Date: Wed, 8 Mar 1995 06:39:47 -0800
\NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information
Subject: nanews03.010 (part A)
To: Multiple recipients of list NATIVE-L <NATIVE-L@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU>
Original Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Night Owl)
Mailing List: NATIVE-L (email@example.com)
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 1995 17:07:34 -0800
From: Alan Mandell<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subj: fractionization of allotments
Mailing List: TRIBALLAW (email@example.com)
Over the past few months officials form the BIA/ Realty offices have been holding public meetings regarding individual allotment lands. The last one was to be held last weekend at the Uintah and Ouray reservation in Ft. Duchesne, Utah.
I was wondering if any of you out there had attended any of the other meeting that were held in various areas of the country. These meetings were held every Saturday, starting January 21, 1995. They were held at the following locations;
These meeting were held for comments on the proposed draft legislation regarding fractionated ownership of allotted lands. For a complete copy of the consultation package send your request to; Bureau of Indian Affairs, ATTN: HEIRSHIP 1849 C Street, NW MS-4522-MIB Washington, D.C. 20240
Here is a copy of the letter that I received;
A growing problem had faced individual Indian, tribes, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for many year-the fractionated ownership of allotted lands. The problem has reached the point where the Department of Interior' ability to administer allotted lands, probate Indian estates and maintain the IIM (Individual Indian Monies) system can no longer keep up with the increasing number of fractional interests. You may be an owner of such interests.
An attempt to address the problem was made by the Congress in 1984 when it passed the Indian Land Consolidation Act. Part of the Act requires that when an individual owner dies, an interest amounting to 2 percent or less in a tract of land willescheator automatically transfer to the tribe. In spite of this law, the number of such small interests owned by individual Indians has grown form 350,000 in 1984 to over 1.5 million in 994! Unless something is done to fix the fractionated heirship problem soon, the BIA will simply no longer be able to provide realty and IIM services to the owners. Your advice and assistance are needed.
Any proposal to solve the fractionated heirship problem must have two parts: (1) the consolidation of ownership, and (2) the prevention )or substantial reduction) of further fractionization. These objectives can be met through a land-purchase program, and by placing limitations on who can inherit interests in allotted land. The Department has prepared aconsultation packagewhich outlines a legislative proposal that meets these two objectives. The basic elements of this proposal are as follows:
- The proposal creates a land acquisition program and authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to purchase fractional interests of any size from owners who are willing to sell. These interests will ultimately be transferred to the tribes.
- A priority for purchase is given to owners of fractional interests amounting to 2 percent-or-less and to income producing land.
- The Secretary will attempt to either purchase all of the interest in a parcel, or partition out the purchased interests into a single parcel, for transfer to the tribe on whose reservation the land is located.
- All income from a parcel transferred to the tribe will be paid to the secretary until the purchase price paid by the Secretary has been recovered.
- Income from the purchased interests and from the parcels transferred to tribes will be put into a revolving fund which will be used for the purchase of additional fractional interests.
- The proposal changes the test in the present Indian Land Consolidation Act which is used to determine whether fractional interest of 2 percent or less will escheat to the tribe when and owner dies. The new test avoids presumptions and would be based on actual income produced by a fractional interest or on the appraised value of the interest.
- To prevent further fractionization, inheritance of interests is limited to members of the tribe on whose reservation the land is located. Where an owner dies without a will, inheritance is further limited to the descendant's immediate family-spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters. A non-member spouse can only receive a life estate.
- Tribes are authorized to change the limitations on inheritance established by the proposal.
- New limitations on who can inherit do not become affective for two years. The secretary is required to provide notice of the limitations and alert owners of estate planning options.
I wish to emphasize that the proposal outlined in the consultation package is only a draft proposal. It has not been introduced in the Congress, and no proposal will be introduced until the landowners and tribes have had an opportunity to comment and/or suggest alternative solutions. I invite you to comment on the concepts described above or to suggest other solutions ot the fractionated ownership problem. <Text Deleted>(text addresses dates and times for comments to be sent back by)
Any comments form anybody that might have attended any of these meetings?