Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Files Federal-court Complaint against Michigan Governor to Confirm Reservation Boundaries

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Published August 22, 2015

HARBOR SPRINGS, MICHIGAN—The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, based in Harbor Springs, Michigan, has filed a complaint in the United States District Court, Western District of Michigan, against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to confirm the Tribe’s treaty-protected reservation boundaries in order to best serve its citizens and to offer certainty to the local and state governmental departments with which it works.

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe whose people have occupied the Little Traverse Bay area for centuries. In an 1855 treaty, the United States promised the Tribe a reservation—a permanent home—along Little Traverse Bay.

In pursuing boundary recognition the Tribe does not seek title to private lands, to remove private owners from their properties, or otherwise affect land and property values. The Tribe only seeks to clarify jurisdictional lines that are largely invisible to the general population. This clarity will allow the Tribe to best protect its children, its vulnerable adults, and its ancestors. It will bring tangible benefits to the local tribal and non-tribal population.

Reservation boundary recognition would, for example:

  • Increase the availability of federal funding for area roads;
  • Allow the Tribe to access federal funds for emergency preparedness;
  • Increase the availability of federal resources to address family-violence issues;
  • Allow the Tribe to continue to relieve local human-services caseloads and court dockets;
  • Offer a framework for additional government-to-government agreements with local municipalities and the State; and
  • Deepen the sense of community that flows from the continued historical and cultural significance of the Tribe’s presence.

Bringing jurisdictional clarity to issues that require almost daily coordination between the Tribe and other governments will allow each of the governments to better understand each other and become more efficient and cooperative in their work.

The Tribe is being represented by Hogen Adams PLLC.

This is a logical next-step that follows the Tribe’s work to develop its tribal history and its coordination with federal officials concerning boundary recognition, according to Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians tribal officials.

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