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SAULT STE. MARIE—On Dec. 3, the City of Sault Ste. Marie donated historic land back to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The land, called the Methodist Mission Reserve, is 240 acres contiguous to the existing tribal reservation to which the tribe has significant historical ties.

The Sault City Commission unanimously approved the donation at its Dec. 3, 2018, meeting. Mayor Tony Bosbous said, “The City of Sault Ste. Marie is very appreciative of the spirit and cooperation that the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and city have experienced over these past 25 years! During our historic 350th celebration as a city and settlement, it is with great pleasure we return the property known as the Methodist Mission Reserve back to the Anishinaabek people.”

Sault Tribe Chairperson Aaron Payment said, “It is through long-term mutual cooperation that we are able to arrive at this monumental act of good faith in this donation of land.”

The land is made up of two triangle shaped parcels in between the tribe’s land on Shunk Rd. and Riverside Dr. in Sault Ste. Marie. The tribe has pledged to uphold existing conservation easements and will seek to put the land into trust. As city land, the two parcels are already exempt from taxes.

In August, the tribe resolved to request that the Methodist Mission Reserve be transferred to the tribe. It was the city’s 350th anniversary; the city had no plans for the reserve aside from conservation. “I would like to personally thank the City Commission, Mayor, as well as the entire Sault Tribe Board of Directors for their respective parts in making this historic land transfer to occur,” said tribal resolution sponsor, Unit 1 Director and Vice Chairman DJ Hoffman.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY