Editorial: County can avoid land-into-trust fight

"Assembling in protest late last week — more than 120 strong on the front steps of the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth — tribal leaders and others were met by TV cameras and news reporters.

They were not met, however, or even acknowledged, by St. Louis County commissioners, some of whom prompted the pickets after earlier in the year complaining publicly about the demands on the Sheriff’s Department and public defenders’ office, and about the incarceration, social services and other costs related to having the Fond du Lac Reservation in the county.

The commissioners were talking about land when offensive and insensitive comments were made. Specifically, they were considering a request from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to buy tax-forfeited property within the reservation to place into trust.

The objections from the county were easy to understand. While the band would pay fair-market value for the land, once it’s in trust, it can no longer generate property taxes. Counties around the nation have been grumbling about losses of revenue and eroding tax bases because of such sales."

Get the Story:
Our view: Dispute over tribal land purchases could have been avoided (The Duluth News Tribune 2/15)

More Opinions:
Emily Johnson, Tadd Johnson and Rebecca St. George: County can’t let discussion sink to such a low level (The Duluth News Tribune 2/15)
Gary A. Harms: County’s arguments against land sales ignore facts, history (The Duluth News Tribune 2/15)
Joyce M. Kramer: Selling land to band will benefit St. Louis County (The Duluth News Tribune 2/15)
Kim Nahgahnub: Restoring tribal land involves more than revenue (The Duluth News Tribune 2/15)

Related Stories:
Protest supports Fond du Lac Band land-into-trust (2/13)
County opposes Fond du Lac Band land-into-trust (1/27)