Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

DOI signs land buy-back cooperative agreements with two tribes






A view of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Facebook

The Interior Department signed cooperative agreements with two more tribes as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas will facility outreach and education efforts with the agreements. The aim is to help tribal members decide whether to sell their fractionated interests.

“We continue to be encouraged by the growing momentum and excitement about the Buy-Back Program across Indian Country,” Deputy Secretary Michael Connor said in a press release today. “As we have made clear, a significant factor in the Program’s success is the ability to work effectively with tribal leadership to best tailor outreach and information to their community. Working closely with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, we can maximize our ability to provide landowners with the information they need to make informed decisions about their land through this voluntary program.”

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 in winter 2013, DOI has concluded $330 million in transactions with willing sellers, according to the press release The equivalent of nearly 541,000 acres has been returned to tribes as a result.

“The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation is one of the most highly fractionated reservations in the country. The Land Buy-Back program will assist us in our continued effort to consolidate our land base,” Chairman Harold Frazier said.

“The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation looks forward to collaborating with the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations,” Chair Liana Onnen said. “Our participation in this program furthers the common goal to purchase highly fractionated trust land from voluntary sellers at fair market value."

Get the Story:
Press Release: Two Additional Tribal Nations Sign Cooperative Agreements with Interior to Reduce Land Fractionation in Indian Country (DOI 1/30)

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