A REPORT ON BEHALF OF PUBLIC DOMAIN ALLOTMENT LAND IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

previously published in Noso-n

by Gaylen Lee, September 21, 1992

The United States Government's interaction with the Indians of California began in 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed at the conclusion of its war with Mexico. At that time the government agreed to preserve recognition of the Indian people and their right to the lands they inhabited.

In 1851, 18 treaties were signed with 400 California Indian leaders whereby millions of acres of land were ceded to the federal government in exchanged for perpetual use and occupancy to 8.5 million acres in reservation land, plus goods and services. These treaties were never ratified by the U.S. Senate and not until 1905 did the California Indians learn they held no title to any treated land.

During this period the Indians were denied right to private land claims which they occupied, lands that were surveyed as public land and given to settlers. In 1891, the mission Relief Act was established, setting aside "poor" land for the benefit of some of the struggling Indian population. In 1906 , land was purchased by the U.S. Government for use as "rancherias" (1) by some of the Indian population who were assigned to reside on the "rancherias."

While the Indian Allotment Act of 1887 made it possible for a qualified Indian to settle on unappropriated public domain land and to obtain acreage for irrigation and/or grazing, not until the early 1900's were these allotments made in any numbers for California Indian people.

Today, in California, there are in excess of 133 public domain allotments. Within the Central California Agency alone, there are 100 allotments totaling 7,575.29 acres for an undetermined Indian population. In Madera County, where I live, there are 20 allotments totaling 1,309.01 acres.

The Central CAL Agency Includes:


COUNTY---NUMBER OF ALLOTMENTS---ACREAGE

Butte---------------1----------------147.20

Calavaras-----------7----------------119.33

Colusa--------------1-----------------80.00

Fresno-------------21--------------1,436.55

Inyo----------------2-----------------90.00

Kern---------------10--------------1,192.00

Madera-------------20--------------1,309.01

Mariposa------------5----------------708.21

Mono---------------13--------------1,058.99

Placer---------------1----------------21.39

Plumas--------------9---------------519.04

San Benito----------1---------------123.42 (Indian Canyon)

Sierra---------------2---------------160.00

Tehama--------------3----------------90.29

Tulare---------------4---------------519.86

incomplete list - ed.

Despite the number of allotments, acreage and Indian residents on these allotments in California, the federal government has failed to provide adequate funding at least equal to that apportioned annually to the "recognized tribes" living on reservations and rancherias in California.

The needs of Indian residents on California's allotment lands include: