In accordance with federal statutes enacted in 1910 and 1913, the Law and, subsequently, the Probate Divisions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs were responsible for determining the heirs of deceased Indian trust allottees. Ultimately, Native Americans submitted more than 2,500 pages of wills and probate records to the Bureau. These records span the period 1911 to 1921 and, with a few exceptions, pertain to Indian families living in the Plains and several western states. Researchers will find members of the following tribes represented in this collection: Chippewa, Sioux, Apache, Shawnee, Quapaw, Assinboin, Leach Lake Chippewa, Confederated Flathead, Ponca, Cheyenne, Crow, Sac & Fox, Nez Perce, Southern Ute, Omaha, Osage, and more.
The work at hand represents the first volume in a new series of Native American sources compiled by Mr. Jeff Bowen. The author, who was responsible for having the National Archives microfilm the collection, has transcribed about 180 manuscript pages consisting of 96 verbatim wills for this volume. As a rule, the documents identify the names of the testator, residence, heirs, a description of any real estate transferred in the will, names of executors and witnesses, and other particulars commonly found in probate records. In all, genealogists will find references to about 2,000 individuals in these documents, every one of whom is referenced in the complete name index at the back.