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Kansas lawmakers and the Kickapoo Tribe have come to an agreement over the tribe's right to water in the Delaware River - and now a Kansas Senator and Congressman want to make it official.

“This bill is an important step forward in approving the Kickapoo Tribe’s Water Settlement Agreement,” said Rep. Watkins. “The Kickapoo Tribe deserves water security and I am committed to continuing to work on this issue with my colleagues in both Chambers of Congress.”

The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act was introduced by U.S. Representative Steve Watkins and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran Tuesday. The act allows the state to give the water right to the tribe and provides no funding for future water storage projects. Now, it will need to be passed by Congress.

Senator Jerry Moran, a member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced the act to Congress last session. Since then, it was amended in a Committee hearing in September.

“I recognize and appreciate the extensive time and effort the Kickapoo tribe and the state of Kansas have committed over the past decade to reaching this agreement,” said Sen. Moran. “This is a local solution to a local natural resource matter that Congress ought to approve. Last Congress, we made significant progress on advancing this legislation that would finally provide Kickapoo vital water security for its reservation and residents, and I will continue working with my colleagues to get this across the finish line.”

The Kickapoo have been working on this issue with the state and federal governments since the 1970s, finally coming to an agreement in 2016.

The Kickapoo reservation is an area of 30 square miles in Brown County where 400 of the Kickapoo 1,600 members reside. 

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