Creeping Normalcy: Fractionation of Indian Land Ownership
28 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2014
Date Written: January 31, 2014
In 1992 the General Accounting Office (GAO) published a quantitative survey of Indian land ownership of twelve reservations, which was the first and still is the only survey of Indian land ownership. In our study we use 2010 data to show how ownership fractionation for these reservations has changed since the original GAO study. We find that, despite the whole of Congressional action regarding land fractionation, and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs‘ (BIA’s) land consolidation programs, fractionation has not only continued, but BIA’s complex recordkeeping workload has nearly doubled for the twelve reservations over the eighteen year interval. The GAO estimated that BIA’s annual recordkeeping costs for these twelve reservations was between $40 and $50 million. With the addition of over a million new ownership records, due to fractionation, we estimate yearly recordkeeping costs have increased to $246 million in 2010.
Keywords: Indian land ownership, ownership fractionation, Indian reservations
JEL Classification: O100, Y100
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation