Indian Issues:

GAO's Analysis of Land Ownership at 12 Reservations

T-RCED-92-75: Published: Jul 2, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 1992.

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GAO discussed land ownership at 12 Indian reservations administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). GAO noted that: (1) the 12 reservations were divided into a total of 82,978 tracts that were generally 40 acres or larger; (2) tribes were the sole owners of about 35 percent of the tracts, sole Indian individuals owned about 21 percent of the tracts, and the remaining tracts had multiple ownerships; (3) many of the multiply-owned tracts had numerous interests of less than 2 percent; (4) BIA maintained over 1 million land ownership records for the tracts, with 67 percent of records representing interests of 2 percent or less; (5) although the Indian Land Consolidation Act allowed the transfer of some small ownership interests to tribes, the number of small interests held by Indian individuals has doubled since the passage of that act; and (6) BIA maintains its data on official land ownership in its Land Records Information System.

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