Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association
Resolution No. 50-11-30-12 RESOLUTION OF THE GREAT PLAINS TRIBAL CHAIRMAN’S ASSOCIATION

Resolution to request that the U.S. Interior Department/Bureau of Indian Affairs

define the steps and procedures to be utilized by the Government to implement the Cobell Settlement monies to purchase fractionated allotted trust and restricted fee lands in the Great Plains Region, including contractual arrangements with, and equitable disbursement of settlement funds to, the respective Indian tribes and nations in the region.

 

WHEREAS,  the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) is composed of  sixteen elected Chairs and Presidents of  sovereign treaty tribes and nations (or their duly appointed representatives) that are located within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska; and

 

WHEREAS, the GPTCA was formed to promote the common interests of the member tribes and their enrolled members in the Great Plains Region; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States has obligated itself in tribal treaties, agreements, and federal statutes to provide benefits and services to GPTCA member tribes, including the Snyder Act of 1921 as amended, the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975, as amended, and other acts of Congress; and

 

WHEREAS, Indian Tribes are sovereign governments recognized by the United States that pre-date the founding of the United States; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to its constitution, the United States entered into treaties with the GPTCA tribes and nations whereby it recognized the tribes and nations right to self-government and a permanent homeland, and assumed a trust responsibility to each tribes to provide aid to provide aid and subsistence rations as a quid pro quo for the acquisition or confiscation of portions of the tribes or nations aboriginal territories and hunting rights; and

 

WHEREAS, the Settlement Agreement proposed to the Cobell v. Salazar class action settled all IIM Account holders historical accounting claims and administrative (damage) claims (for those IIM account holders that didn’t opt out) for $3.2 billion, in which $1,900,000,000 was set aside for tribal governments to purchase fractionated interests in allotted trust or restricted fee lands; and

 

WHEREAS, the Cobell court ordered that the $1.9 billion from this Settlement Account for land purchases be expensed within a ten (10) year period, and

WHEREAS, the Interior Department’s own documents demonstrate that at least one-third or more of all fractionated interests in trust or restricted fee lands are located  within  the Great Plains Region, thereby making the Great Plains Region as the region with the highest amount of fractionated trust or restricted fee land in the United States;  and

 

WHEREAS,  principals of equity and fairness require a formula in which the tribes and nations will be allocated a proportional amount of the $1.9 billion based on the total amount of fractionated  lands that exist in Indian Country nation-wide; and

 

WHEREAS,  the Indian tribes and nations in the Great Plains Region have capable Indian land administration departments with a  strong vested interest in how the funds must be expended to ensure that the reservation trust or restricted land base is preserved, and

 

WHEREAS, the best and most efficient manner to administer the $1.9 billion allocated for the purchase of fractioned trust or restricted fee lands on reservations or in Indian Country is to allow each tribe or nation on whose reservations or portions of Indian Country that such lands are located to administer the purchase of the lands pursuant to an agreement between the tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs; such agreements can then require:

 

1.  A plan that will complete the purchase of all fractionated tracts of land to be purchased within the ten (10) year limitation period imposed by the Cobell court;

 

2. The technical assistance (TA) to the Indian tribes or nations, and training for personnel, needed  to accomplish the purchase of the lands;

 

3. The manner in which the funds will be allocated to each tribe or nation;

 

4. The total amount of funds that will be allocated to each tribe or nation within the ten (10) year limitation period, and the manner in which the funds will be allocated to the Indian tribe or nation; Including Administrative Costs.

 

5. The identify of each tract of fractionated trust or restricted lands to be purchased, including but not limited to:

 

a. A land title status report for each tract that contains (i) a legal description of each tract, (ii) the names of each record title holder of each tract, including subsurface estates, and (iii) the percentage of interest owned in each record title holder, (iv) the latest appraised value of the tract, including subsurface estates, (v) a statement of the annual income generated by each tract for the last ten (10) years, (vi) a description of any type mineral or natural resource interest located on the parcel, i.e., oil and gas, coal, etc., (vii) a description of any lease, right of way or other legal interest or encumbrance that any third party holds on each tract, and (viii) any other information requested by the Tribe involved.

 

b. Maps and charts showing the degree of fractionation on tribe’s reservation or portion of Indian country over which the tribe or nation exercises jurisdiction;

 

c. The requirements for certified appraisers necessary to appraise both surface and subsurface (mineral) estates of each tract of trust or restricted fee land to be purchased, and the procedures for streamlining the appraisal process to ensure that all appraisals are completed in time to purchase each tract of land at fair market value within the ten (10) year limitation period;

 

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the GPTCA hereby requests that the U.S. Interior Department, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, take the necessary steps to work with each Indian tribe or nation to assist it in achieving the purchase of all fractionated heirship tracts of trust or restricted fee lands on their respective reservations, or portions of Indian country over which they exercise jurisdiction, within the ten (10) year limitation period.

 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of the Interior immediately take the following steps towards to properly implement this important land purchase program by:

 

1. Providing full consultation with the Indian tribes or nations of the Great Plains Region as required by Executive Order, federal law or otherwise, which consultation will include, but not be limited to, explaining to each Great Plains Region Indian tribe or nation the steps the Government has taken, or intends to take, to implement the $1.9 billion land repurchase program;

 

2. Formally declaring that the $1.9 billion in funds be allocated based upon a formula in which each tribes or nations will be allocated a proportional amount of the $1.9 billion based on the total amount of fractionated  lands in Indian country; for example, if Tribe A’s reservation has ten percent (10%) of the total amount of fractionated land and Tribe B has five percent (5%) of the total amount of fractionated land to be purchased, then Tribe A should get 10% of the $1.9 billion and Tribe B 5% of the total $1.9 billion;

 

3. Forwarding to the GPTCA and the tribes or nations with fractionated interests, a clear and detailed document (Land Title Statute Report) showing:  (i) a legal description of each tract to be purchased, (ii) the names of each record title holder of each tract, including subsurface estates, and (iii) the percentage of interest owned by each record title holder in each tract, (iv) the latest appraised value of each tract, including subsurface estates, (v) a statement of the annual income generated by each tract for the last ten (10) years, (vi) a description of any type mineral or natural resource interest located on the parcel, i.e., oil and gas, coal, etc., (vii) a description of any lease, right of way. or other legal interest or encumbrance that any third party holds on each tract, and (viii) any other information requested by the tribe or nation involved.

 

4. Forwarding to the GPTCA and the tribes or nations a clear statement of how their administrative and staffing costs will be covered to implement the $1.9 billion land repurchase program (tribes should not be forced to use any tribal funds to implement their land purchase plan);

 

5. Coordinating with the GPTCA to arrange consultation, staffing , data acquisition, and training required by the Great Plains Region Indian tribes or nations to implement the $1.9 billion land repurchase program;

 

AND BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the BIA issue negotiated regulations that will provide for the storage of wills and the on-going probate problems, including real estate planning, for each Great Plains Region tribe or nation.

 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Secretary of the Interior issue regulations that will Sunset the Office of Special Trustee, and return the functions and authority of the OST to the BIA to be administered by the BIA regional and agency level offices;

 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department of Interior schedule a meeting with the Tribes in the Great Plains Region, within sixty (60) days from the passage of this resolution, to explain and implement all of the aforementioned efforts as they pertain to each Great Plains Region Indian tribe or nation.

 

AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution shall be the policy of the GPTCA until otherwise amended or rescinded, or until the goal of this Resolution has been accomplished.

 

Resolution No. 50-11-30-11

 

CERTIFICATION

 

This resolution was enacted at a duly called meeting of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association held at Rapid City, South Dakota on November 30, 2012 at which a quorum was present, with 9 members voting in favor, 0  members opposed,  0  members abstaining, and 7 members not present.

 

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