Federal Land Restoration to American Indian Tribes, 1970-1990

The loss of aboriginal lands was one of many dispossessions experienced by American Indians with the arrival of European settlers on this continent. Due to this appropriation of land, it is estimated that tribal land holdings today account for only 2% of the acreage on the continental United States. However, Congress has, on occasion, enacted legislation which returned lands to tribes. In fact, since 1970, more than 600,000 acres of land have been restored to various tribes. This thesis reviews twenty years of land restoration legislation (1970-1990) and presents that data divided into five categories of criteria on which that legislation was based. Additionally, an analysis of the congressional support for the tribal land restoration legislation suggests that the federal Indian policy of self-determination is secondary to the more influential factors of tribal activism, public opinion, and symbolic utility.


Chris Lee DeZarn-O'Hare


David Wilkins





Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 D49f
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences