A Bad River Band powwow. Photo: Jim

Bad River Band benefits from Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe is among the beneficiaries of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

Through the acquisition of fractional interests on the reservation, the tribe regained ownership of the equivalent of 3,492 acres, according to figures from the Department of the Interior. Chairman Robert Blanchard told Wisconsin Public Radio that the program ensures the land remains in Indian hands.

"We hunt. We fish. We collect our medicines. We’re caretakers of this land so it’s very important to our people to be able to have that," Blanchard told WPR. "It’s something we’ll always have."

The program didn't just benefit the tribal government. Individual landowners received about $3 million for land interests that might not otherwise be economically viable.

The settlement to the Cobell trust fund lawsuit provided $1.9 billion for land acquisitions in Indian Country. As of July 7, more than $1.2 billion has been spent, according to Interior.

The Trump administration has indicated it will not seek to fund future land consolidation efforts once the money runs out. Congress has not taken action either to extend the program or address land consolidation.

Read More on the Story:
Lake Superior Tribes Return Lands To Reservations Through Federal Programs (Wisconsin Public Radio 7/11)

Interior Department Report:
2016 Status Report: Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (November 2016)

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