Land Losses • Indian tribes have historically suffered a devastating loss of their lands. • Despite the Federal Government's trust obligation to protect Indian landholdings, federal policies actually caused the massive loss of Indian lands. • The General Allotment Act of 1887 led to the reduction of Indian lands by some 90 million acres, and the transfer of the most valuable Indian lands out of Indian ownership.
Land Base Reductions • The decimation of the tribal land base led to the broad destruction of tribal economies and communities. • Congress recognized that the restoration of a tribal land base is essential to the overall goal of promoting tribal self-determination and self-sufficiency. • Continuing lack of access to lands and specific sites impedes the ability of traditionalists to practice their beliefs.
Land-Based Issues • The focus has been on the exploitation of public land for energy resources. • Sacred lands have been disturbed in the past by scientists and looters. • Today the issue revolves around Native access to ancestral lands for religious purpose.
Primal Sacred Connections to the Land • There are locations and sites which tribal peoples require access to for ceremony and ritual. • Access to some of these sites has been limited by government policy and private interests. • The protection of, and return of, sacred lands continues to be a complex issue.