The Cobell v Salazar Settlement Agreement (Cobell Settlement) provided a $1.9 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund (Fund) to be expended within a 10-year period.
The Cobell Settlement made the Fund available to the U.S. Department of the Interior (Department or Interior) to acquire fractional interests in trust or restricted land from individuals who were willing to sell their interests for fair market value. In 2012, the Secretary of the Interior established the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program or Program) to implement the land consolidation aspects of the Settlement.
The 10-year period for the Program's implementation of land consolidation efforts came to an end November 24, 2022.
The principal goal of the Buy-Back Program was to consolidate the maximum number of fractional land interests through voluntary sales that placed purchased interests into trust for Tribes. These transfers increased Tribal trust land bases for conservation, stewardship, economic development, or other uses deemed beneficial by sovereign Tribal nations.
The Program began purchasing fractional interests in December 2013 and consolidated more than 800,000 interests, equivalent to 2.3 million acres, across 50 locations in 15 states.
Graphic depicts results through December 31, 2018
More information about the Program and fractionation can be found on the following pages: