This data dashboard, developed by the Native Lands Advocacy Project, summarizes allotment data for the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and Nebraska and made available to the public through the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office website.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), General Land Office (GLO) Records Automation web site provides live access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, including image access to more than five million Federal land title records issued between 1788 and the present.
Indian Patents: Under the general Allotment Act of February 8, 1887, and certain specific laws for named tribes, allotments of land on reservations were made to individual Native Americans residing on the land. There are two kinds of patents that allowed resale by the Native Americans:
Boundary data for this dashboard was generated from an algorithm that translates textual boundary descriptions into GIS-based boundary data. Its accuracy is dependent on the accuracy of the textual data and has not been verified against other data sets. Additionally, the dataset does not include lands that were issued fee patents and, while this dashboard shows all allotments persisting, the reality is that many allotments were later fee patented and then sold to non-natives.
Between the period of 1492 to 1887 Native Americans were left with a territory that consisted of only 150 million acres of land. Furthermore, the practice of communally managed lands by some tribes was viewed by the Federal Government as a non-productive and irrational use of resources. To address these interests, in 1887 the U.S. Congress passed General Allotment Act (GAA) also known as the Dawes Severalty Act. The purpose of the act was to liquidate Indian land holdings by dividing the land up into 40 to160-acre allotments to heads of households. After all the allotments were issued remaining lands in the West, which totaled over 60,000,000 acres, was opened up to homesteaders (Gibson, 1988).
Along with the liquidating nearly 2/3rds of all “surplus” Indian lands, the GAA also created several challenges for the use and inheritance of the remaining lands that would have deep implications in virtually all aspects of life for Native Americans:
The various structural, cultural, and social disruptions created by the GAA over the last century is an underlying cause of poverty on reservations today, negatively impacting housing construction, economic development, residency patterns, family and community cohesion, ecological health, cultural self-determination, and political sovereignty.
Reconstructing the timeline of allotment helps tribes, native land owners, and researchers to: