FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I want the land back, how
do I go about doing that?
One of the controversies
surrounding the White
Earth Land Settlement Act was the fact that
the land would NOT be restored to individuals. Instead, the Act
consists of three major components:
When a valid claim has been determined, the Issue Number, the
allotment number, the name of the allottee, and the legal
description are published in the Federal Register. When this has
taken place, it means, that according to Section 6(a) of the Act,
“…Congress hereby does approve and ratify any such transfer
effective as of the date of said transfer….”. Monetary compensation
is then provided to the present day living heirs of the original
allottee whose allotment has been determined to be a valid claim
under the Act.
10,000 acres of state land to be transferred from the State of
Minnesota to the White Earth Band.
$6.6 million dollars to the White Earth Band for economic
If you want the land back,
you will need to locate the current owner and learn if he or she
wants to sell their land to you.
Who owns the property
WELSA is only concerned with
the first date of transfer that constitutes whether the allotment is
a valid claim or not. We do not track property ownership. To find
out who owns the property you are interested in, you should contact
the County Recorder’s Office or the County Auditor’s Office in the
county where the property is located.
Becker County Courthouse is located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Clearwater County Courthouse is located in Bagley, Minnesota
Mahnomen County Courthouse is located in Mahnomen, Minnesota
How much will my check be
The amount of monetary
compensation is based on several variables. The variables
1) What the land was
appraised at on the date of transfer
2) When the date of transfer
3) If there is a deduction
based on the consideration listed on the Warranty Deed or Mortgage
4) How many heirs share in
the monetary compensation
When will I get my check?
If you are determined to be
an heir who is due monetary compensation, it depends on when the Order Determining Heirs
you are listed on is considered Final. A Notice of Monetary
Compensation will be sent to you. According to a 1997 decision by a
U.S. District Court Judge, each heir who receives a Notice of
Monetary Compensation is required to have 180 days to decide if he
or she agrees with the information listed on the Notice of Monetary
If the heir does NOT agree,
he or she files suit in U.S. District Court. If the heir agrees,
he or she signs the Compensation Award letter and returns it to the
WELSA Project Office in Bemidji, Minnesota.
When the WELSA Project
Office receives the signed Compensation Award letter, the
information is encoded into our Heirship Database and the check will
be issued at the end of the sixth month after you were sent the
Notice of Monetary Compensation.
Why can’t you just write
me out a check from your office in Bemidji?
The funds for providing
monetary compensation under the WELSA
Act are from the United States
Treasury. This is a process with the United States Government, and
therefore requires many steps to transfer the information from the
WELSA Office to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Minnesota Agency to
the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Midwest Regional Office to the Bureau
of Indian Affairs, Central Office in Washington, D.C. Once the
information arrives in the Central Office, the information is then
transferred to the United States Department of Treasury. At the
present time, monetary compensation checks are issued from the
Treasury Office in San Francisco, California.
Once I receive my
check, is that the last time I will get money from WELSA? Or will I
get paid again?
Every time an heir inherits,
he or she receives a Notice of Monetary Compensation and therefore
is due an amount of monetary compensation. It is possible to
inherit more than once, but it is not a common occurrence. It
depends on who you are inheriting from, and if they inherit from
someone different than the first time. Since only a portion of the
claims have been processed for compensation, it is not possible for
this office to determine for certain if a present day living heir
will receive monetary compensation more than once.
If an heir does inherit more
than once, do not expect to receive the same amount as your first
monetary compensation check.
Why did my relatives
receive monetary compensation checks, and my siblings and I did not?
The White Earth Reservation
was initially divided into 5,178 original allotments. A person who
met the requirements and was born on or before July 21, 1900
received an allotment. If a person was born after July 21,1900 he or
she did not receive an allotment.
This has resulted in several
instances where a person has called the WELSA office, wanting to
know why his or her cousins were receiving money from WELSA and they
were not. After completing initial research, it turns out that the
person inquiring had an aunt or uncle who was born before July 21,
1900, and their own mother or father was born after this date.
Because of the difference in birth dates, their aunt or uncle had an
allotment, which turned out to be a claim under WELSA, but since
their own parent was born after July 21, 1900, there would not be an
allotment to research.
I am sixteen years old.
How come I did not get a check from WELSA and my siblings did?
Although Section 14 of the
Act includes the statement, “The Secretary shall give priority in
making compensation determinations and payments under this Act to
original allottees and elderly heirs”; there have been cases where a
Final Order Determing Heirs includes an heir who is under the age of
Usually, the heir waits
until he or she turns eighteen years of age. A Notice of Monetary
Compensation Due is sent to the heir. When the Compensation Award
letter is signed on their eighteenth birthday or after, the monetary
compensation due to that person will be issued. Please note that
the amount of monetary compensation due to someone who is a minor
earns interest until the very date the check is issued.
We have had cases where a
Guardianship is obtained for the minor and the monetary compensation
is issued to the Guardian without waiting until the heir is eighteen
years of age.
Is the money ever going
to run out?
As stated above, the
monetary compensation funds are from the United States Treasury.
Contrary to rumors that have been circulating since the inception of
the Act, the monetary compensation funds were not given to the White
Earth Band to distribute.
name of parent, grandparent, or great grandparent) was not a
mixed blood! Why are you saying that?!
Two blood rolls exist for
the people who were allotted land on the White Earth Reservation.
They are referred to as the 1910 Blood Roll and the 1920 Blood
Roll. Since the 1920 Blood Roll was signed by a U.S. District Court
Judge, we are required to use it, as specified in Section 3 (a) and
(c) of the Act.
Do I have to be enrolled
as a White Earth Band Member to receive the monetary compensation
due to me?
No, you do not. The WELSA
Act states monetary compensation is due to the present day living
heirs of the allottee who have a valid claim on his or her
allotment. The WELSA project uses the Minnesota State Laws of
Inheritance that were in effect on March 24, 1986 (the date of the
WELSA Act). The laws used for determining heirs does not delineate
between enrolled members and those who are not.
Why haven't I received my money! My name is listed on the
probate! Some of the others were paid, where's mine?
Look at the information you received from the Office of Hearing and
Appeals. There are two documents: a Notice of Final Order
Determining Heirs and a Final Order Determining Heirs.
If your name is listed on the Final Order Determining Heirs and has
a fractionated interest behind it, you have been determined to be an
heir of the deceased and will receive the required documents for the
However, if you see your name and address only on the Notice of
Final Order Determining Heirs, it means that the Office of Hearings
and Appeals is informing you that the Final Order Determining Heirs
has been completed because you are a "party in interest". Look
at the Final Order. Do you have parent or grandparent (or
other person you might inherit from) listed as an heir of the
deceased? Is your parent or grandparent (or other person you
might inherit from) deceased? Then a Final Order Determining
Heirs must be completed for their estate before you may be listed as
WELSA accepts no
liability for the content of this website, or for the consequences
of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.