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Interesting resource

I recently came across a book that is worth mentioning to anyone who is researching their ancestry, but who may also be investigating and seeking out documentation on tribal land issues including the Bounty Lands acts, which enticed by incentive the enlistment of military personnel beginning in 1776; allotments, heirs and third-party owners; many congressional acts affecting homesteading, squatters, grants for railroads, timber culture, mineral and mining, timber-and-stone; issued scrip; and a pre-emption land claim law.

Author E. Wade Hone, in “Land and Property Research in the United States” [Ancestry Books, 1997] provides at least 15 pages specific to Indian issues. Although his references typically lead to the National Archives and other federal depositories of records (which are available regionally), he also has a helpful bibliography of related titles. (This volume was designed for genealogists in general.)

Of particular value are his explanations of the contents of 22 separate files (designated as either Indian Reserve Files or the Indian “B” Files) most of which are not indexed. For example, Box 2 contains: “miscellaneous information on the Brothertons, Chippewas and Munsee, Delaware, Great and Little Osage, and the Crow; several Cherokee land claims; cancelled Chickasaw patents; land claims of the Delaware in Kansas.”

This book can be found in many libraries under the Dewey Catalog system call number of 929.1.H756. If you live in Indian country and the largest public library in the region does not own it, I would suggest you specifically ask the staff to acquire a copy, and to let you know when it has been received. (Most libraries will do this if you ask.)

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I found it particularly disturbing, but not surprising, to read of all the acts of Congress, from 1776 to 1858, which promised Bounty Lands in order to gain soldiers to fight wars, putting the fledgling government into continued, accumulative indebtedness. Land which was not theirs to offer was the gold they banked on. History textbooks always explain the Homestead Act. Why aren’t the Bounty Lands ever mentioned?

– Linda Bergeron

Halfway, Ore.

(1855 Nez Perce Treaty homeland)