A reservation is a sharply defined area of land that is set aside for Native Americans. A reservation is one of only three types of land reserved by the government -- the other two being military and public space. These reservations were created as a result of one of 370 treaties between the government and Native Americans between 1778 and 1871. There are 56.2 million acres of land spread out over 326 reserved spaces for Native Americans in the United States.

Contentious History

Fighting between the colonists and the Native Americans for land goes back as far as the 1600s. When the British won the French and Indian War, they created a treaty in 1763 that reserved land west of the Mississippi for Native Americans. Fighting over land continued, and in 1830 President Andrew Jackson pushed the Indian Removal Act into law, which took lands in the east from Native Americans and pushed them into the west. Private land owners continued to take land that belonged to Native Americans as well. Through the hundreds of treaties signed over the years, the Indian reservations were created. Other lands reserved for Native Americans include allotted lands, which are fragments of divided reservations; restricted status property, which required the approval of the secretary of the interior for sale; and state reservations, which are lands held in trust for Indian tribes by a state.