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Native Indian Lore
Answers to Questionnaire on blood quantum


Hello, one and all,

Hearing no objections, here are the replies I received.  I removed the names of individuals mentioned - names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Took poetic license and deleted one phrase from one reply and made spelling changes to two.  Other than that, everything is exactly the way people replied.  Left in the references to tribes that are mentioned.  Still have original emails to prove those were my only changes.  Going to forward the replies to some of my Pawnee people who were interested in seeing the replies.

There's a wide range and depth of responses and feelings.  Very powerful.  This is something touching our lives now, and some tribes have gone ahead to lead the way.  This issue will be more important for our future generations and for the existence of our tribes/nations.

I believe that knowledge is power and the more we know, the more we can make informed decisions.  Replies are from a wide range of tribes, gender, location, professions and age groups.  I am so surprised that there are no resources or information available that I could find about this issue.

Again, to each of you, thanks for taking time out to respond.  You have given me much to think and pray about before the vote takes place.

Irene

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Response #1:

My tribe's enrollment requirement is 1/8th.  Since we are small, it has been advantages to us.  I wouldn't want to see us get a decendency roll because then you have all kinds of people on the roll like the cherokees. 
The 1/8 requirement has been working for us. 

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Response #2:

1.  Do you know of any other Oklahoma tribes/nations or other national tribes/nations that have successfully lowered their blood quantum enrollment requirement to less than 1/4, i.e., 1/8, 1/16, etc.? Not off the top of my head

2.  What were the impacts on the tribe's/nation's of this decision to lower the requirement?  Any benefits?  Advantages, disadvantages? Advantages are that the tribe would no longer cease to exist, as our Ponca tribe is threatened in this way.

3.  Do you know of a website where I might find information about this issue? No

4.  What is your tribe/nation's blood requirement? Ponca, 1/4

5.  What are your views on a blood quantum's? Originally according to one of our past council person they were simply rolls made for a count as to citizenship and not to regulate anything. Personally, it seems to me just another genocide method of causing quarrelling  between our folks.

6.  What is your opinion of having designated blood quantum's versus having descendency enrollments? Decendency enrollment gets away from a lot of political squabbling over whatever issue comes up. Prejudice is prejudice, no matter what turn it takes. Fear is the root of prejudice. Why should we fear our own children as to the opposite, love our own?

7.  Do you know of any legal problems occurring between the Feds and the tribes/nations after blood quantum was lowered? I don't, but that doesn't mean anything. I do not keep up with any of these things.

8.  What legal implications are there relative to the federal requirements of 1/4 degree to be considered Indian?  Or is this relevant to this issue? Here is one, but I can imagine there would be great numbers of issues. It wouldn't make any difference.  Never has. We can sue the government, but in the Ponca's case it took generations to receive claim money for their land in Nebraska, and then it was just a pittance of what land is really worth. Around 1500.00 a person.  That wasn't much of an inheritance compared to being a Rockafellow  or a Prince Charles.

9.  Any other comments? Here is my story as to the way ill treatment and reverse discrimination in an Indian hospital has caused great emotional and financial difficulties for us as a family.

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Response #3:

Greetings,

What can I say?  I'm a full blood and naturally resented the change .  Of course, being out numbered the resolution was passed a few years ago to lower to 1/8.  This action helped my (our) relatives get their grandchildren enrolled which otherwise wouldn't have happened.  I call these folks "paper Sac & Fox's.  (NAME DELETED) could give you more info on how it effects the business side, like more funding.  You know more (members) means less ($) per person too.

You're lucky to have two councils for decisions.  We have the B.C. and a woman  administrator who tells them how to conduct business and another woman who is second in command to her.  <<PHRASE REMOVED>>

I hate to even think of the mention descendancy enrollments.  I hope this happens after I'm history.

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Response #4:

1. Do you know of any other Oklahoma tribes/nations or other national tribes/nations that have successfully lowered their blood quantum enrollment requirement to less than 1/4, i.e., 1/8, 1/16, etc.? Yes, the Kiowas voted in June 2002 and it was passed to go to 1/8, it still needs to be ratified and approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Also, the Comanches approved theirs last year for 1/8, my granddaughter is enrolled Comanche.

2. What were the impacts on the tribe's/nation's of this decision to lower the requirement? Any benefits? Advantages, disadvantages? Larger amount of funding for the tribe from the feds with more tribal members is an advantage.  I don't believe there are any disadvantages, because they are our children!

3. Do you know of a website where I might find information about this issue? No

4. What is your tribe/nation's blood requirement? Kiowas still 1/4 until ratified and approved by the Secretary. Comanches are 1/8 and no parent has to be enrolled (which was their previous requirement -regardless if you were 1/4.  I know because I tried to enroll my son in 1993 who is 1/4 Comanche, but they refused saying I had to be enrolled, I said dang, his Ka-Koo was a full-blood Comanche (if there is such a thing-Aye).

5. What are your views on a blood quantums?  I think we should all go to descendency.  The blood quantum issue only causes hurt and problems, if people can prove they are from a tribe we should let them be a tribal member. 

6. What is your opinion of having designated blood quantums versus having descendancy enrollments?  I like descendancy enrollment.

7. Do you know of any legal problems occurring between the Feds and the tribes/nations after blood quantum was lowered?  NO

8. What legal implications are there relative to the federal requirements of  1/4 degree to be considered Indian? Or is this relevant to this issue? Don't know.

9. Any other comments? I voted for 1/8 for Kiowas in June 2002.

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Response #5:

1.  Do you know of any other Oklahoma tribes/nations or other national tribes/nations that have successfully lowered their blood quantum enrollment requirement to less than 1/4, i.e., 1/8, 1/16, etc.? NO, I SURE DON'T

2. What were the impacts on the tribe's/nation's of this decision to
 

lower the requirement?  Any benefits?  Advantages, disadvantages? I HAVE ALWAYS FELT THAT THERE WILL BE A DISADVANTAGE IN THAT THE TRIBE WILL EVENTUALLY BREED ITSELF OUT OF EXISTENCE.
 


3.  Do you know of a website where I might find information about this
 

issue?  NO

4.  What is your tribe/nation's blood requirement?   1/4

5.  What are your views on a blood quantums? IT IS BECOMING MORE COMPLICATED TO KEEP TRACK OF THE BLOOD OF EACH TRIBE OF AN INDIVIDUAL

6.  What is your opinion of having designated blood quantums versus having descendancy enrollments?  BLOOD QUANTUM KEEPS IT IN THE "FAMILY" SO TO SPEAK, OTHERWISE MANY MAY BECOME A PART OF THE PARTICULAR TRIBE.

7.  Do you know of any legal problems occurring between the Feds and the tribes/nations after blood quantum was lowered? i HAVE HEARD OF NONE.

8.  What legal implications are there relative to the federal requirements of 1/4 degree to be considered Indian?  Or is this relevant to this issue? i ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD THAT IT IS THE TRIBES PEROGATIVE TO DETERMINE ITS MEMBERSHIP, NOT THE FEDS.

9.  Any other comments?  YES, WHY NOT DECLARE ALL MEMBERS OF A TRIBE "FULL-BLOODS" AT A CERTAIN DATE TO ABSORB THOSE WHO HAVE NOT ENOUGH BLOOD TO GET ON A ROLL. MUCH BETTER TO PROLONG THE EXISTENCE OF A TRIBE THAN TO SHORTEN IT INTO EXTINCTION BY LOWERING THE BLOOD REQUIREMENTS TO BE A MEMBER.



Further clarification on #9 above:

It may be a little late, but the point I wanted to stress is a point that I and the late Browning Pipestem agreed upon,..that is to declare everyone a full blood from a particular date. i.e., all those born after a certain date. Federal law holds that tribes have the right to determine their membership, and/or requirements thereof. It would be much better to INCREASE the blood amount as opposed to DECREASING it.  At least the tribe would last another 50 to 75 years before it would have to be done again,..by then, our generation would be gone anyway.

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Response #6:

 

Surely this was an issue long before you, as members, were notified of this referendum.  The Ioways had this same issue several years ago, probably in the early '80's (1980's that is!)!!  We were already at 1/4 degree blood quantum then, and had been since the adoption of our Constitution of the 1930's.  So after a group of babies had been enrolled in the early 70's, it became apparent that this might be the last generation to be enrolled members of the Tribe.  So we started discussing ways and options for keeping our Tribe going.  As a result of much pondering, and prayer, too, we came up with this solution.  Please understand that the Ioways are a very small tribe, as compared to the mighty Pawnee!! and others, but this issue (later, it became an action) had a positive effect on the tribe.  Of course we we had the assistance of the BIA, and then we had good relations with Bureau officials.  My uncle kept it that way--he allowed them to give us advise, but before anything was done, it was discussed in detail within the business committee, and then later presented to the governing body, and voted upon.  Sometimes issues were passed, then sometimes they didn't--but at least the People were given that opportunity!

1.  Do you know of any other Oklahoma tribes/nations or other national tribes/nations that have successfully lowered their blood quantum enrollment requirement to less than 1/4, i.e., 1/8, 1/16, etc.? The Ioways of Oklahoma, to 1/8.  The  Northern Ioways have no blood quantum, and enrollment is through decendency.  At their events all you see are blue/green eyed and blond participants.  (Of course, nothing wrong with that, my own grandchildren look like that too!) 

2.  What were the impacts on the tribe's/nation's of this decision to lower the requirement?  Any benefits?  Advantages, disadvantages?    Our whole reasoning was to be able to continue to grow which would allow our children to become members of a federally recongonized tribe.  There were issues about the passing of this too, but it was very ironic---the very people/members that were against it, were the first ones to enroll they children/ grandchildren!  Most of those that were less than one-quarter degree Iowa, were other tribes too.  So this person might be only one-eighth Iowa, but maybe 3/4's Otoe, so they would still be full-bloods, and qualify for other government services, ie; BIA, IHS, Grants, etc.
 


5.  What are your views on a blood quantums?  I think you need to set blood quantums----if not, you only need to prove decendency, and alot of people could become enrolled, which would increase the size of your tribe, and in some instances defray the services, or limit the services that your Tribe could provide to your members, or the community.

6.  What is your opinion of having designated blood quantums versus having descendancy enrollments?  I refer to #5.

7.  Do you know of any legal problems occurring between the Feds and the tribes/nations after blood quantum was lowered?  None that I am aware of--however, I retired from tribal politics in 1987, and kinda out of the picture, so don't know.

8.  What legal implications are there relative to the federal requirements of 1/4 degree to be considered Indian?  Or is this relevant to this issue?  Most of those that were less than one-quarter degree Iowa, were other tribes too.  So this person might be only one-eighth Iowa, but maybe 3/4's Otoe, so they would still be full-bloods, and qualify for other government services, ie; BIA, IHS, Grants, etc.

9.  Any other comments?  Thanks Irene, that was kinda fun, hadn't wracked my brain like that, in a long while.  Not sure, if this is what you had in mind....later

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You asked my opinion, so here it is.  I would be interested in hearing the other opinions too since this is a hot issue among every tribe.  Everybody needs to be informed.

 

1.  Do you know of any other Oklahoma tribes/nations or other national tribes/nations that have successfully lowered their blood quantum enrollment requirement to less than 1/4, i.e., 1/8, 1/16, etc.?  Yes, the Citizen Band Potawatomi's and Cherokee Nation are descendency tribes.  This is why the Cherokee Nation population is so huge!
 


2.  What were the impacts on the tribe's/nation's of this decision to lower the requirement?  Any benefits?  Advantages, disadvantages? Benefits are for the children and grandchildren, in allowing them to become enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe.  There are a lot of Indian children who are several different tribes, but cannot get on tribal rolls because they fall below 1/4 of any particular tribe.  These kids are eligible for IHS services, but are not able to take advantage of some tribal programs where the criteria for eligibility includes being on the tribal roll. 
 
Increased numbers of enrolled tribal members naturally increases the tribal population, which may become beneficial to the tribes if the Indian Health Service allows compacted (Self-governed) tribes to use more recent tribal numbers than the 1994 tribal membership numbers that are currently used.  More tribal members means increased health funding for self-governed tribes!  Larger numbers of enrolled tribal members gives us more political clout, especially in states with high Indian populations!
 
Disadvantages?  I can't think of any. 


3.  Do you know of a website where I might find information about this issue?  No.

4.  What is your tribe/nation's blood requirement?  The Poncas are still at 1/4 or more to be enrolled, but I think we need to reconsider the option of lowering the blood quantum to 1/8.

5.  What are your views on a blood quantums?  As mentioned, we are seeing children and grandchildren who are several different tribes and who are not able to meet tribal enrollment requirements.  This makes those children ineligible for any health services, education services, etc., that have blood quantum restrictions. 

6.  What is your opinion of having designated blood quantums versus having descendancy enrollments?  I think this decision should be left up to the tribes.  Tribes who have descendendancy enrollments should not receive federal health funding based on their tribal enrollment though.  I'm not sure that this was done for the CB Potts or Cherokee, but I'll bet it was.  If this is so, then: A tribe having descendancy enrollments of 700 people who are all less than 1/8 Indian would get the same amount of funding as a tribe having blood quantum enrollments of 1/4 or more. Can you see how the Indians get shortchanged on the blood quantums? It just isn't right.

7.  Do you know of any legal problems occurring between the Feds and the tribes/nations after blood quantum was lowered? No.

8.  What legal implications are there relative to the federal requirements of 1/4 degree to be considered Indian?  Or is this relevant to this issue?  What federal requirements?  I was under the impression that there was no legal definition for who is considered Indian.  The Indian Health Service has an open door policy which allows anyone with a CDIB to obtain health services.

9.  Any other comments?  Yes, tribes should probably lower their enrollment eligibility to blood quantums of 1/8.  Tribes should push for getting IHS eligibility at 1/8th and above for services. 
I've seen CDIB's that say 1/257 of 1/3000.  Don't ask me how they come up with those numbers because I haven't figured it out yet - how a person can be traced back to 1/3000 degree of Indian blood.  Personally, I think that there is a black market on getting CDIB's.  One man who came to shampoo my carpet told me that someone told him that he could get a CDIB easily.  The man didn't even know how much Indian he is, who the Indian ancestor was, or where to even begin to trace his roots!


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Response #8:

Subj: Blood Quantum 
Date: 21.11.02 5:12:18 PM Central Standard Time
 
1. Tribes/Nations have the sole right and authority to determine tribal citizenship. This issue went before the US Supreme Court as Martinez vs.. Santa Clara. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Santa Clara Pueblo government. (Briefly, Ms. Martinez was full blood Santa Clara. She married a non-tribal member. When she attempted to enroll her children, her request was denied because Santa Clara requires that the father be an enrolled tribal member. ---- Seneca is just the opposite.)
 
2. The question of lowering blood quantum from 1/4 to 1/8 has been on the ballot for the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma at least once, maybe more. Kiowa requires at least 1/4 degree or more of Kiowa or Kiowa Captive blood for enrollment. There may be an additional requirement that the enrollee's Kiowa parent be enrolled.
 
3. Some federal programs that are operated or contracted through the BIA used to have special requirements regarding residency and blood quantum or tribal membership. For instance, BIA Indian Education programs were not allowed to spend money on non-tribal members or on tribal members who had less than 1/4 degree Indian blood. This was a real problem for the Eastern Band of Cherokees who required 1/8 degree back  then.
 
4. Some tribes lowered the blood quantum for enrollment but would not allow those with the lower blood quantum to vote,  hold office, or lease tribal lands. It seems that as your blood quantum went down so did your rights as a tribal citizen.
 
5. I voted against the measure to lower the blood quantum for Kiowas even though that would prevent my grandchildren from being enrolled Kiowas. I just felt that once again our elders and Indian people would be pushed aside by our relatives who don't know how to act properly or respectfully. (I got really angry when I went to the Indian Hospital in Lawton with one of my grandmas and saw all the Indian elders being pushed to the back of the line by young people who appeared to be non-Indian.)
 
6. To my knowledge there is no federal requirement of 1/4 degree Indian blood to be considered Indian. Even though certain programs used to require that individuals be enrolled and have at least 1/4 degree Indian blood for eligibility to receive services -- you can still be enrolled and considered to be Indian by your tribe if they choose to require less than 1/4 degree tribal blood. As a tribal member /citizen you will have the rights of citizenship defined by your tribe/nation.
 
You definitely have a tough decision. But, at least you have tried to consider the issue with as much information as you can gather in a short period of time. Good luck.

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Response #9:

I guess i am in favor of blood but counting all the indian blood you have, not just from that agency - the siouxs do that - only count their blood from their rez, not even other siouxs.  My people have 1/8th from my rez and all the other indian you have to get to your blood quantum.  And actually the feds just changed the defintion of indian - it used to be a member of the tribe and 1/4 indian - it is now just a member of the tribe which made a lot of those okie indians with their decendency rolls eligible for servcies, bia, ihs, scholarships, etc.

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Response #10:

Yes Irene the Oklahoma Sac and Fox lowered their degree from 1/4 to 1/8. We did ours  through a general vote from the general council. Our constitution requires a refferendum vote from all the tribe. We had a tough time getting this across, but too many new members were being left out. I personally was against the change, cause I felt it diluted our tribal base, but the overwhelming vote went the other way. My Dad who you know was the Chief before his death, predicted this would happen in our tribe and with the other tribes also...........................


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Response #11:

1.  Do you know of any other Oklahoma tribes/nations or other national tribes/nations that have successfully lowered their blood quantum enrollment requirement to less than 1/4, i.e., 1/8, 1/16,  etc.? Yes, SAC/FOX.

2.  What were the impacts on the tribe's/nation's of this decision to lower the requirement?  Increase the enrollment and allowed more individuals to vote and have a say in their tribal affairs.  Any benefits? Has allowed our children to receive college scholarships and assistance for eyeglasses and funeral assistance.

3.  Do you know of a website where I might find information about this issue? No

4.  What is your tribe/nation's blood requirement?  CREEK is by descendancy , SENECA is descendancy, SAC/FOX is 1/8.

5.  What are your views on a blood quantums? I think as long as you can prove your indian and  nothing else "except Indian" you should be able to receive benefits.  See the next question.

6.  What is your opinion of having designated blood quantums versus having descendancy enrollments? Well I'm a full blooded Indian if you add up all my tribes.  1/2 Creek + 1/4 Seneca +1/4 Sac/Fox.  Then I went and married a full blooded Pueblo if you add up all his tribes.  1/2 Cochiti + 3/8 San Filipe + 1/8 Isleta.  Then we had a daughter who could be a full blooded Indian if you add up all of our tribes.  Then I (widowed) went and married (second) a full blooded Indian who is 1/2 Kiowa + 3/8 Caddo + 1/8 Comanche.  And we had a son who could be a full blooded Indian if you add up all his tribal affiliations.  Then my son married a full blooded Indian who is 7/8 Cheyenne + 1/8 Arapaho.  They have two children.

7.  Do you know of any legal problems occurring between the Feds and the tribes/nations after blood quantum was lowered? none

8.  What legal implications are there relative to the federal requirements of 1/4 degree to be considered Indian?  Or is this relevant to this issue?  SEE #6 for my children and grandchildren.


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Response #12:

my tribe did that a few years ago...alot of tribes with casino money are lowering the blood quantum....our enrollment says you have to be decendant from the tribe....1/4....cant be from anywhere else but there...my great grand father...was one of the first enrollment committee members.....there are two tribes..at fort belknap...Assiniboine (nakota) and Gros Ventre tribes...you have to be from either tribe..can be both...or atleast 1/4 from one...for enrollment...they dont recognize other assiniboine or other gros ventre tribes


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Below was sent from a friend - something else to think about.
Message below comes is from another source, not the friend, and friend is not Mr. Humbert.

This is one of the reasons for allowing the change.

-----Original Message-----
From: Society of American Indian Government Employees
[mailto:SAIGE-L@indiana.edu] On Behalf Of John Humbert
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 2:07 PM
To: SAIGE-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU
Subject: [SAIGE] from Indian Country Today

Change in regulations would disinherit thousands of Indian landowners

Posted: November 19, 2002
<http://www.indiancountry.com/?search=November+19,+2002> - 1:20pm EST
by: Mark Fogarty <"target="l">http://www.indiancountry.com/?author=37> / Today
Correspondent

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A pending change to the Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA) would disinherit thousands of American Indian landholders, accordingto the  Indian Land Working Group.

The 2000 Amendments to the ILCA, which have been signed into law but not yet converted to Department of Interior regulations, would change its definition of "Indian" to an enrolled member of a tribe, rather than use the more liberal lineal descendant definition.

The more than 200 attendees at the Working Group's annual Indian Land Consolidation Symposium heard that this change, if implemented by DOI, would cut inheritance rights to heirs of Indian allotments who are not  tribal members, either because they fail to meet blood quantum tests or for any other reason.

"Membership is a social or political concept. 'Indian' is blood. We never confused tribal member with Indian," said administrative law-judge Sally Willett at the meeting. Willett, a former DOI employee with twenty years of experience in Indian probate, called the change in definition "the ethnic cleansing of the American Indian."

Bill Ballew, who heads the planning department for the Lummi Nation of Washington state, told the meeting the change in definition would definitely have an adverse effect on his nation.

"Quite a few families will lose their land base," he said. What will happen is that the current generation will receive a life estate in the property, but won't be able to pass it along. "The next generation is going to be the one losing it," he said.

"It looks as if we're going to be stuck with this new definition of Indian so I guess we're going to have to find a way around it," he said.  His tribe is considering a tribal "land assignment" in which the tribe could assign the allotment back to the affected family.

Austin Nunez, chair of ILWG and chair of the San Xavier district of the Tohono O'odham Nation, testified before Congress earlier this year that "at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation alone, 4,096 heirs representing 15,749.44 acres will not be able to inherit."

Underlining the sovereignty issues for Congress, Nunez testified "Defining who can inherit is a tribal authority and needs to be determined by each tribal community."

Helen Sanders, vice chair of ILWG, detailed other objections the group has to the passed amendments and others that are currently pending in S.1340,which is currently being considered by Congress.

Another is "joint tenancy with right of survivorship." Here, if an Indian landowner dies without a will, his heirs would inherit jointly, with the last surviving heir inheriting the land. This would have the  effect of disinheriting descendants of the heirs who die first.

In her own case, Sanders said she would benefit from joint tenancy, since she is the last surviving sibling on one half of her great grandfather'sallotment on the Quinault reservation in Washington.  But this would unfairly disinherit her nieces and nephews, she said.

She also objected to the pilot project that allows the Secretary of the Interior to purchase small interests in allotments and deed them over to the tribe.

The idea is to try to lessen "fractionation" of Indian lands, caused by multiple heirs in succeeding generations getting an undivided interest in the land (her great-grandfather's 80-acre allotment on the Quinault now has about 80 heirs).

But, she said, the program is targeting the two-percent or less interests that were the focus of the Supreme Court case Babbitt v. Youpee. In that case, the high court found the previous taking of these tiny parcels unconstitutional, and DOI issued a directive to return those taken to their owners.

But, she said, by and large these two-percent "escheats" have not been returned, and buying them and donating them to tribes does not jibe with the Supreme Court decision.

Willett also said she objects to the "partition" provisions of the new amendments, feeling that they will lead to partitions of lands that can't be partitioned.

A "passive trust" provision is also problematic, she said, as it will cause large amounts of land to pass from trust to "fee" (private property) status.

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End
 


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