Introduction to Tribal Concepts
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As commonly used, the term "trust land" refers to land whose title is held by the U.S. government "in trust" for an Indian tribe or an individual tribal member.
In these circumstances a tribe or individual Indian is often referred to as the "beneficial" owner of the land. Trust land cannot be conveyed, sold, assigned or transferred without federal approval.
In some cases a tribe may have trust lands that are located outside of the exterior boundaries of its reservation. Those lands generally have the same status as if they were located within the reservation's boundaries.