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Our view: County should rethink land stance

With the question of whether to ban recording devices at public meetings settled, the St. Louis County Board can turn its attention to the more pressing issue that emerged from its workshop last month, a matter that should never have been allowed...

With the question of whether to ban recording devices at public meetings settled, the St. Louis County Board can turn its attention to the more pressing issue that emerged from its workshop last month, a matter that should never have been allowed to be pushed off by Commissioner Keith Nelson or anyone else: the requests of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to buy tax-forfeited property within its reservation to place into trust.

The county opposes such land sales because, once in trust, the lands cannot generate property tax revenues.

However, such land transfers are part of a national effort to recover tens of millions of acres of reservation lands wrongly taken by the U.S. government from 1887 to 1934. American Indians have the first option to purchase when the lands come up for sale.

Counties can refuse to sell to American Indians, but the lands still wouldn't generate property tax revenue if not sold.

Rather than wasting its time talking about ways to shut the public out of its proceedings, the County Board could rethink its position against allowing American Indians to reclaim their land.

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