MISSION STATEMENT: The Realty Division was created to serve the Ho-Chunk Nation and its members by providing services including but not limited to: acquisition and disposal, mapping, locating, retrieving, storing and maintaining records regarding Ho-Chunk Nation lands.
Executive Office Building, 2nd Floor
W9814 Airport Road,
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Ho-Chunk Nation Realty Division
P.O. Box 310
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Real Estate Director
Fee to Trust Section
The Ho-Chunk Nation acquires trust land through government to government agreements and the Fee to Trust process. Trust land is essential to maintain tribal sovereignty, self-determination, self-governance, and the protection of religious and cultural traditions. Once land is placed into trust status, it cannot be sold or encumbered without permission from the Secretary of the Interior.
The current federal policy of tribal self-determination is built upon the principals Congress set forth in the Indian Reorganization Act and reaffirmed in the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistant Act. Through the protection and restoration of tribal homelands, the Nation is able to perpetuate its language and culture, promote economic development and provide for the basic human needs a means to provide food and shelter of the Ho-Chunk people.
Fee to Trust is a 16 step process, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, designed to ensure all relevant information is acquired to fulfill the requirements as set forth in 25 C.F.R. § part 151. This is a high priority for the Ho-Chunk Nation.
The Ho-Chunk Nation’s lands does not fit the typical definition of reservation (meaning one large area of land in one or two counties or townships) like most other tribes. Rather, the Nation has trust lands scattered throughout the State of Wisconsin with a few being proclaimed ‘reservation’ status in 1985.
What is Fee to Trust
Quick Reference to the 16 steps of Fee to Trust
Fee to Trust Specialist
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Section
Geographic Information Systems or more commonly known as GIS is a computer system with human interaction that creates, stores, manages, analyzes, and displays geographically referenced information. It boils down to; GIS connects data with geography. GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, reports, and charts.
The GIS Section provides a comprehensive geographic database of all Ho-Chunk Nation Lands. The Section acts as a central processing unit for any and all data that can be represented spatially. This includes parcels, lots, leases, zoning districts, natural resource data, cultural sites, forestry, enrollment population, census data, utilites, wildland urban interface, environmental issues, and data from most other departments within the executive branch. GIS provides this data in the form of hard copy maps and an interactive map application. GIS can create custom mapping applications for any department based upon their needs.
GIS has proven to be an essential planning tool for the Nation by enabling enhanced decision making regarding planning for land use, land acquisition, development, business, cultural site awareness, and many other areas.
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Program
UAS is a system consisting of Unmanned Aircraft, Cameras, Sensors, GPS, Software, and various other field/technical equipment. The Ho-Chunk Nation utilizes this technology to obtain more data about the Nation’s lands so that superior decisions can be made regarding land management. Some of the products the UAS program produces are: High Resolution Imagery from Photogrammetry, Topographic Surveys, 3D Models, Vegetation Health, Thermal Mapping, Photography, and Videography.
The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs approved the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Residential, Agricultural, and Businesses leasing codes on February 4, 2015 pursuant to the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act of 2012 (HEARTH Act). These Leasing Codes enables individuals and entities to lease the Nation’s lands for specific purposes without requiring approval from the U.S. Department of Interior or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Leasing for Allotment or Heirship properties are still required to be processed and approved under 25 C.F.R. § 162.
Leasing on Ho-Chunk Trust Land
As of February 4, 2015 all Ho-Chunk Nation residential, agricultural and business leases request on the Nation’s trust lands are to be processed in accordance with the Nation’s leasing codes. All aspects of leasing on the Nation’s Trust Lands are processed strictly within the Ho-Chunk Nation. The Leasing Office works in cooperation with Division of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Justice (DOJ) and Legislative Branch to process the Nation’s leasing requests. Legislative approval is required on all leases on Nation’s lands.
The Leasing Office is the primary contact, working closely with applicants in cooperation with the Nation’s Land Development Team (LDT), DOJ and Legislature to provide residential leases to qualified applicants. Applicants are required to submit a lease application, proof of financing and select a lot of interest. Applicants may only apply for lots appropriate for residential development within the Nation’s Land-Use Plan and should be consistent with the Nation’s official zoning map. Available lots to lease may be found on our GIS application named ‘Available Residential Lots for Ho-Chunk Nation’.
The Ho-Chunk Nation DNR works and negotiates with applicants for Agricultural Leases on the Nation’s lands. The Leasing Office works in cooperation with DNR to draft and process the Agricultural Leases. Contact DNR at 715 284-2852. Applicants may only apply for lots appropriate for agricultural development within the Nation’s Land-Use Plan and should be consistent with the Nation’s official zoning map.
The Leasing Office works in cooperation with DOJ and Legislature on Business Lease Applications. Applicants may only apply for lots appropriate for agricultural development within the Nation’s Land-Use Plan and should be consistent with the Nation’s official zoning map.
BIA Allotment (Heirship) Leases
The Leasing Office assists applicants with lease applications on Allotment (heirship) properties. Allotments are properties owned by individual members (from one owner to hundreds of owners), many Allotments have some Ho-Chunk Nation ownership. A Legislative resolution is required for authorizing a lease on behalf of the Nation’s interest for any Allotment lease. Mailings are sent out to the owners of the property to obtain consent. More percentage of consent may be required depending on the number of owners. Leasing for Allotment or Heirship properties are still required to be processed and approved under 25 C.F.R. § 162.
The Register of Deeds Office (“RoD”) formerly Land Records Office was created to aid the Ho-Chunk Nation and its members in locating, retrieving, storing and maintaining all records of Ho-Chunk Nation lands. The records are kept in a single centralized location, easily accessible to the Nation as well as its members.
The RoD is under the Department of Administration, established in 2002 as the Land Records Office.
RoD consists of (1) employee: Julie Mann, Register of Deeds, employed with the Nation since September 1996 and an employee of RoD since November 2006.
This is the central location for Ho-Chunk Nation property information. Purchase information, deeds, title insurance and CSMs for more than 18 counties in Wisconsin, 2 counties in Minnesota and 2 counties in Illinois are on file.
Land Buy Back Program
For information regarding the Land Buy Back program refer to the following: https://www.doi.gov/buybackprogram
(Trust asset and accounting management system) is the BIA’s accounting system since 2008. RoD is one of the first 3 Tribes in Wisconsin to qualify for and receive access to the BIA’s TAAMS Program. RoD received the Nations on-site dedicated TAAMS computer in April of 2012. This computer enables RoD to access the Nations BIA Trust property files; it provides valuable trust information and reports, in a matter of minutes, regarding HCN Trust Land and provides individual Tribal members with information regarding their individual interest holdings. RoD currently has two employees certified for access in TAAMS.
RoD receives, logs, scans and vouchers the Nations property taxes. We work in cooperation with Legislature as well as the Business and Treasury Departments to voucher the Nation’s property taxes. Further we invoice those leases that require lease payment based on the taxes and provide tax information to many entities per request.
Register of Deeds