Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

DOI looks to spend $100M on Navajo Nation for Cobell buy-back






Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Interior Department plans to spend $100 million on the Navajo Nation as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations, Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn said.

The reservation is among 21 that are being targeted as DOI ramps up land consolidation purchases. Washburn said the goal is to spend as much money as possible in Indian Country, rather than on administrative costs.

"Congress gave us 10 years to do this, and basically everybody would like us to get it done in one year. We could do that, but we would spend a lot more of the money hiring people and a lot less buying property," Washburn told The Albuquerque Journal.

The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement authorized $1.9 billion for land consolidation. DOI is using the money to buy fractionated interests from landowners in order to return the land to tribal governments.

The settlement allows DOI to take 15 percent, or $285 million, for administration.

Get the Story:
Former NM law dean seeks to empower tribes (The Albuquerque Journal 5/18)

Federal Register Notice:
Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations Under Cobell Settlement (April 30, 2014)

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