Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation






A view of the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon. Photo from Facebook

The Interior Department has sent out more than $9.4 million in offers to landowners on the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon.

The offers were made to nearly 1,800 landowners as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. Participation is voluntary and any interests that are acquired will be transferred to the Umatilla tribal government.

“We continue to fulfill President Obama’s pledge to help strengthen Native American communities with the ongoing momentum and steady implementation of the Buy-Back Program,” said Deputy Secretary Mike Connor said in a press release today. “We must work together to ensure individuals are aware of this historic opportunity to support the consolidation of tribal lands for the benefit of each tribal community.”

Umatilla landowners have until October 31 to respond to offers, Connor said.

The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement provided $1.9 billion for Indian landowners who want to sell their fractionated interests. DOI will pay "fair market value" as required by the Indian Land Consolidation Act.

Since the program started last winter, DOI has successfully concluded more than $115 million in transactions, according to the press release. Nearly 270,000 acres have been returned to tribes.

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