This data dashboard summarizes land area data from the Annual Report of the Commission of Indian Affairs for the years 1912-1920 and the BIA Annual Report of Indian Lands for the years 1966, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1983, and 1984 and can be filtered by one or more native land areas.
The best source of data on Native Lands between 1912 and 1920 are the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. The reports from 1912 to 1920 include an acreage Acreage Agency Recapitulation table broken down by Reservation. For data after 1920, the best source is the BIA’s Annual Report of Indian Lands. The Native Lands Advocacy Project (NLAP) has searched the National Archives and Library of Congress in DC as well as numerous online databases and have only been able to find these reports for the following years; 1966, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981,1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985. Each report was manually transcribed by the NLAP and entered into a database.
Established in 1824, the US Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for the administration and management of 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Native tribes, and Alaskan Natives. Despite this huge responsibility, there is very little transparency or accountability when it comes to the BIA’s performance as Trustee. According to a 2009 Program Evaluation of the BIA Realty and Trust Program (the most recent such report) by Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General, “The BIA Realty and Trust Program plays a key role in keeping the DOI promise “to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives.” Additionally, this report excoriated the Bureau for its continued failure to develop meaningful performance measures. Specifically, the report states that in “Real Estate Services, acquisition and disposal of land and lease compliance activities are significant functions that also lack measures.” The failure of the BIA to provide even basic information about transactions of Native lands makes public scrutiny of these programs difficult, if not impossible.