Red Cliff reclaims 330 acres, continues land repatriation efforts
February 11, 2022 – The Red Cliff Band has acquired three separate properties totaling over 300 acres as part of its continued efforts to expand food sovereignty and increase Tribal Member access to prime harvesting and hunting opportunities. These properties were reclaimed using a portion of the Tribe’s allocation of CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds and in response to priorities highlighted by Tribal Member feedback. These acquisitions increase the Tribe’s total land occupation and preservation to approximately 15,000+ acres. See attached map showing these acquisitions.
“Reacquiring Tribal land and providing more access to practice Treaty Rights is incredibly important to our membership,” said Red Cliff Chairman Christopher Boyd. “Our members of all ages – including elders and youth – have made it clear they want more opportunities to practice Treaty Rights and harvest as our people have done since time immemorial. We continue to work towards providing that for the membership while also maintaining the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of this culturally significant area.”
One property consists of 170 acres on the corner of Blueberry Road and Rowley Road. This area is undeveloped and will provide great harvesting and hunting opportunities for Tribal Members, including harvesting of small and large game, wild edibles, and medicinal plants. This property is currently not within the established boundaries of the reservation but is adjacent to the boundary. The Tribe will seek further protection of the land and will pursue moving it into federal trust.
The second property is within the reservation boundaries and features 80 acres on Eagle Bay Road. The area is a well-established Iskigamizigan (sugarbush) area, including many ininaatigoog (sugar maple trees) and a structure that has been used as a sugar shack. The Tribe’s plan is to develop a community-use effort to expand access to maple sugaring.
The third acquisition is a purchase of an extra 11% interest from a private owner in an 80-acre parcel on Big Sand Bay Road. The Tribe now owns approximately 84% of this 80-acre property. The remaining 16% is divided between several other owners – however the Tribe now owns the majority of the site. This location is also within reservation boundaries.
“The pandemic has placed an enormous burden on the food systems we normally rely on,” said Red Cliff Planning Administrator Nicole Boyd. “By increasing access to food sovereignty, we are supporting tribal members’ rights to healthy and culturally appropriate food systems produced locally, affordably, and ecologically sound. Tribal Members are better able to practice their subsistence harvesting rights and we can help keep them safer and closer to home.”
The acquisition of these properties also allows the Tribe and its Treaty Natural Resources division to better protect and monitor inawemaaganag – including land and wildlife.
Importance of Land Repatriation
Established by treaty, the Red Cliff Reservation now encompasses approximately over 15,000 acres. However, in the years leading up to 2006, tribal aki (land) holdings within the boundary had dwindled to under 8,000 acres. With a growing population and limited aki base, repatriation of lands is a high priority for Gaa-Miskwaabikaang. Expanded residential, municipal, agricultural, and commercial space on the reservation is crucial for meeting the needs of the Tribal Membership.
Learn more about the Tribe’s land repatriation efforts online at www.redcliff-nsn.gov/community/TNRCompPlan.php