A proposed draft of legislation that would terminate Federal supervision over a two-year period in four Indian communities of southern Minnesota with a combined population of roughly 300 has been submitted to Congress for consideration, Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay said today.
Groups covered by the proposal are the Lower Sioux Community in Redwood and Scott counties, the New Upper Sioux Community in Yellow Medicine County, the Prairie Island Community in Goodhue County, and about 15 individuals living on restricted tracts in Yellow Medicine County.
In habits and dress the members of these communities are practically indistinguishable
from their non-Indian neighbors. Less than five percent are full bloods and many are quarter Indian blood or less. In recent years they have been receiving only a limited service from the Indian Bureau although about 3,200 acres of their land are held in trust or restricted status.
The proposed legislation would authorize removal of the trust restrictions over a two-year period and would make the land subject to local taxes. Tribal lands now being occupied and used by individual members under assignment would be transferred to the assignees. In the case of the unassigned tribal lands, the Indians would have the option of (1) organizing a corporation or other legal entity to take over management responsibilities, (2) asking for transfer of the lands to a private trustee for management or liquidation, or (3) requesting the Secretary to sell the lands and distribute the proceeds.
The termination proposed has been fully discussed with all Indian groups affected and was heavily approved by the resident's of the four communities.