Cris Stainbrook - Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) - Guest
George Lee - Host

Cris Stainbrook shared with WRC a brief history of how land was systemically and methodically taken away from the Indian population and how "Manifest Destiny" was the accepted thought between 1887 and 1934, which was that Indians were not actually occupants of the land.
 
Prior to 1887, 138 million acres of land were reserved for the sole purpose of Indian ownership and use.  By 1934, there were only 48 million acres left inside the original boundaries.  430 treaties have been signed and along the way, the General Allotment Act was the most destructive.  This acts aim was to break up the tribal community and reorganize each person as an individual rather than as part of a tribe.  This was done systemically by assigning each person an allotment of approximately 160 acres of land and the rest was deemed "in excess of Indian needs" and taken back by the US government.  The titles for each allotment was then divided between the heir of each individual, and that piece of the title divided to their heir, and so on.  In 1928 the Merrian Report declared the Allotment Act was a failure but the damage had been done.
 
The aim of the ILTF is to help Native Americans get some of their land back and to navigate their division of titles by helping write wills, education, using economic opportunities, help with cultural awareness, and aim for legal reform.  If you would like to help, have questions, or want more information, please email Cris or call 651-766-8999.