landback

The Rise of the First Nations Land Management Regime in Canada: A Critical Analysis

Year

Federal Budget 2018 contains significant investments in the First Nations Land Management regime, including $143.5 million over five years beginning in 2018-19, and $19 million per year ongoing. In December 2018, the First Nations Land Management Act was amended, lowering the voting threshold for ratification and giving First Nations increased flexibility in investing or spending funds generated under the First Nations Land Management Act. As Canada moves towards a strategy of sectoral self-governance —slowly deconstructing the Indian Act rather than negotiating all-encompassing self-governance agreements — the management of reserve lands is becoming a critical component of this model and a supposed means for First Nations to ‘catch up’ to the speed of business and build prosperity for their communities. Though the Land Code may provide First Nations with increased jurisdiction over reserve lands, it does not fundamentally challenge the allocation of land beyond reserves (territory). Also, by opening up reserve lands to the market, it may further contribute to the dispossession of land for First Nations people.

Resource Type
Citation

Jobin, Shalene and Emily Riddle. 2019. The Rise of the First Nations Land Management Regime in Canada. Yellowhead Institute: Toronto, Ontario.

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

Water in the Native World Webinar Series: A Confluence of Anticolonial Pathways for Indigenous Sacred Site Protection

Year

“Water in the Native World,” a special issue on tribal water research was just released by the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education. This is the second time, Dr. Karletta Chief, the PI of the Community Engagement Core of the University of Arizona Superfund Research Center (UA SRC) has served as a guest editor to compile research highlighting important water research in tribal communities. Not only is the guest editor Indigenous but in this Special Issue nearly all of the co-authors are Indigenous and three publications (Bulltail and Walter, 2020; Conroy-Ben and Crowder, 2020, and Martin et al., 2020) are led by an Indigenous lead author.

Download full articles from the special issue.

Contact: Dr. Karletta Chief, Assistant Specialist & Professor, Environmental Physics and Hydrology

June 11, 2020:
Speakers:
Rachel Ellis (corresponding author) is an educator, advocate, and researcher specializing in justice-oriented watershed management and conservation in the Southwest. This article is based on research from her thesis “Exploring Anticolonial Protective Pathways for the Confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers.” rme96@nau.edu.

Denielle Perry is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. My research, broadly described, draws on a Political Ecology approach to analyze the drivers, priorities, and spatial dimensions of water governance. In particular, I examine how environmental institutions and values influence both the development and conservation of water resources, as well as the socio-ecological implications of these often competing agendas, in the face of climate change. I adopt a mixed-methods approach in my work, making use of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. I view the nexus of political ecology, water law and policy, and geospatial analysis as a powerful platform for solving some of the most pressing environmental problems of our time. Denielle.Perry@nau.edu

All content courtesy University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

Indigenous Land Management in the United States: Context, Cases, Lessons

Year

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is seeking ways to support First Nations’ economic development. Among its concerns are the status and management of First Nations’ lands. The Indian Act, bureaucratic processes, the capacities of First Nations themselves, and other factors currently limit the ability of First Nations to add lands to reserves or to use their lands more effectively in productive and self-determined economic activity.

As it confronts these issues, AFN has been interested in how Indigenous land-management issues are being addressed by Native nations in the United States. What is the status of Indigenous lands in the U.S.? Do Native nations in the U.S. face similar challenges to those facing First Nations? Are Native nations in the U.S. engaged in practices that might offer ideas or lessons for First Nations?

There are substantial historical, legal, and political differences between the situations of Native nations in Canada and the U.S. But there also are substantial similarities. In both countries, land has been a pivotal issue–in many ways the pivotal issue–in the history of Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations. In both countries, despite massive land loss, Native nations retain remnant land bases with varying potential for economic development. In both countries, Native nations fiercely defend their remaining lands, seek to expand them, and are determined to exercise greater control over what happens on those lands.

This report addresses the status of Native lands in the U.S. It is divided into two parts. Part 1, “Overview of the U.S. Context,” reviews the history of Indigenous lands and provides an overview of current Indian land tenure and jurisdiction. Part 2, “Meeting the Land Management Challenge,” specifies the primary challenges facing Native nations in the U.S. as they attempt to manage their lands in ways that meet their own objectives and summarizes some of the innovative practices currently in use or being developed by American Indian nations. It identifies what we believe are key features of those practices. It also summarizes some of the relevant research on the relationship between control of Native lands and socioeconomic outcomes. Finally, it offers some recommendations based on the U.S. experience...

This report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Assembly of First Nations.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Cornell, Stephen and Miriam Jorgensen. "Indigenous Land Management in the United States: Context, Cases, Lessons." A Report to the Assembly of First Nations. Grogan|Cornell Consulting. Tucson, Arizona. December 2011. Report.

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. 

Chilkoot Tlingit "Nation Building"

Year

Excluded by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the Chilkoot Tlingit are engaged in a process of nation-building. The process began in 1990 with the revival of their dormant tribal government, the Chilkoot Indian Association (CIA). From this institutional foundation, the 480-member CIA successfully negotiated the acquisition of a land base and began developing self-determined programs and initiatives. Today, the CIA administers almost $1 million of programs and contracts in the areas of education, health, housing, and economic development and participates in government-to-government relationships with local, state, federal, and international governmental entities.

Resource Type
Topics
Citation

"'Nation Building' Among the Chilkoot Tlingit". Honoring Nations: 2002 Honoree. The 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. 

Grand Traverse Band's Land Claims Distribution Trust Fund

Year

After 26 years of negotiation with the US government over how monies from a land claims settlement would be distributed, the Band assumed financial control over the settlement by creating a Trust Fund system that provides annual payments in perpetuity to Band elders for supplementing their social security benefits. The Land Claims Distribution Fund was created to not only provide an additional permanent safety net for the Tribe's elders, but also to honor their lifetime contributions and sacrifices. The Fund also enables the Tribe to effectively manage its own settlement award rather than having it remain under the management of the US government.

Resource Type
Citation

"Land Claims Distribution Trust Fund". Honoring Nations: 1999 Honoree. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2000. 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. 

Honoring Nations: Cedric Kuwaninvaya: The Hopi Land Team

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Former Chairman of the Hopi Land Team Cedric Kuwaninvaya presents an overview of the tribal subcommittee's work to the Honoring Nations Board of Governors in conjunction with the 2005 Honoring Nations Awards.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Kuwaninvaya, Cedric. "The Hopi Land Team." Honoring Nations Awards event. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Tulsa, Oklahoma. November 1, 2005. Presentation.

Cedric Kuwaninvaya:

"[Hopi language]. Greetings from the Hopi Tribe to the Honoring Nations Advisory Board and honored guests. It is with great honor and privilege to deliver our final presentation to you. The Hopi Land Team is a subcommittee of the Hopi Tribal Council and has delegated authority to develop land policy, to explore and administer the best and most favorable uses of our natural and water resources and to seek and purchase viable business and land opportunities. I would like to recognize the current Hopi Land Team members: Ms. Marilyn Masayesva from the village of Bacavi who's our Vice Chair, Denny Humetewa from the upper village of Moenkopi, Jack Harding, Jr. from the village of Kykotsmovi, John Polela from the village of First Mesa, Leon Carew from the village of Mishongovi, and Wayne Taylor, Jr. who is the Chairman of the Hopi Tribe. My name is Cedric Kuwaninvaya. I am from the great village of Sipaulovi and the Chairman for the Land Team here.

A fundamental principle consistently exercised by the Hopi Tribal Council is our innate responsibility to preserving our homeland as an act of inherent sovereignty. As the original inhabitants of the isolated desert terrain of our aboriginal lands in the Southwest, the Hopi Land Team has focused its efforts on the restoration of our aboriginal lands, to restore free access to shrines, culture and religious sites balanced with contemporary goals of economic development and tribal self-sufficiency. The Hopi Tribe will soon be transferring up to 420,264 acres of acquired lands into trust. Since the passage of the Hopi-Navajo Land Settlement Act in 1996, much thought and planning has taken place to select fee, state and U.S. Forest, BLM lands that lie within our aboriginal lands. Although these lands do not encompass the original extent of our aboriginal lands, the acquisition of these lands symbolically replenish lost lands and more importantly regain our inherent land stewardship responsibility handed down since time immemorial. Moreover, these acts of the Hopi Tribe strategically lay the path to search new opportunities for economic development and to build a promising future for the Hopi people.

The purchase of lands is balanced with the purchases of business concerns such as commercial retail properties, a cattle-ranching business providing a product to the premium beef market, a bed-and-breakfast business, and a full truck stop serving the traveling public and commercial fleets off Interstate 40. Since the year 1998, these businesses have returned approximately three million dollars in profits to the general fund of the Hopi Tribe, which comprise approximately two percent of the annual general fund budget each year. The funds are then allocated to the Hopi villages for village projects such as elder and youth programs and to the Hopi tribal government for its operations. A comprehensive land management plan will govern the development of the newly acquired lands. The resources on these lands include hunting, fishing, boating, cattle grazing leases, recreation, power line rights of ways, management of cultural sites, a utility-scale wind energy farm and a potential utility-scale solar energy farm. These new economic development opportunities will generate revenue, create jobs, and enhance the portfolio of the Hopi Tribe.

The long-term goals of the Hopi Tribe and the plans to manage the development of the newly acquired lands and business concerns will be overseen by the Hopi Economic Development Corporation, a chartered corporation. In addition, our Wildlife Endowment Fund will provide the core funding for wildlife management on all Hopi lands. More importantly, as the picture shows, the most significant opportunity is the strengthening of the Hopi Tribe's ability to continue the practice of long-held religious, cultural and traditional practices. As the lands acquired formally aboriginal lands include eagle shrines, cultural sites, sacred trails, access to herbs, plants and wildlife used in our religious ceremonies. The future of the Hopi rests on its resources. Therefore the Land Team drives forward the concept that land is the foundation for Hopi beliefs and values and in the modern context an investment in the future. The growth and stability of the Hopi people rests on the proper activities of the Hopi tribal government and the Land Team serving as the enforcer for the tribe's responsibilities and vision. We remain committed to preserving our homeland and stand strong on the principle of preserving the good things of Hopi life and dealing with the modern problems with the United States government and with the outside world. [Hopi language]."

Alfreda Mitre:

"First of all, I want to say I'm very jealous of the Hopi Tribe's exclusive right to identify and select and purchase land and then have that land transferred into a trust status. Not many tribes have that opportunity. As a tribe, a small tribe in Nevada, we struggle very hard to acquire our traditional lands back so I want to first of all congratulate the Hopi Tribe and the team here for all of their work. Out in...throughout the United States you have tribes that are purchasing back their homelands and often are accused of ‘reservation shopping,' looking for convenient locations for economic development. Could you elaborate a little bit on how the selection of lands to be purchased or acquired are made?"

Cedric Kuwaninvaya:

"In Hopi, our elders have always told us where our lands had extended previously into the four western states and so with that knowledge when we were having a dispute with our neighboring tribe there, we had this dispute for over 100 years, and how we got acquisition of our lands back, we went to court and fought over this trying to get our aboriginal lands back. So through a congressional act we acquired...the Congress allowed us to get up to 500,000 acres that we could put into trust. So through the congressional mandate, that's what happened with our tribe. And once when we were given the authority to go out buying land, we looked at the land, what was on the land -- including water rights -- because we needed water to survive and look at that in terms of putting an investment into the future for our young people."

Alfreda Mitre:

"The next part of the question is, given that there aren't too many tribes that have the same opportunity that the Hopi's have, what advice would you have to tribes in terms, should this opportunity become available to them, what advice do you have for them?"

Cedric Kuwaninvaya:

"I guess the advice I have for them is make sure you know your culture, your traditions because everything hinges on that and the places where you're going to identify that maybe once identified to your people. Be aggressive, pursue it because we all know that the federal government took our lands away and because of treaties or other tribes that are under the IRS or IRA [Indian Reorganization Act], they owe us a lot so I would advise that the people in the tribes pursue it aggressively."

Elsie Meeks:

"I have a question for you. Congratulations on being one of the finalists and for the work you've done. What do you see as the next phase in this process? What are your next goals? Is it more land purchase, is it trying to get businesses profitable or what..."

Cedric Kuwaninvaya:

"Right now, we have a limit of acquiring up to 500,000 acres to put into trust so we're still going to be looking for lands cause it's still available to us. The other part is also looking at economic opportunities. Right now we have established an economic development corporation and all of the purchases that we've made will transition into that corporation, so they're the experts at doing business so that part will be transitioned. The other part is, yes, a lot of education needs to be done at our local level because all of these years we've had our lands taken away and the Hopi people have been stretched out, put a lot of money into trying to get our lands back, a lot of time and effort has been put into that. Now they need to feel relaxed and there needs to be a lot of educating at the local village level whereby we tell them, ‘Yes, we are gaining our aboriginal lands back and you can make use of it of how you made uses of them before, a long time ago.' There's still a lot of challenges and opportunities out there for the Hopi people."

Oren Lyons:

"The land dispute between Navajo and Hopi is an old one. What was it that made the breakthrough to work together? How did you do that?"

Cedric Kuwaninvaya:

"There's one that's called the 1882 Land Case. That one we went to Congress to settle. Then there's another one that's called the 1934 Case. That one has been in court for a lot of years, but I think what the tribes decided to do was rather than having the court settle it because the courts don't know how we live on Hopi, how the Navajos live their lives. We came together with the Navajo Tribe and said, ‘This is our land, these are our people, we know what's going on with our lives. We don't want the federal government or the courts to settle this.' So we came together and we...what happened from that was we had a compact on the different areas where the tribe goes into the other tribe's lands to get herbs or do religious activities there. So that's how this one came about and right now the Hopi Tribe has approved the 1934 compact and it's before the Navajo tribal council. So if they approve it then that's the end of our land disputes that we have."

David Gipp:

"Where is the bed-and-breakfast ranch that John Wayne used to own?"

Cedric Kuwaninvaya:

"That's located in Eager, by Springerville in Arizona. I understand John Wayne turned several times in his grave when he heard that the Indians had conquered his ranch."

Osage Nation to receive $7.4 million in Cobell Land Buy-Back program

Year

The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations has come to the Osage and the federal government is proposing $7.4 million to buy back fractionated land interest from individual tribal members. According to tribal development and land acquisition director Bruce Cass, who is working with Osage attorney Terry Mason Moore on the project, the Nation will be contacting 680-690 individual landowners concerning roughly 64,000 acres about the program. Those eligible for the buy-back program are individuals who own an interest in a parcel of land with multiple owners. There must also be a clear land title, and all estates in probate will not receive offers. The BIA has already been working to identify those individuals eligible for offers, Cass said. A majority of the fractionated land lies in the southern part of Osage County.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Duty, Shannon Shaw. "Nation to receive $7.4 million in Cobell Land Buy-Back program." Osage News. January 26, 2015. Article. (http://osagenews.org/en/article/2015/01/26/nation-receive-74-million-cob..., accessed January 26, 2015)