The map below shows the “checkboard” condition of land ownership discussed in the previous post Whose Land? Land status and regulation.
“This “checkerboard” comes from a history of experimental and misguided land policies by the federal government. The General Allotment Act in 1887 designated 160 acre plots of land in trust to individual tribal members in the spirit of assimilation and “civilization” through farming. This land, if maintained, would automatically be turned to non-trust land after 25 years, slowly turning reservation trust land into non-trust land subject to property tax. This policy of “forced deeds” led to foreclosures and the sale of much of the original property on the reservations to non-Indians. Additionally, after the distribution of the 160 acre allotments, the “excess” or “surplus” land was sold off by the federal government to non-Indians – further reducing the size of tribal land. By 1919, 1,052,320 acres of the 2.8 million within the boundaries of reservation were “allotted” on Cheyenne River – a number that shrank to 503,483 acres by 2000. In 2010, that number is 447,094. In 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act, which prohibited “forced” deeds. Since then, one must request to convert their property to deeded land; otherwise it remains in trust.”
*Note: The map data shown was provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2010 and is subject to change.