The Bois Forte Land Back backstory

The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa acquired 28,000 acres of land within its traditional reservation boundaries this month, in what Native News Online describes as “the largest land-back agreement in Minnesota and one of the largest-ever in Indian Country.”

“The Bois Forte Band plans to directly manage the restored lands under a forest management plan that emphasizes conservation and environmental protection, balanced with economic and cultural benefits to the Band and its members,” the article said.

The headlines are calling this “historic” or that the tribe is “celebrating” the return of land. While true, this land-back story deserves context: An explanation of why Bois Forte needed to get its land back in the first place.

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This day in history, April 7, 1866: Bois Forte Band forced into treaty to open land for Minnesota’s ‘Gold Rush’

History offers several examples of white settlers’ greed for gold and how it led to violence, disease, land theft, and genocide of Indigenous peoples, the California and Black Hills gold rushes being prime examples.

Less well know is that it happened in Minnesota, too. Reports of gold in northern Minnesota led state business and political interests to seek the U.S. government’s help in securing a treaty to force the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe to cede lands coveted by gold speculators and prospectors. That treaty was signed on this day in history, April 7, 1866.

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Reads: Bois Forte faces casino boycott over anti-mining stance; Trump gets one vote from Red Lake Nation presidential primary; and more

In this blog:

  • Bois Forte Band of Chippewa faces casino boycott over its anti-mining stance
  • Trump got only one vote in Red Lake Nation’s presidential primary
  • Bad River Band in Wisconsin demands Enbridge pay millions in damages for its crude oil pipeline’s trespass
  • Los Angeles clean energy priorities are making changes in Navajo economy
  • Application withdrawn for $20 billion Alberta tar sands mining project

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