ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 18, 2016) — Minnesota State Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-67), co-chaired the Lands Conference Committee Wednesday, which concluded with an agreement between the House and Senate.
A controversial component of the Lands Bill was the difference in opinion over five parcels of tribal land in Beltrami Country. In the House bill, these five tax-forfeited parcels of land could be sold. The Senate bill prevented the five parcels from any threat, with Sen. Hawj leading the effort. In response, he gave the following statement:
“These parcels have a relationship and history to the Ojibwe tribe,” Hawj said. “The land may have also significant archeological components that are beneficial to the tribe as well as the DNR. Lastly, these lands currently provide public recreation opportunities. To take this historical land away would be a major disservice to the Ojibwe people, and I could not let that happen. I’m proud and grateful we reached an agreement over these parcels, which will be studied by the DNR and county in order to decide what’s best for them – with the very important input of the Ojibwe people taken into consideration.”