A report from the Traverse City Record-Eagle today states U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek introduced bill H.R. 3068 this month to allow the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to sue the federal government for nearly 87,000 acres in Leelanau and Antrim counties.
A provision of the treaty states that tribal members are to be set aside individual homelands in return for ceding the vast acreage. Instead, the GTBOCI contends the land was sold illegally to non-Indians by Federal Indian agents
According to "Treaty with the Ottawa and Chippewa, 1855, Vol. II, Page 725"*, "The United States will give to each Ottowa and Chippewa Indian being the head of a family, 80 acres of land, and to each single person over twenty-one years of age, 40 acres of land, and to each family of orphan children under twenty-one years of age containing two or more persons, 80 acres of land, and to each single orphan child under twenty-one years of age, 40 acres of land to be selected and located within the several tracts of land herein before described."
Damage claims would be based on the Fifth Amendment protection against the taking of private property without compensation. According to the newspaper article, Benishek's bill states the Secretary of the Treasury “shall pay, out of money not otherwise appropriated, to members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan,” an unspecified amount.
Those interested in reading further about treaty rights may be interested in "American Indian Law in a Nutshell" by William C. Canby Jr. This text was suggested by Dr. Martin Reinhardt (Assistant professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University and CEO of First Nations, LLC) while a guest on WKQS FM.
* Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington : Government Printing Office, 1904