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Feds Announce Details of Native Land Buy-Back Program

The federal government announced today how the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations will work. It will purchase fractional interests in Indian trust lands from willing sellers, enabling tribal governments to use the consolidated parcels for the benefit of their communities.

The Cobell Settlement, which accounts for more than a century of mismanaged Indian land royalties, provided a 1 point 9 billion dollar fund to buy up fractionated land.

“Fractionation” goes back to the General Allotment Act of 1887, which allotted large parcels to individual tribal members. The lands have been handed down to millions of owners. Many of these lands lie idle, according to a statement by the Interior Department.

The Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes says, “freeing up fractionated lands for the benefit of tribal nations will increase the number of acres in tribal land bases, stimulate economic development and promote tribal sovereignty and self-determination.” The Interior has set up an oversight committee and will host three consultation sessions early next year with tribal communities.