A map of the 1854 Treaty Area. Image from 1854 Treaty Authority

House passes bill to address Grand Portage Band per capitas

The House passed H.R.3608, the Grand Portage Band Per Capita Adjustment Act, by a voice vote on Monday.

In 1988, the Grand Portage Band and the Bois Forte Band reached a settlement with the state of Minnesota to forgo the exercise of certain rights under the Treaty of 1854. The tribes each receive $1.6 million a year under the deal.

Both tribes share per capita payments from the settlement with their members. But while the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act of 2000 ensures that Bois Forte citizens don't have to pay state or federal taxes on their shares, the Grand Portage Band was somehow left out.

H.R.3608 corrects the oversight. It exempts the Grand Portage payments from state and federal taxation and

"Principles of fairness and equity suggest that both bands of Minnesota Chippewa be accorded equal treatment," Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said on the House floor on Monday. "H.R. 3608 accordingly amends the applicable statute to provide the Grand Portage Band the same tax benefits."

The bill awaits consideration in the Senate.

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