As a result of the allotment of Indian reservation land during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, land on reservations today is severely checkerboarded and fractionated, making its productive use virtually impossible. Complicating productive land use is the status of land tenure on reservations, which may be classified into as many as seven tenures: Indian trust land; Indian fee land; tribal trust land; tribal fee; non-Indian land; federal trust land, and state land.
Congress has attempted to reconcile fractionation and checkerboarding for the past eighty years, yet with little success. In 1983, Congress passed the Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA) to enable tribes to consolidate their land holdings and reduce fractionated land parcels. However, this act has failed to accomplish its goals. Rather than eliminating fractionation and checkerboarding, the act has succeeded only in complicating the devise and descent of Indian lands.