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Native American Spaces: Cartographic Resources at the Library of Congress

Reservations and Allotments

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

Digitized Maps

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.


Land Office Map of the Territory of Arizona, 1876

U. S. General Land Office. Territory of Arizona. Compiled from the official records of the General Land Office and other sources by C. Roeser. 1876. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

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.

Map Showing Indian Reservations within the Limits of the United States, 1892

Office of Indian Affairs. Map Showing Indian Reservations within the Limits of the United States. Compiled under the Direction of the Hon. J. T. Morgan, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.1892. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

This is one of numerous maps that indicate the location of Indian reservations throughout the United States.

Additional Maps in the Library's Collections

  • A Map of Allegany Reservation. Author unknown, [18--]. Manuscript, pen-and-ink, 22 x 30 cm. Scale ca. 1:158,400. Call number G3801 .E2 18-- Vault.
    Map shows the Seneca Nation's Allegany Reservation in Cattaraugus County, New York, along the Allegheny River.
  • State of South Dakota. 1889. Compiled from the official Records of the General Land Office and other sources under supervision of A. F. Dinsmore, Principal Draughtsman G.L.O. ([Washington, D.C.]: Dept. of the Interior, U.S. General Land Office, 1889). Map, chromo-lithograph, 61 x 84 cm. Scale 1:760,320. Filed at South Dakota — Indians — 1889 — 1:760,320 — U.S. General Land Office.
    General Land Office map showing existing and proposed Indian reservations in South Dakota. Depicts place names, towns and settlements, U.S. Land Office locations, extent of the Public Land Survey in the state, rivers, relief, and marsh lands.
  • Map of Tuscarora Indian Reservation, Located and Platted A.D. 1890. Henry B. Carrington, U.S. Army, Special Agent, Indian Statistics, 11th U.S. Census. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1894. Colored map, 25 x 27 cm. Scale not given. Filed at New York — Indians — 1890.
    This map of the Tuscarora Reservation in Niagara County, New York, is one of several maps appearing in the Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States (except Alaska) at the Eleventh Census, 1890 (U.S. Congressional Serial Set no. 3016).
  • Umatilla Indian Reservation, Township No. 3, Range No. 36 East, Willamette Meridian in Oregon. [Umatilla, Oregon?]: [Publisher not identified], [betweeen 1900 and 1920]. Colored manuscript map, blue pen-and-ink used for property lines, personal names, and place names, annotations made in pencil and red ink, 24 x 19 cm, on sheet 37 x 30 cm. Not drawn to scale. Call number G4292.U47G46 1900 .U5 Vault.
    This cadastral map depicts allotments made to Native Americans, as well as unused plats that had been sold to non-tribal settlers. The map identifies names of landholders.
  • Map of the Winnibigoshish, Chippewa, Leech Lake, Cass Lake and White Oak Indian Reservations. Compiled and Published by JEWETT & SON, Publishers of Maps and Township Plats, ST. PAUL, MINN. (St. Paul: Jewett & Son, 1902). Map, 88 x 68 cm. Scale 1 3/4 miles to 1 inch. Filed at Minnesota — Indians (Winnibigoshish, Chippewa, et al) — 1902 — 1:110,880 — Jewett & Son.
    This commercially published map depicts the Winnibigoshish, Chippewa, Leech Lake, Cass Lake, and White Oak Indian reservations in north-central Minnesota as they appeared in the early years of the twentieth century, prior to their reorganization in 1934 into the "Greater" Leech Lake Indian Reservation. Map identifies reservation lands, villages, roads, railroads, lakes, streams and rivers, vegetation, and township and range system.
  • Allotment Map of the Oto and Missouri Indian Reservation, O. T. R. S. Steele, 1902. Colored map, 47 x 70 cm. Scale ca. 1:42,000. Filed at Oklahoma — Indians — 1902.
    Map identifies the names of Indian allottees on the Oto and Missouri Reservation.
  • Map of the Allotted Lands of the Crow Reservation, Montana. Compiled by Carl Rankin, Crow Agency, Mont. 3-18-07. (Crow Agency, Mt: Carl Rankin, 1907). Blueprint map in three parts, 199 x 94 cm. Scale 3/4 inch to 1 mile (ca. 1:47,520). Filed at Montana — Indians — Crow Reservation — 1907 — 1:47,520 — C. Rankin.
    This large map of the Crow Reservation identifies the names of about 2,300 members of the Crow Agency who owned land on the reservation in 1907. Names are keyed to Township, Range, Section, and Sub-Section numbers.
  • Griggs' Official Map of that part of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Indian Reservations in North Dakota and South Dakota Open to Homestead Entry, Showing Indian Allotments, New Railroad Lines, Townsites, Rough and Smooth Lands, Etc. Compiled and For Sale by U.S. Griggs, Pierre, S.D., formerly U.S. Deputy Surveyor and State Surveyor of S.D. (Pierre, SD: U.S. Griggs, 1909). Map on three sheets, 77 x 67 cm., 82 x 67 cm., 40 x 66 cm. Scale ca. 1:115,000. Filed at South Dakota — Indians — 1909 — Scale ca. 1:115,000 — U.S. Griggs
    This large-scale map of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River reservations in North Dakota and South Dakota was prepared to show those lands that had been authorized by Congress for sale in 1908, surveyed for homestead entry in 1909, and subsequently opened for White settlement. Map depicts lands reserved for Indian allotments, townsites appertaining to the Public Land Survey system, new railroad lines, "rough and smooth lands," i.e those suitable and unsuitable for cultivation, rivers and streams, and relief.
  • Mescalero Indian Reservation, New Mexico. Compiled from aerial photographic mosaics, with corrections from the field. Washington, D.C.: Office of Indian Affairs, 1938. Colored map, 82 x 117 cm. Scale ca. 1:63,000. Filed at New Mexico — Indians, Mescalero Reservation — 1938.
    Similar to many other maps of individual reservations published by the Office (Bureau) of Indian Affairs, this map shows roads, trails, telephone lines, water sources, schools, and fire lookout stations.
  • Kaibab Indian Reservation 1944. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, 1944. Map, cm. Scale ca. Filed at Arizona — Indians — Kaibab Reservation — 1944.
    Located in northern Arizona, between the Utah border and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, the 120,000-acre Kaibab Reservation is the homeland of the Southern Paiute. This 1944 map locates roads, trails, pipelines, telephone lines, fences, corrals, springs, reservoirs, and streams. It is similar in content to many other reservation maps produced by the Office of Indian Affairs.
  • Federal-aid Indian Road System Atlas. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Division of Indian Affairs. [Albuquerque, N.M.: Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1974]. Atlas. 48 x 56 cm. Scale 1:63,360. Call number G1201.P2 U46 1974.
    This atlas include modern large-scale maps, which, in addition to portraying roads and other transportation information, also show relief, drainage, administrative divisions, and building locations and usage within many Indian reservations throughout the United States.
  • The Navajo Atlas: Environments, Resources, People, and History of the Diné Bikeyah. James M. Goodman. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982. Call number G1497 .N3G6 1982.
    Atlas contains forty-eight maps dealing with the Navajo Indian Reservation's physical environment, history, population, livelihood, resources and services, and includes a section on the Navajo-Hopi land dispute.
  • A Zuni Atlas. T. J. Ferguson and E. Richard Hart. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985. Call number G1496 .E1F4 1985.
    An atlas of forty-four maps, as well as extensive text, illustrating the physical environment, history, natural resources, and culture of the Zuni.
  • Indian lands, 1992. Compiled by the Handbook of North American Indians (Smithsonian Institution) in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs; prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey. Reston, VA, 1992. Colored map, 62 x 99 cm. Scale 1:5,000,000. Call number G3701.G6 1992 .S6.
    Map shows federal and state reservations, Alaskan regional corporation lands, and federal Indian groups without reservations. The division also holds editions dated 1987 and 1989.