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Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho

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Tribal Chairman Blaine Edmo said he was as surprised as some Blackfoot residents when he learned their property may actually be on the Fort Hall reservation. Residents on Blackfoot's southern edge received letters early this month from county and tribal officials stating their property might be on the reservation and the tribes could reclaim the property. The discrepancy was discovered after a routine survey of the reservation's northern boundary, the Blackfoot River. The stream has changed from years of flooding and irrigation and newly created subdivisions actually may be on the reservation, a study by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and BIA shows. It is not part of an effort to expand the tribes' land holdings, but rather to properly establish the reservation boundaries, Edmo said. 'Unfortunately for some folks, we may find the original survey was in error.' In which case, the residents would have to lease parts of their lands from the tribe, possibly for less than they pay in Bingham County taxes. However, they would never own the land or be able to sell it. 'I can sympathize with them,' Edmo said. 'If it was the opposite situation, we'd feel the same way.'