After mismanaging land held in trust for Indian tribes since 1887, the US government will manage a massive land buyback program for Native-Americans.
The 10 million acres the government plans to buy – mostly in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions – will be double the size of Massachusetts. The land will then be sold back to Native-American tribes, with only 7 out of 150 tribes attaining most of the wealth. The tribes already own 46 million acres.
I say cut out the middle man.
The program, which creates another government bureaucracy that will start out with 100 employees can spend up to $285 million on administrative costs. They have an initial budget of $2 billion dollars.
To make this happen, the government has to find sellers willing to sell back the land individual tribal members were given in 1887. Since that time, there have been hundreds to thousands of different owners. Private owners will undoubtedly be reluctant to sell. Many of the owners are Native-Americans.
The federal government says it will not compel people to sell. The understandably skeptical Indians say that federal law allows tribes to ultimately force unwilling minority landowners to sell once they’ve acquired 51 percent ownership of any individual parcel.
Obama’s point man, BIA’s Washburn, said that individuals should be willing to sell to the tribes as a patriotic gesture. Is that like the patriotism we need to pay exorbitant taxes?
Some tribal leaders say they just want the money and they’ll buy back their own land without the federal government. That would be best but the over-controlling government won’t do it.
The deal reminds me of Pigford in that it is aimed at reparations. Reparations to everyone is a pet project of Barack Obama’s. The deal was brokered in 2010 to settle a lawsuit the government could easily have won. None of this was necessary legally, but, what is really concerning is that this program has no clear end-point.
The government swore back in 2010 that they would keep a log of all royalties from the land but the money never went back to the tribes. Who knows where it is.
We have $17 trillion in debt and climbing.
Full story at McClatchy