Tribal Land: Land In Trust

What Is Tribal Land in Trust?

Tribal land is land in trust given to the Native Americans by the American Government under the Indian Reorganization Act. This act gives land to the American Indians under the trust of the government to preserve and improve natural resources of the tribal reservations, and land that is owned by Native Americans. The Department of The Interior has since returned over 9 million acres of land back to Indians and Indian Reservations.

Better Way of Living for Native Americans

These reorganizations are meant to make the quality of life better and more resourceful for generations to come. 90% of Indian Reservation land was lost in 1887 under the Dawes Act, so being given back even 10% of the land lost and being given the land for improvements and better ways of living for the American Indians is a positive and progressive step.

Limits to How Land Is Used

Under these laws, the American Indians are self-governing and therefore not subject to state law. There are, however, limitations to how the land may be used and many motions regarding tribal law that go forward must be approved beforehand.

The Indians who reside on Native American land can either own their dwelling spaces through an allotment or they can be given their dwelling spaces by the tribal authorities.

Free to Trust Application

Should a tribal member desire to own an allotment on or off of a reservation, there is a “free to trust” application that has to be completed. An attorney can guide these tribal members through the process. These applications require an understanding of Tribal Law can require consultation with our experienced Palm Springs tribal attorneys.