Indian Lands Overview

The U.S. Domestic Sovereign Nations: Land Areas of Federally-recognized Tribes map (commonly referred to as Indian lands) gives the user the ability to zoom, change base maps, and identify tribal lands with the BIA Land Area Representation (LAR). The LAR depicts the external extent of Federal Indian reservations, land held in “trust” by the United States, “restricted fee” or “mixed ownership” tracts for Federally-recognized tribes and individual Indians.


Land Area Representation Overview

The Office of Trust Services (OTS), Division of Land Titles and Records (DLTR), Branch of Geospatial Support (BOGS) provides Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), tribes, and other agencies. BOGS is pleased to announce a new Land Area Representation (LAR) which is a new GIS dataset that illustrates land areas for Federally-recognized tribes. (Currently, there are 573 Federallyrecognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native entities.) The BIA annually publishes a list of Federally-recognized tribes in the Federal Register. The BIA maintains the LAR dataset as part of the DLTR function. The LAR dataset is the BIA’s official geospatial representation of Federal Indian land areas. It is used in its systems of records. The BIA LAR dataset’s spatial accuracy and attribute information is continuously being updated, improved, and used as the single authoritative land area data for the BIA’s mission. Since the LAR dataset was prepared for public release, it can be used by various organizations, agencies, units of government (i.e. Federal, state, county, and city), and other entities according to the restrictions on appropriate use which can be found in the metadata.


Where is the LAR dataset located?

The LAR dataset will be available to download from the following websites: biamaps.doi.gov, bia.gov/gis, data.gov, and communities.geoplatform.gov/tribalnations/.


What is a tribe?

A Federally-recognized tribe is an American Indian or Alaska Native entity that is recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States. Federallyrecognized tribes are recognized as possessing certain inherent rights of self-government (i.e., tribal sovereignty) and they are eligible to receive certain Federal benefits, services, and protections because of their special relationship with the United States.


LAR update information?

Future releases will include updates and additional LAR information available at the following weblink: www.bia.gov/bia/ots/dltr.


How do you use the LAR dataset?

BOGS staff recommends using the LAR dataset for the following uses: cartographic displays, planning analyses, statistical analyses, and natural resource management. There are also some examples of inappropriate uses listed here, but they are not limited to these. One inappropriate LAR dataset use includes equating the LAR to ownership. Another one is that it should not be used to address easements; it is not a substitute for a survey. Also, the LAR dataset is not for navigation purposes.


Where can a tribe or organization provide feedback about the data?

To provide feedback about the data, please e-mail the Branch of Geospatial Support Help Desk at geospatial@bia.gov.