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Rights-of-Way on Individually Owned Indian and Tribal Lands

The Division of Real Estate Services coordinates the process of granting access to American Indian and Alaska Native lands for major infrastructure projects.

The federal government has a fiduciary responsibility to Indian landowners to protect and conserve the resources on trust and restricted land—including the land itself.

The right-of-way (ROW) process helps the government regulate the appropriate use and development of Native lands to ensure the effective management of resources and to protect against the illegal misuse of property.

ROW regulations, under 25 CFR 169, provide a uniform system for granting ROW over Indian land, while giving landowners and Tribes as much flexibility and control as possible. 

The Division of Real Estate Services (DRES) works with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to grant ROW for various types of infrastructure projects.

Streamlined Rights-of-Way Application Process

The updated regulations expedite the process for obtaining a ROW, simplify requirements for applicants, and clarify Tribal jurisdiction over lands subject to a ROW request by:  

  • Eliminating the need for consent from BIA for surveying activities
  • Establishing regulatory timelines for BIA’s review of ROW requests
  • Requiring compelling reasons for BIA to deny a ROW application

For more information on obtaining ROW, please contact DRES or your BIA regional office.

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Contact Us

Division of Real Estate Services
1001 Indian School Road, NW, Box #44
Albuquerque, NM 87104
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. MDT, Monday-Friday

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