Interested sellers have 45 days to respond to offers
Date: December 12, 2016
WASHINGTON – Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor today announced that more than 4,600 landowners with fractional interests at the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington have received about $25 million in purchase offers as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, nearly $950 million has been paid to individual landowners and the equivalent of more than 1.7 million acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments.
The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust from willing sellers at fair market value. Interests consolidated through the Program are restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members.
The Department recently released the Program’s annual Status Report, which highlights the steps taken to date to strengthen tribal sovereignty, consolidate fractional interests, and provide new opportunities to Native American communities.
“The Buy-Back Program is an example of this Administration’s commitment to provide more sustainability for landowners, their families, and tribal communities for the benefit of generations to come,” said Deputy Secretary Connor. “I am proud of the significant and lasting steps this Program is taking toward fulfilling President Obama’s goal of strengthening and investing in tribal communities.”
Colville landowners have 45 days – until January 26, 2017 – to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided. Offers are also currently outstanding for landowners with fractional land interests at:
Approximately 243,000 owners of nearly 3 million fractional interests spanning 150 locations across Indian Country are eligible to participate in the Buy-Back Program. Individuals who choose to sell their interests receive payments directly into their Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. It is important that landowners think strategically about how to use the funds they receive from selling their land. More information is available here: .
The Buy-Back Program’s implementation schedule includes 105 locations through mid-2021, which reflects more than 96 percent of all landowners with fractional interests and more than 98 percent of both the purchasable fractional interests and equivalent acres in Program-eligible areas. The Program, congressionally authorized through 2022, is managing resources in a manner that ensures that funds will be available at a minimum for these locations.
Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 or visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) to ask questions about their land or purchase offers, and learn about financial planning resources. More information and detailed frequently asked questions are available to help individuals make informed decisions about their land.