Billings, Mont. – The head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
says he opposes a Congressional measure that would loan Montana's Crow Tribe $380 million to consolidate land on the reservation.
The tribe owns less than a quarter of its 2.2 million acre reservation along the Montana-Wyoming border. The rest is owned by individuals, including 700,000 acres by non-Indians.
A bill introduced last year by Montana's Democratic U.S. senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, would loan the tribe money to
purchase non-tribal land and put it into a trust. The land could then be put to use for agriculture or other purposes that would generate tribal revenue.
But Indian Affairs Director Jerold Gidner told a Senate panel Thursday that his agency is concerned about the size of the loan and who would pay for property appraisals.