Village Earth

A Primer on the Status of Land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation


The map above illustrates the “checkerboard” of different classifications of land on Pine Ridge. I get so many questions from individuals on and off the Reservation about the status of land on the Pine Ridge that I thought I would to list some of the facts, statistics, and maps that I have compiled over the years. I. Land Classifications There are four classifications of land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

  1. Allotted Land
  2. Deeded or Fee Land
  3. Tribally Owned Land
  4. Government Land

GLOSSARY OF TERMS Allotted Land: Land that was allotted to individual Indians by the General Allotment Act of 1887. Deeded or Fee Land: Land that lies within the boundaries of the reservation but is not held in Trust by the United States Government. Much of this land was originally land allotted to individual Indians but lost it’s Trust status as a result of “forced fee patenting” during the early part of the 20th Century. Tribally Owned Land: Land that is owned by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and held in Trust by the United States Government. Government Owned Land: Land that lies within the boundaries of the Reservation but is owned by the citizens of the United States but managed by the Federal Government. II. Land Ownership on Pine Ridge

Allotted 103,056
Tribal 63,297
Tribal TOTAL 166,353
Government 1,662
Fee 103,366
Non-Tribal Total 105,028
TOTAL LAND AREA ON Pine Ridge 271,381

III. Land Use on Pine Ridge Total area of Tribal and Allotted Lands in the Range Unit Leasing System = 1,170,546 acres (Roughly 65% of all Trust lands on the Reservation) According to the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) “Range Units” are consolidated tracts of Indian rangelands that BIA creates after consultation with the Indian landowners. 25 C.F.R. §§ 166.4, 166.302. BIA grants permits for range units, unless they consist solely of tribal lands, in which case the tribe grants the permit but BIA must approve it. According to the USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture for American Indian Reservations of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, in 2002 there was nearly 33 million dollars in receipts from agricultural production on Pine Ridge, yet less than 1/3rd of that income went to members of the tribe.

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