‘Restoring 1,000 Acres of Land for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’

A Michigan Indian Community has successfully reclaimed nearly 1,000 acres of land that was stolen from them, thanks to the assistance of the global environmental nonprofit, The Nature Conservancy.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indians announced this significant development on June 12. As a federally recognized Tribe with a primary land base of approximately 60,000 acres on the L’Anse Indian Reservation, KBIC serves around 3,500 enrolled members across several counties in Michigan.

The 760 acres of forest land in Baraga County that was returned to KBIC was originally part of the tribe’s 1842 reservation boundaries. The Nature Conservancy acquired the land from a local owner in 2021 and officially transferred the deed back to the tribe during a tribal council meeting.

Evelyn Ravindran, the Natural Resources Director for KBIC, emphasized the tribe’s dedication to protecting natural resources, maintaining healthy ecosystems, and preserving traditions for future generations. She highlighted the importance of collaboration with like-minded partners to achieve common goals in conservation efforts.

Helen Taylor, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, praised the land transfer as “vital” for supporting Indigenous and local communities. She acknowledged KBIC members as longstanding stewards of the land, with cultural teachings that value the interconnectedness between people, wildlife, and the natural world.

This historic achievement marks a significant milestone for KBIC and represents a step forward in the ongoing efforts to reclaim and protect Indigenous lands. The partnership between KBIC and The Nature Conservancy sets a positive example for collaborative conservation initiatives that benefit both the environment and communities.