your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Kansas tribe buys ancestral land in Illinois
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas announced the second purchase of ancestral land on Tuesday, more than 150 years after being forced to leave Illinois.

The tribe's first buy was small: a family home in Shabbona, the community named for Chief Shab-eh-nay, the Potawatomi leader who signed an 1829 treaty that set aside a 1,280-acre reservation for his people.

The second purchase is much bigger: a 128-acre farm. With the help of gaming revenues from a casino in Kansas, the tribe bought the land for nearly $9 million, much higher than the going rate.

"Today is one of great joy and celebration for our Tribe; and we are here to celebrate and share with you the re-acquisition of a piece of our ancestral homelands," chairwoman Tracy Stanhoff said. "If you are Native peoples, then you can imagine what we are feeling today as we stand, sing and pray upon this beautiful land - land that our ancestors lived on and land that we were forced to leave in the mid-19th century."

The announcement set off a flurry of speculation in the media about the plans for the site. Is a casino in the works? Or something else?

Stanhoff says there are no plans for now. The tribe, however, is investigating potential development in Shabbona, located about 70 miles west of Chicago.

The tribe has actively maintained that the reserve set aside for Chief Shab-eh-nay still exists despite removal to Kansas. Tribal leaders their ancestor was forced from his home by non-Indian settlers in the 1830s. The federal government eventually sold the land in 1849.

"He didn't abandon the land," Gary Mitchell, the tribe's former vice chairman, said at a Congressional hearing in May 2002.

The Clinton administration shared a similar view. In January 2001, then-solicitor John Leshy sent a letter to members of Congress stating that the tribe has a "credible" claim to the land.

"Our research has not revealed any subsequent treaty or act of Congress which authorized the conveyance of these lands," Leshy wrote. "As a result, we believe the U.S. continues to bear a trust responsibility to the Prairie Band for these lands."

Not everyone thinks the tribe can reclaim Chief Shab-eh-nay's home. Just three months after Leshy's letter, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), whose district includes Shabbona, and three colleagues introduced a bill that would extinguish all treaty rights in the state of Illinois.

The proposal would have affected the Prairie Band as well as the Miami Nation and the Ottawa Tribe, whose ancestors also lived in Illinois before being removed to Oklahoma.

But rather than file a costly and cumbersome land claim, the Prairie Band is taking a different approach by buying land on the open market. "We do not want to displace anyone the way we were displaced," said current vice chairman Rey Kitchkemme at a press conference yesterday, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Although the 128-acre farm is located within an historic reservation, the tribe's land buy could pose some legal difficulties. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case involving the Oneida Nation of New York, said the tribe couldn't reassert sovereignty over ancestral lands without going through the land-into-trust process.

The Oneida Nation purchased more than 17,000 acres within its historic reservation. But the Supreme Court ruling prompted the tribe to seek trust land status for all of its properties. A decision before the Bureau of Indian Affairs is pending and could be years away.

Should the Prairie Band seek trust status, the tribe faces additional scrutiny. Since the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, the BIA has approved just one out-of-state land acquisition -- a parcel in downtown Kansas City for the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma. The land is the subject of legal battles with the state over gaming.

In another case, the Interior Department said the Miami Nation of Oklahoma lost its claim to a reservation in Kansas. The case is now in court.

For now, the Prairie Band is content with celebrating its return home. "After more than 150 years we have a piece of our original homelands back," Stanhoff said yesterday.

Excepts of Interior Department Letter:
Leshy to Hastert (January 18, 2001)

Treaty Termination Bill:
To provide for the equitable settlement of certain Indian land disputes regarding land in Illinois (H.R.791)

Related Documents:
Congressional Hearing Testimony | 1829 Treaty of Prairie du Chien | Background on 1829 Treaty

Relevant Links:
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation -

Related Stories:
Prairie Band Potawatomi land buy stirs interest (5/9)
Kansas tribe drops option on out-of-state land (06/03)
Tribes take chances with far-away land acquisitions (04/01)
House leader says tribe doesn't have land claim in Ill. (03/22)
Kansas tribe buys land in ancestral reservation (02/20)
Clinton memo cited 'credible' land claim (05/13)
'An affront to tribal sovereignty' (5/9)
Tribal bill enjoys top GOP support (5/7)

Copyright 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Republicans push controversial Indian energy bill through House (10/9)
Navajo Nation leaders headed to campus following fatal shooting (10/9)
Native Sun News: South Dakota community honors Code Talkers (10/9)
Lakota Country Times: Native Americans arrested at high rates (10/9)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Lakota immersion remains our only hope (10/9)
Steve Russell: Indian people stuck with the laws of colonizers (10/9)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Native people play key role in politics (10/9)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Trading tribal sovereignty for marijuana (10/9)
Studio denies theft of tribal artifacts from ranch in New Mexico (10/9)
Omaha Tribe hosts basketball stars Shoni and Jude Schimmel (10/9)
Winnebago Tribe chooses eight in special election for council (10/9)
Students from Salish Kootenai College send satellite to space (10/9)
Pamunkey Tribe sees challenge to federal recognition decision (10/9)
Six indicted for stealing funds from Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (10/9)
Kris Lane: Columbus was clearly not a friend to Native peoples (10/9)
Researchers adapt Korean alphabet for use in Native language (10/9)
Excavation at Indian city uncovers numerous signs of conflict (10/9)
Thomas St. Dennis: Don't let rival tribe stop Little River casino (10/9)
Viejas Band opens new gaming floor and hotel with expansion (10/9)
White Earth Nation plans hotel and RV park at third casino site (10/9)
Eastern Shoshone Tribe to debut expansion of casino in 2016 (10/9)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe adds competition to casino scene (10/9)
White House blasts Native American Energy Act ahead of vote (10/8)
House Natural Resources Committee approves two Indian bills (10/8)
First Nations Development Institute awards $250K for ranching (10/8)
Four Native chefs participate in unique food event in New Mexico (10/8)
Native Sun News: Lone Indian voice opposes mountain lion hunt (10/8)
Lakota Country Times: Wind power comes to Rosebud community (10/8)
Delphine Red Shirt: Scandal shuts down program for Indian youth (10/8)
Vince Two Eagles: Native medicine goes back thousands of years (10/8)
Jay Daniels: Indian lands still face threat from state governments (10/8)
Steven Newcomb: Religious doctrine guides Indian law and policy (10/8)
Brian Pierson: Recent federal court decisions affecting Indian law (10/8)
Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation celebrate trust settlement (10/8)
Actor joked about taking tribal artifacts from ranch in New Mexico (10/8)
Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians gives $100K for cancer center (10/8)
Radio station brings news and more to Yankton Sioux Reservation (10/8)
Indian gaming industry grew 116 percent between 2001 and 2013 (10/8)
Arizona tribes on road to recovery with $1.81B in casino revenues (10/8)
Pojoaque Pueblo secures injunction in New Mexico casino dispute (10/8)
Little River Band sees off-reservation casino as boost for revenue (10/8)
Pioneering tribes share experiences with prosecuting non-Indians (10/7)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves two bills at meeting (10/7)
Congress approves land-into-trust bill for Pueblos in New Mexico (10/7)
House Natural Resources Committee holds markup on Indian bills (10/7)
Native Sun News: Rival teams meet on football field at Pine Ridge (10/7)
Lakota Country Times: Tribes receive $940M in Ramah settlement (10/7)
James Giago Davies: Embrace distance running in Indian Country (10/7)
Brandon Ecoffey: Powerful forces aim to keep out the Native vote (10/7)
Thomas Perez: Youth on Wind River Reservation share high hopes (10/7)
Stephen Corry: Native people displaced for sake of 'conservation' (10/7)
States oppose tribal jurisdiction in upcoming Supreme Court case (10/7)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe challenges Indian education reforms (10/7)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.