Placing land into federal trust
The purpose of putting land into trust is to allow tribal communities to exist and function under and as tribal governments. Contrary to inaccurate information being spread by uninformed individuals, the economic health of a tribe is not a factor in eligibility.
Subject to the provisions contained in the acts of Congress, land may be placed into trust status for the benefit of tribal governments:
- When the property is located within the exterior boundaries of the tribe's reservation or adjacent thereto, or within a tribal consolidation area; or
- When the tribe already owns an interest in the land; or
- When the Secretary determines that the acquisition of the land is necessary to facilitate tribal self-determination, economic development, or Indian housing.
A critical consideration for the federal government when considering any application for placing land into trust for a tribal government is whether the tribal government has an ancestral relationship to those lands. This important qualification has been fulfilled by the tribe in the case of the Camp 4 land.
The bottom line: Millions of acres of ancestral land were taken through the improper actions of others and as a result, tribes all across the country lost control and jurisdiction of those lands. Placing land into trust is a way for tribes to reclaim their lands. Our efforts today with restoring our Camp 4 ancestral lands are simply intended to correct history and provide to our tribal members what is right and just.