Bill would repay Chippewa for 1800s land sale

A bill that would pay Minnesota Chippewa American Indians for “federal misfeasance” in enacting an 1889 law is making its way through Congress.

Minnesota U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, and Chip Cravaack, a Republican, introduced what they call the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act of 2011. It would give the state’s Chippewas $28 million as reimbursement for the federal government selling of Indian lands in the late 1800s.

Those affected are Boise Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and White Earth bands of Chippewa.

Cravaack said the money sits in an Interior Department trust fund and should be released now.

Each tribal member would get $300, with the six bands receiving the rest.

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