By Associated Press
Omaha, NE – Indian tribes buy back thousands of acres of land
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Native American tribes tired of waiting for the U.S. government to honor centuries-old treaties are buying back land where their ancestors lived and putting it in federal trust.
Information The Associated Press obtained from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Freedom of Information Act shows tribes have put more than 840,000 acres into trust from 1998 to 2007.
Native Americans say the purchases will help protect their culture by preserving burial grounds and areas where sacred rituals are held. They also provide land for farming, timber and other efforts to make the tribes self-sustaining.
But several states and local governments are fighting the tribe's efforts because placing land in trust removes it from their tax rolls and burdens communities that must still provide water and other services.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.