facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

Researchers from the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development published a policy brief on Oct. 20 detailing how geographic information system (GIS) techniques can be used in landback efforts across Indian Country.

The report notes that six federal agencies currently manage approximately one-third of the land surrounding reservations that formerly belonged to Native nations.

Using geographic information systems helped the authors identify public and/or protected lands in relation to current and historic reservation boundaries. Between 1889 and 1890, Congress ceded about 13 million acres of reservation land to settlers through the General Allotment Act which authorized the president to break up reservation land.

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

GIS can show the scope of landback opportunities, including lands that are: owned by the federal or state governments; federal-or state-managed within current external reservation boundaries; existing within former reservation boundaries; near or bordering current reservation land; or protected areas designated for conservation management. 

“Identifying where these parcels are is a powerful first step for tribes and government agencies to begin to develop strategies for landback,” wrote authors Miriam Jorgensen, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (Harvard Project) research director, and Laura Taylor, Harvard Project research fellow.

More Stories Like This

Photos of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe’s Powwow
NCAI President Calls for Indigenous Participation in United Nations
Army Seeks Extension in Lawsuit Over Return of Native Childrens’ Remains
DOI places Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation's northern Illinois reservation land into trust
Army to Send Home 11 Native Children from Former Indian Boarding School

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].