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State May Return 12K Acres To Leech Lake Ojibwe

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A measure moving through Congress would return nearly 12,000 acres of land in Minnesota to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

The Star Tribune reports the measure seeks to reverse a land seizure by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs that dates back to the 1940s.

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith is a bill sponsor. She says the goal is to return land "that was wrongfully taken."

Leech Lake chairman Faron Jackson Sr. says the band doesn't immediately plan to change how the land is used. He says people will still be allowed to hunt, fish, hike and bike in the area.

LeRoy Staples Fairbanks is a representative on the Leech Lake Tribal Council. He says the tribe is culturally and spiritually connected to the land.

The measure has passed the U.S. Senate, but still needs approval from the U.S. House.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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