Law | Trust

IBIA won't stop United Keetoowah Band land-into-trust





The Interior Board of Indian Appeals has dismissed a challenge to the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians land-into-trust application.

In May 2011, the Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to place 76 acres in trust for the UKB. The Cherokee Nation appealed but the IBIA said it lacked jurisdiction to review the decision.

“It is our sincere belief that the Keetoowah people are ready to enjoy the benefits of tribal trust land, including the exercise of responsible jurisdiction over the lands that embody the traditional spirit of our people," UKB Chief George Wickliffe said in response to the IBIA's January 6 ruling.

Wickliffe anticipates that the Cherokee Nation will now file a lawsuit in federal court over the May 2011 decision. The Cherokees are already suing the BIA over a different parcel of land that was to be placed in trust for the UKB.

The United Keetoowah Band and the Cherokee Nation are both based within the former Cherokee Reservation. But the Cherokees say they are the only tribe that can acquire land within the reservation and have it placed in trust.

Interior Board of Indian Appeals Decision:
Cherokee Nation v. BIA (January 6, 2014)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
May 24, 2011, Decision | September 10, 2010, Decision

Related Stories:
Cherokee Nation council supports UKB land-into-trust litigation (11/14)