Blood quantum requirement eliminated for land heirs
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Two words have changed an issue that has plagued Native land ownership since 1947, ‘any and all.’
Which means any tribal member of all tribes now has the ability to hold restricted land since President Donald Trump signed legislation amending the Stigler Act of 1947.
The Stigler Act of 1947, commonly referred to as the 47 Act, had authorized restricted land to become subject of taxation once an heir of a Five Civilized Tribes citizen was below one-half.
“If you come to our office you’ll hear our office talking about the 47 Act all the time,” Muscogee (Creek) Nation Realty Manager Sonya McIntosh said.
According to McIntosh changes to the 47 Act had been in the works since before she joined the Realty department 27 years ago.
She said a group of realty people got together and made a decision during their last attempt at amending the law.
“All we did was attack the blood quantum issue,” McIntosh said.
H.R. 2606, introduced in May 2017 by Oklahoma Congressmen Tom Cole, Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas and Steve Russell eliminates the blood quantum requirement.
As of Jan. 1, any land inherited by a FCT citizen’s heir may be probated and remain restricted.
McIntosh said MCN has more restricted land than any of the other FCT, but tribal landowners have not probated because of the blood quantum requirement.
She said the department is expecting citizens to come into the office to start the probating process.
“The main thing we want to emphasize to everybody is it’s not a retroactive amendment,” McIntosh said.
She said all five tribes would meet during Inter-Tribal Council to develop a universal brochure to send to landowners to rid any misconceptions.