indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Indian Law Online Master Degree
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Another GAO report looks at land-into-trust
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Newly recognized tribes and tribes who lost their federal recognition have regained more than 600,000 acres, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

During the 1950s and the 1960s, Congress terminated the federal government's relationship with over 100 tribes. Thirty-seven of them have been restored to recognition through special pieces of legislation or through lawsuits, the GAO report said.

Other tribes who were never recognized have gained federal status by going through Congress or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The report counts 47 tribes who have been recognized since 1960.

In total, the 84 newly recognized and restored tribes have had nearly 637,000 acres placed in trust on their behalf or on the behalf of individual members, according to the GAO.

"Two groups of tribes of particular interest that have availed themselves of BIA's land in trust process are newly recognized and restored tribes," the October 20 report said.

According to the report, the largest restoration was 235,000 acres for the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin. The tribe, however, didn't go through the BIA's land-into-trust process because Congress mandated the acquisition of the land.

The same goes for two tribes in Maine who saw more than 190,000 acres restored after a lawsuit. As a result, it's not possible to tell from the report which of the 84 tribes went through the BIA process and which didn't.

The GAO also didn't specify how much land the terminated tribes lost. For example, the Klamath Tribes of Oregon have about 1,300 acres in trust -- significantly less from the 1.2 million-acre reservation that was in trust prior to termination.

Either way, the report showed that not everyone has benefited from the land-into-trust process. The GAO found 21 tribes who are landless because they have no trust land.

Almost all of the landless tribes are based in California, where the termination policy claimed most of its victims. But some do have land held in trust for individual members.

"According to BIA’s fiscal year 2005 annual acreage reports, the federal government holds title to land in trust for individual tribal members of 7 of 21 landless tribes, but none for the tribe itself," the report said.

Due to heightened scrutiny over gaming, the GAO has taken several looks at the BIA's land-into-trust and federal recognition processes. The reports have found the agency to be slow-moving but no wrongdoing has been found.

The latest report was written to address the Bureau of Land Management's allotment process. The GAO found that the process is "no longer viable" because there is no more available land.

"Despite the lack of land available for release, BLM estimates that it receives an average of one to five allotment applications per year," the report said.

"Interior continues to bear the administrative burden of processing these Indian allotment applications even though applicants have little chance of approval. Continuing to issue Indian allotments also runs counter to the federal government's actions since 1983 to consolidate Indian land holdings," it continued.

As a result, the GAO recommends that Section 4 of the 1887 General Allotment Act be repealed. In a letter, the BLM agreed with the recommendation but didn't say when it might be proposed to Congress.

Under the allotment policy, tribes lost more than 90 million acres between 1887 and 1934, the year Congress put an end to the practice with the Indian Reorganization Act. Through the IRA, about 9 million acres has been taken into trust, according to the National Congress of American Indians.

Section 5 of the IRA has come under repeated attack from states and local governments but the courts have upheld the legality of the land-into-trust process. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a pair of cases that challenged the IRA.

GAO Report:
Abstract | Full Report

Related Stories:
Supreme Court won't hear land-into-trust cases (10/03)
Gaming tribes support Section 20 IGRA regulations (4/11)
BIA expects more off-reservation gaming applications (4/6)
BIA sets meetings for Section 20 regulations (3/28)
Off-reservation casino sites still in question (3/16)
Listening Lounge: Hearing on off-reservation gaming (3/15)
BIA sets timetable for new gaming regulations (03/01)
Senate panel presses BIA on gaming regulations (02/02)
BIA takes stab at land-into-trust for gaming rules (2/1)
Witness list for hearing on off-reservation gaming (1/31)
Appeals court sides with tribe in trust land dispute (01/09)
IGRA amendments tough on many, especially tribes (12/12)
Oklahoma tribe hires ex-BIA official to lobby for land (12/01)
Tribes dispute local power over trust land decisions (11/10)
BIA official revives off-reservation land regulations (09/21)
Gaming clouds already lengthy land-into-trust process (09/15)
Appeals court upholds legality of land-into-trust process (09/14)
NIGC develops system to track Indian lands (07/28)
Perception and realities in land-into-trust debate (05/19)
Land into trust to be examined at Senate hearing (5/10)
Land-into-trust problems aired at Senate hearing (4/28)
Update: Senate hearing on Indian gaming (04/27)
BIA backs bill to delay off-reservation casino (04/06)
Exceptions to IGRA more common than often cited (03/21)
Off-reservation casino dropped as debate continues (03/21)
Appeals court sides with tribe in trust land dispute (02/10)
Court won't rehear challenge to tribal land base (05/21)
Court says U.S. can protect tribe's interests (02/04)
Land still in limbo after decade-long fight (10/16)
The day the Supreme Court said no (10/16)

Copyright © 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
Recruiter from Spokane Tribe's college selected for Peirone Prize (8/28)
California tribes support release of water to benefit salmon runs (8/28)
Southern Ute Tribe invests $2B in big energy production system (8/28)
County hires lobbying firm to oppose federal recognition reforms (8/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation breaks ground for off-reservation casino (8/28)
Cherokee Nation starts construction on casino at Indian allotment (8/28)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe responds to opponents in casino suit (8/28)
Jamul Band continues work on $360M casino after victory in court (8/28)
Editorial: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe ups ante in casino feud (8/28)
Ho-Chunk Nation launches outreach effort amid casino expansion (8/28)
Nebraska Supreme Court hears arguments over gaming initiative (8/28)
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
9th Circuit won't stop repatriation of Kumeyaay Nation ancestors (8/27)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation puts youth to work for summer (8/27)
Gabe Galanda: Academia won't tackle tribal disenrollment issue (8/27)
Misty Lynn Ellingburg: 'Four Winds' is a literary magazine for us (8/27)
Declination rates for Indian Country crime steady for third year (8/27)
DOJ awards grants to address violence in Bakken energy region (8/27)
Another pipeline spills saltwater on reservation in North Dakota (8/27)
Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary (8/27)
Once rival factions of Chukchansi Tribe agree to 2015 election (8/27)
Three brothers on the ballot for Passamaquoddy Tribe election (8/27)
Daily Beast: Border Patrol runs free on Tohono O'odham Nation (8/27)
KTOO: Cook Inlet Tribe turns to video game to represent culture (8/27)
Former IHS information security officer convicted for child porn (8/27)
Crow Reservation murder defendant to make court appearance (8/27)
Texas authorities seek information about skull at Goodwill store (8/27)
Cherokee Nation police find man who disappeared 37 years ago (8/27)
9th Circuit sets oral arguments in Big Lagoon Rancheria dispute (8/27)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe cuts gaming payment to state (8/27)
State raises concerns about Chumash Tribe's casino expansion (8/27)
Cowlitz Tribe sees setback in infrastructure plan for casino site (8/27)
Native Sun News: Tribes take on Air Force over expansion plan (8/26)
Charles Trimble: Pine Ridge -- the Hollywood of Indian Country (8/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois on both sides for War of 1812 (8/26)
Heather Kendall-Miller: GOP candidate a threat to Native rights (8/26)
Fired Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer indicted for taser incident (8/26)
Sen. Jon Tester to hold session on trafficking in Indian Country (8/26)
Hoopa Valley Tribe takes action due to large number of arsons (8/26)
Non-recognized tribe in Texas hails ruling in eagle feather case (8/26)
Jodi Lee Spotted Bear: Supporting Native language immersion (8/26)
Proposal filed for Wampanoag language public charter school (8/26)
Gila River Indian Community mourns loss of first female leader (8/26)
Jose Barreiro: Indigenous leaders hold historic meeting in Cuba (8/26)
Tribes use reservations to restore rare and endangered species (8/26)
Rival factions unite in takeover attempt within Chukchansi Tribe (8/26)
Darlene Miller seeks to be first female Seneca Nation president (8/26)
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.