What Do We Do?The Morongo Band of Mission Indians elected to contract the Realty and Title function from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and established the Morongo Realty Department in 2004. The Realty Department oversees and manages approximately 36,000 acres or 55 square miles of Tribal Trust, Individual Trust and Tribally owned fee land.
The Morongo Realty Department processes, updates and records all documents such as right of ways/easements, Partitions and Gift Deeds, Land Sales and Mortgages, Surveys and Mapping. We assist the Tribe and Morongo Departments with special projects pertaining to commercial and economic development or overall improvements to tribal trust lands.
We are one of five (5) Tribes in the Nation who contract the Lands, Title, and Records function from the Bureau of Indians Affairs. We are the only Tribe in the Nation to actually have the Department of Interior’s computer system, known as “Trust Asset and Accounting Management System” or TAAMS installed at a tribal administrative/government building.
The TAAMS computer system allows us to track and update ownership information that might be affected by an Indian Probate, gift deed, partition, mortgage, right of way, lease, etc.
The Morongo Realty Department assists the Tribe and individual Tribal Members with all matters related to real property management, including Fee To Trust applications, residential and commercial leasing, land sales and appraisals, estate planning through the American Indian Probate Reform Act and Indian Land Consolidation. We oversee management of the historical and current records of tribal and individual trust lands.
We assist Tribal Members with the HUD 184 Loan process and establishing utilities to a new residence. If you are considering a HUD 184 Loan, please call us so that we can assist you in the process, if you currently have a HUD 184 loan and are looking to refinance or need a loan modification again please contact us.
Bureau of Indian Affairs:
Southern California Agency
Pacific Regional Office
Morongo Realty assists the Tribe and the Tribal Members with all their Realty and Title matters, such as:
- Title Status Reports (TSR)
A report issued after a title examination which shows the proper legal description of a tract of Indian land; current ownership, including any applicable conditions, exceptions, restrictions, or encumbrances on record; and whether the land is in unrestricted, restricted, trust, or other status as indicated by the records in a Land Titles and Records Office.
- Individual Trust Interest Report (ITI)
This report contains essential information about a landowner’s trust land (surface) and mineral (mineral rights) holdings. For example, it lists the location and size of a trust land allotment, the allottee’s share of undivided interests in an allotment
Trust lands are protected from sale or default to non-Indians, are free from county taxation and are within tribal jurisdiction. Having lands in trust status also allows individual Indian landowners and tribes to take advantage of federal programs restricted to trust lands, such as opportunities for business development, housing, environmental, and cultural protection.
Take advantage of the HUD-184 Program through qualified lenders.
- Gifts Deeds
A gift deed provides a way for transferring land between individual Indians or between individual Indians and the tribe with no money being exchanged.
A partition is a division of the property itself among the co-owners or to a conveyed individual.
- Residential Lease for Housing
A Residential Lease can be used for the development of an allotment, together with improvements for housing.
- Commercial Leasing
A tribe or individual can lease property for the purposes of economic development and income.
Cadastral surveys in general: create; mark; define; retrace; resurvey; and reestablish the boundaries and subdivisions of the Federally held lands of the United States, including trust land. A common use of a survey is to determine a legal property boundary. The first stage in such a survey is to research relevant title records such as deeds, survey monumentation (marks on the ground), and any public or private records that provide relevant data.
Appraisals are used to determine the fair market value for Indian trust land and resources. Appraisals of Indian land must comply with certain standards, but because every piece of property is unique, there is no one form or format used by all appraisers. All appraisers working or contracting for OST are required to follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and are required to be certified general appraisers.
What Is Cobell?Cobell v. Salazar (previously Cobell v. Kempthorne and Cobell v. Norton and Cobell v. Babbitt) is a class-action lawsuit brought by Native American representatives against two departments of the United States government (Department of Interior and Department of Treasury). The plaintiffs claim that the U.S. government has incorrectly accounted for Indian trust assets, which belong to individual Native Americans (as beneficial owners), but are managed by the Department of the Interior (as the legal owner and fiduciary trustee). Cobell v. Babbitt was filed on June 10, 1996. On December 8, 2009, a $3.4 billion settlement was announced. $1.4 billion of the settlement is allocated to plaintiffs in the suit, and up to $2 billion is allocated for re-purchase of lands distributed under the Dawes Act. President Barack signed legislation authorizing government funding of a final version of the $3.4 billion settlement in December 2010, raising the possibility of final closure after fourteen years of litigation. Elouise Cobell passed away from complications with cancer, Sunday, October 16, 2011, in Great Falls, Montana. She was 65.
For updated information on the lawsuit, please go to:
What Is AIPRA? What is the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 (AIPRA)? This Act creates a new Federal probate law that changes the way trust estates are distributed to heirs after a beneficiary’s death. This increases the importance and benefits of estate planning so the beneficiary can determine who inherits his/her assets. The Act was signed into law on October 27, 2004; most provisions went into effect June 20, 2006.
What is the purpose of AIPRA? One of the main purposes of AIPRA is to preserve the trust status of Indian lands and to reduce the number of small-fractionated interests. It offers an opportunity for individuals to determine how and when they want to distribute their trust assets. Through estate planning, individuals may wish to create a will or sell, transfer or otherwise consolidate their interests in trust or restricted land. If an individual does not have a will or estate plan, his/her assets will be distributed after death according to Federal or tribal laws. Where can beneficiaries get additional information?
Beneficiaries can call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 or contact a Fiduciary Trust Officer at the following locations:
Palm Springs Agency, Palm Springs, CA: (760) 416-4167 x257
Pacific Region, Sacramento, CA: (916) 978-6047
What is the ILCA? Congress enacted the Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA) in 1983 and substantially amended it in 1984 and 2000. ILCA has largely been superseded by AIPRA in 2004. Some of the more important provisions of ILCA to address the fractionation of land on reservations are:
- Authorized tribes to develop land consolidation plans, which could include the buying, selling, and trading of fractionated interests.
- Authorized tribes to enact laws, which restrict the Rights of non-Indians or non-members to inherit trust or restricted lands on their reservations.