Editorial: Congress must address land-into-trust ruling
"A controversial Supreme Court ruling last year blocks many American Indian tribes recognized by the U.S. Interior Secretary after 1934 from making more land-to-trust applications.

The high court's Carcieri vs. Salazar ruling on Feb. 24, 2009, and politics surrounding a proposed legislative fix, show just how frustrating, confounding and shameful federal American Indian policy has been over more than two centuries of American history -- and apparently still is.

The ruling appears to have no effect on the Grand Traverse Band, which was recognized in 1980. In fact, the Interior Department approved trust status for 78 acres in Antrim County on Dec. 10.

The ruling also does not appear to affect two other area tribes -- the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Emmet County and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in Manistee County, both recognized in 1994 by federal statute.

It does, however, reverse decades of federal American Indian policy and creates a legal limbo for many American Indian tribes recognized since 1934. It mires an already slow process of tribal land-into-trust applications. It will result in unnecessary and expensive lawsuits across the country over routine tribal requests to place lands purchased by the tribes into government trust status."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Gov't must resolve Indian trusts (The Traverse City Record-Eagle 1/9)

Land-Into-Trust Fix:
S.1703 | H.R.3697 | H.R.3742

Supreme Court Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Thomas] | Concurrence [Breyer] | Dissent [Stevens] | Concurrence/Dissent [Souter]

Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Briefs

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