National Indian Carbon Coalition

As climate change threatens the environment, governments, corporations and individuals are seeking viable solutions to reduce carbon emissions. One solution is the emerging carbon sequestration market, which requires vast areas of open space and undeveloped land to capture carbon emissions. Indian Country contains large tracts of undeveloped or underdeveloped land. Recognizing the complimentary purposes of returning control of Indian lands to Indian people and preserving our remaining open space, ILTF partnered with the Intertribal Agriculture Council to form the National Indian Carbon Coalition. Working within the developing carbon credit market, NICC assists tribes and individual Indian landowners in understanding carbon credits, sequestration processes, and the carbon markets – educational, outreach and technical support that enables Indian people to maintain control of valuable assets and use profits to empower their families and communities.

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Estate Planning

For more than a century, Indian families have seen valuable land resources diminish as fractionated ownership increases with each passing generation. ILTF supports estate planning as one of the most effective ways to stop the continued division of Indian land titles and ensure that Indian lands are controlled and managed by Indian people. ILTF has funded projects that provide education and free estate planning services for Indian landowners, including direct legal service and will writing assistance. More than 6,800 tribal chairpersons, landowners, attorneys and Indian land heirs have received training through ILTF-funded estate planning programs. ILTF is now developing new, more efficient and cost-effective models for helping Indian people safely transfer their lands from one generation to the next.

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Indian Land Capital Company

Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) was created in 2005 as a partnership between ILTF and the Native American Community Development Corporation (NACDC) to provide financing to Native nations for land acquisition on a full-faith-and-credit basis. ILCC is a for profit organization and certified Native American Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) that has made more than $18 million in loans to Native nations without a single default or significant delinquency. Unlike traditional lending institutions, ILCC responds directly to the financial needs of Native nations. As a Native-run business, ILCC understands and supports tribal sovereignty and recognizes the importance of land to Indian people.

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Treaty Signers

From 1778 to 1871, Indian nations ceded the vast majority of their lands to the U.S. government through treaties which became the “supreme law of the land,” providing legally-based government-to-government agreements meant to guarantee that Indian nations retained certain rights and privileges, such as land use and occupation. Unfortunately, many of the lands guaranteed to Indian nations were illegally taken after the fact (e.g., the Black Hills) and remain out of Indian ownership and control today. ILTF’s Treaty Signers Project examines how business interests in land speculation, railroads, the fur trade, mining, forestry and others heavily influenced the treaty making process and were largely responsible for the loss of Indian land. In contrast to the “American Myth” which presents “pioneers” as the driving force of America’s past, this Project presents the economic engines that actually drove U.S. expansion and how U.S. treaty negotiators secured hundreds of millions of acres for themselves, their families and business partners.

 

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Land Recovery

ILTF provides grant funding to Indian nations to support various aspects of land recovery with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands. Returning lands to Indian ownership and control is important to ensure that Indian people have, at minimum, access to the financial and natural resources within their own reservations. ILTF supports a variety of initiatives to assist tribes in the development of plans to reacquire reservation lands, including land and natural resource management plans that identify the future use and benefits of recovered lands. These plans are critical as tribes negotiate for the transfer of federal, state and municipal lands to Indian ownership and control and seek loans to purchase lands.

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