By the mid-nineteenth century the policy of removal to a single large Indian territory was replaced by a policy of isolating Indians on reservations. Maps of individual reserves make up a large part of the materials in the Geography and Map Division's subject files under the heading "Indians" and in the miscellaneous geographic regions file under the names of the individual tribes. The reservation maps date from the 1850s to the present, but most of the division's coverage is in the period extending from 1890 to 1950.
Many of the individual reservation maps were produced by the Office of Indian Affairs during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The Geography and Map Division does not, however, have coverage of all reservations. The larger tribes with major land holdings are normally represented by the greatest number of maps, while there may be no separate maps of smaller reservations. The cultural information contained on the maps varies, but generally includes such features as roads, trails, boundaries, schools, wells, fences, and buildings. Since the 1970s. the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has published a series of single and multi-sheet "Highway System Maps" for some 175 reservations. These maps and map series provide detailed coverage of the current physical and cultural features of reservations. In addition to the individual reservation maps, there is a rather extensive collection of small-scale maps of the United States dating from the early 1880s to the present that illustrate the Indian reservation system.
With the collection of individual reservation maps there is a category which relates to the General Allotment or Dawes Severalty Act of 1887, and subsequent provisions to that act, which allowed for the allotment of tribal lands on certain reservations to individual Indians and the sale of unassigned lands to non-Indians. The allotment policy led to the breakup of tribal land ownership and eventually resulted in the loss of over half of the Indian tribal lands before the termination of this policy in the 1930s. These allotment maps consist primarily of commercial publications prepared as promotional tools to advance the sale of unassigned lands. Because of their promotional character, they often contain information about the adaptability of the reservation lands for agricultural purposes. Another interesting feature of a few of the allotment maps is that, in the process of distinguishing allotted lands from unassigned lands, they include the names of Indian allottees, which is information of value to local historians and genealogists
The maps in this section have been digitized by the Library and are available for viewing and download online. Select the link on the map or in the caption to view a copy of the map that can be enlarge to view the detail.
At irregular intervals, beginning in 1876, the U.S. General Land Office began publishing maps of individual states and territories to show the disposition of Federal Land in the public domain. State and territorial maps by and large depict the extent of the public land surveys, limits of land-grant railroads, county boundaries, military lands, and Indian reservations. This is one of several editions of the General Land Office map of Arizona published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Viewed together, they illustrate the development of the reservation system in the state.
This is one of numerous maps that indicate the location of Indian reservations throughout the United States.
Identifies the names of Indian allotments on the Spokane Reservation.