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Leech Lake Band, Forest Service agree to 11K-acre transfer of Chippewa National Forest land

Morning headlines from June 20, 2024
Morning headlines from June 20, 2024 03:22

CASS LAKE, Minn. – Approximately 11,778 acres of national forest land are being transferred back to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Tony Dixon signed a decision memo Thursday, transferring the land which is currently managed by the Chippewa National Forest. The move is part of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act which was signed into law in December 2020.

The restored lands will help the band invest in future generations with economic and residential development, says the U.S. Forest Service.

"We understand the importance the land holds to the Band and will continue to work with the Band as we move through this process," said Chippewa Forest Supervisor Michael Stansberry.  

Chippewa National Forest Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Leech Lake Band Chairman Faron Jackson Sr. hailed the historic restoration saying the band is celebrating the latest step forward in restoring a portion of the illegally transferred lands. 

"This is one of the most monumental and positive developments to take place on Leech Lake since the first treaties were signed and the reservation was established in 1855," Jackson said.

The forest service and the band worked together to identify the parcels of land being transferred. The intent was to limit fragmentation of ownership boundaries while honoring private property rights, according to the forest service.

A commemorative ceremony will be held on July 17 by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

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