Land recovery efforts bring hope
From 1887 to 1934, 90 million acres of reservation land were removed from Indian ownership and control. Nearly two-thirds of the total Indian land base was sold, transferred to non-Indians, or lost due to forced sales. Today, more than half of the land within reservation boundaries across the United States is privately held by non-Indians. Many Native nations are now reclaiming these lost lands through legal transfers and purchases with help from Indian Land Capital Company.
From the Odawa of Michigan to the Snoqualmie in Washington and the Yurok of California, these are their stories.
Kashia Band of Pomo Indians
Nearly 150 years after being forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands on the Pacific Coast to an inland reservation, the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians in Sonoma County, Calif., once again have access to the ocean. On June 15, 2016 the Tribe celebrated the recovery of nearly 700 acres, a milestone made possible with financing provided by the Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) and others.
Little Traverse Bay Bands
In 2014, ILCC provided a loan to the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians to purchase a 311-acre farm adjacent to the traditional boundaries of its reservation near Petoskey, Mich. Now known as Ziibimijwang Farm – “Place of the Flowing River” – the land is being redeveloped by the Tribe as a certified organic farm to support the subsistence and nutritional needs of tribal members, as well as a potential source of income.
Pinoleville Pomo Nation
Located in Mendocino County California, the Pinoleville Pomo Nation is a federally recognized tribe whose status was restored in the 1980s. In 2017, ILCC provided financing that enabled the Tribe to reacquire 3.5 acres of historically important ancestral land in Ukiah, Calif., along with valuable commercial property located within the boundaries of the original 1911 Rancheria.
When ILCC provided financing in 2007 to the Snoqualmie Tribe to purchase 35 acres east of Seattle, the Tribe did not have sufficient cash flow to make a full loan payment. ILCC was able to provide the Tribe with enough funding to purchase the land, which nearly doubled the size of the reservation and included property now utilized for health care facilities, housing, commercial development and gaming.
The Yurok Tribe acquired 22,237 acres in Humboldt County, California, in 2011 with financing from ILCC and others. This enabled the Yurok to purchase the timberland, which was part of their original reservation. The land became a community forest where the Tribe uses a sustainable forestry management approach that protects salmon, improves water quality and enables the Yurok to generate substantial revenue in California’s carbon credit market.