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Here’s our semi-regular roundup of recent landback deals, trust acquisitions, and other noteworthy real estate news involving Native American tribes and Indigenous businesses. 


The University of Minnesota has announced a drafted memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to return 3,400 acres of land surrounding U of M’s Cloquet Forestry Center, per a report from MPR News. The university first received the property from a logging company, which in the 1880s purchased unallotted land guaranteed to the tribe during an 1854 treaty with the United States. Discussions on the details of a potential land transfer continue. 

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska scored a Congressional win in late February following the passage of H.R. 1240 in the House of Representatives, or the Winnebago Land Transfer Act. The bill would transfer nearly 1,600 acres of land in western Woodbury and Monona Counties back to the tribe. The land is currently owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The bill now heads to the Senate for its next steps, according to a report by 4 KTIV in Siouxland. 

The Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe is raising funds through a nonprofit organization called California Heritage: Indigenous Research Program, or CHIRP, to purchase a 232-acre tract near Nevada City. The tract hosts a historic Nisenan Village site called Yulića. The group hopes to raise $2.4 million in total, with an initial goal of $1.5 million by April 4 this year. More information on the potential land purchase and donating can be found here

An anonymous donor has gifted 78 acres in California to the Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation, inspired by the global landback movement, per an announcement from the tribe. The deal was finalized in December 2023, giving the tribe - which does not have federal recognition - its first full landbase outside of an old school building purchased from Trinity County. Tribal chairperson John Hayward said the land would serve as a base for tribal development into the future, telling North State Pacific Radio that it was a “great, great feeling.” 


The Mattaponi Indian Tribe stands to regain 2,400 acres following Virginia state legislation filed by Delegate Keith Hodges (R-Middlesex.) The bill seeks to authorize the transfer of land into state trust in King William County adjacent to the Mattaponi’s existing reservation, per a report from local paper, the Tidewater Review. The tribe purchased the land in 1999 through help from nonprofit organization The Nature Conservancy, then sold it to the Virginia state forestry department to protect it from title transfer issues pending an eventual acquisition into state trust. 

The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians has requested around 189 acres be placed into trust near its Red Hawk Resort and Casino, which in turn sits near Placerville, California. If approved, the tribe plans to use part of the land to build an event center adjacent to the existing casino, per a report by gaming industry trade publication Pechanga.net. The land would join around 200 acres being held on its behalf currently.


The Cayuga Nation bought 40 acres of land in late January in upstate New York.  The tribe purchased the land for $720,000 and an application to place the land into trust through the Bureau of Indian Affairs is underway, per a report by local publication Finger Lakes Times. Subsequently, the tribe has claimed that the drive-in now encroaches on their newly acquired parcel, alleging that the main entrance, some parking spaces, and part of the movie screen all occupy what is now tribally-owned land. 

A village in Wisconsin is suing the federal government over its decision to return land to the Oneida Nation reservation, according to this report by Frank Vaisvilas of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  The village of Hobart, which is situated within the Nation's reservation, filed the lawsuit against the Department of Interior last November.  A few weeks ago, the DOI issued its legal response and Oneida Nation filed a motion to intervene in the case.  

The Catawba Nation has assumed full ownership over its Two Kings Resort Casino in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, taking over for former operating partner Sky Boat, LLC. Having completed a land into trust acquisition in 2021, the tribe plans to expand the casino - currently composed of prefab units - into a full range of restaurants, retail locations, a hotel tower and entertainment center. Tribal Business News has an expanded report on the casino expansion here

If you have news or information about landback acquisitions or deals involving tribal land, shoot me a note at [email protected].

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About The Author
Chez Oxendine
Staff Writer
Chez Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is a staff writer for Tribal Business News. Based in Oklahoma, he focuses on broadband, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and federal policy. His journalism has been featured in Native News Online, Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Baconian Magazine, and Oklahoma Magazine, among others.
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