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Village Earth & ILTF helps Native Americans cut through the Red Tape!

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Today, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) released their latest newsletter themed “Cutting Through the Red Tape.” The newsletter, developed with support from Village Earth, addresses the unique challenges involved in the managment of Indian trust land and assets. It includes a collection of the most common forms used by federal agencies and Indian people and provides tips for how to read and process these forms successfully. The newsletter pulls together a lot of lessons learned by Village Earth and the ILTF through its work with Indian landowners and tribes as they attempt to gain greater access to and control of their lands.

Why Is there so much Red Tape for Indian Land?

Most Americans own property in fee simple, which means they hold title to the property and can make decisions about use and sell the land without government oversight. This is not true for Indian land, or trust land. Instead, the U.S. federal government holds the underlying title to all Indian trust land and federal agencies must process and approve all trust land-related transactions that occur. Every lease, sale, gift deed, or transfer (to name a few) must be processed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and approved by the secretary of the interior. The maze-like bureaucratic processes surrounding each transaction adds considerable time and complexity to the management of Indian lands which are already challenged by such issues as fractionated ownership and checkerboarding.

Topics include:

  • Individual Trust Interest Report
  • Individual Indian Monies Statement of Account
  • List of Real Property Assets
  • IIM Account Preferences and Change of Address
  • Appraisals
  • Sale of Indian Land
  • Land Exchange and Consolidation
  • Leasing Indian Land
  • Right of Way
  • Trust-to-Fee Transfer
  • Fee-to-Trust Transfer
  • Writing a Will
  • Gift Deed

In addition to the newsletter, the ILTF has developed an online resource on their website at

Upcoming Courses in the Village Earth/CSU Online Certificate Program in Community-Based Development

Fall I Session

GSLL 1509 – Development and the Politics of Empowerment

Through a careful investigation of the historical applications of development, we will explore the idea that development is an inherently political process and challenge the claim that any development NGO is apolitical. Additionally, we will strive to identify successful methods of community empowerment through political organization.

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