About this Dashboard
This data dashboard, developed by the Native Lands Advocacy Project, summarizes the lost agriculture revenue for all contemporary Native lands within the coterminous United States. The dashboard was generated from the Lost Agriculture Revenue Database built upon 178 years of Agriculture Census Data. Dollars values are adjusted to account for inflation.
About the Data
This data dashboard estimates the total lost agriculture revenue for all contemporary Native lands between 1840 and 2017. This estimate was created using the Lost Agriculture Revenue Database (L.A.R.D) and then allocates the percentage of revenue that went to Native vs. non-native farmers and ranchers based on data from the 2012 and 2017 census of agriculture for American Indian Reservations (the only data we have found that calculates this ratio).
Why is this Data and Dashboard Important?
While Native Americans and Native American Tribes enjoy a degree of political sovereignty, their sovereignty compromised by the fact that most tribal lands and resources are held in trust by the Federal Government. Because of this unique relationship the US Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed and upheld the responsibility that the federal government has to protect the tribal lands and assets and ensure they are used for the benefit of native people. This responsibility the federal government has to native peoples and tribes is known as the Trust Doctrine.
Since the General Allotment Act of 1887 the United States Government has created a system of agricultural apartheid that has promoted the leasing and/or liquidation of native lands to Non-natives. This has created a massive disparity in how agricultural income derived from native lands is shared. In these charts, we estimate the total agricultural income generated from Native Lands since 1840 and allocate it by race based on data from the 2012 and 2017 census of agriculture for American Indian Reservations.
Based on our analysis using the lost agriculture database, we estimate that between 1840 and 2017 non-natives collected over 760 billion dollars (86%) operating on Native lands. By comparison, we estimate that natives only collected 123 million (14%) on lands held in trust by the federal government, supposedly for the benefit of Native peoples.
It should be noted that this estimate is based on 100% of lands within the external boundaries of each native land area and does not differentiate between tribal trust, fee patented, or government lands. Additionally, we included “Tribal Statistical Areas” in this calculation to recognize the claims that tribes have to these lands. this Lastly, we recognize that the boundaries of many of these land areas either were not the fully defined or change changed since 1840 however, the vast majority of agriculture revenue was captured after the General Allotment Act of 1887 which favored the liquidation or leasing of native lands to non-natives, the source of the great disparity in who benefits from agriculture on Native Lands today.