indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
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 - http://www.pbpindiantribe.com

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:
Indian Country again shares stage on final night of Dem convention (7/29)
Cowlitz Tribe wins major court ruling on land-into-trust application (7/29)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe sees setback in land-into-trust dispute (7/29)
Lakota Country Times: Arts program connects with Pine Ridge youth (7/29)
Native Sun News: Native POP celebrates Native artists in Rapid City (7/29)
Clara Caufield: Tribal governments often discourage the free press (7/29)
Denver American Horse: Veterans column in the Lakota language (7/29)
Bryan Newland: Donald Trump's radical view of federal Indian law (7/29)
Tweedy Sombrero Navarrete: Christians call to protect sacred land (7/29)
Navajo Nation lawmaker accuses colleague of sexual harassment (7/29)
Editorial: County still in denial about Chumash Tribe's sovereignty (7/29)
Native Democrats make urgent case for Hillary Clinton as president (7/28)
Mark Trahant: The story is far from over for Senator Bernie Sanders (7/28)
Native Sun News: Indian Health Service eyes new hospital in Rapid (7/28)
Brandon Ecoffey: Oglala Sioux Tribe must start fitness revolution (7/28)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Show respect for sacred Lakota family unit (7/28)
Gyasi Ross: It's gonna be awhile before the first Native president (7/28)
Harlan McKosato: Violence against Native people swept under rug (7/28)
Harold Monteau: Even more lessons in indigenous law and policy (7/28)
Indian Country shares spotlight at Democratic National Convention (7/27)
Recap: Native American Council at Democratic National Convention (7/27)
Lakota Country Times: SuAnne Big Crow Center focuses on fitness (7/27)
Native Sun News: Tribal college showcases works of Lakota artists (7/27)
Vi Waln: Too many of our own people continue to smoke cigarettes (7/27)
Andre Cramblit: Growing wiser in my return to Dartmouth College (7/27)
Indian Country makes presence known at Democratic convention (7/26)
Tim Giago: Questioning the motto of GOP candidate Donald Trump (7/26)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala team lands Indian relay title again (7/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes honor author of Indian Child Welfare Act (7/26)
Delphine Red Shirt: Let's eat food that's always been good for us (7/26)
Peter d'Errico: Luci Tapahonso tackles legacy of boarding schools (7/26)
Donald Trump tried to partner with Agua Caliente Band on casino (7/26)
Native American Council meets at Democratic National Convention (7/25)
Police officer cleared over fatal shooting of Navajo Nation woman (7/25)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Donald Trump and his campaign of hatred (7/25)
Native Sun News: Tribal advocate focuses on Great Plains efforts (7/25)
Lakota Country Times: Descendants of Pine Ridge legend gather (7/25)
Johnny Rustywire: Navajo mother works hard at motel for family (7/25)
Alex Jacobs: Nation finally admits problem with policing and race (7/25)
Dwaine Perry: Ramapough Lunaape Nation marching for justice (7/25)
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.