Indian Land and the Law

There are few issues more important to Indian tribes than the status of Indian land. Today, more than ever, tribal governments must contend with significant questions and federal policies concerning the use and alienation of Indian land. The trust status of tribal land, tribal zoning rights, taxation and tribal land claims are all issues that are generally settled by the courts, but it takes a thorough understanding of federal policies protecting tribal rights to ensure that tribal interests are protected.

This class offers a comprehensive view of current federal policies regarding Indian land. We’ll cover the relationships of tribal, state and federal governments, the federal process for taking land into trust, as well as an historic overview of how current protections for Indian land originated. We’ll discuss hot topics like fracking and recent court cases relating to taxation of Indian lands, and keep you informed about issues from the Cobell Settlement Land Consolidation Plan to the most current Leasing Regulations. Join us — register today!

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Federal Indian Land Policy
  • Doctrines of discovery and aboriginal title
  • Indian Non-Intercourse Act
  • “Surplus” lands
  • Methods of establishment
  • Governmental vs. proprietary interests
  • General Allotment Act
  • Proscriptions against new allotments
  • Fee patents
  • From tribal lands
  • From the public domain
Indian Land Holdings
  • Restrictions against alienation
  • Trust
Hot Topics
  • Fracking
  • Changes to leasing regulations:
    • The Hearth Act
    • Most recent version of 25 CFR 162
  • Fractionation:
    • Indian Land Consolidation Act
    • American Indian Probate Reform Act
Existing Statutory Authority
  • Alienation
  • Leasing
  • Rights-of-way
  • Partition
  • Escheat
  • Descent and distribution
  • Condemnation
Individual Rights in Tribal Property
  • New allotments proscribed
  • Types of possessory interests
  • Within Indian Country
  • Federal pre-emption
  • Tribal authority over allotments
Acquisition of Land in Trust
  • By the United States
  • Conferring governmental status
  • Effects of the General Allotment Act Suits for Lands
Fee to Trust Issues
  • Carcieri v. Salazar
  • Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak
  • 25 CFR Part 151 and The Patchak “Patch”
  • Current Interior/BIA Fee to Trust Handbook
Suits for Lands
  • Allotments
  • Breach of contract
  • Aboriginal title
  • Wrongful fee patent
Taxation of Indian Lands
  • Exemption
  • Immunity
  • Non-Indian land within a reservation
  • Payments in lieu of taxes
  • Tribal land income
  • Recent court cases
Zoning/Land Use
  • Authority to zone
  • Ordinances
  • Non-tribal lands within exterior boundaries
Federal Laws and Case Law
  • Indian Land Consolidation Act
  • Sherill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York
  • Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions
  • Case studies

*Topics subject to change.

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