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The Tee-hit-tons Many different tribes of Native Americans have petitioned the government to receive compensation for the loss of their land From the Cherokee of the Eastern United States the Sioux of the Great Plains to the Tee-hit-tons of Southeast Alaska The Tee-hit-tons are not unlike other tribes who have petitioned the federal government for lost land in so much as the way they were treated Quotes from several Native Americans are included herein to put a human aspect on what the loss of the land means to the people involved What follows is an account of this very small tribe of Indians and the lengths they must go to obtain what they already possessed This was a suit by the Tee-hit-ton Indians a clan of American Indians in Alaska They are descendants of the earliest known native inhabitants of an area of land in southeastern Alaska They claim that a compensable interest in land belonging to them was taken when the United States on August 20 1951 agreed to sell to a pulp and paper company all merchantable timber on a specified portion of land within the Tongass National Forest This language is in the case of Tee-hit-ton Indians v United States 348 US 2721955 The Tee-hit-tons were claiming 350000 acres in the Tongass and 150 square miles of water that the Government owed them compensation on The Tee-hit-tons would of course lose their case as they did in several other cases The Tee-hit-ton tribe asserted a full proprietary ownership of the land or in the alternative at least a recognized right to unrestricted possession occupation or use 348 US 272 277 The petitioners asserted its tribal predecessors had continually claimed occupied and used the land from time immemorial that when Russia took Alaska the Tlingits had a well-developed social order which included a concept of property ownership that Russia while it possessed Alaska in no matter interfered with
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