your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Kansas tribe buys land in ancestral reservation
Friday, February 20, 2004

A Kansas tribe is finally reclaiming land in Illinois that one of its chiefs used to call home.

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation last week completed the purchase of a property in Shabbona, Illinois. Although only about one acre in size, chairman Zach Pahmahmie said it was an important move for the tribe.

"It is enormously heartening to take these first steps toward rebuilding our presence as neighbors in the Shabbona area," Pahmahmie said.

The land in Shabbona is part of a 1,280-acre reservation that was set aside for Chief Shab-eh-nay by the 1829 Treaty of Prairie du Chien. The Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa tribes gave up millions of acres of what is now Illinois and Wisconsin in the treaty.

In subsequent treaties, the Potawatomis were eventually removed to Kansas and other states. But tribal leaders say their ancestors never ceded the reservation in Illinois. It was lost only because Chief Shab-eh-nay was driven off his home by settlers in the 1830s, they point out. When he returned two decades later, he found out that it had been sold by the federal government.

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

That view is backed up by a legal memorandum from the Department of Interior. In the final days of the Clinton administration in January 2001, then-solicitor John Leshy said the tribe has a "credible" claim to the reservation.

"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."

The letter didn't stop a top House Republican from signing onto a bill that would terminate the tribe's rights without compensation or consultation. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said the measure would "settle" outstanding land claims in his state.

The bill never made it far in light of opposition from several tribes with ancestral ties to Illinois. Several Democrats and some Republicans on the House Resources Committee also opposed it.

Hastert responded to the Prairie Band's purchase of the Shabbona home last week by playing down the Leshy memo. "The Department of Interior has a thorough process in place to review such claims, and the tribe has yet to begin that process," he said.

Hastert also said the tribe has "a long way" to go if it wants a casino in his state. He said it would take several years for any land to be placed in trust status and for a gaming compact to be negotiated with the state.

According to a published report, the tribe is interested in a casino in the county where the Shab-eh-nay Reservation is located. Last month, The MidWeek News said the tribe sent the governor's office a proposal that includes a casino, hotel, resort, RV park, convenience store and other developments. The facility would be located on 128 acres of land in DeKalb County where the tribe has purchased options.

The tribe can't reclaim all of the reservation because 60 percent is now part of the Chief Shabbona Preserve, the Shabbona State Park and a county forest preserve. The rest is privately held and Mitchell previously testified that the tribe will purchase from willing sellers.

Illinois wasn't just home to the Prairie Band ancestors. The Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, the Miami Nation of Oklahoma and the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma all have ties there. The Ottawa Tribe believes it has a claim to the Shab-e-nay Reservation.

Excepts of Leshy 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:
Clinton memo cited 'credible' land claim (05/13)
'An affront to tribal sovereignty' (5/9)
Tribal bill enjoys top GOP support (5/7)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Lawmakers reject Trump cuts with increases for Indian programs
Sherman Alexie a role model no more as Native group pulls award
Trump administration blames tribes for delay in new DAPL study
Democrats demand consultation on FCC policy opposed by tribes
Supreme Court hears second Indian law case during a busy term
Senate Indian Affairs Committee postpones activity due to snow
1928 recording from Standing Rock added to Library of Congress
Mary Annette Pember: Rising above colonialism with spirit writing
Graham Lee Brewer: Harassment within the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Grand Traverse Band arrests non-Indian for sexual assault at casino
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hails bill to affirm status of homelands
Eastern Cherokee casino stocks new beer created by tribal citizens
Tribes cite progress since passage of Violence Against Women Act
Tribes object as Trump appointees 'streamline' interests of industry
'Acting' Trump administration officials present Indian budget plans
Chickasaw citizen Kevin Washburn named dean of Iowa law school
Angelina Arroyo: Habematolel Pomo stay strong in face of adversity
Cronkite News: Tribes hit hard by opioid crisis but support is elusive
Meskwaki Tribe announces scholarships for high school graduates
Tohono O'odham Nation reaffirms opposition to wall along border
Texas Tribune: So why do I have to go to other states to gamble?
New measure repeals old prohibition on distilleries in Indian Country
Winnebago Tribe confirms first sighting of mountain lion in decades
Fate of Keepseagle settlement funds in hands of Supreme Court
Tim Giago: Indian Country news slowly moving into the digital era
Native Sun News Today: Native Filmmakers Lab seeks new artists
Cronkite News: Cherokee football player Sam Bradford joins Arizona
A record number of Native candidates are running for office in 2018
Gun Lake Tribe seeks more trust land after victory at Supreme Court
American Indian Cultural Center and Museum names senior curator
Coeur d'Alene Tribe celebrates 25th anniversary of gaming facility
Tribal gaming executive said to be a witness in Cosby criminal trial
Pro-tribal and pro-Trump? Choctaw citizen seeks voice in Congress
Doug George-Kanentiio: Remember the victims of My Lai massacre
Native Sun News Today: Three rez teams head to basketball finals
Jenni Monet: What the movement at Standing Rock gave the world
High Country News: Harassment pervades Bureau of Indian Affairs
Mary Annette Pember: Film looks at sterilization of Indian women
Secretary Zinke criticized for offering Japanese greeting at hearing
Red Lake Nation calls for removal of oil pipelines from reservation
Pamunkey Tribe announces plans for $700 million gaming facility
Indian students demand action to prevent violence at their schools
Cronkite News: Nationwide walkout a month after deadly shooting
YES! Magazine: Students explain why they want stronger gun laws
Former San Manuel Band leader aims to make history in California
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe off to court on uranium
Mark Trahant: Ready for change? 11 Native candidates are running
Mary Annette Pember: Tribes take action to fight human trafficking
Conservative group claims victory in Indian Child Welfare Act case
Kiowa Tribe prepares to debut new casino with more in the works
Cherokee Nation set to break ground on gaming expansion project
>>> 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.