Indian land holdings

ANCSA: A complete or incomplete story of sovereignty

Year

Shortly after the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act passed into law in 1971, headlines started appearing in local newspapers that hinted at a growing confusion among Alaska Native communities: “Indian Country hard to define,” stated one Tundra Times edition. “ANCSA and tribalism?” asked another.

The articles were referring to the new, unusual Indigenous legal landscape that ANCSA had established, and the ambiguity surrounding tribes’ jurisdiction going forward.

“Exactly what authority might tribes exercise? ” asked one Tundra Times op-ed. Many were confused about how this legislation would affect tribal sovereignty in Alaska.

Fifty years later, there are still parts of this question that remain unanswered.

Resource Type
Citation

Sullivan, Meghan. ANCSA: A complete or incomplete story of sovereignty. January 22, 2022. Indian Country Today. Retrieved from: https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/ancsa-a-complete-or-incomplete-story-of-sovereignty

Invisible Borders of Reservations, Tribal Treaties, and Tribal Sovereignty

Producer
Arizona State Museum
Year

This 3-part discussion about the invisible borders of reservations, tribal treaties, and tribal sovereignty is led by Dr. Miriam Jorgensen, Research Director of both the University of Arizona Native Nations Institute and its sister organization, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development; the honorable Karen Diver, former chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and current director of business development for Native American Initiatives at the University of Arizona; and Dr. Kelsey Leonard of the Shinnecock Nation, assistant professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Topics
Citation

Jorgensen, Miriam, Karen Diver, and Kelsey Leonard. "Invisible Borders of Reservations, Tribal Treaties, and Tribal Sovereignty" Webinar. Arizona State Museum. Oct. 23, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1KyaGdRzR4

Considerations for Federal and State Landback

Year

This policy brief showcases how geographic information system (GIS) techniques can be used to identify public and/or protected land in relation to current and historic reservation boundaries, and presents maps showcasing the scope of landback opportunities.

These lands include federal- or state-owned or managed land within current external reservation boundaries; within former reservation boundaries; near or abutting current reservation land; and protected areas designated for conservation management (which can include land held in fee).

The sentiment to give all U.S. national park landback to the stewardship of Indigenous Peoples is gaining momentum. These areas indeed may provide a cohesive set of initial opportunities towards that aim, and can lean on management or co-management agreements in strategic areas that present win-win solutions for both public agencies and American Indian nations in expanding their footprint.

While historically the laws that diminished reservations were intended to create opportunities for private ownership and settlement by non-Indigenous people, it is in fact the case that, 140 years later, six federal agencies currently manage approximately one-third the land that had been within former reservation boundaries.

A quarter of land just outside of present-day reservation boundaries (within a 10-mile buffer) is managed by one of six federal agencies, largely made up of the Bureau of Land Management (11%) and the Forest Service (11%).

Identifying where these parcels are, especially in relation to current or former reservation land, is a powerful first step for tribes and government agencies to begin to develop strategies for landback. Making this information more accessible will help streamline the process.

Resource Type
Citation

Laura Taylor and Miriam Jorgensen. "Considerations for Federal and State Landback."  Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Published October 22, 2022.

NCAI Forum: Protecting Tribal Lands and Sacred Places: Current Threats Across Indian Country

Year

The latest in NCAI’s ongoing series of virtual events featuring tribal leaders, this forum shares the stories of five tribal nations working to protect their tribal homelands in the face of baseless attacks by the federal government, and discussed how the federal government must recommit to its trust and treaty obligations to all tribal nations in this critical area. Forum panelists included:

  • Cedric Cromwell, Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
  • Mark Fox, Chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation
  • Harold Frazier, Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation
  • Terry Rambler, Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe
Resource Type
Citation

National Congress of American Indians. "NCAI Forum: Protecting Tribal Lands and Sacred Places: Current Threats Across Indian Country". NCAI. June 29, 2020. Retreived on July 23, 2020 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_DGzzlgkGo

Yakama Nation Land Enterprise

Year

In an effort to consolidate, regulate, and control Indian land holdings, the financially self-sustaining Yakama Nation Land Enterprise has successfully acquired more than 90% of all the fee lands within the Nation’s closed area — lands which were previously highly "checker-boarded." The Enterprise’s land purchase program has allowed the Nation to expand industrial, business, and agricultural activities; tracts of land are used for housing, day care centers, ranger stations, longhouses, and for use by tribal education, foods, resource management, and cultural programs.

Resource Type
Citation

"Yakama Nation Land Enterprise." Honoring Nations: 2002 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2003. Report.

Permissions

This Honoring Nations report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. 

Collectively Managing Allotment Lands Is Better

Year

Indian allotment holders are not making enough money from their allotments. One way for tribal allotment holders to gain more economic income from their allotments is to organize a corporation under tribal law and collectively manage allotted lands in order to gain more income for allotment holders...

Resource Type
Citation

Champagne, Duane. "Collectively Managing Allotment Lands Is Better." Indian Country Today. December 10, 2013. Article. (https://ictnews.org/archive/collectively-managing-allotment-lands-is-better, accessed March 24, 2023)