News & Announcements

Read the latest news, announcements and events, such as the Tribal Land Staff National Conference, CLE opportunities, land issues, and items in the press about activities of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and our grantees and affiliates.



NoVo Foundation Grant Supports American Indian Land Recovery and Management

July 12, 2017

Land has never been more important for American Indian people as they pursue economic development, financial independence, and the preservation of their culture and history, and the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is committed to serving Native nations and their citizens in the recovery and control of their rightful homelands. Thanks to a $1.5 million operating grant from the NoVo Foundation, ILTF will be able to continue its innovative programs and initiatives that are helping return Indian lands to Indian hands.

“The Foundation’s goal is a large one, and it’s going to take a very long time to accomplish,” said ILTF President Cris Stainbrook. “This grant from the NoVo Foundation will enable us to provide more support and services to Native nations and individual Indian landowners as we work toward that end.”

The NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo has become one of the largest private foundations in the world to support Indigenous communities and organizations in North America as they determine their own priorities for the future.

ILTF is a national, community-based organization that works to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands. As a community foundation, ILTF accepts contributions from foundations, tribes, corporations, organizations and individuals to support its grant making and program initiatives.

Since its inception in 2002, ILTF has provided more than $40 million in grants, loans and program services in support of Indian land recovery and management. The Foundation makes a positive impact on the lives of Native Americans through a variety of innovative programs and grants, including:

  • Estate Planning – Providing education and estate planning services for tribal members as a way to stop the continued division of Indian land titles, and to ensure that Indian lands are controlled and managed by Indian people.
  • National Tribal Land Association (NTLA) – Professional association for tribal land and natural resources staff to learn, share and network with their colleagues from other tribes.
  • The Tanka Fund – National campaign to bring renewed health and opportunity to American Indian communities through buffalo restoration, promoting healthy lands, healthy people and healthy economies.
  • Spirit of Sovereignty – A National Indian Gaming Association-advised fund at ILTF that makes the opportunity for higher education a reality for Native American students by providing scholarships to attend tribal college.
  • Lessons of Our Land – Pre-K through grade 12 curriculum that enables teachers to easily incorporate Native American stories, lessons and games about land, cultures, histories and languages into regular classroom instruction.

“Despite the many challenges, Indian nations are gradually regaining control over their homelands. ILTF’s role is to provide the tools and resources to help them do that,” Stainbrook said. “We are making an impact in Indian Country thanks to the support of foundations like NoVo, and the many individuals who believe in our mission.”

About the NoVo Foundation – The NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo supports Indigenous communities and organizations in North America as they determine their own priorities for the future; works to end violence and discrimination against girls and women; advances social and emotional learning in schools; and promotes healthy and sustainable communities. (




Job opening! Administrative Support/Grants Administrator for ILTF

June 23, 2017

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation, a national, community-based Native American non-profit organization, is seeking an Administrative Support and Grants Administrator to join our team in Little Canada, Minn.  The ideal candidate will provide general office administration and data management to the Foundation; work with Program team members on grant management activities; provide administrative support to the President, including assistance with coordination of the three Board of Directors’ meetings held each year.

We are looking for someone who goes above and beyond what is required, enjoys figuring things out on their own, has a good sense of humor, and wants to make a personal contribution to the organization’s growth.

Click here to learn more about the position and submit an application.




Indian Land Recovery Celebration

April 23, 2015

In a special ceremony held at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation was pleased to honor the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes whose efforts resulted in saving and protecting the Pe’ Sla sacred site located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Watch a slideshow of the celebration.

Learn more about Pe’ Sla.


News Archive


BIA Tribal Leaders Directory Map
July 7, 2016

Developed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) as an interactive reference tool for its employees, the Tribal Leaders Directory map is now widely used by government, news media, business, researchers, and the public as a resource to help guide communication in Indian Country.


NICC awarded USDA Conservation Innovation Grant to develop tribal carbon projects on Wind River, Santa Ana Pueblo, Comanche and Pe’Sla
Sept. 18 2015

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the Indian Land Tenure Foundation as one of its 2015 Conservation Innovation Grant award recipients. The grant will utilize its National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC) program to develop environmental markets in Indian Country involving rangeland management and several different Native nations. Learn more about the project on the NICC website at


Free Land Management and Economic Development Training in August 2015
July 29, 2015

Indian Land Tenure Foundation will be offering more free landowner training in August. We are hosting several upcoming free training sessions for Native American landowners and agricultural producers in South Dakota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The training is free to anyone who would like to attend and includes lunch and refreshments. For more information, please contact Jim Wabindato ( or 651-766-8999) at ILTF.


2017 Tribal Land Staff National Conference Record Breaking Year

The 7th Tribal Land Staff National Conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico March 21-23, 2017. It was a record-breaking year with 344 attendees, representing 91 federally recognized tribes. Participants were able to learn, share and network with other tribal land staff professionals during conference sessions, and networking breaks.

This year’s theme focused on advancing sovereignty and self-determination through tribal land management. Attendees had the opportunity to choose from numerous sessions, including topics focusing on Land and Reality Offices, Cultural and Environmental, and Advancing Sovereignty and Self-Determination. Materials from the conference are available to tribal land professionals on the Indian Land Forum Website.

Learn more about the 2017 Tribal Land Staff National Conference at

The 8th Tribal Land Staff National Conference will be held in 2018 in Tulsa, Okla. Learn more about this event at

CLE: Continuing Legal Education Course on the Black Hills Settlement

July 22, 2016

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation announces a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course on the Black Hills settlement. This two-hour session will be hosted at the Comfort Suites Hotel and Convention Center in Rapid City, South Dakota on Friday, July 22, 2016. The session starts with coffee and light refreshments at 9:00 a.m., program at 10:00 a.m., and will conclude at noon.

The course will cover the Black Hills Claim (Docket 148-78) and the 1851 Treaty Title Claim (Docket 74).

For attorneys seeking credit for this course, a registration fee of $200 is required. For the non-legal public interested in learning more about the settlement, we request a nominal contribution of $30 to help cover costs of offering the course. Current law students and the Governor of South Dakota may register for the program free-of-charge.

ILTF in the News

Carbon Credits Help Tribes Preserve Culture, Climate and Bottom Line


Feb. 16, 2016

The National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC), a tribal non-profit, has received a three-year, $300,000 grant to improve access to carbon markets in Indian Country, enabling tribes to help mitigate climate change’s effects while improving their bottom line. “This is exciting for Indian Country,” said NICC Program Director Erick Giles, Muscogee (Creek) and a member of the Big Cat Clan. “Generating and selling carbon credits is a mostly untapped way for tribes to promote economic development on their reservations through resource management.”

Read the article at

Photo courtesy of Comanche Nation

Bureau of Indian Affairs places sacred site in Black Hills in trust

March 17, 2016

The Bureau of Indian Affairs placed a sacred site in the Black Hills of South Dakota in trust.The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe raised $9 million to purchase Pe’ Sla, a 2,022-acre site that plays a central role in Lakota history, culture and cosmology. The tribes celebrated after learning of the BIA’s March 10 decision.


Columbia Heights Public Schools recognized by Indian Land Tenure Foundation


Oct. 31, 2015

A representative from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation publicly recognized Columbia Heights Public Schools for its work in incorporating the Lessons of Our Land curriculum across the school district. The curriculum incorporates Native American Stories and lessons into regular classroom instruction.

Nichlas Emmons, program and development officer for the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, spoke to the School Board during its Oct. 13 meeting as part of a presentation with teaching and learning leaders on the curriculum integration, and also to recognize the district for its efforts.


Success Stories

Through innovative programs, initiatives, and grants, ILTF is making a positive impact on the lives of Native Americans. These successes include:

  • Assisting efforts by the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people to purchase and protect more than 2,300 acres at the Pe’ Sla sacred site in South Dakota.
  • Helping create the National Tribal Land Association (NTLA) to bring together land professionals from Native Nations who are working to preserve, protect, develop and manage Indian land.
  • Establishing the National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC) to help Native Nations enter the emerging carbon credit markets, earning valuable income while protecting precious natural resources.
  • Creating strategic land planning and educational tools used by tribal land planners and real estate professionals.

Watch for new success stories as these are added.


Kashia Tribe recovers its Pacific Coast homeland


Nearly 150 years after being forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands to an inland reservation, the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians in Sonoma County, Calif., once again have access to the Pacific Ocean. On June 15, 2016, the Tribe celebrated the recovery of nearly 700 acres, a milestone made possible with the help of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) and its affiliate, the Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC).

“This acquisition would not have been possible without the assistance of ILTF and ILCC,” said Kashia Tribal Chairman Reno Keoni Franklin. “Not only did they play a major financial role in our acquisition of the property, they also provided valuable advice and were a strong voice of empowerment for us when we doubted if we could complete the purchase.”

ILCC extended a loan to Kashia in 2015 to purchase the land north of San Francisco, which features redwood forest, towering coastal bluffs and spectacular waterfalls. The Tribe has established the Kashia Coastal Reserve, a protected open space and demonstration forest to educate and engage the public about the history and practices of the Kashia people.

Learn more about success stories made possible with financing from Indian Land Capital Company at

2016 Tribal Land Staff National Conference a Success

ntla-colorThe 6th Tribal Land Staff National Conference was held at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel in Worley, Idaho March 22 – 24, 2016. As we traveled to the Northwest this year, tribal land staff from tribes who have not participated in the past were able to attend and experience a great opportunity to learn, share, and network with other tribal land professionals throughout Indian Country. A total of 68 tribes were represented with over 250 attendees. Participants had the opportunity to choose from 21 unique sessions including topics such as: Title Defects and Remedies, Tribal Airspace Rights, Contemporary Land Trusts, Fee-to-Trust Tribal Acquisitions to Federal Conveyance, Land or Real Property Codes, and Sustainable forestland managements. Materials from the conference are available to tribal land professionals on the Indian Land Forum website

Learn more about the 2017 Tribal Land Staff National Conference at

Tribe-specific Curriculum for Montana Schools

Montana state standards include the teaching of tribal sovereignty, and this curriculum is an excellent fit with our state efforts to include authentic American Indian content in all Montana classrooms. – Mike Jetty, Curriculum Specialist, Montana Office of Public Instruction

In 2008, Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) funded the adaptation of ILTF’s K-12 curriculum, Lessons of Our Landto reflect Montana tribal histories and cultures and to implement the curriculum in classrooms state-wide.

Montana public schools educate nearly 150,000 students each year, with Indian students making up about 12 percent of the student population. Montana has been on the front line of an emerging trend in state legislatures’ and education departments’ mandatory inclusion of tribal histories and cultural components into classroom materials. In 1999, the Montana Legislature passed the Indian Education for All Act, requiring all public schools throughout the state to include coursework in the history and culture of Indian tribes in the state. Teachers in Montana now have a wealth of resources to incorporate Native American perspectives in classroom materials.

The newly adapted curriculum was developed through extensive research and interviews with tribal elders and historians from Montana’s 12 tribes who reside on seven reservations throughout the state. The resulting product is a rich and varied source of lesson plans and materials, including photographs, slideshows, maps and a Montana tribal lands jeopardy game. All of the lessons align with Montana’s state-wide content standards.

ILTF hopes that the curriculum adaptation and implementation in Montana will serve as a catalyst for other states, especially those with significant Indian populations. In 2007, South Dakota, where nine percent of the total population and more than 11 percent of public school students are Native American, passed an Indian Education Act to support existing statewide Indian education programs and provide teacher training. Despite this progress, the state has yet to pass a mandate similar to Montana’s. To help them move in that direction, in 2008, ILTF made a grant to South Dakota’s Office of Indian Education to support the development of state academic standards in American Indian history and culture for the state’s K-12 programs.

The Head Start and K-12 curriculum is free and available to all at