From the beginning, the proposed C.T.L. plant has been divisive among Crow tribal members. A group called the Crow Allottees Association feared their water would be taken or polluted by the project. In its place, they are planning wind development for their land.The conflict also concerns water rights that were not clearly decided for over 160 years, which led to failing infrastructure as responsibilities were not clarified. Last year, Obama signed the Water Rights Settlement act, which provides $461 million for improvements and guarantees 650,000 acre-feet of water per year. However, the tribe had to ratify the act, and a contentious debate ensued between allottees and other tribe members.
Division among the Crow tribe has historical roots in the General Allotment Act of 1887, a bid by the U.S. government to grab land and disrupt the social cohesion of communal tribes by dividing up reservations into small land parcels, individually owned.
Bill Eggers, another opponent, said he believes the water compact takes away the allottees’ water rights without compensation. Among other things, Eggers questions whether he will be able to use the groundwater that’s on his land or if he’ll have to figure out a way to get water from the river 60 miles to his acreage.(The settlement was finally ratified.)
...the government illegally withheld more than $150 billion from Indians whose lands were taken in the 1880s to lease to oil, timber, minerals and other companies for a fee. Back then, the government started breaking up reservations, accumulating over 100 million acres, giving individual Indians 80 to 160 acres each, and taking legal title to properties placed in one of two trusts. The Indians were given beneficial ownership but the government managed the land, believing Indians couldn't handle their affairs. With leases for oil wells in Oklahoma, resorts in Palm Springs, and rights-of-ways for roads in Scottsdale, Arizona, some descendants of original owners receive six- and even seven-figure sums annually. But the prototypical beneficiary, now poised to share in the settlement, is a poor Dakotan who struggles to afford propane to heat his quarters and has been receiving as little as $20 a year. More than $400 million a year is collected from Indian lands and paid into U.S. Treasury account 14X6039. (source)
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