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October 20, 2006: 

The Honorable Conrad Burns: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Byron L. Dorgan: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Charles H. Taylor: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Norman D. Dicks: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Indian Issues: BLM's Program for Issuing Individual Indian 
Allotments on Public Lands Is No Longer Viable: 

Beginning in the late nineteenth century the federal government began 
an effort to assimilate Indians by transferring them from communal 
tribal existence to individual land ownership. The Act of February 8, 
1887, commonly referred to as the General Allotment Act, initiated the 
federal government's Indian allotment policy.[Footnote 1] The act 
authorized the President to allot parcels of land to individual 
Indians--generally in sizes of 40, 80, or 160 acres--on Indian 
reservations and on public lands. The act was implemented by the 
Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) 
and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).[Footnote 2] Under this authority, 
BIA issued millions of acres of individual allotments on Indian 
reservations, and BLM issued thousands of acres of individual Indian 
allotments on public lands. However, in 1934, the Indian Reorganization 
Act largely reversed the federal government's Indian allotment policy 
and replaced it with a policy that encouraged tribal self- 
governance.[Footnote 3] Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act also 
provided the Secretary of the Interior new authority to acquire land, 
on and off reservations, on behalf of federally recognized tribes or 
their members. While the Indian Reorganization Act ended BIA's 
authority to issue allotments on Indian reservations, it did not 
address BLM's authority to issue allotments on public lands. Almost 120 
years after the 1887 General Allotment Act, BLM still retains that 
authority and questions have been raised about the continued need for 
it. 

A number of public land laws and other federal actions over the past 75 
years have affected BLM's Indian allotment program, generally limiting 
the land available for allotment. The Act of June 28, 1934, commonly 
referred to as the Taylor Grazing Act, authorized the Secretary of the 
Interior to establish up to 80 million acres of grazing districts in 
"vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved lands" and authorized the 
classification of those lands.[Footnote 4] In classifying land, BLM 
must examine the land to determine whether it is more valuable or 
suitable for disposal under a public land law (e.g., as an Indian 
allotment) than for retention in federal ownership for management 
purposes. In 1976, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
reoriented BLM from a land disposal to a land management 
organization.[Footnote 5] Under the act, "public lands [are to] be 
retained in Federal ownership, unless as a result of the land use 
planning procedure  it is determined that disposal of a particular 
parcel will serve the national interest." 

Under BLM's current regulations and policies for the Indian allotment 
program, those applying for Indian allotments on public lands must 
identify the land on which they wish to settle and file an application, 
including certification of Indian eligibility, with the local BLM 
office.[Footnote 6] Applications must include an economic plan for 
developing the land. BLM reviews the applications and classifies the 
land requested if necessary. If approved, applicants have a 2-year 
period to demonstrate their ability to sustain themselves and their 
families on the land--a process referred to as "proving-up." BLM must 
periodically monitor applicants during this period to ensure they are 
complying with their obligations. If applicants successfully complete 
this 2-year period, BLM issues them a patent, or title, to the land, 
which is held in trust status. Trust status means that the federal 
government holds title to the land in trust for tribes or individual 
Indians and the land is no longer subject to state and local property 
taxes and zoning ordinances. 

BIA and the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) also play a role in 
this process. BIA must certify that those applying for Indian 
allotments are eligible, meaning that they are " a recognized member 
of an Indian tribe or [are] entitled to be so recognized." In addition, 
BIA is responsible for managing all trust lands, including Indian 
allotments. BIA has a range of responsibilities over these lands, 
including probate and real estate services. The IBLA, the Interior 
administrative review body for BLM, is responsible for adjudicating all 
administrative appeals on Indian allotment decisions, among other 
duties. 

Individual Indian allotments present a unique management challenge for 
BIA--the multiple ownership of a single property (fractionation). In an 
earlier report on Indian land ownership profiles at select 
reservations, we found that the 1887 allotment act provided, among 
other things, that the heirs of an Indian who had been allocated land 
would inherit the decedent's ownership interests in the land.[Footnote 
7] Because of this provision, the ownership of some allotted land has 
continually become fractionated as ownership interests have passed from 
generation to generation. With fractionated land, development (e.g., 
building a home site) can be difficult because it may require agreement 
among multiple ownership interests of the development plan. In some 
cases, fractionated lands have up to several hundred ownership 
interests. In addition, fractionated land creates increased management 
responsibilities for BIA because BIA must work with growing ownership 
interests on the same parcel of land, for example, in distributing 
mineral royalties. With the passage of the Indian Land Consolidation 
Act of 1983, the federal government has been trying to reduce the 
problem of fractionation by consolidating individual Indian land 
ownership interests into tribal ownership.[Footnote 8] A 2000 amendment 
to the 1983 act established a fund to assist tribes in buying back 
fractional interests in reservation lands.[Footnote 9] 

The fiscal year 2006 House Appropriations Committee Report for 
Interior's appropriation bill directed GAO to study BIA's procedures 
and practices in implementing its land in trust regulations.[Footnote 
10] We issued our report in July 2006.[Footnote 11] In response to the 
direction in the House report and subsequent discussions with your 
offices, we also agreed to assess the extent to which BLM's program for 
issuing allotments to individual Indians on public lands is still 
viable. This correspondence transmits the results of our review of 
BLM's Indian allotment authority. In addition, we are providing some 
supplementary information to our July 2006 report on the amount of land 
held in trust for newly recognized and restored tribes and an 
identification of landless tribes (encl. II). 

In conducting our work, we reviewed applicable laws, regulations, and 
policies. We met with BLM's Lands and Realty staff in Washington, D.C., 
to discuss the program. We requested information on the number of 
approved, denied, and pending Indian allotment applications from BLM's 
LR2000 database--a system with information on the programs and lands 
BLM manages--over a 20-year period between January 1, 1986, and January 
1, 2006, to ascertain the amount of Indian allotment activity. However, 
BLM was only able to provide data through January 2002 because of 
security issues related to an ongoing federal court case, and it 
identified 94 possible allotment applications during this period. We 
attempted to confirm the LR2000 data along with any other allotment 
activity, including the period not covered by LR2000, with BLM state 
offices by e-mail and telephone. We conducted one site visit at the 
Eastern States Office in Springfield, Virginia, to interview staff and 
review Indian allotment case files. Of the 94 possible applications 
identified by LR2000, we were able to positively confirm that 11 were 
applications for initial Indian allotments within the scope of our 
review, 2 were applications for initial Indian allotments outside the 
scope of our review, and 22 were modifications to existing allotments 
and therefore outside the scope of our review. We could not readily 
confirm the remaining 59 applications because of difficulty in locating 
and retrieving files. We also reviewed applicable decisions by the IBLA 
and identified IBLA decisions that involved BLM decisions on 11 initial 
Indian allotment applications that fell within our time frame. The 22 
confirmed applications within our time frame constitute the scope of 
our review of allotment applications. Enclosure I provides a more 
detailed description of our scope and methodology. We conducted our 
work between July and September 2006 in accordance with generally 
accepted government auditing standards. 

Results in Brief: 

BLM's program for issuing Indian allotments on public lands is no 
longer viable because generally no currently available lands qualify 
for allotment; and therefore, the program does not offer a reasonable 
opportunity of providing benefits for those applying for allotments. 
Specifically, the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, the land management plans 
developed under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, and 
other federal actions have withdrawn nearly all public land in the 
United States from availability for allotment. In addition, the public 
land that has been classified for disposal is not suitable for Indian 
allotments because the land cannot support families as required by the 
allotment program, according to BLM officials and documents. The public 
land available for allotment that could support a family has generally 
been awarded over the past 120 years. Despite the lack of land 
available for release, BLM estimates that it receives an average of one 
to five allotment applications per year. For the 22 allotment 
applications we reviewed, BLM denied 18, approved 2, and 2 were 
withdrawn by the applicants. In addition, BLM officials could not 
recall any approvals for allotments during the past 20 years other than 
the two approvals in Arizona in 1990, more than 15 years ago. Interior 
continues to bear the administrative burden of processing these Indian 
allotment applications even though applicants have little chance of 
approval. Continuing to issue Indian allotments also runs counter to 
the federal government's actions since 1983 to consolidate Indian land 
holdings. 

Because the allotment of public lands to Indian applicants is no longer 
an efficient and effective program that provides those applying for 
benefits with a reasonable chance of approval and because it runs 
counter to Indian land consolidation, we are recommending that the 
Secretary of the Interior develop a proposal for the Congress to repeal 
section 4 of the 1887 General Allotment Act, which provides BLM the 
authority to issue Indian allotments on public lands. In commenting on 
the draft of this correspondence, Interior agreed with our findings and 
recommendation. See enclosure III for Interior's written comments. 

Background: 

The General Allotment Act gave the President the authority to issue 
allotments to Indians on Indian reservations and on public lands. 
Specifically, the act states: 

...the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized, 
whenever in his opinion any reservation or any part thereof of such 
Indians is advantageous for agricultural and grazing purposes, to cause 
said reservation, or any part thereof, to be surveyed, or resurveyed if 
necessary, and to allot the lands in said reservation in severalty to 
any Indian located thereon...[Footnote 12] 

That where any Indian not residing upon a reservation, or for whose 
tribe no reservation has been provided by treaty, act of Congress, or 
executive order, shall make settlement upon any surveyed or unsurveyed 
lands of the United States not otherwise appropriated, he or she shall 
be entitled...to have the same allotted to him or her, and to his or 
her children, in quantities and manner as provided in this act for 
Indians residing upon reservations...[Footnote 13] 

Lands not allotted on reservations were often opened by subsequent acts 
of Congress for purchase by non-Indians as homesteads. 

Authority to issue Indian allotments was vested in the Secretary of the 
Interior, who delegated authority to BIA for lands on Indian 
reservations and to BLM for public lands.[Footnote 14] Congress ended 
BIA's authority to issue allotments on Indian reservations as part of 
the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, but did not address BLM's 
authority. Current regulations specify the following maximum amount of 
land that can be applied for by a single applicant and permissible 
uses: 

* Up to 40 acres of irrigable land,[Footnote 15] 

* Up to 80 acres of nonirrigable agricultural land,[Footnote 16] and: 

* Up to 160 acres of nonirrigable grazing land.[Footnote 17] 

To apply for an Indian allotment, applicants must first identify the 
land for which they are applying and obtain a certificate of 
eligibility from BIA showing that they are either " a recognized 
member of an Indian tribe or [are] entitled to be so recognized" and 
submit that certificate, together with their allotment application, to 
a local BLM office serving the area. The application must include, 
among other things, plans for developing the land and any previous 
allotments received. If necessary, applicants must petition BLM to have 
the land classified for disposal under the act. After BLM receives the 
application, it generally begins with the classification process. 
Classification can take several months and BLM must consider the (1) 
physical suitability of the land for the proposed classification, which 
requires BLM to inspect the proposed allotment; (2) present and 
potential future land use; (3) consistency with state and local 
programs, plans, and zoning; and (4) consistency with federal programs 
and policies.[Footnote 18] BLM also must confirm that the intended use 
of the land complies with environmental laws. 

If the land is classified for disposal under the act and the land and 
the applicant meet the other requirements in the regulations, a 
certificate of allotment is issued. At this point, applicants must live 
on the land for 2 years to prove they can sustain themselves and their 
families, if any, solely from either farming or grazing. Applicants may 
not use any other sources of income to supplement their earnings from 
the land. BLM must periodically visit during this time to ensure that 
applicants are, in fact, residing on the land and following the 
economic development plan. If at the end of this 2-year period 
applicants have proven that they can sustain themselves and their 
families on the land, then BLM issues a trust patent, or title, to the 
applicant and the allotment process is concluded. The trust patent is 
held in trust by the federal government.[Footnote 19] 

The more widely known and commonly used process for tribes and 
individual Indians to acquire new trust property is through BIA's land 
in trust process in 25 C.F.R. part 151. Section 5 of the Indian 
Reorganization Act provided the Secretary of the Interior the 
discretionary authority to take land in trust on behalf of federally 
recognized tribes or their members. Specifically, section 5 states: 

The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized, in his discretion, 
to acquire through purchase, relinquishment, gift, exchange, or 
assignment, any interest in lands, water rights or surface rights to 
lands, within or without existing reservations  for the purpose of 
providing land for the Indians.  Title to any lands or rights acquired 
pursuant to this Act shall be taken in the name of the United States in 
trust for the Indian tribe or individual Indian for which the land is 
acquired, and such lands or rights shall be exempt from State and local 
taxation.[Footnote 20] 

In our July 2006 report, we reviewed BIA's land in trust 
process.[Footnote 21] Specifically, we reviewed all of the land in 
trust applications decided by BIA in fiscal year 2005. Of the 87 
applications with BIA decisions in fiscal year 2005, 78 applications 
were from tribes covering about 4,800 acres and 9 applications were 
from individual Indians covering about 1,000 acres. 

BLM's Program for Issuing Indian Allotments Is No Longer Viable: 

BLM's program for issuing Indian allotments on public lands is no 
longer viable because over time federal laws and actions have withdrawn 
many of these lands from disposal as allotments or BLM has awarded 
available lands as allotments. Consequently, the program does not offer 
a reasonable chance of providing benefits for those seeking allotments. 
In particular, the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 and two executive orders 
issued in the mid-1930s implementing that law withdrew most public 
lands from disposal until such lands could be classified. The executive 
orders, in 1934 and 1935, carried out the requirements of the Taylor 
Grazing Act by requiring the classification of all public lands in 24 
states, mostly in the West.[Footnote 22] As a result, public lands were 
no longer presumed to be available for Indian allotments. Furthermore, 
the land use plans developed under the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976 place further limitations on the land available 
for allotment. 

The public land classified for disposal and currently available is not 
suitable for Indian allotments because the land could not support an 
individual Indian or family as required by the allotment program, 
according to BLM officials and documents. Suitable public land that 
could support an individual Indian or family largely has been awarded 
over the past 120 years. According to a 1964 BLM guide to the Indian 
allotment process, most of the lands having "significant agricultural 
values" had already been disposed of. In a June 1967 bulletin, BLM 
stated that "almost all of the good land is owned privately" and "there 
is very little chance of finding land that is suitable for an Indian 
allotment." In a November 2004 paper recommending a moratorium on the 
filing of new Indian allotment applications, BLM's Lands and Realty 
staff identified no acres available for disposal that meet the 
requirements of the General Allotment Act.[Footnote 23] Finally, 
according to an undated Indian allotment fact sheet provided by the 
Nevada State Office, "most of the public domain lands BLM administers 
are the lands no one else wanted, and they are not capable of 
supporting sustained agricultural production." BLM denied 18 of the 22 
applications we were able to confirm and approved 2 in Arizona in 1990. 
The remaining two applications were withdrawn by the applicant. It 
denied most Indian allotment applications because the land did not 
qualify for allotment. 

Although generally no land qualifies for Indian allotments, Interior 
continues to bear an administrative burden in processing allotment 
applications. BLM must process allotment applications--an average of 
one to five allotments annually, according to BLM estimates--even 
though BLM almost always denies them. In addition to processing 
applications, BLM officials said they also field periodic inquiries 
from the public about the Indian allotment program and how to apply for 
an allotment. BLM officials added that they could not recall any 
approvals for Indian allotments over the past 20 years, other than the 
two approvals in Arizona in 1990, more than 15 year ago. 

BIA, and, potentially the IBLA, also must devote resources to the 
allotment program. BIA is responsible for certifying that an allotment 
applicant is " a recognized member of an Indian tribe or is entitled 
to be so recognized." In addition, BIA must manage Indian allotments 
once they are held in trust status, which includes responsibilities 
such as probate and real estate services. In addition, a number of 
Indian allotment decisions have been administratively appealed to the 
IBLA, which has generally affirmed BLM decisions to deny Indian 
allotment applications. In nearly all of the 31 appeal cases we 
identified, the IBLA affirmed BLM's decision to deny the 
application.[Footnote 24] The applications were generally denied 
because the land did not qualify for an allotment. 

In addition to posing an administrative burden, the allotment program 
runs counter to the federal government's actions to consolidate Indian 
land holdings. Over time, the ownership of individual Indian allotments 
has become fractionated through inheritance laws. This fractionation 
has resulted in difficulties in managing these lands. Retaining BLM's 
authority to issue Indian allotments on public lands potentially leads 
to the same problems allotments have caused on reservations by 
increasing fractional ownership and the administrative burden for the 
federal government in managing these lands.[Footnote 25] 

BLM officials have recognized the problems with the Indian allotment 
program and have offered suggestions for eliminating it. For example, 
in response to a departmental request in the late 1990s, BLM included 
the allotment authority in a list of laws it recommended that Congress 
should modify or repeal. However, Interior did not officially submit 
this list to Congress, according to BLM Lands and Realty staff. More 
recently, in November 2004, BLM Lands and Realty staff issued a paper 
to the Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior on the allotment 
program that offered recommendations for eliminating it, including a 
Secretarial Order placing a moratorium on the filing of allotment 
applications and removing the existing regulations. BLM Lands and 
Realty staff informed us that in reviewing these recommendations, 
Interior's Office of the Solicitor determined that none of the 
recommendations offered a viable way to eliminate the program because 
none of them repealed the law itself. As long as the authority remains 
in law, the Office of the Solicitor concluded, BLM would be required to 
process new applications. BLM has not pursued any further options since 
2004 because of greater priorities in other areas and the potential of 
attracting unwanted attention to the program and possibly more 
applications by highlighting its existence, according to BLM Lands and 
Realty staff. 

Conclusions: 

BLM's program to issue individual Indian allotments on public lands has 
become obsolete with the passage of time and subsequent congressional 
actions. Thousands of individual Indian allotments were granted on 
public lands from 1887 to 1934, under the federal government's Indian 
allotment policy. However, in 1934, the Indian Reorganization Act ended 
the Indian allotment policy, while at the same time it provided the 
Secretary of the Interior with new authority to acquire land in trust, 
on and off reservations, on behalf of federally recognized tribes or 
their members. Under the Taylor Grazing Act, which was enacted 10 days 
after the Indian Reorganization Act, and implementing executive orders, 
large portions of public lands were no longer available for Indian 
allotments. More recently, under the Federal Land Policy and Management 
Act of 1976, additional public lands have been removed from being 
available for Indian allotments. In addition, the allotment program 
runs counter to the federal government's continuing effort to address 
the fractionation problem of individual allotments by trying to 
consolidate Indian land holdings into tribal ownership. 

Federal programs should be effective and efficient, and should provide 
a reasonable chance for applicants to receive benefits for which they 
apply. By these measures, BLM's Indian allotment program is no longer 
viable. Those applying to BLM for Indian allotments on public lands 
have no reasonable chance of being approved because available land for 
allotments is almost nonexistent. Nevertheless, BLM continues to 
receive applications for Indian allotments, and it and other Interior 
agencies must commit resources to processing them. As a result, the 
allotment program draws resources away from Interior's higher 
priorities. Currently, the more effective and appropriate mechanism for 
Indians to receive additional trust acreage is through BIA's land in 
trust process under 25 C.F.R. part 151. 

Recommendation for Executive Action: 

We are recommending that the Secretary of the Interior develop a 
proposal for the Congress to repeal section 4 of the 1887 General 
Allotment Act, which provides BLM the authority to issue Indian 
allotments on public lands. 

Agency Comments: 

Interior's Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management 
commented on a draft of this correspondence in a letter dated September 
26, 2006 (see encl. III). Interior agreed with our findings and 
recommendation. 

We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional 
committees, the Secretary of the Interior, the Acting Assistant 
Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, the BLM Director, BLM state 
offices, and other interested parties. We will also make copies 
available to others upon request. In addition, the report will be 
available at no charge on the GAO Web site at [Hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-3841 or nazzaror@gao.gov. Contact points for 
our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found 
on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major contributions 
to this report are listed in enclosure IV. 

Signed by: 

Robin M. Nazzaro: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 

[End of Section]

Enclosure I: Scope and Methodology: 

We reviewed applicable laws, regulations, and policies concerning the 
authority of the Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) to issue Indian allotments on public lands. We met 
with BLM Lands and Realty staff in Washington, D.C., to discuss their 
perspectives on the Indian allotment program, particularly a November 
2004 paper issued by this office that contains recommendations for 
eliminating the program.[Footnote 26] 

To collect the case-specific data on approved, denied, and pending 
Indian allotment applications from January 1, 1986, through January 1, 
2006, we requested and Interior provided a list from its LR2000 
database--a system with information on the programs and lands managed 
by BLM--that contained 94 cases identified as Indian allotments. The 
list also contained an additional 2,352 cases categorized as Indian 
allotments for the state of New Mexico, but BLM officials said these 
cases were part of a federal court settlement and therefore not 
allotments. Interior queried the database for all Indian allotments 
approved, denied, and pending during the period from January 1, 1985, 
through January 1, 2002, but were unable to query the time frame from 
2002 onward because of security issues related to an ongoing federal 
court case. Although we initially asked for and BLM provided data 
starting on January 1, 1985, we decided to use a 20-year time frame 
between January 1, 1986, and January 1, 2006, during the course of our 
work. In addition, BLM Lands and Realty staff told us that some of the 
LR2000 cases coded as "Indian allotment" might not fit our criteria 
because the category is used for other types of transactions, such as 
Indian fee patents. Therefore, to confirm the status of these cases and 
identify any others, including those between 2002 and 2006, we 
forwarded the LR2000 list to each of the 12 BLM state offices--Alaska, 
Arizona, California, Colorado, Eastern States, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, 
New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming--to have them identify Indian 
allotment cases. We then followed up with staff in each state office 
either via e-mail or telephone to confirm information provided. In one 
instance, we visited the Eastern States Office in Springfield, 
Virginia, and interviewed staff and reviewed cases identified in LR2000 
under jurisdiction of this office. 

We found many instances in which the cases listed in LR2000 were not 
the original Indian allotments that we were trying to identify, but 
rather subsequent transactions on an original allotment. In the case of 
Eastern States, LR2000 listed 16 allotment cases but we identified only 
2 that fit our criteria during our visit, and those fell outside of our 
established time frame. The remaining 14 cases were applications to 
change the status of Indian allotments issued a number of years ago, 
for example from trust to fee status. In other cases, BLM state offices 
were unable to determine the status of cases because the cases were old 
and no longer located on site, and the BLM staff had no access to 
LR2000 to make determinations on the cases. To obtain cases from off- 
site storage facilities would have taken several weeks. Of the 94 
possible applications identified by LR2000, we were able to positively 
confirm that 11 were applications for initial Indian allotments within 
the scope of our review, 2 were applications for Indian allotments 
outside the scope of our review, and 22 were modifications to existing 
allotments and therefore outside the scope of our review. We could not 
readily confirm the remaining 59 applications because of difficulty in 
locating and retrieving files. 

We also reviewed 31 Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) decisions 
concerning Indian allotment applications that we were able to identify, 
28 of which involved a BLM decision prior to January 1, 1986. The three 
decisions within our review period involved 11 applications; Jane 
Delorme, 158 IBLA 260 (2003), affirmed BLM's November 30, 2001, 
decision to deny 8 applications in Montana, Lehman Perkaquanard, 136 
IBLA 182 (1996), affirmed BLM's February 2, 1993, decision to deny 2 
applications in New Mexico, and Ramona L. Randa, 125 IBLA 153 (1993), 
affirmed BLM's April 16, 1992, decision to deny 1 application in 
California. Based on the deficiencies in the LR2000 data and 
difficulties in obtaining case files, we decided to report only on the 
22 cases (11 from the LR2000 query and 11 related to IBLA decisions) 
that we were able to confirm as Indian allotments within our time 
frame. 

Finally, we reviewed Public Land Statistics data from 1962 through 2004 
to identify any Indian allotments issued. However, since it was unclear 
how Indian allotments were categorized in these reports, we were not 
able to use this information. We conducted our work from July through 
September 2006 according to generally acceptable government auditing 
standards. 

[End of Section] 

Enclosure II: Data on Newly Recognized and Restored Tribes: 

In July 2006, we reported on the Bureau of Indian Affair's (BIA) 
process for placing land in trust for tribes and individual 
Indians.[Footnote 27] BIA's general authority to take land in trust for 
tribes and individual Indians dates back to the Indian Reorganization 
Act in 1934.[Footnote 28] Two groups of tribes of particular interest 
that have availed themselves of BIA's land in trust process are newly 
recognized and restored tribes. In November 2001, we reported on BIA's 
process for recognizing new tribes.[Footnote 29] At that time, we 
identified 47 newly recognized tribes and 37 restored tribes, for a 
total of 84 newly recognized and restored tribes. While our November 
2001 report contained detailed information on the 47 newly recognized 
tribes in a table on pages 25 to 26, it did not contain similar 
information on the 37 restored tribes. Table 1 provides detailed 
information on the 37 restored tribes. Twenty-three of the tribes were 
restored by federal court decisions and the remaining 14 were restored 
by congressional action. 

Table 1: Thirty-seven Tribes Have Been Restored through Congressional 
Acts and Federal Court Decisions: 

Tribe: Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin; 
Date Terminated: Apr. 30, 1961; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1973; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 93-
197, 87 Stat. 770 (1973). 

Tribe: Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Sept. 3, 1965; 
Date restored: June 29, 1977; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Duncan v. 
Andrus, 517 F. Supp. 1 (N.D. Cal.1977)[A]. 

Tribe: Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation, Oregon; 
Date terminated: Aug. 13, 1956; 
Date restored: Nov. 18, 1977; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 95-
195, 91 Stat. 1415 (1977). 

Tribe: Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma; 
Date terminated: Aug. 3, 1959; 
Date restored: May 15, 1978; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 95-
281, 92 Stat. 246 (1978). 

Tribe: Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; 
Date terminated: Aug. 2, 1959; 
Date restored: May 15, 1978; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 95-
281, 92 Stat. 246 (1978). 

Tribe: Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah; 
Tribe terminated: Mar. 1, 1957; 
Date restored: Apr. 3, 1980; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 96-
227, 94 Stat. 317 (1980). 

Tribe: Wiyot Tribe, California; 
Date terminated: Apr. 11, 1961; 
Date restored: Sept. 21, 1981; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Table Bluff Band 
of Indians v. Andrus, 532 F. Supp. 255 (N.D. Cal. 1981). 

Tribe: Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon; 
Date terminated: Aug. 13, 1956; 
Date restored: Nov. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 98-
165, 97 Stat. 1064 (1983). 

Tribe: Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, California; 
Date terminated: July 16, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick 
v. United States, No. 79-1710 SW (N.D. Cal. 1983)[ B]. 

Tribe: Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria, 
California; 
Date terminated: Nov. 11, 1965; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Blue Lake Rancheria, California; 
Date terminated: Sept. 22, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Apr. 11, 1961; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Aug. 1, 1961; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie 
Hardwick[B]. 

Tribe: Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Dec. 30, 1965; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Elk Valley Rancheria, California; 
Date terminated: July 16, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Dec. 8, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Aug. 1, 1961; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Northfork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Feb. 18, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Feb. 18, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Pinoleville Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Feb. 18, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Potter Valley Tribe, California; 
Date terminated: Aug. 1, 1961; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Quartz Valley Indian Community of the Quartz Valley Reservation 
of California; 
Date terminated: Jan. 20, 1967; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Redding Rancheria, California; 
Date terminated: June 20, 1962; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Aug. 1, 1961; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Smith River Rancheria, California; 
Date terminated: July 29, 1967; 
Date restored: Dec. 22, 1983; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Tillie Hardwick[ 
B]. 

Tribe: Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw 
Indians of Oregon; 
Date terminated: Aug. 13, 1956; 
Date restored: Oct. 17, 1984; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 98-
481, 98 Stat. 2250 (1984). 

Tribe: Klamath Tribes, Oregon; 
Date terminated: Aug. 13, 1961; 
Date restored: Aug. 27, 1986; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 99-
398, 100 Stat. 849 (1986). 

Tribe: Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas; 
Date terminated: July 1, 1955; 
Date restored: Aug. 18, 1987; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 100-
89, 101 Stat. 666 (1987). 

Tribe: Ponca Tribe of Nebraska; 
Date terminated: Oct. 27, 1966; 
Date restored: Oct. 31, 1990; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 101-
484, 104 Stat. 1167 (1990). 

Tribe: Guidiville Rancheria of California; 
Date terminated: Sept. 3, 1965; 
Date restored: Sept. 6, 1991; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Scotts Valley 
Band of the Sugar Bowl Rancheria v. United States, No. C-86-3660-WWS 
(N.D. Cal. 1991)[C]. 

Tribe: Lytton Rancheria of California; 
Date terminated: Aug. 1, 1961; 
Date restored: Sept. 6, 1991; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Scotts Valley[ 
C]. 

Tribe: Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Sept. 3, 1965; 
Date restored: Sept. 6, 1991; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Scotts Valley[ 
C]. 

Tribe: Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, California; 
Date terminated: June 2, 1967; 
Date restored: Apr. 17, 1992; 
How the tribe was restored: Federal court restoration, Scotts Valley[ 
D]. 

Tribe: Catawba Indian Nation; 
date terminated: July 2, 1960; 
Date restored: Oct. 27, 1993; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 103-
116, 107 Stat. 1118 (1993). 

Tribe: United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria of 
California; 
Date terminated: Aug. 18, 1967; 
Date restored: Oct. 31, 1994; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 103-
434, 108 Stat. 4533 (1994). 

Tribe: Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of California; 
Date terminated: Apr. 11, 1961; 
date restored: Nov. 2, 1994; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 103-
454, 108 Stat. 4793 (1994). 

Tribe: Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, California; 
Date terminated: Feb. 18, 1966; 
Date restored: Dec. 27, 2000; 
How the tribe was restored: Congressional restoration,; Pub. L. No. 106-
568, 114 Stat. 2939 (2000). 

Source: GAO analysis of relevant laws and federal court cases restoring 
tribes. 

Note: BIA did not complete the termination process for some tribes. For 
example, 25 C.F.R. pt. 242 (1959) (rescinded effective May 13, 1981, 
see 46 Fed. Reg. 26476), the implementing regulations for the 
California Rancheria Termination Act (Pub. L. No. 85-671, 72 Stat. 619 
(1958), as amended by Pub. L. No. 88-419, 78 Stat. 390 (1964)), 
provided a number of steps to be completed for the termination of a 
California Indian entity. Pursuant to 25 C.F.R.  242.12, the 
termination process was to culminate with the publication of a 
proclamation in the Federal Register declaring that the special 
relationship between the federal government and tribe was terminated. 
Since no such proclamation was ever issued for tribes such as the 
Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria, California and 
the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, California, among others, those 
tribes were never officially terminated and are not included in this 
table. In a similar case, BIA never published a notice in the Federal 
Register terminating the Wyandotte Nation, Oklahoma, as required by 
their termination act (see Pub. L. No. 84-887, 70 Stat. 893,  13(a) 
(1956)). There is, however, some ambiguity over how to classify these 
tribes and for various reasons BIA identifies them as restored tribes. 
In addition, there are other tribes that were terminated that have not 
been restored as of the date of this report. Those terminated and non- 
restored tribes are not included in the table. 

[A] 42 Fed. Reg. 33099 (June 29, 1977). 

[B] 49 Fed. Reg. 24084 (June 11, 1984). 

[C] 57 Fed. Reg. 5214 (Feb. 12, 1992). 

[D] 57 Fed. Reg. 19133 (May 4, 1992). 

[End of table] 

While no additional tribes have been restored since our November 2001 
report, there have been changes to the list of newly recognized tribes. 
The recognition of the Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma was 
overturned in court, and the tribe has been removed from BIA's official 
list of federally recognized tribes.[Footnote 30] In addition, BIA 
added the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in the state of Washington as a newly 
recognized tribe as of January 4, 2002.[Footnote 31] By deleting one 
tribe and adding another, the total number of newly recognized tribes 
since 1960 remains at 47. 

To supplement our July 2006 land in trust report, table 2 provides 
information on the more than 600,000 acres of individual and tribal 
trust land that the 84 newly recognized and restored tribes or their 
members have acquired since being recognized or restored. 

Table 2: Individual and Tribal Trust Acreage for the 84 Newly 
Recognized and Restored Tribes: 

[See PDF for Image- Table did not compute properly] 

Source: GAO analysis of BIA's fiscal year 2005 annual acreage reports. 

Note: BIA's land in trust database provides agencywide data on the 
processing of land in trust applications. Our July 2006 report 
identified problems with this database. However, BIA realty staff noted 
that, according to the database, three landless tribes--the Little 
River Band of Ottawa Indians, Huron Potawatomi, Inc., Michigan, and the 
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan and Indiana--had land in 
trust applications pending and two additional landless tribes--the 
Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington and the Samish Indian Tribe, 
Washington--had land in trust applications approved as of August 17, 
2006. 

[A] Some ambiguity exists over whether to classify this tribe as newly 
recognized or restored and for various reasons BIA classifies it as 
restored. 

[End of table] 

Also, as noted in our November 2001 tribal recognition report and our 
July 2006 land in trust report,[Footnote 32] BIA's tribal recognition 
and land in trust processes have come under greater scrutiny with the 
growth of Indian gaming. Table 3 shows the number of tribes recognized 
or restored prior to and after enactment of the Indian Gaming 
Regulatory Act on October 17, 1988. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 
provides the statutory basis for the operation and regulation of 
certain gaming activities on Indian lands. It generally prohibits 
gaming activities on Indian lands acquired by the Secretary of the 
Interior after October 17, 1988, the date the act was signed into law. 
However, the act does provide several exceptions that allow gaming on 
lands acquired in trust after its enactment.[Footnote 33] 

Table 3: Number of Tribes Recognized or Restored before and after 
Enactment of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act: 

Number of tribes recognized or restored from January 1, 1960 to 
enactment of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act on October 17, 1988 
(almost 29 years); 
Newly recognized: 28; 
Restored: 28; 
Total: 56. 

Number of tribes recognized or restored since the enactment of the 
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to July 30, 2006 (almost 18 years); 
Newly recognized: 19; 
Restored: 9; 
Total: 28. 

Total; 
Newly recognized: 47; 
Restored: 37; 
Total: 84. 

Source: GAO analysis of newly recognized and restored tribes. 

[End of table] 

Finally, another group of tribes cited in discussions regarding BIA's 
land in trust process is the "landless" tribes. In this context, we 
will define a landless tribe as a federally recognized tribe located in 
the continental United States for which, according to BIA, the federal 
government does not hold title to any land in trust on behalf of the 
tribe.[Footnote 34] Table 4 provides a list of the landless tribes. 
According to BIA's fiscal year 2005 annual acreage reports, the federal 
government holds title to land in trust for individual tribal members 
of 7 of 21 landless tribes, but none for the tribe itself. The 
remaining 14 landless tribes have no tribal trust land, and their 
individual members do not have any individual trust land. All but 3 of 
the 21 tribes in table 4 are newly recognized or restored tribes. 

Table 4: Tribes with No Tribal Trust Acreage in the Continental United 
States in Fiscal Year 2005: 

Tribe: No tribal trust land, but some individual trust land: California 
Valley Miwok Tribe, California; 
Newly recognized or restored: a; 
Year newly recognized or restored: a. 

Tribe: No tribal trust land, but some individual trust land: 
Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, California; 
Newly recognized or restored: a; 
Year newly recognized or restored: a. 

Tribe: No tribal trust land, but some individual trust land: Winnemucca 
Indian Colony of Nevada; 
Newly recognized or restored: a; 
Year newly recognized or restored: a. 

Tribe: No tribal trust land, but some individual trust land: Cloverdale 
Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1983. 

Tribe: No tribal trust land, but some individual trust land: Greenville 
Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1983. 

Tribe: No tribal trust land, but some individual trust land: Picayune 
Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1983. 

Tribe: No tribal trust land, but some individual trust land: Scotts 
Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1991. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-
Wuk Indians of California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1983. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Potter Valley Tribe, 
California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1983. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: San Juan Southern Paiute 
Tribe of Arizona; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1990. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Mechoopda Indian Tribe of 
Chico Rancheria, California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1992. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Pokagon Band of Potawatomi 
Indians, Michigan and Indiana; 
newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1994. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Ione Band of Miwok Indians 
of California; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1994. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 
Michigan; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1996. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Samish Indian Tribe, 
Washington; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1996. 

Tribe: Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi Indians,; Michigan 
and Indiana; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1999. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Snoqualamie Tribe, 
Washington; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 1999. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Federated Indians of Graton 
Rancheria, California; 
Newly recognized or restored: restored; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 2000. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Lower Lake Rancheria, 
California; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 2000. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Shawnee Tribe, Oklahoma; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized;
Year newly recognized or restored: 2000. 

Tribe: No tribal or individual trust land: Cowlitz Indian Tribe, 
Washington; 
Newly recognized or restored: newly recognized; 
Year newly recognized or restored: 2002. 

Source: GAO analysis of BIA's fiscal year 2005 annual acreage reports. 

[A] Tribe was recognized prior to 1960 and was never terminated. 

[End of table] 

[End of Section] 

Enclosure III: Comments from the Department of the Interior: 

United States Department of the Interior: 
Office Of The Secretary: 
Washington, D.C. 20240: 

Ms. Robin M. Nazzaro: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 
Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001: 

Dear Ms. Nazzaro: 

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) report "Indian Issues: BLM's Program for 
Issuing Individual Indian Allotments on Public Lands is No Longer a 
Viable Program." 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agrees with the findings and the 
recommendation that the Secretary of the Interior develop a proposal 
for the Congress to repeal Section 4 of the 1887 General Allotment Act, 
which provides the BLM authority to issue Indian allotments on public 
lands (p. 13). 

As the GAO noted, public land laws and other Federal actions have 
limited the land available for Indian allotments under the 1887 General 
Allotment Act, making the BLM's program for issuing Indian allotments 
no longer viable (p. 5). 

If you have any questions, please contact Jeff Holdren, Acting Chief, 
Division of Lands, Realty and Cadastral Survey, BLM, on 202-452-7779, 
or Andrea Nygren, Audit Liaison Officer, Division of Evaluations and 
Management Services, BLM, on 202-452-5153. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

R. M. "Johnnie" Burton: 
Acting Assistant Secretary: 
Land and Minerals Management: 

[End of Section] 

Enclosure IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Robin M. Nazzaro, (202) 512-3841, nazzaror@gao.gov: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the individual named above, Jeffery D. Malcolm, 
Assistant Director; Mark Keenan; and Carol Herrnstadt Shulman made key 
contributions to this report. Also contributing to the report were Jean 
Cook, Bart Fischer, Carol Kolarik, Greg Marchand, and Greg Wilmoth. 

(360747): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Act of February 8, 1887, ch. 119, 24 Stat. 388 (1887) (codified as 
amended at 25 U.S.C.  331, et seq.) 

[2] At the time of the act, BLM did not exist. Its predecessor, the 
General Land Office, was the entity that implemented the act from 1887 
to 1946. In 1946, the General Land Office was merged with another 
federal agency, the U.S. Grazing Service, to form BLM within Interior. 

[3] Act of June 18, 1934, ch. 576, 48 Stat. 984 (1934) (codified as 
amended at 25 U.S.C.  461-479). 

[4] Act of June 28, 1934, ch. 865, 48 Stat. 1269 (1934). 

[5] Pub. L. No. 94-579, 90 Stat. 2743 (1976) (codified as amended at 43 
U.S.C.  1701-1785). 

[6] 43 C.F.R. pt. 2530. In addition, BLM has issued a variety of 
guidance documents on the Indian allotment program. 

[7] GAO, Indian Programs: Profile of Land Ownership at 12 Reservations, 
GAO/RCED-92-96BR (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 10, 1992). 

[8] Pub. L. No. 97-459, 96 Stat. 2517 (1983) (codified as amended at 25 
U.S.C.  2201-2221). 

[9] Indian Land Consolidation Act Amendments of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106- 
462,  103, 216, 114 Stat. 1991, 2002 (2000) (codified at 25 U.S.C.  
2201, 2215). 

[10] H.R. Rep. No. 109-80, at 68 (2005). 

[11] GAO, Indian Issues: BIA's Efforts to Impose Time Frames and 
Collect Better Data Should Improve the Processing of Land in Trust 
Applications, GAO-06-781 (Washington, D.C.: July 28, 2006). 

[12] General Allotment Act  1 (emphasis added). This authority applied 
to BIA. 

[13] General Allotment Act  4 (emphasis added). This authority applied 
to BLM. 

[14] Section 31 of the Act of June 25, 1910, 36 Stat. 863 (1910) 
(codified at 25 U.S.C.  337) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior 
to issue Indian allotments within national forests if the Secretary of 
Agriculture, acting through the U.S. Forest Service, determines that 
the lands are more valuable for agricultural or grazing purposes than 
for timber. As with BLM's allotment authority, the Indian 
Reorganization Act did not address this authority to issue Indian 
allotments. We did not review the Forest Service process since it 
involves a separate statute and another federal agency. The applicable 
regulations are at 43 C.F.R. pt. 2533. 

[15] Irrigable land is defined in the regulations as land susceptible 
of successful irrigation at a reasonable cost from any known source of 
water supply. 

[16] Nonirrigable agricultural land is defined in the regulations as 
land upon which agricultural crops can be profitably raised without 
irrigation. 

[17] Grazing land is defined in the regulations as land that cannot be 
profitably devoted to any agricultural use other than grazing. 

[18] 43 C.F.R.  2410.1. 

[19] The General Allotment Act required newly allotted land to be held 
in trust status for 25 years. After this period, BLM would issue a fee 
patent to the property owner and the government would relinquish all 
management responsibilities over the land. Executive orders and orders 
of the Secretary of the Interior have extended the 25-year period. See 
25 C.F.R. ch. I, app. 

[20] Indian Reorganization Act  5 (emphasis added). 

[21] GAO-06-781. 

[22] Executive Order 6910, issued November 26, 1934, and Executive 
Order 6964, issued February 5, 1935. The former temporarily withdrew 
public lands in 12 western states--Arizona, California, Colorado, 
Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, 
Utah, and Wyoming--"from settlement, location, sale or entry" until 
such lands were classified for their most useful purpose and for 
"conservation and development of natural resources." The latter 
temporarily withdrew public lands in 12 additional states--Alabama, 
Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, 
Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin--for classification. 

[23] We were not able to independently confirm this fact. According to 
BLM Lands and Realty staff, these data were drawn from an ad hoc query 
to BLM state offices in the mid-1990s, for which there is no 
documentation, but staff added that data might not be entirely 
accurate. 

[24] Only 3 of the 31 IBLA decisions we identified were made in the 
last 20 years--(1) a January 21, 1993, decision affirming the denial of 
one application in California (Ramona L. Randa, 125 IBLA 153 (1993)), 
(2) a July 29, 1996, decision affirming the denial of two applications 
in New Mexico (Lehman Perkaquanart, 136 IBLA 182 (1996)), and (3) a 
February 3, 2003, decision affirming the denial of eight applications 
in Montana (Jane Delorme, 158 IBLA 260 (2003)). These 3 decisions 
involved 11 of the 22 Indian allotment applications we reviewed from 
the past 20 years. The remaining 28 decisions were prior to January 1, 
1986, and they involved about 300 additional allotment applications. A 
January 21, 1983, decision involved 180 applications (George L. Clay 
Lee, 70 IBLA 196 (1983)). 

[25] Other evidence of this shifting toward land consolidation can be 
seen at BIA, which is considering changes to its land in trust 
regulations that would essentially halt the processing of individual 
land in trust applications. 

[26] U.S. Department of the Interior, BLM's Lands and Realty Group, 
Background Information and Rational for Suspending the Filing of Indian 
Allotments and Removal of Applicable Regulation (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 
17, 2004). 

[27] GAO, Indian Issues: BIA's Efforts to Impose Time Frames and 
Collect Better Data Should Improve the Processing of Land in Trust 
Applications, GAO-06-781 (Washington, D.C.: July 28, 2006). 

[28] Act of June 18, 1934, ch. 576,  5, 48 Stat. 984, 985 (1934). 

[29] GAO, Indian Issues: Improvements Needed in Tribal Recognition 
Process, GAO-02-49 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 2, 2001). 

[30] See Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma v. Norton, 389 F.3d 1074 (10TH 
Cir. 2004), cert. denied 126 S. Ct. 333 (2005). Also, see the most 
recent list of federally recognized tribes at 70 Fed. Reg. 71194 (Nov. 
25, 2005). 

[31] 67 Fed. Reg. 607 (Jan. 4, 2002). 

[32] GAO-02-49 and GAO-06-781. 

[33] GAO, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act: Land Acquired for Gaming After 
the Act's Passage, GAO/RCED-00-11R (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1, 1999). 

[34] BIA generally does not hold land in trust for federally recognized 
Alaska Native tribal entities in Alaska. Under the Alaska Native Claims 
Settlement Act, Pub. L. No. 92-203, 85 Stat. 688 (1971), Alaska Native 
tribal landholdings were vested with the Alaska Native corporations 
established under the act, except for the Metlakatla Indian Community, 
Annette Island Reserve. The term "landless" tribe in Alaska generally 
refers to Alaska Native entities excluded from the Alaska Native Claims 
Settlement Act. For example, H.R. 2559 and S. 1306 (109TH Cong., 1ST 
Sess.) would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to include 
the Alaska communities of Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Tenakee, and 
Wrangell. 

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