In June 1991 the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the First Nations Development Institute, and the Northwest Renewable Resources, with funds from the Northwest Area Foundation, co-sponsored what turned out to be the 1st Annual Indian Land Consolidation Symposium in Pendleton, Oregon.
This three-day conference attracted 150 attendees representing 36 tribes from throughout the country. Speakers provided information on land use, management and land consolidation, restoring lands that had been lost, and turning tracts of reservation land with multiple owners into viable economic units.
The conference attendees agreed that it was critical to: continue this exchange of information; to impact federal Indian policy regarding Indian land issues in an organized, representative and ongoing manner; and to conduct a land conference annually. An “Ad Hoc Working Group On Land” was established to carry out this mandate.
“The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers, he belongs just as the buffalo belonged….” Luther Standing Bear Oglala Sioux
“All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man, the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” – Chief Seattle, Suquamish Chief
Jacqueline Croteau, PhD
Member at Large
“Indian Land Working Group, on behalf and support of individual allottees/landowners, strategizes and promotes the continuance of responsible trust land ownership with grassroots individual Indians. We strive to act as advocates through spiritual dialogue by ensuring access to individual and community resources that result in opportunities to speak with a united voice in the defense and protection of ancestral homelands. We provide education through symposiums, social media networking, training, and working groups.”
“Indian Land Working Group empowers grassroots individual Indian allottees/landowners to keep the indigenous and ancestral spiritual connection to the land forever.”
Over the past two decades, the ILWG has built a network of experts consisting of land managers, tribal realty officers, and individual landowners who are knowledgeable about minerals, timber, agriculture, and the laws governing Indian lands and resources. It is this network of experts that is moving to change the way Indian land is used and managed.