Last summer, a mystery buyer picked up a Las Vegas megamansion in the priciest home sale of the year. A few months earlier, a charred, boarded-up mobile
How many separate Native American tribes have lands on reservations or colonies in the United States of America?
There are 573 federally recognized tribes in the United States in 2019. There are about 326 Indian reservations in the US. Federal Indian land can also be called pueblos, rancherias, missions, reserves, villages, or communities. There are just a few that are called “colonies” in modern American government or legal usage. Most of the ones called “colonies” were places in Nevada or far eastern Oregon or California where Native people settled on their own land or on public land near some places where there was work. These become known as Indian Camps or Colonies. After 1934, most reorganized as “tribes”. A few retain the name. The word “reservation” come from the land being “reserved” by the tribe after the rest of the land was forced to be given up in treaties. This land is about 56.2 million acres or 2% of the US. Since about the 1970s and 80s, the majority of Native Americans now live in urban and suburban areas, not on reservations.
Here, in green, are where reservations are today. Note there are very few east of the Mississippi. This is because of the 1830 Indian Relocation Act, signed into law by President Andrew Jackson
Here are places where Native Americans are a higher percentage of the population. Dark blue is over 50%. These are with high percentages are not necessarily where the largest Native populations are. For example, New York City has a Native American population of 111,749 people, more than all other cities. It is a high number but a low percentage. Anchorage Alaska has the highest percentage at over 12%.
There are also other types of Native land.
American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, businesses, and individuals may also own land as private property. A few tribes own a great deal, however not most.
Here is an example of a tribe, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, that has a high number of private assets and land holdings in other states. In just eighteen years, the value of the Growth Fund’s holdings has grown substantially. Operations and assets are spread out over fourteen states and the Gulf of Mexico. Off the reservation, it operates under several LLCs, most notably Red Willow Offshore, LLC, and Red Willow Production, LLC. It has grown significantly since inception and is now one of the top 25 largest privately owned oil and gas companies in the US. GF Properties Group, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund engaged in real estate investment, development and management activities through direct ownership and nationally recognized partnerships.
The tribe owns the FAA building in Kansas City; the Agco building in Edgewood MD; ProAmpac Building – Auburn, WA; Gladiola Building – Salt Lake City, UT; Victory Avenue Building – San Francisco, CA; Hialeah Building – Hialeah Gardens, FL; University Drive – Phoenix, AZ; ProMach Building – Waukesha, WI; Halsted Pershing Business Center Distribution Building – Chicago, IL; Baldwin Park Building – City of Industry, CA; Meggitt Building – San Diego, CA; SpringHill Suites Marriott – Oceanside, CA; Pierside South – Oceanside, CA; Pierside North – Oceanside, CA; The Parker – Plano, TX; Builders FirstSource Distribution Building – Arlington, TX; The Arts Apartments – Dallas, TX; The Southwestern – Dallas, TX; 7East Apartments – Austin, TX; Pearl Lantana – Austin, TX; Pearl Woodlake – Houston, TX; Inverness Apartments – Houston, TX; Stonewood Apartment Homes – Houston, TX; GFD Rocket – Durango, CO; Three Springs – Durango, CO; Confluence at Three Springs – Durango, CO;Mercado Buildings – Durango, CO; and Candelas – Arvada, CO.
When the allotment process began in 1887, the total land held by treaties by American Indian tribes on reservations equaled 138,000,000 acres. This was under the Allotment Act. The government declared this land “surplus”. Between the years of 1887 and 1934, the US government took more than 90 million acres, nearly two-thirds of all reservation lands, from the tribes without compensation and sold it to settlers. As noted by Congressman Howard of Nebraska who helped to end the Allotment law in 1934, “the land was theirs under titles guaranteed by treaties and law; and when the government of the United States set up a land policy which, in effect, became a forum of legalized misappropriation of the Indian estate, the government became morally responsible for the damage that has resulted to the Indians from its faithless guardianship”. In this process all the tribes in Oklahoma lost all their reservation lands. Many other tribes lost most of their land. There are approximately 11 million acres of individually owned lands are still held in trust for allotees and their heirs. Much more alloted land was lost in nefarious schemes before it was put in trust. Congress did not amend the probate laws even though it continued to extend the period of trust protection. Under the Indian probate laws as individuals died, their property descended to their heirs as undivided “fractional” interests in the allotment (tenancy in common). In other words, if an Indian owning a 160 acre allotment died and had four heirs, the heirs did not inherit 40 acres each. Rather, they each inherited a 1/4th interest in the entire 160 acre allotment. As the years passed, fractionation has increased to the point where there are hundreds of thousands of tiny fractional interests. In many cases, the fractions are so small that the cost of administering the fractional interests far exceeds both their value plus any income.
Between 1953 and 1964, the government terminated recognition of more than 100 tribes and bands as sovereign dependent nations.Approximately 2,500,000 acres of reservation, treaty trust land was removed from protected status during these years. Much was sold to non-Natives
Out of the 573 federally recognized tribes, there are 229 tribes in Alaska. There is only one reservation in Alaska, the Annette Island Reserve of the Metlakatla Alaska Native Community. It is about 128 sq miles with 1400 people. All the rest of the tribes in Alaska formed 12 regional Alaska Native Corporations and about 225 Village Corporations. These were formed after the U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971. Each tribal member got shared in the Native Corps. Native corporations are now the largest private landowners in Alaska, with title to 44 million acres of land they selected throughout the state. Development of the resources beneath their lands offers Native corporations an opportunity to generate jobs and other economic benefits for their Native shareholders.