Native American Heritage

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Bureau of Indian Affairs

Allotment Records

Allotment Records

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.

Tips for Successful Searches

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

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
  • Notations

Examples of Land Allotment Records

Refer to Caption

Charles Wounded's house on heirship land, ca. 1940. National Archives Identifier: 285590

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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.