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Legislation addressing KBIC land transfer passes US Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that would settle land claims by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and clear the titles of current landowners.

The KBIC was guaranteed occupancy on a large area of land known as the L’Anse Reservation through treaties signed in 1842 and 1854. The Tribe claims between 1,333 and 2,720 acres of land was illegally transferred to the state of Michigan by the federal government as compensation for construction of the Sault Ste. Marie canal, as well as approximately 2,743 acres of swamplands.

The KBIC says the loss of valuable land along Lake Superior has created substantial economic and other harm over the past 150 years. Meanwhile, non-Indian entities have acquired the land in good faith and now want to ensure they have clear title.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Land Claim Settlement Act of 2023 authorizes federal funds through the U.S. Department of the Interior that may be used by the KBIC for governmental services, economic development, natural resource protection, and land acquisition.

The bill is sponsored by Senator Gary Peters. Representative Jack Bergman has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.