Nearly 12,000 acres to be returned to Leech Lake Band

CASS LAKE, Minn. (AP) — A bill passed by Congress and headed to President Donald Trump’s desk will return nearly 12,000 acres of land in the Chippewa National Forest to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

The government illegally seized the land from the tribe more than 70 years ago. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who sponsored the legislation in the House, says passage was an opportunity to right a wrong.

The band’s original reservation covered nearly 600,000 acres in northern Minnesota, but federal policies passed in the late 1800s and early 1900s took about 530,000 acres out of trust status without the consent of the tribe.