Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

Landowners from Colville Tribes see $25M in Cobell buy-back offers






Ferry County on the Colville Reservation in Washington. Photo by Rocky Raybell

Landowners from the Confederated Tribes are seeing more than $25 million in offers as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

Offers went out to more than 5,100 landowners on the Washington reservation this week, the Interior Department announced on Monday. Interested sellers have until January 26, 2017, to accept.

“The Buy-Back Program is an example of this Administration’s commitment to provide more sustainability for landowners, their families, and tribal communities for the benefit of generations to come,” Deputy Secretary Michael Connor, the second-in-command at Interior, said in a press release. “I am proud of the significant and lasting steps this program is taking toward fulfilling President Obama’s goal of strengthening and investing in tribal communities.”

The program got off the ground four years ago, when the $3.4 billion settlement to the Cobell trust fund lawsuit became final. The settlement set aside $1.9 billion for land consolidation efforts in Indian Country.

As of December 9, nearly 127,000 landowners have been paid more than $949 million for their fractional interests. The equivalent of more than 1.7 million acres has been transferred to tribes as a result.

The fund will run out in less than three years if sales continue at the current rate.

Interior Department Report:
2016 Status Report: Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (November 2016)

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