The Department of the Interior has sent purchase offers exceeding $100 million to more than 21,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Pine Ridge Reservation. These offers provide landowners the opportunity to voluntarily sell their interests, which will be consolidated and held in trust for the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Pine Ridge is among the most highly-fractionated locations in the United States; landowners with purchasable interests are located in all 50 states.
The Buy-Back Program was created to implement the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided a $1.9 billion fund to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers, at fair market value, within a 10-year period. Interested sellers will receive payments directly into their IIM accounts. Consolidated interests will be transferred to tribal governments for uses benefiting the tribes and their members.
To date, the Buy-Back Program has successfully concluded transactions worth more than $72 million and has restored the equivalent of more than 203,000 acres of land to tribal ownership.
Time is of the Essence – Owners Must Respond Soon. All owners must accept and return current purchase offers (including a signed and notarized deed) for fractional interests on Pine Ridge by July 21, 2014.
Staff Ready to Answer Owner Questions. Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 with questions about their purchase offers, visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) or Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) office, or find more information at www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/landowners. Landowners may also contact the Oglala Sioux Tribe outreach staff at 605-867-2610 with questions.
Sellers Receive Fair Market Value. In addition to receiving fair market value for their fractional land interests based on objective appraisals, sellers also receive a base payment of $75 per offer, regardless of the value of the land.
Participation Is Voluntary. Participation in the Buy-Back Program is voluntary and selling land does not impact a landowner's eligibility to receive individual settlement payments from the Cobell Settlement. Cobell Settlement payments are being handled separately by the Garden City Group: 800-961-6109.