Majority of landowners at Minnesota reservation are not Native Americans, grantees reveal

Nate Taylor (left) and Sylvia Fred (right), two of the co-founders of the Endazhi-Nitaawiging Charter School on Red Lake Reservation standing in front of the construction site for a new school building. Sequoia Carrillo /NPR

In a story for NPR’s Throughline podcast, reporters Anya Steinberg and Sequoia Carrillo, with support from the Fund, showed that land in Minnesota’s Leech Lake Reservation has been taken away gradually from Native Americans through a web of complex forces – including coercion to sell, appropriation of lands for federal conservation and dam-building that flooded homes and food sources. The reporters found that the majority of the approximately 1,300 square miles of land and lakes that make up the Leech Lake Reservation in north central Minnesota is now owned by non-tribal members. The team examined the ownership of federal forest land, private farmland and luxury resorts that are sprinkled throughout the reservation. The podcast profiles the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota through interviews and historical documents and by comparing the land allocation to another reservation nearby.