The Jesuits are returning 525 acres of South Dakota land to the Rosebud Sioux, according to the news site CatholicPhilly.com. (For those not used to thinking in acres, that’s about 0.8 square miles.)
The U.S. government gave the land to the Jesuits in the 1880s, the story said. It is not one contiguous piece of land, but small scattered plots around the reservation originally intended for churches and cemeteries.
“It’s now time to give back to the tribe all of those pieces of land that were given to the church for church purposes,” [Jesuit Father John] Hatcher added. “We will never again put churches on those little parcels of land. But it’s an opportunity to return land that rightly belongs to the Lakota people,” of which the Rosebud Sioux are a part.
The transfer has both symbolic and monetary meaning. The land itself is worth approximately $500,000 to $1 million, according to tribal estimates.