribe Lake Tahoe Access Act has been reintroduced in Congress by Nevada Sens. John Ensign and Harry Reid. It would give 24.3 acres of federal land at the lake back to the tribe which considers the area part of its spiritual heritage. Democrat Reid introduced the measure last year to convey the Forest Service land north of Glenbrook to the tribe but it failed to secure final congressional passage. "For centuries, the tribe preserved and protected Lake Tahoe," Reid said, adding the law would return a portion of the land to its stewardship. The Washoe traditionally spent their winters in the Carson Valley 60miles south of Reno, Nev., and their summers in the nearby Lake Tahoe area. The land is north of Skunk Harbor on the east side of the lake. The bill would allow the tribe to use the land for traditional and customary uses, but prohibit commercial, residential or recreational development. The idea was first agreed to nearly three years ago during the Lake Tahoe Summit sponsored by Reid and former President Clinton. Republican Ensign said the tribe needs the spot "to reestablish ... practices so they can meet their needs for spiritual renewal ...and encourage future generations to carry on those traditions."