By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio
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A Native American tribe is one step closer to being compensated for land seized by the federal government.
The U.S. Senate has approved legislation called The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Land Claim Settlement Act of 2023, sponsored by Democrat Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.
The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) claimed the land was taken by the federal government in violation of two treaties signed in 1842 and 1854. The tribe said the loss of approximately 2,700 acres caused substantial economic harm over the decades.
Part of the disputed land was given to the state of Michigan by the federal government to defray the cost of building the Sault Ste. Marie Canal.
If the legislation is approved, the tribe would get $34 million dollars in compensation.
Republican Representative Jack Bergman has introduced it in the U.S. House. In an emailed statement, he said in part that he’s “proud of the non-partisan solution to right the wrongs of the federal government and ensure that all parties involved — from the KBIC to the current landowners — have a lasting solution to this decades-long challenge.”
The bill must be approved by the House and signed by President Joe Biden before it can go into effect.
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Featured image: Construction on new larger locks at Sault Ste. Marie was underway this fall. Part of the land claim disputed by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community was given to the state of Michigan by the federal government to defray the cost of building the Sault Ste. Marie Canal. (Photo Credit: Lester Graham/Michigan Radio)