State and Bureau of Land Management officials have signed documents completing an exchange of state lands within the Crow Reservation for equivalent tracts elsewhere. The titles to 20,858 acres on the reservation are now in possession of the Department of Interior and will be held in trust for the Crow Tribe. In exchange, Montana received 27,035 acres of BLM grazing land in 100 tracts across eastern Montana. The Feb. 27 exchange is part of the Crow Settlement Act of 1994 and eventually will return 44,801 acres to the tribe. Montana was granted the reservation lands under the Crow Allotment Act of 1920, when the federal government purchased the land from the tribe and gave it to the state. Originally intended to finance education for Crow children in public schools, the state has sold 11,500 acres to private individuals in the past 80 years. By the 1990s Montana held title to 33,829 acres, most leased to non-Crow ranchers.
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