County might end Grand Traverse Band land-into-trust appeal

This property along M-72 in Acme Township, Michigan, has been the subject of one land-into-trust appeal in Grand Traverse County. Image from Google Maps

Officials in Grand Traverse County, Michigan, are being urged to stop fighting the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the tribe's land-into-trust application for 12 acres in Acme Township back in March 2013, The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported at the time. But the land has been in limbo ever since the county commission filed an appeal.

That could change if the county withdraws the appeal. The issue will be considered at the commission's meeting on July 6.

"I don't think we ever win at these," Administrator Tom Menzel told The Record-Eagle.

Last October, the Interior Board of Indian Appeals dismissed the county's challenge to another land-into-trust application. The county brought up the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar but the IBIA said the BIA acted within its authority.

"In our view, the existence of hunting and fishing rights, reserved in and protected by Congressionally ratified treaties, and for which the United States continued to have an obligation, is as compelling and dispositive evidence to demonstrate that the tribe was under federal jurisdiction in 1934 as would be the case if the United States had held land in trust for the tribe," the IBIA wrote in the decision.

The parcel at issue in that appeal also lies in Acme Township but leaders there aren't the ones behind the challenges, according to news reports.

Get the Story:
Commissioners could drop land appeal (The Traverse City Record-Eagle 6/30)
Menzel Recommends Dropping Tribal Tax Appeal (The Traverse Ticker 6/30)

Interior Board of Indian Appeals Decision:
Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners v. Acting Midwest Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs (September 25, 2015)

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