Documents and Links
Updated August 16, 2019
Perspectives on Land Loss & the Attendant Loss of Wealth
The Great Land Robbery, The Atlantic (Sept. 2019) (by Vann R. Newkirk II)
Video broadcast interview with Vann Newkirk, How Southern Black Farmers Were Forced From Their Land, and Their Heritage, PBS Newshour (Aug. 13, 2019)
Video broadcast interview with Vann Newkirk, How Black Farmers Were Forced From Their Land, CBS News (Aug. 14, 2019)
Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery: The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It, ProPublica and The New Yorker (July 19, 2019) (by Lizzie Presser)
Without in any way diminishing the story of black land loss and the attendant loss of generational wealth, it is important to also note the 1.5 billion acres taken from indigenous peoples in America.
The gif posted above provides a graphic representation showing the decline of Indian homelands from 1776 to 1887. Blue indicates lands held by Indian tribes; red indicates reservation land. This is the work of University of Georgia historian, Claudio Saunt to supplement his book, West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776. The graphic was created with the assistance of State magazine's Rebecca Onion as is available on the Vox website, The Theft of Native American's Land, in One Animated Map (June 19, 2014).
Updates to Food, Farming, & Sustainability readings:
In re Black Farmers Discrimination Case
Order Approving Settlement (containing summary of issues)
Other Related Documents (link)
Keepseagle v. Vilsack
Notice re: Cy Pres Funds (Proposed Settlement & Request for Comments)
Final Resolution of Issue of Cy Pres Funds provides additional money to class members but establishes long term plan to provide positive impact in Indian Country: Keepseagle Checks Finally Coming to Indian Farmers and Ranchers;
From the official class website:
On March 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request by two objectors for review of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling affirming the district court’s decision approving the plan for distribution of the $380 million remaining in the settlement fund. Pursuant to the original Settlement Agreement, those funds could only be given to non-profit organizations which provide services to current Native American farmers. However, the District Court approved a modification under which the funds would be divided with approximately $76 million used to provide a supplemental payment to prevailing claimants, $38 million being directed immediately to non-profit organizations serving Native American farmers and ranchers, and $266 million being used to fund a Trust. With the Supreme Court’s decision, that ruling is now final. That ruling is described in detail here. The distribution of the $38 million is described in greater detail here here. The supplemental payments of $18,500 to each prevailing claimant, along with $2,775 to the IRS on behalf of each claimant were mailed on May 21, 2018.
See also, New Native American Farm Fund to Distribute $266 Million in Landmark Civil Rights Settlement, Wash. Post (Aug. 13, 2018).
The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) was established in late 2018 and will provide grants to eligible entities for business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services to support Native farmers and ranchers over the next twenty years. For more information, visit the NAAF website.
Hispanic & Women Farmers & Ranchers Discrimination Case
of Hispanic and Women Farmers (Jan. 25, 2012)
USDA Office of Inspector General, Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claim Resolution Process, Audit Report 50601-0002-21 (Mar. 2016).
Update taken from the website - www.mysettlementclaims.com:
On April 12, 2016, the USDA filed a status report with the Court.
The report noted that as of April 11, 2016, the Judgment Fund has paid cash awards and tax relief on a total of 3,077 claims.
A total of 130 claims require the claimant to submit additional documentation, such as proof of legal representative status for claims involving a deceased or incapacitated claimant.
The deadline for these 130 claimants to submit the additional information has been extended to July 29, 2016. The USDA further notes that “once such documentation is received for any such claim prior to the deadline, the Administrator will submit that claim to the U.S. Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) for review and payment. The Administrator will not accept any submissions after the deadline, and will not submit any such claims to Treasury.”
The Status Report also attached the Office of Inspector General Audit Report on the female and Hispanic farmer Administrative Claims Process.
General Legal Resources
U.S. Code (statutes)
Agricultural Law Resources
Information on Civil Rights
The Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative enhances health and wellness in tribal communities by advancing healthy food systems, diversified economic development and cultural food traditions. It works to empower tribal governments, farmers, ranchers and food businesses by providing strategic planning & technical assistance; creating new educational programs in food systems & agriculture; and increasing student enrollment in food & agricultural related disciplines.
2010 - present
2010 - present