Legal Reform

Some of the most crippling systemic barriers to Indian land use and control – fractionated ownership, checkerboarding, abuse of the federal trust relationship – are due to complex and unjust regulations, court rulings and laws involving Indian land. Some of the most shortsighted, racist and damaging federal Indian policies, such as the policy of allotment, were devised in the 1800s when most people believed that Native Americans would either disappear or assimilate into American society. Many of these policies, and their devastating effects on Indian people, remain today.

Projects should be designed to advance ideas and policies granting Indian landowners and tribes greater control of their land assets. Example projects might include:

  • Estate planning and probate reform in tribal communities
  • Land policy development or reform
  • Landowner associations
  • Engaging local, state and federal government leaders in a dialogue about the tribe exercising its sovereignty over tribal land
  • Initiatives to improve the legal landscape for owning and managing Indian land.

Recent Grantees

Recent ILTF grantees for Legal Reform:

  • 2015, Yurok Tribe, California, $50,000
  • 2013, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon, $20,000
  • 2013, Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota, $35,000

Share an Idea

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation promotes activities that support the recovery and control of Indian homelands.  We work to promote education on Indian land ownership and management, increase cultural awareness of Indian land tenure, create economic opportunity on Indian-owned lands, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people and Native nations from owning and controlling their lands. Before submitting an idea, please read the list below of ILTF’s eligibility requirements, funding priorities, and the list of activities we do not fund.

Entities eligible for funding include:

  • Tribal, local and state governments
  • Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation, including institutions

Activities that are not eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Advocacy and lobbying efforts to influence legislation
  • Endowments
  • Land purchases
  • Benefits, fundraisers, walk-a-thons, telethons, galas, etc.
  • Scholarships, tuition assistance or other direct funding to individuals
  • Special events, except when the event is a key strategy in a continuum of efforts to achieve community goals in the Foundation’s program areas

Send a Letter of Inquiry

Have an idea for a land-related project that can benefit Native nations and people? Please share it with the Foundation. Please include the following information in your Letter of Inquiry (LOI):

  1. Organization name & contact information
  2. Details about the request
    • Amount – Budget range for successful implementation of project
    • Project description – A brief description of the proposed project and rationale behind it
    • Sustainability – Explain how the organization plans to sustain this project.
  3. Identify whether the proposed project has been discussed with, and is supported by, tribal or organization leadership.

Please limit your LOI to two pages. ILTF will review your submission to determine whether we can support such a project at this time. The Foundation will invite successful applicants to submit a full grant proposal for consideration.

Please email info@iltf.org to submit your idea.