Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Opinion

Gabe Galanda: DOI land consolidation plan another insult

"To quote an headline: “Interior’s land consolidation plan is a disaster.” The Department of the Interior’s proposal to spend $1.9 billion in taxpayer dollars authorized by the Cobell settlement focuses myopically on effecting consolidation through tribal government land acquisition.

As I explained in the column under that headline, Interior threatens to facilitate the forced sale and unconstitutional taking of tribal member-owned fractionated lands, on behalf of tribal governments – with Cobell settlement monies.

Some perspective is in order: The federal government has categorically mismanaged member-owned lands for the last 125 years. For the last 16 years, a putative class of tribal members lead by the Native American Rights Fund sued the United States to “right” that egregious wrong. Justice was purportedly served in 2010, in the form of a $3.4 billion settlement, $1.9 billion of which was allocated for Indian land consolidation.

Now, after epic insult upon chronic injury to Indians, Interior proposes to spend over half of tribal members’ trust mismanagement settlement monies on a program that will in pertinent part allow tribes to forcibly end tribal member land tenure. Really?"

Get the Story:
Gabe Galanda: Interior’s Land Consolidation Plan: Another ‘Disaster’ in the Making (Indian Country Today 4/19)

Related Stories:
Gabe Galanda: Interior's land consolidation plan a disaster (03/28)

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