Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

MPR: Minnesota tribes can benefit from land consolidation plan





"In 1887, Congress passed the Dawes Act, allowing reservation land to be given to individual Indians. Most were given a parcel of 80 or 160 acres. The federal government held the land in trust. As the years passed, each heir of the original land holder was added to the title.

"The smallest undivided interest I've ever seen was one over 32 million," said Cris Stainbrook, president of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. "His total share was one divided by 32 million, which is probably less than a postage stamp taking that out of 160 acres."

Based in Minnesota, Stainbrook works on tribal land issues across the nation. He said it's not uncommon for a 160-acre parcel to have 1,000 owners. He said the average is about 15 owners per parcel.

Department of Interior officials say the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has 979 parcels totaling 60,212 acres held in trust for individuals. There are 71,139 individual interest in those parcels. It's unclear how many individuals have an interest in the land, because one person might own a piece of more than one parcel of land. "

Get the Story:
Feds begin process to clear titles on Indian-owned lands (MInnesota Public Radio 12/19)

Relevant Documents:
Secretarial Order | Initial Implementation Plan

Related Stories:
DOI to consult tribes about Indian land consolidation program (12/19)