Rangelands located in American Indian and Alaska Natives country are critical to tribal nations and cover over 46 million acres. This land is used for farming and grazing by livestock and game animals. Understanding how and why these lands are managed is often complicated and needs to be understood before programs and changes are implemented. Land issues in these indigenous areas are not merely important, they are central and interconnected to the people who tend the land. They are not only a natural resource, but a cultural, spiritual, and sacred resource as well.
Although Indian lands are extensions of neighboring ecological landscapes and watersheds, they are strikingly different politically. Many reservations have several different classes of land title within them that are not managed by a single political entity: Indian title, allotted, federal, and fee simple are examples. Each class of land gives rise to unique responsibilities and authorities. This can make land-based natural resource issues and resulting decisions quite complex. There are several land-related issues of key interest to American Indians and Alaska Natives today including: (1) sovereignty (2) undivided heirship and fractionated lands; and (3) the conversion of in held fee simple lands to trust lands ("fee to trust").
The following may serve as a starting point for more information: