"This Land is My Land", Michael Horse (Yaqui, Mescalero, Apache, Zuni)


Preliminary Proposal for the De-fractionation of Native American Lands
Executive Summary

Rose Community Development seeks to bring new and powerful scientific models to bear for the economic, technological and social development of Indian Country. We reject the traditional bureaucratic models run by outside government agencies with a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Similarly, we reject the kind of central planning which was characteristic of the Soviet Union and which, while perhaps satisfying to its bureaucrats, led eventually to its downfall. We do find much to learn from in the Japanese economic development model which was used to bring Japan from a defeated, virtually resource less nation in 1946 to the world’s second largest economy by 1979. This is a system which makes use of government guidance and resources but retains the profits with the groups doing the actual economic activities. Similarly, we find value not in the old welfare-driven economic theories of the 19th and 20th centuries, but rather in “new growth theory” and the use of nonlinear dynamical systems models and the economics of increasing returns. All of these factors feature prominently in our approach to economic development in Indian Country in general and to the de-fractionation of Native American Tribal Lands under the Cobell Settlement in particular.

In addition, following the research of the past decade conducted at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, we base our program on their three key findings:

1. Sovereignty matters: Tribes do better when they make decision-themselves.
2. Culture Matters: Indian culture is a resource that shores up the strength of government and has concrete impacts upon such bottom line results as forest productivity and housing quality.
3. Institutions Matter: In addition to defending their sovereignty and having institutions that match their cultures, successful tribal governments share a few core institutional attributes. They settle disputes fairly, they separate the functions of elected representation and business management, and they successfully implement tribal policies that advance tribal strategic goals.

In this context, we argue that in the case of the Cobell Settlement, the tribes need to exercise their sovereignty under AIARMA/PL103-177 in order for each tribe to structure its own buyback program, with the tribal government exercising its duly accorded legal rights to express its fiduciary duty to the tribe as a whole by deciding which parcels of land are to be de-fractionated first, and to construct a value-driven investment plan which will yield the optimal economic results to the tribe. The current B.I.A. administered plan, in addition to imposing an unfair burden in the form of absorbing 15% of the buy-back funds fails all three of the above tests, lacks the basic financial guarantees of full, good-faith expenditure of funds as well as having at its core no value-based proposition whatsoever. The creation of value for Indian Country is the entire underlying premise behind the settlement and in its current form, it is virtually a given that this will not happen.

The B.I.A.’s Buyback Program is a Bureaucratic Nightmare!

First and foremost, the Cobell settlement is not truly a settlement until funds have been disbursed. Already the interest on the money being held in trust by the Department of the Interior, is approximately $500,000 none of which was been disbursed. The current unhappiness of tribal leaders and the difficulties of acquiring Cobell funds for de-fractionation indicate that many more millions will simply be wasted because of government inefficiency. More frightening, however, is that fact that the Cobell settlement funds contain a “sunset provision” which returns unspent funds to the Department of the Interior after ten years. This is a drastic limit on the acquisition and uses of Cobell settlement funds. Under such conditions, it is vital that Tribal leaders and Tribal councils exercise their rights under the American Indian Agriculture Management Act in order to claim the sovereign rights bestowed upon them by PL103-177, and to fight for the express right to be the sole distributor (and executor) of the funds set aside in the Cobell case.

Well before the Cobell settlement, PL103-177, The American Indian Agricultural Resource Management Act (AIARMA) was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, precisely to allow Native American self-determination in agricultural resource management of exactly the type that the B.I.A. has usurped in the proposed administration of the Cobell Settlement, specifically, that “the United States and Indian tribes have a government to government relationship” and that “development and management of Indian agricultural lands in accordance with integrated resource management plans will ensure proper management of Indian agricultural lands and will produce increased economic returns, enhance Indian self-determination, promote employment opportunities, and improve the social and economic well-being of Indian and surrounding communities.

In the Cobell Land Consolidation Draft Plan (, which is the DOI’s plan and not the plan of the sovereign tribal governments who are its intended beneficiaries, approximately one sixth of the value of settlement funds, which should properly speaking, be the sole property of sovereign tribal governments, are instead being distributed to the entities responsible for the problem. No commercial business in the world would make a real-estate deal like this. The B.I.A. plan is only being undertaken in this form because the tribes are not exercising their sovereign rights under AIARMA/PL103-177 to make their own value driven plan and are instead being railroaded into yet another government-run, self-serving bureaucratic nightmare.

The Preliminary Proposal for the De-fractionation of Native American Lands is the proprietary property of Rose Community Development. The Preliminary Proposal is the foundation of the Rose Sovereign Buy-Back Plan; a plan that can be made unique and individual for each tribal nation. Please contact Douglas Stuart, President & CEO of Rose Community Development, to discuss the proprietary document and schedule on-site presentations. The following PDF's are provided as additional background information.

Unbroken Chain of Injustice can be read here: Download PDF

Public Law 111-291-December 8, 2010 CLAIMS RESOLUTION ACT OF 2010 can be read here: Download PDF

INITIAL IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations can be read here: Download PDF