Undo Trumps Tribal Land Grab!

Undo Trumps Tribal Land Grab!

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Undo Trumps Tribal Land Grab!

During the Trump presidency, the Trump Administration stripped tribal sovereignty from Native Americans. The administration revoked the reservation status of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts. By taking their 321 acres of land out of federal trust, the Interior Department’s order also removes the tribe’s ability to govern on its land. This process has been done only one other time since the Termination Policy in the 1950s.

“Our land is sacred. It’s where our people receive health services. It’s where our children attend our language immersion school ... Taking our land is a direct attack on our culture and our way of living,” Mashpee Wampanoag chair Cedric Cromwell said after the decision.

These tribes who have been living here have been blindsided. And this was also done by the Trump Administration in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, while the tribes and others across the country are struggling to respond to the emerging issue in their own sovereign lands. 

The U.S. Interior Department’s order was based on an appeals court decision that said the Mashpee Wampanoag could not have land taken into trust in the first place since they were not under federal jurisdiction in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act, which created the concept of trust land, was signed.

However, this appeals court decision was based on a controversial Supreme Court ruling, Carcieri v. Salazar in 2009 which created two classes of tribes in the United States, some that can have land in trust and some that cannot. 

However, While the Court created two classes of tribes, it did not provide an understanding of how to decide between the two. The Obama administration tried to resolve this by creating a framework to interpret the ruling on which tribes can put land into trust. This framework allowed the Mashpee Wampanoag reservation to be placed into trust in 2015.

The Trump administration, however, did not pay attention to this framework and reinterpreted the original decision. They even issued a new ruling in 2018 saying that the Bureau of Indian Affairs, under the Interior, did not consider Mashpee Wampanoag to be under federal jurisdiction in 1934, reversing the Obama-era policy. Read more about this at Vox here. If you would like to learn more about Trump’s land grab, read more at ABC news here

According to The Young Turks, the Biden Administration is refusing to say whether it will overturn what the Trump Administration did. The article from TYT talks about Trump’s land grab in Oklahoma, and says that, “Biden has won broad praise from environmental activists for his early moves, but Oklahoma tribes say they are not surprised by the Biden administration’s refusal to take a stand for them.”

The Native American tribes deserve to get their land back. Please sign this petition to raise awareness and bring attention to this issue. 

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