Indian Land Claims Settlements
In several instances, these settlements ended live claims of aboriginal title in the United States. The first two—the Rhode Island Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act—extinguished all aboriginal title in Rhode Island and Maine, respectively, following initial court rulings in the tribes' favor.
The Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claims Settlement of 1994 also followed a judicial ruling in favor of a tribe, but did not extinguish all aboriginal title in the state. Other tribes had pending land claims.
The Passamaquoddy (1975), Narragansett I and II (1976), and Mohegan (1980, 1982) cases occurred in the U.S. Supreme Court's Oneida I (1974) decision, which held that there was federal subject-matter jurisdiction for such claims.
The Florida Indian (Miccosukee) Land Claims Settlement and Florida Indian (Seminole) Land Claims Settlement relate to water rights in the Everglades.
List of settlements
|Act||Passed||Tribe||Preceding litigation||Subject matter||Monetary compensation|
|Rhode Island Claims Settlement Act||Sept. 30, 1978||Narragansett||Narragansett Tribe of Indians v. S. R.I. Land Dev. Co., 418 F. Supp. 798 (D.R.I. 1976); Narragansett Tribe of Indians v. Murphy, 426 F. Supp. 132 (D.R.I. 1976)||Aboriginal title||$3,500,000|
|Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act
[modified by Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Supplementary Claims Settlement Act and Aroostock Band of Micmacs Settlement Act]
|Oct. 10, 1980||Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Maliseet||Joint Tribal Council of the Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton, 388 F. Supp. 649 (D. Me. 1975), aff'd, 528 F.2d 370 (1st Cir. 1975)||Aboriginal title||$81,500,000|
|Florida Indian (Miccosukee) Land Claims Settlement||Dec. 31, 1982||Miccosukee||Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. Florida, No. 79-cv-253 (S.D. Fl.)||Water rights||None|
|Connecticut Indian Land Claims Settlement||Oct. 18, 1983||Mashantucket Pequot Tribe||W. Pequot Tribe of Indians v. Holdridge Enters., Inc., No. H76-cv-193 (D. Conn.)||Aboriginal title||$900,000|
|Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Supplementary Claims Settlement Act
[modifying the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act]
|Oct. 27, 1986||Maliseet||N/A||Aboriginal title||$200,000|
|Massachusetts Indian Land Claims Settlement||Aug. 18, 1987||Wampanoag||Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head v. Town of Gay Head, No. 74-cv-5826 (D. Mass.)||Aboriginal title||$4,500,000|
|Florida Indian (Seminole) Land Claims Settlement||Dec. 31, 1987||Seminole||Seminole Tribe of Indians of Florida v. Florida, No. 78-cv-6116 (S.D. Fla.)||Water rights||None|
|Puyallup Tribe of Indians Settlement Act of 1989||June 21, 1989||Puyallup||Excludes land from settlement in: Puyallup Tribe of Indians v. Port of Tacoma, 717 F.2d 1251 (9th Cir. 1983)||Aboriginal title||$162,000,000|
|Seneca Nation (New York) Land Claims Settlement||Nov. 3, 1990||Seneca||18 Stat. 330; 26 Stat. 558; Seneca Nation of Indians v. United States, 39 Ind. Cl. Comm. 355 (1977)||Retroactive federal approval of leases and previous inadequate settlement||$60,000,000|
|Aroostock Band of Micmacs Settlement Act
[modifying Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement]
|Nov. 26, 1991||Micmacs||N/A||Aboriginal title||$900,000|
|Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claims Settlement||Oct. 19, 1994||Mohegan people||Mohegan Tribe v. Connecticut, 483 F. Supp. 597 (D. Conn. 1980), aff'd, 638 F.2d 612 (2d Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 452 U.S. 968 (1981), on remand, 528 F. Supp. 1359 (D. Conn. 1982)||Aboriginal title||None|
|Crow Boundary Settlement||Nov. 2, 1994||Crow||Indian reservation boundary surveying error||$35,000,000|
|Santo Domingo Pueblo Claims Settlement||Nov. 1, 2000||Pueblo||United States v. Thompson, 941 F.2d 1074 (10th Cir. 1991); Pueblo of Santo Domingo v. Rael, Civil No. 83-1888 (D. N.M.)||Aboriginal title||$23,000,000|
|Torres-Martinez Desert Cahiilla Indian Claims Settlement||Dec. 27, 2000||Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians||United States ex rel. Torres-Martinez Band of Mission Indians v. Imperial Irrigation Dist., No. 82-cv-1790 (S.D. Cal.), Nos. 93-cv-55389, 93-cv-55398, and 93-cv-55402, No. 92-cv-55129 (9th Cir.); Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians v. Imperial Irrigation Dist., No. 91-cv-1670 (S.D. Cal.)||Indian reservation flooding||$14,200,000|
|Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nation Claims Settlement||Dec. 13, 2002||Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw||(Ct. Cl.); United States v. Cherokee Nation, 480 U.S. 700 (1987), Nos. 218-cv-89L and 630-cv-89L (Ct. Cl. 1989); (E.D. Ok. 1997); excluding Choctaw Nation v. Oklahoma, 397 U.S. 620 (1970)||Mismanagement of tribal resources||$40,000,000|
|Pueblo De San Ildefonso Claims Settlement||Sept. 27, 2006||Pueblo||Pueblo of San Ildefonso v. United States, No. 660-87L (Ct. Cl.); prior history: United States v. Pueblo of San Ildefonso, 513 F.2d 1383 (Ct. Cl. 1975); Pueblo of San Ildefonso v. United States, 35 Fed. Cl. 777 (1996)||Aboriginal title, inter alia||$6,900,000|
Other compensated extinguishments in the US
- Decisions of the Indian Claims Commission
- Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)
- South Carolina v. Catawba Indian Tribe, 476 U.S. 498 (1986): settled for $50,000,000 by the Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina Land Claims Settlement Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-116, 107 Stat 1118 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 941)
- Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
- Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement
- Yukon Land Claims
- New Zealand
- Pub. L. No. 95-395, 92 Stat. 813 (codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 1701--16).
- Pub. L. No. 96-420, 94 Stat. 1785 (codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 1721--35).
- Pub. L. No. 97-399, 96 Stat. 2012 (codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 1741--50).
- Pub. L. No. 98-134, 97 Stat. 851 (codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 1751--60).
- Pub. L. No. 99-566, 100 Stat 3184 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1724).
- Pub. L. No. 100-95, 101 Stat. 704 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1771).
- Pub. L. No. 100-228, 101 Stat. 1556 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1772).
- Pub. L. No. 101-41, 103 Stat. 83 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1773).
- Pub. L. No. 101-503, 104 Stat. 1292 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1774).
- Pub. L. No. 102-171, 105 Stat. 1143 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1721).
- Pub. L. No. 103-377, 108 Stat. 3501 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1775).
- Pub. L. No. 103-444, 108 Stat. 4632 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1776).
- Pub. L. No. 106-425, 114 Stat. 1890 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1777).
- Pub. L. No. 106-568, 114 Stat. 2906 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1778).
- Pub. L. No. 107-331, 116 Stat. 2845 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1779).
- Pub. L. No. 109-286, 120 Stat. 1218 (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1780).
- Jeff Benedict, Without Reservation: How a Controversial Indian Tribe Rose to Power and Built the World's Largest Casino (2001).
- John C. Christie, Jr., The Catawba Indian Land Claim: A Giant Among Indian Land Claims, 24 Am. Indian Culture & Res. J. 173 (2000).
- Kim Isaac Eisler, Revenge of the Pequots: How a Small Native American Tribe Created the World's Most Profitable Casino (2002).
- Nicole Friederichs, A Reason to Revisit Maine's Indian Claims Settlement Acts: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 35 Am. Indian L. Rev. 497 (2011).
- Brett Duval Fromson, Hitting the Jackpot: The Inside Story of the Richest Indian Tribe in History (2004).
- Granville Ganter, Sovereign Municipalities? Twenty Years After the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, in Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies (Bruce Elliott Johansen ed., 2004).
- Gavin Kentch, A Corporate Culture? The Environmental Justice Challenges of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 81 Miss. L.J. 813 (2012).
- Dean J. Kotlowski, Out of the Woods: The Making of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, 30 Am. Indian Culture & Res. J. 63 (2006).
- Alfred R. Light, The Myth of Everglades Settlement, 11 St. Thomas L. Rev. 55 (1998).
- Barbara S. Monahan, Florida's Seminole Indian Land Claims Agreement: Vehicle for an Innovative Water Rights Compact, 15 Am. Indian L. Rev. 341 (1991).
- Full text of 25 U.S.C. tit. 19