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Historical Allotment Legislation

The policy of allotment on American Indian reservations was put into effect by many pieces of legislation. This section provides brief summaries of and links to all general allotment legislation, including the General Allotment Act of 1887, its amendments and more recent legislation that impacts Indian land tenure.

In addition to legislation that allotted land, also listed is legislation touching on a multitude of issues arising from allotment, such as leasing, the determination of heirs and disposal of allotment lands, the powers of the secretary of the interior over allotment lands, and the determination of Indian “competency.”

Visit Tribe/Reservation Allotment Information for information pertaining to specific tribes or reservations that were allotted.

General Allotment Act, Act of Feb. 8, 1887 (24 Stat. 388, ch. 119, 25 USCA 331)
Relevant Provisions: Size of allotments; public domain allotments; trust land; descent and partition; trust funds; rights of way; citizenship; trust periods

Act of October 19, 1888 (25 Stat. 611)
Relevant Provisions: Surrender of patents

Act of February 28, 1891 (26 Stat. 794)
Relevant Provisions: Size of allotments; leasing; disability/inability; competency; powers of the secretary of the interior

Act of August 15, 1894 (28 Stat. 286)
Relevant Provisions: Leasing; pursuit of claims

Act of January 26, 1895 (28 Stat. 641)
Relevant Provisions: Double allotment; powers of secretary of the interior

Act of May 31, 1900 (31 Stat. 170)
Relevant Provisions: Leasing; disability/inability; competency

Act of February 6, 1901 (31 Stat. 760)
Relevant Provisions: Pursuit of claims

Act of March 3, 1901 (31 Stat. 1058)
Relevant Provisions: Rights of way; condemnations; powers of the secretary of the interior

“Dead Indian Act,” or Act of May 27, 1902 (32 Stat. 245)
Relevant Provisions: Sale of allotments; alienation

Act of May 31, 1902 (32 Stat. 284)
Relevant Provisions: Pursuit of claims

Burke Act, Act of May 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 182)
Relevant Provisions: Competency; forced fee patent; determination of legal heirs; citizenship; powers of the secretary of the interior

Act of June 21, 1906 (34 Stat. 325)
Relevant Provisions: Trust periods; sale of allotments; alienation

Act of March 1, 1907 (34 Stat. 1015)
Relevant Provisions: Competency; sale of allotments; alienation

Act of March 2, 1907 (34 Stat. 1221)
Relevant Provisions: Trust funds

Act of May 29, 1908 (35 Stat. 444)
Relevant Provisions: Sale of allotments; determination of legal heirs; competency; powers of the secretary of the interior

Act of March 3, 1909 (35 Stat. 783)
Relevant Provisions: Leasing; surplus lands

Act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 269)
Relevant Provisions: Determination of legal heirs; surrender of allotments; competency; will-making; leasing; timber; powers of the secretary of the interior

Act of February 14, 1913 (37 Stat. 678)
Relevant Provisions: Will-making; powers of the secretary of the interior

Act of May 18, 1916 (39 Stat. 127)
Relevant Provisions: Leasing; partition; powers of the secretary of the interior

Act of March 3, 1921 (41 Stat. 1232)
Relevant Provisions: Leasing

Act of September 21, 1922 (42 Stat. 994)
Relevant Provisions: Alienation; powers of the secretary of the interior

Act of February 14, 1923 (42 Stat. 1246)
Relevant Provisions: Extends General Allotment Act to lands purchased or those that will be purchased by Congress

Act of May 29, 1924 (43 Stat. 244)
Relevant Provisions: Leasing

Act of February 26, 1927 (44 Stat. 1247)
Relevant Provisions: Forced fee patents

Act of March 3, 1928 (44 Stat. 161)
Relevant Provisions: Powers of the secretary of the interior; sale of allotments; alienation; determination of heirs

Act of February 21, 1931 (46 Stat. 1205)
Relevant Provisions: Forced fee patents

Act of April 30, 1934 (48 Stat. 647)
Relevant Provisions: Powers of the secretary of the interior; determination of heirs; sale of allotments

Indian Reorganization Act, or Howard-Wheeler Act, June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984)
Relevant Provisions: Trust periods; surplus land; sale of allotments; alienation; public domain allotments; devise and descent; tax exemption; tribal governments

Act of June 11, 1940 (54 Stat. 298)
Relevant Provisions: reimbursements for taxes paid on allotted lands

Act of November 24, 1942 (56 Stat. 1021)
Relevant Provisions: devise and descent; escheat

Act of August 9, 1955 (69 Stat. 540)
Relevant Provisions: leasing

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