Indian Land Working Group’s efforts are dedicated to the restoration and recovery of the native land base; and the control, use, and management of this land base by tribal communities. Preservation of our homelands assures the continuation of our nations & culture now and for future generations.
In June 1991 the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the First Nations Development Institute, and the Northwest Renewable Resources, with funds from the Northwest Area Foundation, co-sponsored what turned out to be the 1st Annual Indian Land Consolidation Symposium in Pendleton, Oregon. This three-day conference attracted 150 attendees representing 36 tribes from throughout the country. Speakers provided information on land use, management and land consolidation, restoring lands that had been lost, and turning tracts of reservation land with multiple owners into viable economic units.The conference attendees agreed that it was critical to: continue this exchange of information; to impact federal Indian policy regarding Indian land issues in an organized, representative and ongoing manner; and to conduct a land conference annually. An “Ad Hoc Working Group On Land” was established to carry out this mandate.
Today, this group is known as the Indian Land Working Group (ILWG) and is chaired by Austin Nuñez, who also serves as Tribal Chair for the San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. Additionally, 4 ILWG Officers and 9 Regional Contacts from tribes and landowner associations from across the country comprise the ILWG Board. Over the past two decades, the ILWG has built a network of experts consisting of land managers, tribal realty officers, and individual landowners who are knowledgeable about minerals, timber, agriculture, and the laws governing Indian lands and resources. It is this network of experts that is moving to change the way Indian land is used and managed.
Currently the Indian Land Working Group members operate from within tribal or landowner association offices across Indian country.