Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

Osage Nation expects to see offers from land buy-back program






From left to right: Asst. Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Tribal Development and Land Acquisition Director Bruce Cass and attorney Terry Mason Moore. Photo from Facebook

The Osage Nation of Oklahoma is preparing for the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

The tribe signed a cooperative agreement with the Interior Department to engage in outreach efforts over the summer. Offers are expected to go out to landowners in August.

"In the year 1906, the Osage owned all of the nearly 1.5 million acres of our reservation,” said Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said in a press release. “Today, we have less than 4 percent of the land in Osage ownership. Much of the remaining land is held in fractionated ownership. The Land-Buy Back Program provides an opportunity for the Osage Nation to purchase some of the fractionated interests for complete ownership of land parcels. By having one owner, we can finally determine the highest and best use of the land."


A view of the Osage Nation. Photo from Facebook

Offers are only being extended to owners of parcels in which the tribe already holds a fractional interest, The Osage News reported. About $5 million to $7 million could be made, the tribal land director told the paper.

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.

Participation is entirely voluntary. Any land that is acquired will be returned to tribes.

As of April 3, DOI has extended $924 million in offers to nearly 49,000 owners. Some $365 million in transactions have been concluded so far, according to a chart posted on the program's website.

The equivalent of more than 577,000 acres have been returned to tribal governments as a result of the program.

Get the Story:
Osage Nation to begin outreach for Land Buy-Back program (Osage News 5/27)

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