Bureau of Indian Affairs
For a time, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was responsible for administering the financial affairs of American Indians. As a result, the BIA created numerous allotment records that document land, finances, goods, and properties disbursed by the Agency. These records describe transactions including actions, appropriations, audits, expenditures, and obligations.
The records can provide information on the name of the individual/allottee; the tribe; dates; and goods, lands, or properties being transferred. Allotments can be recorded in indexes, ledgers, cards, rolls, schedules, maps, and plans. Many of these records are not yet digitized, nor are they available on microfilm.
Searching in the National Archives Catalog for Allotment Records
Search in the National Archives Catalog for more information using the phrase "allotment." Note which federal agency created the records and which NARA office maintains the records. Using the Advanced Search, you can restrict your results to a single federal agency, record group, or archival facility. Records created by the BIA are part of Record Group 75.
For Allotment records for American Indian tribes in Oklahoma, contact the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Financial and Property Allotment Records
Allotment records can document both financial and property transactions administered by the BIA. Property can include buildings, finances, and timber. The financial records can include descriptions of expenditures for items such as supplies, the dates of the transactions, the actual amounts of money allotted, and running totals.
Examples of Financial and Property Allotment Records
- Allotment Heirship List, ca. 1896 - ca.1920, from the Shoshone Agency,
National Archives Identifier: 1525380
Contact the National Archives at Denver for more information.
- Allotment Ledger Sheets, 1941 - 1951, from the Warm Springs Agency,
National Archives Identifier: 1276252
Contact the National Archives at Seattle for more information.
- Land Allotment and Heirship Case Records, 1912-1925, from the Reno Agency,
National Archives Identifier: 296194
Contact the National Archives at San Francisco for more information.
Land Allotment Records
The U.S. Federal government began the policy of allotting land to American Indians as early as 1798 through treaties. Eventually the government moved away from treaties and authorized the (BIA) to administer the allocation of land to American Indians.
Though these records vary in quantity and quality of information, they can also contain:
- Allotment number
- Number of acres
- Legal description of the land
Examples of Land Allotment Records
- Allotment Ledgers, 1940-1946, from the Mission Agency,
National Archives Identifier: 561644
Contact the National Archives at Riverside for more information.
- Allotment Registers, ca. 1892-ca. 1892, from the White Earth Agency,
National Archives Identifier: 7479738
Contact the National Archives at Kansas City for more information.
- Choctaw and Chickasaw Allotment Ledgers, 1903-1910, from the Office of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes,
National Archives Identifier: 2439888
Contact the National Archives at Fort Worth for more information.
A Note About Privacy Restrictions
Documents that are less than 75 years old may contain personal information about individuals who are still living. These records are restricted under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemption (b)(6), and must be screened by National Archives staff before being released to researchers. Personal information may be redacted. Learn more about FOIA.