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Ernst-Supported Provision to Return Land to Winnebago Tribe Passes Senate

Legislation will correct a nearly 50-year wrong

WASHINGTON – This week, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) supported and shepherded through to transfer approximately 1,600 acres of land back to the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

“The decision to condemn and seize land from the Winnebago Tribe was a classic case of the government failing to uphold its promises,” said Senator Ernst. “I'm proud to be part of the effort to right this wrong and return this land to the Winnebago people.”

With Congressman Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) leading and successfully passing companion legislation in the House of Representatives, the bipartisan Winnebago Land Transfer Act now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation was supported by all members of both the Iowa and Nebraska delegations.


In 1970, the U.S. government claimed land along the Missouri River from the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska through eminent domain to implement flood mitigation and recreation projects.

After years of litigation and appeals, the courts ultimately ruled that the seizure of land was illegal. Senator Ernst consistently advocated for Congressional action - the only remaining remedy for the tribe to reclaim their land.