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KBIC president holds hope for passage of tribal reparations bill

L'ANSE, MI— Officials with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community are applauding Senate passage of a reparations bill for land taken from the tribe.

KBIC Tribal Council President Doreen Blaker says the tribe has sought compensation for the loss of thousands of acres for decades. She says the bill aims to right a 150-year-old wrong.

“I guess we feel heard and understood that this was an illegal taking of our land after the treaty had been signed.”

Blaker believes passage of the legislation into law could be a real economic benefit for the KBIC.

“It can help fund governmental services. It can protect our natural resources. We could perhaps get land acquisition for housing.”

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Land Claim Settlement Act of 2023 authorizes federal funds through the U.S. Department of the Interior. It was authored by Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow. A companion bill has been introduced by Representative Jack Bergman in the House.

Blaker says there’s a long history of wrongs against Native Americans and it’s good to see the state and federal governments addressing this one.

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.