Monday, June 8, 2009

Court Ruling on Stockbridge Reservation Boundary Issue is Apparently Final

This is a map covering (approximately) the two townships of Red Springs and Bartelme that made up the historic (1856) Stockbridge Indian reservation. White denotes the current reservation for the Tribe with the exception of the white area in the northeast corner which is part of the Menominee reservation. The Stockbridge Mohicans hold additional lands in fee title and federal trust outside the reservation boundaries which are not indicated on this map.
Scott Seaborne, a regular reader of Algonkian Church History, sent me the map you see above and this comment:

I continue to enjoy your excellent blog on Stockbridge-Munsee tribal history.
In the closing paragraph of your post about Hoke Smith, you state the 1856 Shawano County reservation boundaries are still unsettled.

This question was finally settled in January 2009 by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the case State of Wisconsin v Stockbridge-Munsee Community and Robert Chicks (case # 04-3834).

The Appeals Court affirmed the trial court's ruling (case # 98-C-0871) the Act of 1871 diminished the reservation to 18 sections. Later, the Act of 1906 (34 Stat. 382) provided for allotment of the entire remaining 18 sections to individuals in unrestricted fee titles. The records indicate there was no remaining reservation after the final fee titles were delivered in April of 1910.

The Court determined that the original reservation was disestablished, therefore the current reservation consists exclusively of lands purchased by the federal government and proclaimed reservation on three occasions. Lands were acquired and proclaimed reservation in 1937, 1848 and 1972. I don't have the exact number of acres at my disposal but I believe the total acreage to be about 15,000.

Following the Appeals Court decision, the Tribe asked for an "en banc" rehearing which was denied. The Tribe did not timely file within the 90-day window allowed to seek review from the Supreme Court. It's my understanding that the trial court determination stands and no further litigation is expected on this matter.

There are no official maps that have been updated to reflect the court ruling as yet but I have provided a map created by the Shawano Chamber of Commerce which I believe is relatively accurate and is based on the recent court ruling.

While the judicially determined boundaries will remained fixed, the Tribe continues to purchase fee lands within the original 1856 treaty boundaries. The Tribe has applied to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to convert approximately 2600 acres of their fee lands into federal trust. When converted to federal trust title, these parcels become functionally identical reservation lands as far as tribal jurisdiction is concerned.

Scott Seaborne

For a news item related to the ruling, see my post of January 21, 2009.
Thanks to Scott for setting the record straight.

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