The General Allotment Act of 1887 divided Indian reservations into smaller plots for the supposed benefit of individual Indians. Today, these allotments are severely fractionated, with some 160-acre plots having as many as a thousand owners. Since allotment, Congress has repeatedly attempted to solve this problem. However, only the Cobell Land Buy-Back Program has made any sizeable impact on fractionation levels. This paper examines the fractionation problem and the Cobell Program. Now that the Cobell Program has ended in November 2022, this paper argues that Congress must quickly reauthorize a similar program or fractionation will soon exceed pre-Cobell levels.



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